Sunday, January 3, 2021

Tootie in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)

 We made it through that grueling, extreme stress test called 2020. I'm positive I am not the only person who watched Vincente Minnelli's 1944 classic original movie musical, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, and wept when Judy Garland sang the poignant "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Garland, playing Esther Smith, was the star of the film that introduced us to the Smith Family. We see the family over one year the lead into the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. Of the five children in the family, child actress Margaret O'Brien played the youngest one. She was called Tootie and O'Brien stole every scene that included her. Tootie is a feisty and lovable youngster.


 To me, Vincente Minnelli was a close to being a Civil Rights activist in the MGM stable of film directors that one could hope to find. He presented Black actors in respectable roles that wouldn't make Black moviegoers cringe when watching them onscreen. His directorial debut was making the 1943 film version of the Broadway musical comedy hit, CABIN IN THE SKY. His all-Black cast was headed by Ethel Waters, recreating her Broadway role, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Lena Horne. His World War 2 love story, THE CLOCK, starred Garland (then Mrs. Vincente Minnelli) is her first dramatic. Especially in the film's final scene, we see a crowded Grand Central Station with relatives saying goodbye to their men in uniform. Unlike other Hollywood studio films made during the war, Minnelli shows us several Black men in uniform. We also see a Black wife and mother bidding a farewell to her military husband -- and he's an officer. Seeing those Black GI's was so significant to be because they represented photos in our family scrapbook of my father when he served in WW2 and friends of family who also served. In my teen years, I saw Gene Kelly in a TV interview tell how Vincente Minnelli and held their ground and got their artistic way when they wanted dozens of Black background actors and the Nicholas Brothers in Minnelli's Judy Garland and Gene Kelly musical, 1948's THE PIRATE. They had to deal with MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer who, apparently, wasn't too keen on all that racial inclusion. But Minnelli and Kelly stressed that the story took place in a Caribbean village back in the days of pirates. Black people were plentiful in the Caribbean. There's a Black dancer in the "An American in Paris" ballet in Minnelli's Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1951, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.

There are no Black characters in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and no Black background actors. However, there is a nod to racial inclusion. I have seen MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS countless times but I really noticed it last month when it aired on TCM two days before Christmas. 


 Esther hosts a summertime party at her house with her main goal being to get a kiss from "The Boy Next Door." Tootie, who should be in bed, sneaks downstairs to see the festivity. Esther brings her into the party. Her big brother, Lon, whispers into Tootie's ear. Tootie announces, "I can do the Cakewalk if Esther does it with me." Esther, of course, does and we see the two sisters do the Cakewalk in the charming "Under the Bamboo Tree" number.

The Cakewalk was a celebratory pre-Civil War dance created and originated by plantation slaves. It's from Black American culture. Eventually it made its way in the entertainment field. It was performed in vaudeville by Caucasian and Black performers such as Bert Williams. The dance grew so in popularity that New York City hosted a Grand Cakewalk event in 1892. In 1903, the Cake Walk was filmed with Black dancers performing it. Tootie has an awareness of Black culture and her family obviously knows it.

Near the end of the film comes the touching "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." There's heartbreak in the family when the lawyer dad announced he's being transferred to New York City and the family has to move a few days after Christmas. Esther has just becoming engage to the boy next door. Little Tootie's whole world is in St. Louis. She doesn't want to move. She doesn't want to leave all her toys and her friends.

Esther enters Tootie's room a few minutes into Christmas morning. Tootie, crying, sits at her window looking for Santa Claus and wondering if he'll be able to find her in New York City the next year. Esther sits to comfort her little sister. As Esther enters the room and removes her coat, look at the lower left hand corner of the frame. Tootie has a Black female doll that's very visible. The doll is not dressed as a mammy or a pickaninny. She's in a nice dress. 

That often-overlooked, tiny detail makes me smile. That, and Tootie's love of the Cakewalk, tell me something good about the girl. And they're more examples of Vincente Minnelli's respect for Black culture and Black images on film.


10 comments:

  1. We never see what happens after the "happy ending" in movies. But I feel that the lively, talented, and spunky Esther will have a dull, unhappy and miserable life after she marries the bland unimaginative "boy next door" ! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To know more about Chief Dr Lucky you can visit his website (https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/)
       
       A friend that suffered from Herpes and was cure with the help of this great herbal doctor Chief Lucky so i decided to contact him for help in getting rid of my families genital herpes virus 1/2 which i did and all i was told to provide was just some useful information and some materials used in preparation of the natural cure and that i did and now i am the happiest person on earth because i am writing this testimony of mine with joy and happiness in my heart to the whole world to know that natural remedy is real because i am a living testimony of Chief Lucky traditional herbal cure and i want you all to contact Chief Lucky via his email: chiefdrlucky@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2348132777335 am sure he will help you too.

