Eight Days of Christmas: Bundle of Joy (1956)

The Christmas rush is in full swing at Merlin and Son department store. (Merlin is Adolphe Menjou, “son” is Eddie Fisher.) Polly Parrish (Debbie Reynolds) works in the hat department and can’t wait for the rush to be over, because she’s expecting a raise at the end of it. She’s done quite well as a salesperson — placed many a hat on many a head. Twenty-three … Continue reading Eight Days of Christmas: Bundle of Joy (1956)

How Sweet It Is! (1968)

Jenny (Debbie Reynolds) and Grif Henderson (James Garner) are parents to Davey (Donald Losby), a young man who is every bit the stereotypical “peace and love” ’60s teen. Grif doesn’t understand his son at all, while Jenny’s a bit overprotective of Davey. When Davey decides that he wants to follow his girlfriend Bootsie (Hilarie Thompson) on a summer tour of Europe, the worried Jenny hatches … Continue reading How Sweet It Is! (1968)

Hit the Deck (1955)

Sailors with the U.S. Navy — including pals Danny (Russ Tamblyn) and Rico (Vic Damone) — are in the Arctic completing “Operation Ice Cream,” which requires them to swim in freezing waters. Luckily for the two friends, they’re able to get out of taking an icy dip by volunteering to bake a cake for the commander with their friend Bill (Tony Martin) after the cook falls ill. … Continue reading Hit the Deck (1955)

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)

Grainbelt University is a school for the serious student, with the motto of “…LEARN, LEARN, LEARN — WORK, WORK, WORK” ruling the lives of its students. One student isn’t quite prepared to live up to that motto: Dobie Gillis (Bobby Van), a girl-crazy young man who has come to college to have fun rather than to learn and work. He quickly finds a kindred spirit … Continue reading The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)

The Gazebo (1959)

Elliot Nash (Glenn Ford) is a writer/director working in the stressful and hectic world of television. He’s working on a new movie script for Alfred Hitchcock… but not to make more money for himself, or to advance his career. He’s got a blackmailer to pay off. Dan Shelby (Stanley Adams) is a photographer’s assistant who plans to release scandalous photos of Elliot’s wife Nell (Debbie Reynolds) … Continue reading The Gazebo (1959)

Give a Girl a Break (1954)

Ted Sturgis (Gower Champion) is a director/choreographer working on a brand new Broadway show. When he gets into a spat with his hot-tempered star, Janet, she decides to break her contract and leave the show without a leading lady. Ted begins hunting for a replacement to take on the starring role. His former dance partner, Madelyn Corlane (Marge Champion), is one option, but Ted is … Continue reading Give a Girl a Break (1954)

Second looks: The Tender Trap (1955)

Charlie is a Broadway agent who’s a bit of a womanizer, courting a handful of girls (a modest estimate) all at once. Charlie’s best friend Joe from back home comes to visit Charlie in New York while taking a “break” from his marriage. Each man seems to have what the other wants; Charlie wants a happy marriage and Joe wants a more exciting life. While … Continue reading Second looks: The Tender Trap (1955)

Debbie Reynolds covers Modern Screen and Photoplay, November 1954

This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, where I share excerpts from my collection of vintage publications. Much like the rival magazines in the 2004 rom-com 13 Going on 30, fan magazines of the mid-20th century were constantly competing for cover stars. By either coincidence or crafty, competitive scheming between the magazines, they sometimes ended up featuring the same star in the … Continue reading Debbie Reynolds covers Modern Screen and Photoplay, November 1954