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Operation Petticoat (1959)

What could be funnier than men having to discuss bras and panties, right? Ah, the much more innocent 1950’s came to an end at movie theaters with this extremely popular WWII-themed sex comedy.

Operation Petticoat was made at Universal Pictures in 1959, apparently because Navy veteran Tony Curtis really wanted to co-star in a submarine movie with his idol, Cary Grant.

In one of those ironic little twists, Curtis’ other big picture for 1959 was Some Like It Hot, which also involved women’s underwear (this time, him wearing it) and Curtis performing a hilarious impression of Cary Grant as part of that film’s plot.

The film was directed by Blake Edwards, who would go on to much greater fame with the Pink Panther series and so many more movies. Paul King, Joseph Stone, Stanley Shapiro, and Maurice Richlin wrote the script, incorporating many actual incidents from World War II (including the accidental torpedoing of a bus and women military members needing to be evacuated by submarine). Looking at this lightweight bit of fluff today it’s hard to see how their screenplay was nominated for an Oscar, but it was.

Read more: Operation Petticoat (1959)

10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

It’s a Wonderful Life turns 72 this month. Here are 10 things you probably never knew about this holiday classic:

  1. It’s probably the only movie ever based on a Christmas card.

When author Philip Van Doren Stern couldn’t sell his short story “The Greatest Gift” to any publisher, he had 200 copies printed up as a 21-page Christmas Card and sent them to his friends. A copy fell into the hands of the head of RKO Studios. He liked it and bought the film rights for $10,000.

  1. Cary Grant was supposed to play George Bailey.

When RKO couldn’t turn the story into a proper script for Cary, they sold the rights to Frank Capra. It was Capra who wanted Jimmy Stewart for the lead.

Read more: 10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

7 Facts You Never Knew About "White Christmas"

Before A Christmas Story, before the Grinch and Charlie Brown, most Baby Boomers’ holiday tradition was watching the movie White Christmas, the 1954 musical starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. We saw it so often, we probably knew almost every line by heart.

But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the movie:

1. The Danny Kaye part was intended for Fred Astaire. The movie began as a quasi-remake of Holiday Inn, the black & white film that first teamed Bing Crosby and Astaire and the movie debut of the Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas.” But Astaire had announced his retirement (it wouldn’t stick) and turned the part down. It was then offered to Donald O’Connor, who accepted. Then he became ill and had to bow out. So, Kaye was the producers' third choice.

2. The musical number “Sisters” wasn’t in the original script. Crosby and Kaye were horsing around with the girls’ costume on the set. It cracked up director Michael Curtiz so much that he had the number worked up and included in the film.

3. Try and see Vera Ellen’s neck. Throughout the film, Vera is always wearing a turtleneck, scarf or other covering around her neck. No one knows why. Some theorize that there was some flaw in her neck that she was covering up. Others think it was Vera Ellen’s attempt to create a trademark look for herself.

4. While Rosemary Clooney plays Vera Ellen’s older sister, she was actually 7 years younger than her co-star. Also, Bing Crosby was a bit older than Dean Jagger, who plays “the old general” in the film. By the way, Bing was nearly twice Clooney’s age (51 to her 26!).

5. If you look closely, you’ll see future West Side Story star George Chakiris as a chorus boy in the production numbers.

6. The photo of “Benny the Dog-Faced Boy” who was brother to Rosemary & Vera is a photo of a grown-up Alfalfa Switzer of Little Rascals fame.

7. Bob Fosse worked on the film as an uncredited choreographer. It was early in the legendary dancer/choreographer/director’s career and Vera Ellen brought him on to choreograph her numbers, but without screen credit.

The Bombshell and the Virgin

The two biggest box office attractions of the late 1950s and early 1960s had many similarities and two huge differences.

Both were blondes.

Both were very pretty.

Both changed their names when they got into show business.

Both worked primarily in hugely successful comedies, but were also effective in straight dramas.

The differences – one embraced an openly sexual persona, the other played the perpetual uptight virgin. One self-destructed by 1962, the other was with us until 2019.

We’re talking, of course, about Marilyn Monroe and Doris Day.

Read more: The Bombshell and the Virgin

Now Playing at the Boomtown Drive-In: "I Married a Monster from Outer Space"

Just like I Walked with a Zombie, behind the incredibly silly title lurks a pretty decent little B-movie.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space was made by Paramount Pictures in 1958. Directed by Gene Fowler and written by Louis Vittes, it involves a young suburban bride (Gloria Talbot) who comes to suspect that her husband (Tom Tryon) has somehow changed since their recent marriage. She is wrong on that account. Her husband hasn’t changed, he’s been totally replaced by the afore-mentioned monster. So have several other husbands in her neighborhood.

Yes, the plot seems like a blatant rip-off of the oft-remade sci-fi classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but the acting, script and production values (particularly how lightning can reveal parts of the monster’s true visage) are very well done.

Obviously intended for the drive-ins that were so popular at the time, I Married a Monster from Outer Space was actually part of a double feature Paramount put together. The “second great co-hit” was a little film that was a lot sillier but has fared a lot better in people’s memories – The Blob!

I Married a Monster from Outer Space is available on DVD and from several online streaming services. Trust us, it’s worth a look. And keep watching the skies!

On My Little Margie, who did Margie's dad, Vern, work for?

The investment firm of Honeywell & Todd
O'RyanCordes Marketing