Category Archives: Vintage Movies

Five Movies that Inspired Me to Go to Paris (and one confession…)

Hi hi, everyone! I’m still in Paris happily annoying every poor Parisian with my crappy French and I’m sure drinking too much wine and too many lattes! As I was preparing for this trip I thought back to when I started to want to travel to Paris.

Of course, everyone wants to go to Paris, right? But why? What inspires us to go?  Was it one too many readings of Madeleine? Was it seeing pictures of the Eiffel tower as a child and wondering what that was? If you were like me, it was because you saw a certain movie and were enchanted.

That is how I felt when I saw the following movies (and one extremely awesome bonus). Now, I could get all fancy pants French film studies on all ya’ll referencing Au Revoirs les Enfants, 400 Blows, The Grand Illusion, Un Chien Andalou, and Belle de Jour—and they are great movies—but that’s not how I roll. I roll in popcorn pop culture goofy giddy stuff that just makes me happy.  I like to think I’m a mix of high brow and low brow, so that is what this list is going to feature.

I hope they inspire you to make a trip to Paris yourself one day! Or at least to watch one of these movies. So, here they are:


As you know, I love MGM musicals and Gene Kelly, so add Paris and you had me at Bonjour! Truly such a beautiful musical and love letter to Paris. And mythical Paris, but still Paris. Even though the majority of scenes happened on the back lot of Hollywood. And remember that crazy black and white party they had? That has to be one of the top ten best parties on film ever. Right up there with the party Holly Golightly held in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Leslie Caron rocked the heck out of this film and was the perfect match to Gene Kelly—especially in that great George Gershwin musical number which I think is one of the best pieces of film ever. EVER.

2.) LA BOUM!

I remember watching this in eighth grade French class and loving every flipping minute of it.  The way the teens wore their scarves. The amazing relationship the main character has with her grandmother. Imagine being a young teen with Paris as your favorite make-out place. Does it get any better than that? Je pense que non!


I remember watching this film in my first French class and of course was immediately charmed by it. Although life looked pretty tough for the main character, whose only joy came from a red balloon. Later in a film studies course in college we dissected the film and all of the underlying themes of hope floating, despair, etc. But still I always smile when I think about the blue and red balloon meeting. Sigh!


I think this film kicks Umbrellas of Cherbourg’s behind!  So much lighter and sweeter and just delicious!

It’s like MGM and sixties France made out and had a baby!  I’d so date this baby! I mean, the colors and dancing.  The movie even has GENE KELLY in it!

And could we talk about the outfits too?

I don’t know about you, but looking at this image—you just don’t get American teenagers. They seem so very very French to me!  Oh, it is wonderful!


I know. This really has no right being on this list. it’s not based in Paris and I don’t think a single word is spoken in French. The movie is genius for many things. But there is this wonderful scene where the mother doesn’t even attempt to know French and just says, “frawnch” for French.  So darn funny! To this day I have a group of friends that happily just banter back and forth lines from this movie (as well as other bad eighties movies watched at slumber party movies) that we actually started a movie blog about it.

Here is the dinner clip.

Doesn’t this make you want to watch the whole movie and hear that paper boy say, “I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!” Classic!

And lastly a confession. One of my favorite glimpses of Paris was actually on TV—from (grimace) The Facts of Life Go to Paris. Jo’s Parisian boyfriend was crazy hot, and Blair fell in love with Paris instead of finding true love.

What are your favorite French films? Or favorite French references in any media?


Vintage Video:: The Bugaloos!

The Bugaloos, the bugaloos–they’re in the air and everywhere! Flying high, flying loose, flying free in the summer breeze…

Oh, Bugaloos!  I must admit I am only familiar with them through re-runs, but man, each episode I saw was like a psychadelic dream.

I would have loved to have been in the room when Sid and Marty Krofft pitched the show to NBC corporate executives…

“We have this idea for a happy peace-loving insect rock band that play in a magical forest and are antagonized by a villain who will be played by Martha Raye in an orange feather head-dress and she’ll be driven around by a rat. It’s gonna be HUGE!”

Well, maybe not so huge, but definitively memorable. Who couldn’t love such a groovy insect band?  Let me introduce you to the characters…

First we have IQ, the clever and dreamy grasshopper who was the lead singer and lead charmer in the band.  Fun fact: Phil Collins was up for this part, but instead it went to the devestatingly handsome John McIndoe, whose career pretty much stalled to nothing after the Bugaloos. Hmm… Perhaps Phil Collins owes John McIndoe a fruit basket…

And Harmony, everyone’s favorite piano playing bumble bee, who rocks a widow’s peak in his afro.  That should be enough for us to worship him.

There was Courage, played by John Phillpot.  I think it must have taken a lot of moxie for a guy to play a ladybug! And alas there wasn’t a single single picture of him. Sorry.

And last, but certainly not least was Joy, the cutest thing EVER in her pink butterfly outfit, which I would have loved to wear for Halloween or Memorial day or any day, because it is so freaking cute. Just like her. And please note the longer proto-Dorothy Hammill hairdo.

And of course Benita Bizarre, played by the magnificent Martha Raye.  Why do the villains always get the best outfits? And hats? And rat chauffeurs?

Poor Benita–all she wanted was to get the local radio station to play her awful/off key songs. And of course foil everything the Bugaloos ever did!

