Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day...a salute to my mother and some of the greatest mothers of all time!

Happy Mother's Day! Today's blog is devoted to my mother. Unlike me, my mama hates to be in the limelight so I will not embarrass her beyond the usual facts.
She was born in Conway, South Carolina on February 3rd 1939.
She is the daughter of Arthur and Mary Jane Rabon. She was/is the oldest of 16 children! Yes, you read right! She married my dad at the end of the 50s. I was born in 1961, the oldest of 4. My father passed away 9 years ago and my mother recently retired. She has worked her entire life. I hope she is enjoying herself. I love her and this blog is devoted to you, Mama!

Mothers Day is a special day for honoring Mothers through out the world. The Mother's Day holds great significance for all of us. As usual, the Mothers Day 2011 is being celebrated today in the U. S. whereas the U. K. celebrated the Mothering Sunday (Mother's Day) , 2011 on date April, 3rd.
Whether they live nearby, far away, or even if they’re gone, our mothers – or our memories of them – reign supreme today. It is Mother’s Day, a day to reflect on and celebrate the ones who gave us life, who sacrificed for us, raised us and loved us through even our most unloveable of moments (think terrible twos, terrifying teens).

I'm going to write here about several of my favorite mothers.
The first: Rosa Parks was the mother of bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama that launched the Civil Rights Movement.
What courage this woman had and she changed ALL of our lives because of that courage!

One of my favorite moms on film is LADY FOR A DAY starring May Robson (later remade as POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES starring Bette Davis).(The cast of Lady for A Day: Jean Parker, Warren William, Glenda Farrell, May Robson, and Guy Kibbee) "Listen fellas, I don't wanna get tough with you, but we gotta go through with it. It's not for me, nobodies going to get anything out of it... It's for Apple Annie, she's in a tough spot and its up to us to give her a break."

"Apple Annie" is a near destitute street peddler who has invented the false identity of a wealthy matron of high society in letters to her daughter who has been raised in Spain. The ruse is threatened when the daughter becomes engaged to a Spanish nobleman's son, and his family insists upon meeting the daughter's family prior to the nuptials.
When Annie learns they are all coming from Spain to visit her, she becomes near-suicidal until "Dave the Dude," her dubious crime-boss benefactor, finds her. Dave is a local racketeer with a superstitious sense of responsibility for Annie's welfare, convinced that buying her apples has been what maintains his good luck in the various underworld schemes he manages. He enlists his criminal associates in a plot to fool the soon-to-arrive nobleman, son and daughter, by dressing up his cronies and rehearsing them on proper etiquette. He puts Annie into a luxury apartment, equips her with a respectable husband (actually a local pool shark) named Judge E. Worthington Mansville. But the scheme goes an unexpected path when Annie becomes more than convincing as a dignified and maternal woman.LADY FOR A DAY
(Alternative titles used for this film during production were:
"Apple Annie," "Beggar's Holiday," and "Madam La Gimp")

Based on the short story "Madame La Gimp" written by Damon Runyon
published in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (Oct 1929).
Among Annie's patrons are Dave the Dude, a gambling gangster who believes her apples bring him good luck, and his henchman Happy McGuire. Annie's friends ask Dave to rent her an apartment at the Marberry and, although he initially declines, he has a change of heart and arranges for her to live in the lap of luxury in a palatial residence belonging to a friend. His girlfriend, nightclub owner Missouri Martin, helps transform Annie from a dowdy street peddler to an elegant dowager. Dave arranges for pool hustler Henry D. Blake to pose as Annie's husband, the dignified Judge Manville.
Production at Columbia Studios between May 9 - June 6, 1933
Premiered in New York City September 7, 1933
General release on September 13, 1933
Catch this film the next time it is shown or rent it and watch it with your mom!

Jane Powell, Ann Todd and Mary Eleanor Donahue are the daughters of Jeanette MacDonald, who is divorced from her reporter husband. The girls are determined to get their parents together again, but when Jeanette goes on a getaway steamship cruise, she falls in love and marries Jose Iturbi. In the meantime, the girls have visited newspaper magnate Edward Arnold and persuaded him to bring their father home.
When Jeanette returns home with new hubby, she is angry at the girls for interfering, and she persuades Arnold to not bring her ex-husband home. But, the girls will not accept their new father and convince Arnold (once again) to bring their father home. Poor Arnold is exasperated and poor Mr. Morgan spends the entire movie onboard a steamship dashing all over the world, and never does show up! Anyway, the girls finally accept Iturbi and everyone lives happily ever after. Really cute film! Musical highlights include: "The Dickey Bird Song" "Route 66" and Jeanette and Jane's wonderful duet of "Springtide."

