Monday, January 07, 2019

TCM Star of the Month: Kathryn Grayson

The January Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies is MGM singing star Kathryn Grayson.

16 of Grayson's films will be shown on Tuesday evenings, beginning tomorrow, January 8th.

This is Grayson's second time to receive the Star of the Month honor from TCM; she was previously the Star of the Month in October 1996.

The series kicks off on January 8 with ANDY HARDY'S PRIVATE SECRETARY (1941); Grayson was one of a number of young actresses who received early career training appearing in the Hardy series.

That's followed by RIO RITA (1942), costarring Abbott & Costello, and a pair of especially delightful films, SEVEN SWEETHEARTS (1942) and THE VANISHING VIRGINIAN (1942).

Grayson is one of seven sisters in SEVEN SWEETHEARTS; the actresses playing her siblings include Marsha Hunt and Grayson's real-life younger sister, Frances Raeburn. A delightful group of ladies round out the sisters: Cecilia Parker, Dorothy Morris, Frances Rafferty, and Peggy Moran.

If a viewer were to pick only one Grayson film to watch in January, I would definitely choose the little-known but very fine THE VANISHING VIRGINIAN (seen at left), which is MGM Americana at its best. Frank Morgan and Spring Byington are marvelous as Grayson's parents. This is a movie which deserves to be much better known.

On January 15th Grayson is romanced by Gene Kelly in THOUSANDS CHEER (1943) and ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945). The latter film was one of the earliest MGM musicals I saw and remains a fond favorite. Kelly and Frank Sinatra dance, Sinatra and Grayson sing, Jose Iturbi plays piano, and there's some great location shooting at the Hollywood Bowl, all in glorious Technicolor!

The 15th wraps up with TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON (1946), costarring June Allyson and Peter Lawford.

On January 22nd Grayson stars with Sinatra in THE KISSING BANDIT (1949); beyond the leads, look for a great dance by Ricardo Montalban, Ann Miller, and Cyd Charisse.

Also showing on the 22nd are two films Grayson made with Mario Lanza, THAT MIDNIGHT KISS (1949) and THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS (1950), plus the divorce comedy GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE (1950), costarring Van Johnson.

The month wraps up on January 29th with some of her best films, the trio of early '50s films she made with Howard Keel: SHOW BOAT (1951), LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952), and KISS ME KATE (1953). All three are terrific MGM entertainment. Grayson is seen here in a still from SHOW BOAT, costarring Ava Gardner.

Also showing that evening is a film she made with Gordon MacRae at Warner Bros., a remake of THE DESERT SONG (1953).

Kathryn Grayson's films have brought me much pleasure over the years, and this month is a wonderful opportunity for viewers to enjoy her work.

Related posts: MGM Musical Great Kathryn Grayson Dies at 88; Memories of Kathryn Grayson.


Blogger Seth said...

I enjoyed both RIO RITA and SEVEN SWEETHEARTS, albeit my initial draws for watching each were Abbott and Costello and Cuddles Sakall, respectively. I'm planning on at least ANCHORS AWEIGH and GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE (I'm particularly interested in that one for the Firehouse Five Plus Two "cameo"); I've got the TCM Broadway Musicals collection, and the two I've yet to watch are KISS ME KATE and SHOW BOAT, so I don't need to worry too much about catching them when scheduled. Either way, I'm certainly getting acquainted with Kathryn Grayson now.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm glad you enjoyed those films! I haven't seen RIO RITA yet myself but think SEVEN SWEETHEARTS is quite fun. I'm glad you're having the chance to become acquainted with Kathryn Grayson!

I definitely need to check out GROUNDS FOR MARRIAGE and see that cameo!

Best wishes,

2:44 PM  
Blogger Evelynrocks said...

Hi Laura -- always something fascinating on your website, which helps ease the pain since we cut the cord to TCM:( Have you checked out this blog - the blogess does a round-up of actors careers and gives often a virtual inside glimpse of their home town. I've linked the Kathryn Grayson edition, but i find it a terrific read. I'm not affiliated with that blog so this is a blind referral! Cheers! -Evelyn

10:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much for sharing that Kathryn Grayson link, Evelyn! And thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it very much.

As it happens I'm familiar with Home Towns to Hollywood and had read that post! Annette does great research. She is also a columnist at Classic Movie Hub where I've been writing a monthly Westerns column the last few months. Thank you for sharing that read, I'm sure Kathryn Grayson fans will enjoy it!

Hope you have plenty of movies to keep you company without TCM! :)

Best wishes,

6:38 PM  

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