Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Always In the Mood for Glenn Miller

Why isn't it cool to say Glenn Miller had sex appeal? I think he was cute in some photos - so sue me. I like a normal looking, homey (I said homey, not homely, man.) My blog is probably the only place I can safely admit this to thousands of strangers versus a few close friends, although a few of them do read this blog. Compared to the other big band dudes of the 30s and 40s, Glenn wasn't so bad. Ever see pictures of Harry James? Ewww. Benny Goodman? Kind of nerdy. Guy Lombardo? Meh. (The one exception was maybe Artie Shaw, but he was married eight times!) Glenn was a daddy; the other guys are just dudes. I'm willing to bet he had the most bobby soxers asking for autographs. Maybe he's not exactly a contender for Retro Hottie of the Month, but there's really something about him that I like. Seems like good boyfriend/husband material.

As a side note, I saw the Glenn Miller Orchestra play this past weekend - the second time I've seen them in concert. They rocked the house! No joke, considering swing bands were the rock stars of their time. The band has existed in one form or another since Miller disappeared during WWII (more on this in a future post at some point), and I was sorry to hear that the current musical director, Larry O'Brien, is stepping down after several years of service, because he's just too spry and funny during a show. They performed all of Miller's hits - In the Mood, Little Brown Jug, Chatanooga Choo-Choo, String of Pearls, Pennsylvania 6-500 (you're encouraged to "sing" along with the song's prolific lyrics), Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree and much more. One of my favorite moments was hearing Miller's arrangement of At Last - the song that Etta James later became famous for - I just looooove that song! I have one small criticism - Moonlight Serenade is never played in its entirety, just a snippet opens and closes the show. The orchestra was accompanied by two young singers, Brian Hemstock and Valerie Duke. They perform 300 shows a year all over the world, so as you can imagine the band members usually don't stick with the orchestra for too long.

Usually when I tell someone my age that I love Glenn Miller's music, they either respond with "who's Glenn Miller?" or "Glenn Miller - isn't he the guy that all of the old farts love?" Well, if that means I'm an old fart, count me in! I just love this guy!

 

8 comments:

Amanda By Night said...

On the Golden Girls there is an episode where Dorothy talks about how she was in the search party for Glenn Miller! I don't know much about that era of swing, but I actually have a Glenn Miller CD. It's good, although I can't tell you what's on it as in titles or anything.

Also, have you seen the Swing Kids? I fell in love with Robert Shawn Leonard in that movie. No Glenn Miller, but it's seriously righteous! :)

Pam@GoRetro said...

OK, I seriously cannot believe that I misspelled mood as "modd" in the title - how embarrassing. I had to go back and change it.

That's hilarious about the Golden Girls. Truth be told, I would have been in his search party, too!

Never saw Swing Kids but have heard of it. Sounds like it's worth looking up to see if my library has it.

I have seen The Glenn Miller Story with James Stewart and it's very enjoyable, but of course the ending is sad. I'm sure a lot of the events in his career were a Hollywood fabrication in the film but I liked it a lot.

Anonymous said...

He is one of my favorites too. If you haven't seen it, see "Sun Valley Serenade", a favorite movie of mine (many years ago); I love the idea of an overnight snow train! I see there is a wikipedia entry on the movie; just one of two Glenn Miller and company were in. Now I just HAVE to see the Glenn Miller story w/Jimmy Stewart...

s-a-h-d

Pam@GoRetro said...

Hi Stay-at-Home-Dad! Last time I checked (which was about a year ago), "Sun Valley Serenade" was not released yet on DVD and was never made available on VHS. I've seen "Orchestra Wives" and it's OK...it's basically about a bunch of catty women married to members of the band. The weirdest part about that movie is Glenn is the only single guy in the band and he's the leader...what's up with that? :) But it's worth renting for the music.

And I LOVED The Glenn Miller Story with Jimmy Stewart (one of my favorite actors of all time.) Again, there were some players in the story who got left out and I'm guessing not everything in it was factual, but I'd like to watch it again at some point. There's a great clip from the movie up on YouTube where Miller discovers his "sound."

LaraAnn said...

Mom and I really like The Glenn Miller Story also. We love Jimmy Stewart films. She has a greatest hits tape. I remember enjoying this as a kid. I'll have to borrow it from her soon. Thanks for reminding me of some good memories.

I have alot of catching up to do with your posts. The long, hot days at the US Open made my brother and I sick so I haven't been on the computer for 2 and a half weeks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pam - get Serenade on VHS (see Amazon), and was on Laserdisc. Mine was taped on AMC; it was the stereo version and had the extra Chattanooga Choo Choo parts! I love when Americans actually went on train (real!) holidays, the old ski resorts, the equipment, and the shorter lift lines! As you noted, there was a unique man/women dynamic back then; as has been said, the past IS a foreign country. And Glenn Miller was a bit stiff in it, but it is a fun movie.

Stay-At-Home-Dad

Pam@GoRetro said...

Thanks, s-a-h-d. They must have reissued it because I remember people complaining on clips from the film on YouTube that it wasn't available on VHS or DVD. I know Milton Berle was in the movie.

I know, I LOVE train travel, too! In fact the times when I've had to go to NYC for a business trip I take the train and I love it. I find it to be very relaxing and yes, romantic. In fact last year when I went to a trade show we normally exhibit at a (married) man started up a conversation with me in the meal cart. Don't worry...I wouldn't have let anything come out of it, and I honestly think the guy was just being friendly and pass the time. But what a great story to be able to tell people you met your S.O. on a train.

LaraAnn, welcome back! I missed your blog and seeing your comments. Sorry to hear that you got ill during your vacation. I hope you are feeling better by now.

So glad to hear that others appreciate Glenn Miller.

LaraAnn said...

Pam - Thank you for your kind words. It is nice to know that I was missed. It do feel a bit better, thanks. I'm just getting back into things here - it feels good to finally be a part of society again and it seems silly that I was afraid to reach out to people. I am glad that I found you, Darrin and others here.

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