      Delete
  2. few week ago I felt some pains and I went to the hospital my doc told me I had hpv about 1 yr and I need to start the treatment early, he gave me some medicine to be taking and I told him no I’ll not, because I hated taking medicine when I won’t not see cure for the purpose. After I got home I started getting worried searching for strong advice and I found valid natural treatment online lot people says they got hpv cure from Dr onokun and I email Dr Onokun 3 days passed, I purchase his cure online some weeks after the process taking his treatment i got cured. I went for checkup twice after taking the natural treatment from the herbalist called Dr onokun and i tested negative. contact him on email: Dronokunherbalcure@gmail. com or his facebook page https://www. facebook. com/naturaltreatmentcenter1 or website via www. Dronokunherbalcure.wordpress. com

    ReplyDelete

  3. Good luck to anyone reading this true life story of mine, I Was Diagnosed With type 2 Herpes Virus Last year, And I Was Looking For Solution To Be Cured Luckily I Saw Testimonies On How Dr OYAGU Cure Herpes Virus I Decided To Contact Dr OYAGU I Contacted Him He Prepared A Herbal Medicine Portion And Sent It To Me, I Started The Herbal Medicine For My Health. He Gave Me Step By Step Instructions On How To Apply It, When I Applied It As Instructed, I Was Cured Of This Deadly Herpes Within 2 weeks, I Am Now Herpes Negative. My Brother And Sister I No That There Are So Many People That Have The Same Herpes Virus Please contact Dr OYAGU To Help You Too, And Help Me To Thank Dr OYAGU For Cure Me, I’m Cured By Dr. OYAGU Herbal Medicine, His Contact Email:oyaguherbalhome@gmail.com or visit his website https://oyaguspellcaster.wixsite.com/oyaguherbalhome Or Cell Whatsapp Number +2348101755322 thank you

    ReplyDelete
  4. I used to suffer from HERPES GENITAL for about 3 years so I can relate to people who have the cure. No medications or treatments ever really did anything for me (i tried them all no one worked. but I was actually able to completely cure HERPES naturally after countless hours of online research. What worked for me is as follows: I saw  Dr Oje Abacha Information online that he normally cure and treat disease and infirmities with his Herbal Medicine, I never really believed the people who were recommending him thou i saw on blog about 6 people where also testifying on how they were cured by Dr Oje Abacha and stillEllen recommend Dr Oje Abacha who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES GENITAL VIRUS and gave me his email, so i mail him He told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to take, which Followed properly. Before I  didn"t know what was happening after two weeks the Herpes GENITAL VIRUS that were in my body got vanished . so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, you can also email him: oje.herbalsolutioncentre@gmail.com . or WhatsApp him on +2348159734766 if you are infected with any disease like HIV,AIDS,CANCER,LOVE SPELL, HERPES.PVC, or any other disease you can also be happy like me by contacting.....Name: Dr Oje Abacha or vist his website https://ojeherbalsolutioncentre.wordpress.com.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I still don’t know the right words to express my gratitude to this great man Dr. Erayo, After been diagnosed of HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS. i was given so many health prescription and advice with no improvement, I totally lost hope, until i found testimonies of Great Dr. Erayo online research and on Facebook, Like anybody would be, I was very skeptical about contacting him, but i later did and he opened up to me and told me what was involved and he started the remedies for my health. Thank God, I was cured from herpes by the herbal medication I received from him. I never thought that herpes can be cured, from the bottom of my heart I'm truly grateful, i pray you have long life so you can help many more people on earth with your herbal medical support. You can reach him via email; drerayoherbalhome@gmail.com or for easy and fast communication you can also call or add him on whatsapp with this mobile number +2348151937428. one thing i love most about Dr Erayo is honesty, and he is very polite with his patients, everything he told me was what he did, and his herbal medicine are very affordable.
    He also cure the below listed sickness;
    (1) HPV,
    (2) DIABETES,
    (3) HIV&AIDS,
    (4) URINARY TRACT INFECTION,
    (5) HEPATITIS B,
    (6) IMPOTENCE,
    (7) BARENESS/INFERTILITY
    (8) DIARRHEA
    (9) ASTHMA
    https://alternativeherbs.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was haven herpes 2 on my genital area . I have had them for about 2 and a bit years. I am so scared what my mates are going to says if there should fined out i have herpes on my genital area and due to the virus my girlfriend broke up with me. I have been to the Doctors 9 times to get it treated. They all come back. I have been using Tee Tree Oil and Wartner (You freeze them at home) and they seem to be keeping the smaller herpes small but they can't seem to treat the larger ones. They don't get any bigger, but then they can't shrink as much. They get smaller a little part at a time. At least they are getting smaller! As soon as I see a new herpes appearing, then I treat it. At the moment I have been using Tee Tree twice a week and then using Wartner every 2 weeks. I was wondering if there was any other information about how to get rid of it. I am only a teenager and I hate it most when it get pi-chins me to scratch it, it get sweets when scratching it most times! I want to get rid of it so bad! DR. Oyagu website has been a huge help and has helped me realize a lot more about me and my family of genital herpes! so that was when I switch for natural remedy to see if there could be any help by herbal remedy, I search and I saw a great posts by Sarah devise Martha, Mignon Wright and shanttel Merritt on about the great herbal doctor that get them rid of there disease infection. and this great herbal doctor was called DR. Oyagu so that was when I contacted him for my own treatment and he prepared me some herbs which I takes for some couples of days, and I take it as he says before I am to no me and my family was perfectly cure for it and never experience it again. please friends if you have herpes virus and you really wants to get rid of it, please contact this great DR. Oyagu for herbal treatment and you will get rid of it. EMAIL. oyaguherbalhome@gmail.com reach him via his website;https://oyaguspellcaster.wixsite.com/oyaguherbalhome thank you'll

