Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… The Music Man (1962)

Around July 4th, I know one movie I enjoy watching is the classic 1962 film musical The Music Man with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones!

Coming Up Shorts! with… We Give Pink Stamps (1965)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 7 minutes, 1 second)

The Pink Panther wanders around a closed department store, periodically trying to avoid the “little man” working as a janitor. Fun little cartoon, with the Panther having adventures wandering around, dealing with an electronic folding chair, and a tiger-skin rug. Doesn’t feel quite as memorable as either of the previous two. Still, it’s not a strict formula of “The Pink Panther Vs. The ‘Little Man,'” so it still retains enough fun to make it worth seeing!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Traveling salesman and conman “Professor” Harold Hill (Robert Preston) comes to the town of River City, Iowa to sell his wares, which include band instruments, uniforms, etc., plus himself as a boys band leader (even though he himself knows almost nothing about music). However, he can’t find any interest in a boys band until he manufactures trouble regarding the town’s new pool table with the help of his former partner (and current town resident) Marcellus Washburn (Buddy Hackett). He has potential trouble brewing in the form of librarian/piano teacher Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones), so he starts trying to worm his way into her affections (without much success). At the town assembly, he successfully convinces the townspeople of the need for a boys band, although Mayor Shinn (Paul Ford) is slightly suspicious and tries to get his credentials (without any success). Meanwhile, Harold wins the confidence of many of the young people in town, including juvenile delinquent Tommy Djilas (Timmy Everett) and Marian’s younger brother, Winthrop Paroo (Ron Howard). When the band instruments arrive, Harold tries to lead the kids utilizing his “Think System,” whereby they think of the music in order to play it. Everything is going great for Harold until the night he planned to leave, when anvil salesman Charlie Cowell (Harry Hickox) comes to town, bringing his evidence against Harold to the Mayor and the authorities. But can Harold leave before he is caught (or at this point, does he even want to)?

Yep, I finally got around to this one! The movie that somewhat inspired my overall blog title! Admittedly, this is NOT my absolute favorite movie, but, as much as I like musicals (and I do REALLY like this one), why not reference it? Indeed, this is an absolutely wonderful film, and one I always enjoy getting a chance to watch! Robert Preston just seems so perfectly cast as Harold Hill (and yet, who can believe that this was his first musical, never mind the fact that Jack Warner didn’t originally want to cast him in spite of his success with the Broadway show)! But, it’s obviously not just him that makes this movie work, as the rest of the cast is equally wonderful, too! Paul Ford is so much fun as the constantly befuddled mayor Shinn, a type of comedy he seemed to do well, since he also played a similar character on the classic sitcom The Phil Silvers Show. And then there’s that barbershop quartet, the Buffalo Bills as the four members of the school board who start out constantly arguing, but end up as friends constantly singing together (even if they are generally prompted by Harold so that he can avoid them). Seriously, they act like people who know each other, and goof around a little with some of their singing. That’s only a few members of the cast, but, honestly, I could easily praise the whole group!

But this is a musical, so we can’t forget about the wonderful music (and some of the dancing too)! Right from the start, we’re treated to wonderful music by Meredith Wilson! With such toe-tapping songs as “76 Trombones,” “Ya Got Trouble,” “Wells Fargo Wagon” and “Pick A Little, Talk A Little,” among others, you just can’t go wrong! Obviously, “Til There Was You” has become one of the better known classics from this show, and I can’t disagree, as it’s such a wonderful song! But the dancer in me says, “give me the likes of ‘Marian The Librarian’ and especially the ‘Shipoopi!'” I just love both songs, and watching the “Shipoopi” in particular always makes me want to get up and dance! Seriously, there aren’t enough good things to be said about this movie! It’s one I always enjoy watching, whether around July 4th or any other time of the year (if you haven’t guessed already, yes, I do recommend it)!!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Home Video.

Film Length: 2 hours, 31 minutes

My Rating: 10/10 (after all that build-up did you expect any less?)

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*ranked #2 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2020

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Robert Preston – Mame (1974)

Never Steal Anything Small (1959) – Shirley Jones

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