Welcome to the December Pretty Palettes challenge!
I love old black and white movies, especially at this time of year. Particularly, I am fond of those fluffy little flicks that feature dancing with Fred Astaire or singing with Bing Crosby, heartfelt sincerity of Jimmy Stewart or the give-and-take antics of Hepburn and Tracey. In those movies, the parties always seem to be so grand. Going to dinner was an affair. Women wore gowns and the men wore smart suits or even dashing tuxedos. There always seemed to be a dinner show for entertainment that included singing and dancing to a big band orchestra. It was elegant and classic and oh-so-sophisticated.
A yearly tradition of mine is to watch the 1942 movie Holiday Inn every December as I wrap presents. Sometimes I have to watch it multiple times in order to get all the wrapping done.
The movie features Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby as Ted Hanover and Jim Hardy. They are a nightclub act in New York City at the start, but part ways when Jim Hardy wants to “retire” to the country running a place he calls Holiday Inn that is a nightclub open only on public holidays. Ted Hanover is the rake of the two, always looking for the next big thing to rocket him to stardom, and falling in love with the next “it” girl that comes his way. The movie opens with Ted stealing away Jim’s girl just as he is about leave to marry her. Heartbroken, Jim continues to pursue his idea of retirement in the countryside of Connecticut with his Inn, working just 15 days a year (something I could get behind!). Of course there are mishaps galore that happen in this movie throughout the year, all very predictable, with romances and mistaken identities and song and dance, but it all works out in the end. (I do have to point out that the Lincoln’s birthday number done in blackface to hide a character’s identity is disturbing and completely ridiculous, but it is a product of the times and I assure you the rest of the performances are totally worth watching. If you happen to catch it on TCM or some such vintage movie channel, it is likely that this scene has been deleted.)
My favorite part of this movie is that they follow the holidays around the calendar. The music was all written by Irving Berlin and features classic songs that you will know and love, like “Easter Parade” and “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” The song “White Christmas” originated with this movie (which inspired the 1954 spinoff movie of the same name), and Bing’s singing of it on Christmas Eve with Miss Linda Mason (the sweet Marjorie Reynolds) is one of my favorite holiday images. And it captured the 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song and has become one of the most popular songs of all time. Holiday Inn may not be the best holiday movie out there, but it is an iconic classic.
For a little bit of Bing’s crooning and Fred’s masterful dancing see the clip below from the Valentine’s scene…
I just found out that this movie is now a show on Broadway into January! I would dearly love to see it live!
My absolute favorite scenes are the 4th of July (awesome firecracker tap dancing sequence that captivates me) and the New Year’s Eve party (Astaire’s drunken dance performance is legendary – which I read he actually did do while drunk!). You’ll have to trust me on the drunken dance number for New Years’ as being one of the greatest that Astaire ever did. Which brings me to the subject of this month’s Pretty Palette: Champagne.
They always seem to be drinking bubbly in those vintage Hollywood movies. It connotes class and money and glamour. Everyone was always having a good time, something I feel called to this year in particular. Holidays are for enjoying the moment, celebrating with family and friends and should feature all manner of good cheer. I don’t celebrate New Year’s too outlandishly, but I love all the trappings that come with the festivities. I came across some interesting images of bubbly glasses and exploding corks that I thought would make a good tribute to the New Year, particularly in beads. View the inspiration slideshow below:
There are OH SO MANY beads that would work for a tribute to champagne. Crystals in all shapes, sizes and colors, silver and gold stardust beads, even pearls. And these also work with the old Hollywood glamour. I always wonder what color the dresses were in those old black and white movies and I always want to make something for them to wear with their gowns. Select the beads that you like the most and whip up your own holiday ensemble.
Here are the beads that I selected to play with for December (top to bottom):
10471494 – Bead Gallery® Pearl and metal slider set
10290854 – Bead Gallery® crystal AB rhinestone rondelle 6mm
10241108 – Bead Gallery® crystal AB rhinestone rondelle 8mm
10242611 – Bead Gallery® faceted glass silver luster rondelle 4x6mm
10471727 – Bead Gallery® faceted multi color metal hematite mix 4mm
10471730 – Bead Gallery® gold luster hematite faceted stone 6mm
10471957 – Bead Gallery® amber glass faceted rondelle 2x3mm
10471487 – Bead Gallery® white glass round pearl 6mm
For my part, I am planning to make something that would be in fashion in the 1940s at one of those swanky holiday nightclub shows. I love the fashions from that era as well and costume jewelry was at its height. I challenge you to make something inspired by the drinking of champagne and and toasting the New Year using whatever beads you like (many are on sale – right now!). Then come back to share what you made on the final Pretty Palettes for 2016 on December 28th!