    ReplyDelete
  7. HSV is a terrible disease, if not for the help of Herbalist RAZOR Herbal Mixture my life would have been a mess! I was diagnosed with HSV II in 2018, based on a scientific report , they said there is no cure for HSV, and I was given some Antivirals to help me suppress the outbreaks. my life took a twist from that day on. But i got to know that "herbs are a gift to us from God and mother nature to cure so many deadly infections"  i kept believing that someday i will get cured with little hope , While Reading an online article i got to find out about the Excellent work of Herbalist RAZOR Herbal mixture, i decided to reach him with the herbalist details provided by the Young lady who was testifying about this Herbalist .After visiting his website : https://herbalistrazorherb.wixsite.com/drrazorherbalhome I Reached him on His email which was  drrazorherbalhome@gmail.com . After speaking with this herbalist, I am overwhelmed with joy that my life has been given a second chance. God bless you Sir RAZOR. WhatsApp/Call him on +2 3 4 9 0 6 5 4 2 0 4 4 2

    ReplyDelete
  8. Am Here To Give My Testimony About A Doctor Who Helped Me In My Life. I Was Infected With HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS In 2019, I Went To Many Hospitals For Cure But There Was No Solution, So I Was Thinking How Can I Get A Solution Out So That My Body Can Be Okay. One Day I Was In The River Side Thinking Where I Can Go To Get Solution. So A Lady Walked To Me Telling Me Why Am I So Sad And I Open Up All To Her Telling Her My Problem, She Told Me That She Can Help Me Out, She Introduce Me To A Doctor Who Uses Herbal Medication To Cure HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS And Gave Me His Email, So I Mail Him. He Told Me All The Things I Need To Do And Also Give Me Instructions To Take, Which I Followed Properly. Before I Knew What Is Happening After Two Weeks The HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS That Was In My Body Got Vanished . So If You Are Also Heart Broken And Also Need A Help, You Can Also contact Him Through Dr. Oyagu reach him oyaguherbalhome@gmail.com visit his website https://oyaguspellcaster.wixsite.com/oyaguherbalhome Or whatsapp him via +2348101755322

    ReplyDelete
  9. HOW I GOT CURED FROM CANCER I was diagnosed of cancer and i have tried all I can to get cured, but none of them work, until I saw a post in a health forum about a herbalist man who prepare hebal medications to cure all kind of diseases including cancer, at first I doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when I contacted this Dr Odion and he prepared a cancer herbal cure and sent it to me via UPS delivery company service, when I received this herbal medicine, he directed me on how to take the medicine, after taking it the way he instructed me to, l was totally cured of the deadly disease called cancer, all thanks to Dr Odion you can email drodionherbalhome12@gmial.com or WhatsApp him now +2349019421176
    [this great herbal doctor CAN ALSO CURE SICKNESS LIKE
    HIV / AIDS
    DIABETES
    EPILEPSY
    HSV
    HPV
    Herpes
    HEPATITIS
    LOVE SPELL
    SICKLE AND ANEMIA .. ETC

    ReplyDelete

Before Astaire Danced on the Ceiling

 In the late 1980s, I was a veejay and talk show host seen daily on the VH1 music channel. Those were three of the happiest, most fulfilling...