Unforgettable Movie Stars

Thursday, February 6, 2014

During the cold 15 and 20 degree temperatures, I've been staying home, keeping warm.

During that time I've watched a lot of Turner Classic Movies, mostly black and white.

I've been surprised how many of the stars I have recognized. Their names just popped into my head, both actors and actresses.

A few of the male movie stars I watched were Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda.

Female stars I recognized were Grace Kelly, Bette Davis, Lorraine Day, Teresa Wright, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Loretta Young, Ann Southern and Susan Hayward--one of my favorite stars.

Those are just a few I've seen perform of late.

One thing I noticed is that many of the adults, both male and female, smoked cigarettes onscreen. Those were the days when smoking was considered fashionable and not hazardous to your health.

They also served a lot of mixed drinks, and champagne. But they didn't "do" drugs.

The female stars were bedecked in sequins, sparkles and negligees around the house. Their long gowns were usually chiffon or organza, flowing as they moved from scene to scene. Even when they woke up in the morning their makeup was perfection, eyelids and eyelashes with mascara and shadow and lips thick with shiny lipstick.

Movie stars of old didn't wear tee shirts and cut off jeans and flip flops. Oh no, they wore Sunday go to meeting clothes around the house.

I noticed, too, that the female stars didn't appear to have had enhancements as almost all the stars of today do.

Large busted women seem to be the ordinary now, with low cut show-all flashy bodices. Not so, in olden movies.

Neither did the movies have graphic love scenes of sex and nudity. There would be a love story between man and woman but after they kissed passionately, the scene would fade away, leaving much to the imagination.

Nowadays there are many R-rated movies that border on pornography.

When singer Taylor Swift began her singing career, she wore modest long sleeved old fashioned print dresses. Now she is wearing mini-skirts or shorts and revealing metallic tops. Gone is the demure, soft singing girl next door. She has joined the ranks of Madonna and Miley Cyrus. It seems today the more outrageous the antics, the more an entertainer is noticed. Just recently at the Grammys, Taylor performed while whiplashing her long hair in exaggerated gyrations at the piano.

Perhaps the most notoriously talked about movie star in the late 1940's and early 1950's was Jane Russell who starred in a western movie called The Outlaw. It wasn't her acting that brought her notoriety.

I think it was the pre-publicity and the fact that she was endowed with a voluptuous figure and wore blouses that revealed her ample cleavage.

But we can't forget the comedians who gave us hours of clean laugh-out-loud entertainment. There was Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, Red Skelton, George Burns, Jack Benny and Sid Caesar and Bob Hope,

Child star Shirley Temple caused a sensation when she appeared singing and tap dancing her way into the hearts of viewers who adored her. Until that time, there was no other child star quite like her. Her dimples and long curls, and her talent, endeared her to those who flocked to see her performances.

There's no denying that movies and soap operas have influenced the lives of our young adults. Twenty five years ago I said that soap operas were giving a false picture of life. It was deluding our youth that they could live their lives in any way they wanted and there would be no consequences.

"That's not the way life is," I would say.

And yet there is a vast difference in soaps and movies of old. Now almost anything goes, no holds barred.

Censorship hasn't worked.

I'm afraid it's too late to turn back the clock. The days of Doris Day and Lucille Ball are gone.

Now it's R-rated movies that win the accolades.