If you are thinking..."Gordon who?" Shame on you! Gordon MacRae was one of the best musical talents of the 1950s whose abilities were never truly valued or appreciated (In my opinion). He had a crooner's voice, deep and beautiful, and he had boyish good looks that should have taken him to the top. I think he was overshadowed by the already established crooners (Sinatra, Crosby) and 50s musicals were struggling to try and find the balance between 40s musical extravaganza and a changing (post war) culture of teenagers. So many stars therefore fell through the cracks.
MacRae is my favorite crooner. (Yes I like him better than Sinatra or Crosby) He didn't come off like a ladies man in his personal life (like Sinatra did... don't get me wrong.. I love ole' blue eyes but he was a player) and he was much younger than Crosby. He didn't have Crosby's jazz edge, but his voice was used more for Broadway adaptations and classic standards.
Since I think more people should adore this guy... I have come up with 6 reasons to why you should give this guy a chance! Not to mention videos to prove my point ;)
1. Just One Girl: This is when I fell in love with Gordon. It's just him singing about how he only needs one girl (Doris Day) to be happy. There is nothing technically stunning about the arrangement, and its just Gordon dancing in the snow, but I think it so sweet and endearing. (Plus the tune gets stuck in my head for days!) Its from By The Light of the Silvery Moon.
2. Oh What a Beautiful... Curly: If you are a R&H nut, then you already know that Gordon was the original film Curly in Oklahoma! I adore Gordon in this role. It gave him a chance to play a rougher character, and his voice was perfect for the R&H score. Some of my earliest memories are me laying on the floor watching this movie. My grandma hated Disney channel shows, so whenever she would babysit me, she would put on an R& H musical. She wonders why I pursued a B.A. in Theater! Anyway, Curly is definitely a reason to adore good ole' Gordy!
3. He looks Good in a Uniform: Who doesn't love a man in uniform? Gordon was in a few of movies that required him to don military duds (3 Sailors and a Girl, On Moonlight Bay, The West Point Story) I particularly like him in West Point Story with Cagney and Day. He filled the shoes of a WP cadet quite easily, and his hair cut is adorable. The movie really plays to Gordon's strengths: He sings a couple of fantastic songs and he plays opposite Doris Day (something he always did really really well!)
4. MacRae + Day= Wonderful: Speaking of doing great things with Day... they made a number of films together, and all of them are pretty enjoyable. My personal favorite is Tea for Two. A friend had told me how wonderful it was... but I never could find a copy (this way quite a while ago) One day I was in my favorite classic film rental store (that has since deceased.. RIP Classic Video!) and I had picked up a couple of Day movies to spend the evening with. The guy behind the counter asked if I had ever seen Tea for Two and my jaw dropped. He walked into the back of the store and came back with TforT! I was so happy! When they did go out of business, he even set it aside for me (along with a few other movies... gosh I miss those guys!) You can't watch this movie and NOT fall in love with Gordon!
5. Carousel... This is on of my favorite musicals.... the fact that Gordon is in it just adds icing to the cake! I think this one must have been close to Gordon's heart. He struggled with alcoholism (a requirement for a crooner, I think). He championed AA after he won his battle with the disease, and his character in Carousel is not only conflicted, but to be honest, he is pretty jacked up. Don't be expecting any light hearted sugary musical here, this film is deep and dark... and beautiful. I LOVE this song!!
6. Warner Archives is making Gordon Available! Several of Gordy's releases are now out on DVD! This is really exciting (for me anyway ;) Look for the Silver Lining, The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, Return of the Frontiersman and 3 Sailors and a Girl are all out!
Also: TCM is playing some Gordon in the near future
The West Point Story- July 27... 7:00 pm Central
By the Light of Silvery Moon- July 27... 11:00 pm Central
About Face- July 31... 7:30 am Central (very...VERY.... Rare!)
Desert Song- Aug. 10...5:00 pm Central
So... I hope this post has made you realize either that you are already a fan of Gordon (and just not known it) or that you want to watch more of this incredibly talent guy!
I for one love him!