This month, Turner Classic Movies is featuring a host of movie musicals all day long on Tuesdays and Thursdays as part of what they're calling Mad About Musicals. In addition, TCM and Ball State University are hosting an online class on that same theme. Although the Mad About Musicals course officially began yesterday, you can still enroll here.
Here's how they're describing the Mad About Musicals "deep dive" experience:
Running from June 3-30, this FREE interactive experience will give you an entertaining deep-dive into the Hollywood musical, from the 1930s to the 1970s, with addictive multimedia course materials, digital games, ongoing interactions with your fellow film fans on the TCM message boards, and more!You can also see the syllabus and answers to some frequently asked questions on that same page.
And if you're not into taking classes, you can still see a whole lot of musicals between June 5, when Going Hollywood, a little-known MGM musical from 1933 starring a very young Bing Crosby opposite the infamous Marion Davies, starts things off at 5 am Central time, and June 29, when Oliver!, the Oscar-winner from 1968, finishes the parade at 5:15 am.
By my count, there are 93 movie musicals running on TCM between those two, ranging from perennial favorites like Top Hat and American in Paris to lesser-known works that you absolutely have to see, like Hallelujah from 1929, the first all-black musical from a major studio; Strike Me Pink, a 1936 Eddie Cantor vehicle with Ethel Merman in the mix; Shirley Temple doing a Fred-and-Ginger number in Stowaway, also from 1936; and Chubby Checker in a 60s oddity called Don't Knock the Twist. There's also some Busby Berkeley, Ruby Keeler, Jimmy Cagney, operettas, the real Fred and Ginger, a touch of Lubitsch, Maurice Chevalier, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Kathryn Grayson, June Allyson, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Cyd Charisse, Esther Williams, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, and big-time Broadway musicals represented on screen.
That's a whole lot of singing and dancing and a fascinating way to see how Hollywood directors, choreographers, cinematographers, designers and screenwriters found a way to bend film effects to showcase music and performers. Yes, there are omissions, but so much good stuff, too. I doubt anyone can plant themselves in front of the TV to see every single one of the moving pictures TCM has chosen, but I suggest you fire up the DVR and catch as much as you can.
For all the details and a look at the schedule, you'll want to start here.