Released March 5, 1948

Directed by Fred Wilcox
Produced by Joseph Pasternak
116 minutes
Pre-release titles: The Birds and the Bees, Keep Young with Music.
French title: Cupidon Mène la Danse (Cupid Leads the Dance)
Danish title: Mors Ferie Flirt (Mother’s Flirtatious Vacation)
Portuguese title: Três filhas queridas (Three Darling Daughters)

Kitschy musical remake of "Bachelor Mother". Debbie Reynolds plays an over-eager clerk in a large department store and Eddie Fisher plays the boss' son. After getting fired from her job, she finds an adorable baby on the steps of the foundling home and the folks inside mistake her for the mother. Fisher, well-meaning, but obtuse, tries to help her out with the baby, and the buds of romance begin to appear. Meanwhile old Merlin, the owner of the store, thinks he just might be a grandfather... Written by Teresa B. O'Donnell

I posted on FACEBOOK: "I am writing about MOTHER'S DAY! Who do you consider to be the best mothers on film,stage, and/or television?" Here are the results!

Clare HuxtableClair Olivia Huxtable (née Hanks) (Phylicia Rashād), is the very eloquent, elegant wife of Cliff.
Clair is playful, silly, yet very assertive. Her age is directly stated only once during the series, and two separate episodes provide contradictory information on the age difference between herself and Cliff. He celebrates his 50th birthday during Season 3 ("Cliff's 50th Birthday"), while she celebrates her 46th during Season 5 ("Birthday Blues," two years later), indicating that she is six years younger. However, in the Season 4 episode "The Locker Room," it is stated that Clair is four years younger.

Sada Thompson in "Family."
Thank you, Alan Choy, for this suggestion. We lost Sada Thompson this past week at the age of 83.
As I said in a previous blog, this was one of my favorite shows of the 70s.

From Carol Bradshaw: I think Irene Dunne who was wonderful as Barbara Bel Geddes mother in "I remember Mama" (This is on Turner Classic movies tonight at 8PM!) Peggy Wood played the character on Broadway...with Dick Van Patton and Marlon Brando and on television: .
(It was also made into a musical in the 1970s starring Liv Ullman. book by Thomas Meehan, lyrics by Martin Charnin and Raymond Jessel, and music by Richard Rodgers.This was Richard Rodgers last musical:

Jane Darwell would be my other favorite for " Grapes of Wrath" M...a Joad, and Beulah Bondi for all of her performances as a mother. Beulah Bondi (May 3, 1888 – January 11, 1981)was an American actress.

Bondi began her acting career as a young child in theater, and after establishing herself as a stage actress, she reprised her role in Street Scene for the 1931 film version.
She played supporting roles in several films during the 1930s, and was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She played the mother of James Stewart in four films, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
She continued acting into her old age, and won an Emmy Award for an appearance in the television series The Waltons in 1976.

Claudia McNeil in "A Raisin in the Sun"
Jaunita Hall, South Pacific Bloody MaryJuanita Hall (November 6, 1901 – February 28, 1968) was an American musical theatre and film actress. She is remembered for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals South Pacific as Bloody Mary and Flower Drum Song as Auntie Liang.Born in Keyport, New Jersey, Hall received classical training at the Juilliard School.

In the early 1930s she was a special soloist and assistant director for the Hall Johnson Choir. A leading Black Broadway performer in her day, she was personally chosen by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to perform the roles she played in the musicals South Pacific and Flower Drum Song, as a Tonkinese woman and a Chinese-American, respectively.

Spring Byington , You Can't take it With You'
You Can't Take It With You' is a comedy film made in 1938, directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold. It was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

Spring Byington (October 17, 1886 – September 7, 1971) was an American actress.Her career included a seven-year run on radio and television as the star of December Bride. She was a key MGM contract player appearing in films from the 1930s through the 1960s. She was also wonderful as Marmie in Katherine Hepburn's version of LITTLE WOMEN.Byington was born Spring Dell Byington in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She had one younger sister, Helene Kimball Byington, born September 4, 1890, in Colorado. Their father was Professor Edwin Lee Byington (1852–1891), a well-respected educator and superintendent of schools in Colorado. When he died unexpectedly, his wife, Helene Maud Cleghorn Byington, decided to send daughter Helene to live with her parents, Arthur and Charlotte Cleghorn, in Port Hope, Ontario while Spring remained with family in Denver. Her mother moved to Boston and became a student at the Boston University School of Medicine where she graduated in 1896. After graduation she moved back to Denver, Colorado, and began a practice with fellow graduate, Dr. Mary Ford.

