Happy Birthday, Judy Garland!

The wonderful Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm 99 years ago today in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. From that humble beginning, she went on to an amazing career that few others have matched.

A friend once asked us, “Why is it that you’re so fond of Judy Garland, but you’re not so crazy about Barbra Streisand?” That was an easy one for us: With Ms. Streisand (with all due respect), it’s all about her pipes. With Ms. Garland, it’s all about her heart.

We’ll be featuring Garland’s music all today on Cladrite Radio. Why not tune in now?

Judy Garland quote

Remembering Fred Astaire on His Birthday

The great Fred Astaire was born on May 10, 1899, in Omaha, Nebraska. He’s been gone nearly 34 years, and if you wanted to make a list of the things that are wrong with the world today, the fact that Mr. Astaire no longer walks—nay, glides—among us would be on that list. We’ll be featuring Astaire’s music all day today on Cladrite Radio, so why not tune in now?

Fred Astaire quote

Remembering Harold Arlen

The great songsmith Harold Arlen was born 116 years ago today in Buffalo, New York. His father was a Jewish cantor.

In the late 1920s and early ’30s, Arlen as a band vocalist with Red Nichols, Joe Venuti and Leo Reisman, among others.

Arlen wrote for motion pictures, Broadway musicals and Cotton Club reviews, working with such esteemed lyricists as Ted Koehler, E. Y. “Yip” Harburg, Ira Gershwin, and Johnny Mercer.

We’re featuring recordings of Arlen’s compositions all day today on Cladrite Radio. Why not tune in now?

Harold Arlen


Remember to Watch ‘Remember the Night’

Remember the Night posterIf you think you’ve seen every classic Christmas picture (and most of them one too many times, at that), you’ll be pleasantly surprised, we hope, to learn of one that’s flown under the radar of many a classic movie buff.

Remember the Night (1940) was the last movie Preston Sturges wrote before moving into the director’s chair with The Great McGinty (1940). Mitchell Leisen directs here, and though Sturges was said to have been disappointed with Leisen’s efforts, it’s hard to imagine why. It’s a terrific picture, one that should be every bit the holiday favorite that pictures such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, The Shop Around the Corner, and others have become.

Remember the Night features Fred MacMurray as an ambitious assistant D.A. in NYC who finds himself with shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck on his hands because he has asked for a delay in her trial, so as to avoid the jury feeling any holiday-inspired sympathy for her.

It soon comes out that both the D.A. and the dame are Hoosiers, so she accompanies him on a road trip to visit their respective families. Stanwyck’s brief visit with her mother doesn’t go so well, though, so she sticks with MacMurray, whereupon romance and laughs ensue.

Remember the Night is plenty sentimental enough to qualify as a holiday classic, but like It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s got a dark side, too, delivered with gimlet-eyed bite.

It’s a favorite of ours, a picture that deserves much greater fame and acclaim that it has been afforded. Turner Classic Movies has teamed with Universal to offer it on DVD, but if you’d like to try before you buy, it’s airing on TCM tonight (Dec. 18, 2020) at 8:00 p.m. ET. Set your DVR now and give it a look; you won’t regret it.

This post was first published in slightly different form on December 6, 2013.