El Dorado News

October 15, 2018
El Dorado News Times


Historical society to present the film ‘What’s Cooking’

This article was published November 9, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

The South Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, located at 412 E. Faulkner in El Dorado, has announced the screening of the vintage and classic Hollywood film “What’s Cookin’” as the Silver Screen Series continues at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

This particular film features the young singing and dancing sensations, “The Jivin’ Jacks & Jills,” the group that first interested Michael Fitzgerald to collect this era of Hollywood, according to Jack Wilson at the historical society.

The Tuesday series will begin with a brief history of “What’s Cookin’,” followed by a screening of the film and backchat afterwards.

This film has been selected from the vast Fitzgerald Collection, which contains over 600 16mm films ranging from the 1920’s through 1970’s.

“These original films are too delicate to run through a projector and many are in need of restoration, so viewing selection is limited to analog and digital availability. Michael’s collection contains dozens of films that are now considered ‘lost’ and hundreds that have never been released for television or home video,” said Jack Wilson with the historical society.

“There’s plenty of cookin’ in this brisk, breezy Andrews Sisters vehicle. The plot concerns the efforts by a group of entertainers to package a weekly musical radio show. Their biggest obstacle is a lack of sponsorship, but this is overcome when eccentric business executive J.P. Courtney agrees to pony up the necessary dough on behalf of his talented niece Sue,” Wilson said.

“Mrs. Murphy’s Theatrical Boarding House is a place where young performers reside. A group of those young people try to escape after finding out they are unable to pay the rent. However they get caught by the landlady and fellow tenant Marvo the Great is forced to sell his clothes to pay the rent. They next set out to the radio network WECA to visit singer Anne Payne.

Anne is a former boarding house member who now works at the radio station with the Andrews Sisters and Woody Herman and His Orchestra. When Marvo is later conversing with Anne at her apartment, her wealthy neighbor Sue Courtney drops in their conversation and wonders if she can join the group.

“Meanwhile, at the Courtney estate, Sue’s uncle and aunt, J.P. and Agatha, meet with their advertising counselor Bob Riley. She complains that the radio station only plays classical songs. Sue offers to help them out by asking her new friends to make swing music for the radio station. They do so and Bob notices Anne, whom he immediately falls in love with. Sue meanwhile falls in love with young performer Tommy,” Wilson explained.

Directed by Edward F. Cline, the film stars The Andrew Sisters, Jane Frazee, Robert Paige, Gloria Jean, Leo Carrillo, Billie Burke, Charles Butterworth, Grace McDonald, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Ryan, Charles Lane, Woody Herman and “The Jivin’ Jacks and Jills.” The film is not rated and has a run-time of 69 minutes.

Showing on Dec. 12 will be Universal Studios’ 1945 sentimental ghost story, “That’s the Spirit.” This precursor to Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life,” was directed by Charles Lamont and stars Peggy Ryan, Jack Oakie, June Vincent, Gene Lockhart, Johnny Coy, Andy Devine, Arthur Treacher, Irene Ryan, Buster Keaton, Victoria Horn, and Edith Barrett.

The film is not rated and has a run-time of 87 minutes.

“During your visit be sure to experience the Michael Fitzgerald Collection now on display at the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society. The exhibit is a sampling of this vast collection of over 10,000 items, donated in memory of Michael’s mother, Tommie May Murphy Fitzgerald and includes over 600 vintage 16mm films, many which are now considered to be lost, hundreds of first edition books and autobiographies inscribed and signed by their authors, rare studio stills, headshots, lobby cards, posters, press books, records and hundreds of cards, letters and postcards. Almost every item in the collection was provided by the stars and authors, themselves, to the man who was not only a fan but a friend,” Wilson said.

For more information about The Silver Screen Series at The South Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, call 862-9890 or visit www.soarkhistory.com.

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