Alice Brady in My Man Godfrey
Directed by George La Cava with William Powell, Carole Lombard, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Mischa Auer, Gail Patrick, and Franklin Panghorn, 93 minutes, black and white, 1936

Whilst on a scavenger hunt for a high society party game Cornelia Bullock and her sister Irene find Godfrey, a tramp living on the city dump.

Godfrey takes a dislike to Cornelia and decides to help Irene win the hunt for a 'forgotten man'. Soon Irene persuades him to work for her family as the butler, without knowing his true identity.

Carol Bradshaw also posted: Gregory Peck would be my favorite Mr. Mom for To Kill a Mockingbird.I agree!
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.
* Director: Robert Mulligan

Based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning book of 1960. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s.
He agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead. How will the trial turn out - and will it change any of the racial tension in the town ?
Written by Colin Tinto

Sandra Rodriguez wrote: "Mommie Dearest! Joan Crawford was quite the Mother." Mommie Dearest, best selling memoir, turned motion picture, depicts the abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother...screen queen Joan Crawford.

Thank you ALL for your suggestions. This blog could become a novel. I'm going to list what I have so far and end with my all time film mom!
It might surprise you!

Debra Winger in "Terms of Endearment."
Olivia de Havilland in TO EACH HIS OWN (1946)
Barbara Stanwyck in STELLA DALLAS (1937)
Helen Wagner as "Nancy Hughes" in "As the World Turns" (1956-2010)Despite a brief break in the early ’80s, Wagner’s lengthy run on ‘ATWT’ as the beloved Hughes matriarch was unbroken. Nancy came into viewers’ lives when most women were stay-at-home moms. She loved her husband, raised their children and, after her kids had grown up and her beloved Chris died, Nancy continued to be a presence on the Oakdale scene, lending a loving ear to those in need.

Shirley MacLaine in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)

Gladys George, Ruth Chaterton, Lana Turner, and Tuesday Weld in MADAME X
Young Raymond Floriot, following in his father Louis Floriot's professional footsteps, he now France's attorney general, has just passed the bar exam. Raymond's first case, appointed to him by the courts, is a murder case.
His pitiful and poor Jane Doe client, who refers to herself only as Madame X, admits to killing the scoundrel of a man named Laroque, but won't disclose why or in turn defend herself in court. Raymond knows nothing of her past, which includes once being a woman of class, married to man of prestige. But that marriage ended because he treated her without love, which resulted in her leaving him for another man, who in turn passed away shortly thereafter. Her first marriage produced a son, who her husband refused to let her see. Her son never knew she was alive, he being told by his father that she died. The consequence of his action left Madame X on a downward path where she never found love

Thrown out of her home by a jealous husband, a woman sinks into degradation. Twenty years later, she is charged with killing a man bent on harming her son. The son, unaware of who the woman is, takes the assignment to defend her in court. Written by Jim Beaver
And then there's Imitation Of Life

(Thank you, Peter Napolitano, for these suggestions)

And now for my favorite movie mom: Katharine Hepburn in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. I watch this movie every time it airs if I'm available AND I cry every time! The love that she has for her daughter (played by actual niece Katherine Houghton)shows in her eyes and her real love for Spencer Tracy comes through in EVERY scene! LOOK AT THOSE EYES!

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn, and Katharine Houghton. The film was groundbreaking for its positive representation of the controversial subject of interracial marriage, which historically had been illegal in most states of the United States, and was still illegal in seventeen southern American states up until June 12 of the year of the film's release, when it was legalized by the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia. It was produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, and written by William Rose. The movie's Oscar-nominated score was composed by Frank DeVol.
The film tells the story of Joanna "Joey" Drayton, a young White American woman who has had a whirlwind romance with Dr. John Prentice, a young, idealistic African American physician she met while in Hawaii.
The plot centers on Joanna’s return to her liberal upper class American home in San Francisco, bringing her new fiancé to dinner to meet her parents, and the reaction of family and friends. The film depicts the discomfort of her parents, and also of John's father (a retired postal carrier, who with his wife, are also at the Drayton's dinner) as they all try to accept the choice of their son and daughter. A senior Catholic priest friend of Mr. Drayton's is also present at dinner and is a voice for tolerance. The film also touches on black-on-black racism when John is taken to task by his father and the household cook (played by Isabel Sanford) for his perceived presumption.

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

All you have to do today is bask in the LOVE and talent that surrounds you!
(Buy THE THOUGHT EXCHANGE by David Friedman

Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!

Richard Skipper,

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful tribute Richard, thank you for posting!