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Tag Archives: Debbie Reynolds

Tammy and the Bachelor

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tammyandthebachelor

Image credit: Tammy and the Bachelor, 1957

The world lost one of its brightest stars last month when Debbie Reynolds passed away, following the tragic death of daughter Carrie Fisher. Although best known for Singin’ in the Rain, I’ll always have a fondness for her 1950’s rom-coms. One of my favorites is this week’s film Tammy and the Bachelor (DVD), a film equally famous for Reynolds’ rendition of the theme song. Sweet, dreamy, Tammy’s in love. And so am I.

When country cutie Tammy rescues wealthy farmer Peter Brent from the wreckage of a plane crash, I couldn’t help but be shocked when the lifeless face pulled out of the swamp is that of 80’s comedy star Leslie Nielsen. I’m of the generation who only knew him as the deadpan comedy star from Airplane! and the Naked Gun film series. Seeing him as a sexy leading man with brown (not stark white!) hair is certainly a trip. Add to that an aged Fay Wray as the wacky spinster aunt at his Antebellum mansion, and you’ve got a cast that has to be seen to be believed.

Tammy’s journey is set in motion when her grandfather gets arrested for making moonshine, forcing her to turn to Peter and his family for sanctuary. This makes me appreciate what a wonderful time we live in, where homebrew is as easy and legal as ordering the kit from a catalog. Back on a bayou river in the 1950’s, things were tougher. If you’re watching Tammy and the Bachelor and you care to wet your whistle, I recommend drinking Riverwater*.

Riverwater

1.5 oz white moonshine

4 oz sweet tea

1 oz lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar, and stir until combined. Fill jar with crushed ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.

riverwater

(*Good for your constitution!)

Reynolds’ star was formed in the golden age of the Hollywood studio system, and lucky for us it resulted in so many endearing performances. It’s hard to watch her and not smile. Her sweetness and joy were infectious, and Tammy was no exception. As she sings her signature song in the moonlight, we realize that nothing in that sky outside her window could ever shine as brightly as her. Cheers!

Singin’ in the Rain

singing-in-the-rain

Image credit: Singin’ in the Rain, 1952

I don’t know about you, but I could really use some cheering up right now.  To that end, I’ll be watching the Gold Standard of movie musicals, Singin’ in the Rain (DVD/Download). From Gene Kelly’s athletic grace to Donald O’Connor’s acrobatic, gravity-defying moves, to cute little Debbie Reynold’s lighting fast tap dancing, this film is serious perfection. Add in a humorous plot about the transition from silent films to talkies and you’ve got a movie that keeps me smiling from start to finish.

I have to admit, I was never big on musicals until I saw Singin’ in the Rain. This one really changed how I viewed the genre. To watch Gene Kelly in motion is to watch a genius at work.  Even if this were a silent picture, I’d still enjoy watching it, if only for the dancing. And damn, Donald O’Connor, dancing up that wall- amazing!!! Actress Jean Hagen provides most of the comic relief as Lina Lamont, the silent film star with a voice that could strip paint. Her diction lessons result in a Lohan-esque accent that’s part British aristocracy, part Bronx, and 100% hilarious.

One of my favorite songs from the film is ‘Good Morning’, sung by Reynolds, Kelly, and O’Connor.  Bright and cheerful, this number is just a little ball of sunshine on a gloomy day. To that end, I’ve decided to set up a mimosa bar- because aren’t mimosas pretty much the best thing about mornings? While watching Singin’ in the Rain, I recommend drinking a Good Morning Mimosa.

Good Morning Mimosa

Sparkling wine or prosecco

Optional Add-ins:

-Orange Juice

-Cranberry Juice

-Pomegranate Juice

-Apple Cider

-Grapefruit Juice

-St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

mimosa-bar

Gene Kelly made many other musicals with the famed Arthur Freed Unit at MGM, but none as timeless as this picture. I think the reason it endures is because its glee is simply contagious. Kelly spins and twirls his umbrella down a rainy street and he doesn’t care that he’s splashing around in cold puddles- he’s happy in the moment. Sometimes those moments are all too rare in our lives, but when they happen, it makes us want to hop up and yell “Gotta Dance!”  But remember folks- dignity. Always, dignity. Cheers!

The Mating Game

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Image credit MGM, The Mating Game, 1959

Image credit MGM, The Mating Game, 1959

I’m reaching back into the vault this week to highlight a little movie I happened to catch on Turner Classic Movies a few years ago, which has since become one of my favorites. It’s a tradition in my house to watch this during tax season, preferably after completing one’s taxes, with a strong cocktail (because nothing makes me want to drink more than itemizing deductions). This week’s Cinema Sips movie is The Mating Game (DVD), a 1959 comedy starring the adorable Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall at his geeky, persnickety best. You may be thinking, “How is a movie about taxes funny?” Well, trust me, this one is.

The Mating Game tells the story of the Larkins, a family of rural Maryland farmers. Pop Larkin makes his living as a trader/barterer (physical money rarely exchanges hands). Whatever object he needs, he just trades another one for it. Now, it isn’t expressly stated how this family pays for ordinary things like the electric or phone bill, but as for the rest of their belongings, it’s a pretty great way to operate. Of course since they make no actual money, they don’t file an income tax return, and eventually the government comes calling. The IRS sends Tony Randall to investigate, he falls for the eldest daughter played by Debbie Reynolds, and the rest is history. The Mating Game was actually the final film featuring Paul Douglas, who plays the lead role of Sidney “Pop” Larkin, and who sadly died of a heart attack the same year the film premiered. He is absolutely terrific in the role, and it’s unfortunate to think of the parts we never got to see him play.

My drink this week is inspired by the nauseating cocktail creation the Larkin family plies Tony Randall with in an effort to keep him on the farm and helpless against their daughter’s charms. Their beverage had a hefty dose of moonshine, and I promise mine is a lot more drinkable. Still, it’s big, it’s boozy, and it’s the perfect way to unwind after doing your income taxes. While watching The Mating Game, I recommend drinking a Smirking Hyena.

Smirking Hyena

1 3/4 oz Bourbon

3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth

3/4 oz Cointreau

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1 sprig of mint

Combine the liquid ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with mint.

Smirking Hyena

 

Let it be known that I’m madly in love with the Larkin family’s greek key-trimmed living room bar, and the vintage glassware makes me swoon. It’s easy to see how Tony Randall got suckered into drinking such a mess of a cocktail in the film- how to say no to the genial, larger-than-life Paul Douglas? Hopefully, you’ll be a little more sensible with your imbibing and your family won’t find you passed out on a pool table come morning. But, if your taxes are as labor-intensive as mine, who could blame you? So tally up your figures, sign your forms, and end the day on a high note with The Mating Game and a strong drink. Cheers!