Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Your Moment of Swing

It's another Glenn Miller hit, this time from his second movie, "Orchestra Wives." The film is more centered on the orchestra itself and to some extent on the real problems of wives on tour with musician husbands, but mostly it's a love story starring Ann Rutherford and George Montgomery, with some current and future dazzlers as the other wives.  As a follow to the previous movie's hit "Chatanooga Cho-Cho," this number-- "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo"--features another town with a musical name, and also a Tex Beneke vocal with a coda that has an even longer Nicholas Brothers dance routine.  You can see where Michael Jackson got a lot of his moves.

You might recognize Caesar Romero and Jackie Gleason as supposed members of the band--Romero gets more lines in the movie, but Gleason looks like he might actually know how to play bass.

But the star of this video is the dynamic blonde in the middle of the singers, Marion Hutton.  Marion's sister Betty had a longer and more successful career in show business, but Marion sang with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from its beginnings in 1938.

She had a bad childhood (abandoned by her father, her mother was a bootlegger) and a sad later adulthood as an alcoholic who devoted her last years to helping fellow addicts. But when she was 17, Glenn Miller and his wife became her legal guardians and she began singing with the Orchestra.  This film was made in 1942, the last year of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which disbanded when Miller joined the Army Air Force and was later lost flying over the English channel.

Marion sang and appeared in a few more movies in the 40s but this number was pretty much her highlight.  She's 21 and full of energy, sparkle and wit.  The joy of the music and the moment is present in her every expression and gesture.  Not many of us get such a high moment of our lives captured so well for others, but Marion did, and here it is.

No comments: