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“Why? Because!” – Judy Garland asks and Fanny Brice answers in “Everybody Sing”!

“Why? Because!” sings Judy Garland and Fanny Brice from the 1938 musical, Everybody Sing.

Although not a short subject, I couldn’t resist showing this film clip with Judy and Fanny together. Obviously, Judy needs no introduction, but Fanny, on the other hand, might for many of you.

Fanny Brice, probably more well-known for Barbra Streisand playing her in Funny Girl and Funny Lady, was a consummate comedian, singer, and actor of almost every medium. About Fanny’s two husbands, both portrayed in the biographical movies, she amusingly reminisces, “With Nick Arnstein, I was miserably happy. With Billy Rose, I was happily miserable.” 

Fanny does one of her best characters, “Baby Snooks” in this film clip. A two-star, Hollywood Walk of Famer, Fanny was born in NY in 1891. A cerebral hemorrhage ended her life in 1951.

Judy Garland stars in Everybody Sing a year before she wows us in the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. Keep an eye out for Judy’s witch pal, Billie Burke (Glinda), if you get a chance to watch the whole feature of Everybody Sing. 

Thank you gcuriosidades for making it available on YouTube!

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Movie, Music, Video

 

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The many faces of Frank Morgan, the grand “Wizard of Oz”!

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While growing up and watching “The Wizard of Oz,” I didn’t realize how many parts actor Frank Morgan played. Did you?

Morgan, born Francis Philip Wuppermann, played five parts in this classic movie: the professor, the guard, the gatekeeper, the carriage driver, and the Wizard of Oz!

Per IMDb, “W.C. Fields was originally considered for Morgan’s role in The Wizard of Oz (1939). However, Fields haggled endlessly over salary, and the role was given to Morgan.” I can’t imagine anyone else, especially Fields, playing these roles, can you?

It’s a shame that Morgan didn’t live long enough (died ten years after the movie release) to see how much he and the movie contributed to the world of film! When watching the scene where the Wizard awards Dorothy and friends with gifts, Margaret Hamilton (Miss Gulch/the Wicked Witch of the West) said, “Frank Morgan was just like that in real life – very generous.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Movie, Photos

 

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“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” A memorable munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz.”

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Ann Rice Leslie

After my middle sister was born in the 1950’s, it was later discovered that she had a condition which made her very small for her age. Knowing that she might always be little, our mother thought it would help if my sister could meet others like her. For years, we had heard that our grandma was friends with one of the Oz munchkins, who was now retired and living in our city. So, Mom jumped on that idea and took us both to visit Ann Rice Leslie, one of the Singer Midgets who performed in the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz.” Mom also mentioned that she had played with Ann’s daughter, Jane, when they were young. 

We couldn’t believe that we were going to meet a real live actor, a munchkin from Oz! At invitation, we entered Ann’s apartment with much excitement. Ann greeted us warmly, all 3’6″ of her! As I looked around the apartment, I noticed one tiny rocking chair and one huge rocking chair (reminded me of Goldilocks). When asked about those chairs, Ann told us about Fremont, her 6’2″ husband who obviously needed a bigger chair. I was amazed that her kitchen was normal-sized: “he can reach all the high places,” she said. A match made in Oz!

We all talked for a bit, letting my sister enjoy being with someone her height, and, like typical starry-eyed fans, we asked some questions; Ann politely answered them all. The one question I can remember was if she had a favorite actor in the Oz movie. Without hesitation, she said it was Frank Morgan (Wizard, Gatekeeper, Prof Marvel, etc.), and her next favorite was Judy Garland because she was “so sweet to all of us” during the making of the film. 

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Singer Midgets poster

A firecracker baby, Ann Rice Leslie was born on July 4th, 1900 in Rhode Island. Ann resided in NYC when the Oz movie flyers came out looking for little people. Before the film, Ann was either a member already or became one later in the Singer Midgets Troupe, a vaudeville group formed around 1912.

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“Ann Rice Leslie with circus giant John Aasen Circa 1920”

Recently, I was ecstatic to find a 43-second silent film clip of Ann, husband Fremont, daughter Jane, and the family dog at their home in 1931. My uncle used to say that he could pick out Ann in the film, but we never could; we just knew she played one of the villagers. Before we left Ann, she signed my movie edition book of “The Wizard of Oz,” and I realized how lucky we were to meet such a gentle and gracious lady. In 1973, our friend Ann died.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Movie, Photos, Video

 

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The more relaxed side of some not so relaxed movies!

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Movie

 

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