But she did have the sweetest pad around. She lived in a jukebox.  Take that and your fur covered walls, Lenny Kravitz!

And if that wasn’t enough–have you seen the Bugaloos car? I wanted that almost as badly as Joy’s ballerina butterfly dress.

And it wasn’t just me. This amazing butterfly car wasn’t immediately junked–oh no.  It still lives on and travels the world at car shows.

The Bugaloos were so awesome that mankind could only handle one season of them. But don’t worry–those 17 glorious episodes are available on DVD and yes, they are totally worth it.  How kiddo friendly are they? Well, let’s just say… I was having nightmares about Martha Raye’s rat chauffeur for years. But for YOUR viewing pleasure–absolutely!

However, I would recommend the amazing soundtracks! After all, the Bugaloos did produce some clever ditties.  Besides the great tunes, the record albums are totally cool.

Someone totally needs to do a Bugaloo-inspired nursery! And put this album cover on the wall!

Thanks, NBC and Krofft Brothers for the Saturday morning ride of a lifetime with the Bugaloos!

Did you ever catch an episode of the Bugaloos?

New Feature :: Vintage Video and Fantastic Films!

I am a total movie fanatic.  Growing up in L.A as a child, I thought it was my civic duty to love movies.  I even took several film history courses in college.  And I’m very much NOT a movie snob and can get just as much enjoyment out of a cheesy rom-com as some Oscar winning film.

Now that the Peach is getting older and able to sit still for longer periods of time, I’d love to share the wonderful world of movies with her. But which ones?  She can be a bit of a nervous Nelly, so I need to stick very much in the G-rated film category.  I think she gets that from me. I’m still mildly traumatized by watching The Ten Thousand Fingers of Doctor T as a child.

The movie that started my love affair with film wasn’t so much a plot driven movie as it was a celebration of movies. And I’ve decided to make it the first film the Peach will watch–THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!–the movie MGM created to celebrate its 50 year anniversary making musical films.  I know it is not a normal film with a storyline and is just a compilation of dance numbers. But they are the best, most glorious technicolor dances ever set on film.  Perfect for a pre-schooler to watch and delight in and not worry about plot twists that might be above her.

And there is so much to delight in… The amazing dances, the peppy songs and glorious technicolor costumes and sets.

Like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers–I loved the pretty colorful dresses and the dancing was extraordinary!

Or On the The Town. Just watching Ann Miller tap dance and sing her way through this with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra? What is there not to love?

I think I might have been the only four year old that had a crush on Gene Kelly in my preschool. But who wouldn’t love his performance in Anchors Away?

And then there was Singing in the Rain, which of course is one of the most swoon worthy Gene Kelly films of all time. But watching it again made me love the ladies in the film even more. Like the sassy teen Debbie Reynolds wearing this basket costume with matching little cap!

And I think I need to go as Lina Lamont for Halloween this year and just go around saying, “I cawn’t staand it!” Oh, she was so fabulous!

And let’s not forget Cyd Charisse in her crazy dream number with Gene Kelly. Yowza!

Only one dancer could match Gene and that was FRED!  His last musical with Ginger Rogers was with MGM--The Barclays of Broadway.

But he was always best when he danced alone. Like this wonderful trompe l’oiel dance from Royal Wedding.

But one of my favorite dancers only has one dance–from the amazing musical Kiss Me Kate. A young Jerome Robbins before he took that job choreographing West Side Story.

And of course there was a lot of MGM’s favorite star who grew up in the films! JUDY GARLAND!

But That’s Entertainment also introduced me to Esther! Who says you can’t dance in water?

Kinda want to take some swim lessons now…

Sigh!  But these are just a little sample of the grand musical numbers featured in the film. This movie is so wonderful and bubbly and a great way to introduce your kiddos to the wonder of classic movie musicals and will hopefully get them introduced to a lot of the great classics out there.

Have you watched this movie? Or did you watch the old musicals on their own?

And did you have any other favorite films as a kiddo that you’d like to share?


Vintage Video :: Gay Purr-ee!

Whenever I think about wonderful, colorful movies, the first movie that comes to mind is always Gay Purr-ee.

Last weekend, the nasty cold that hindered me over the past couple of weeks took out both Eric and the Peach.  Plus, it was raining raining raining.  And the Peach was coughing and sniffling and didn’t want to do much of anything except watch  Yo Gabba Gabba until she didn’t. She was ready for something different.

A movie perhaps?  I’ve been waiting so long to watch a movie with her!  But what?  The Internet was spotty and I couldn’t stream Netflix so I tried to see what was available on Demand.  Then I found that wonderful gem I remember watching on TV when I was a kid. GAY PURR-EE!

How you can you say no to Judy Garland and Robert Goulet? And a whole cast of wonderfully actors, like Red Buttons and Gigi’s Hermoine Gingold!

This cartoon gem from 1962 focuses on Mewsette, the beautiful country cat from Provence inspired to go to Paris, leaving her mouse chasing boyfriend Jean Tom behind.

Off she goes to 1895 Belle Epoque Paris and is charmed by Meowrice, the villain of the story who has other plans for Mewsette, with the help of a very fluffy pink madame voiced by the always wonderful Hermoine Gingold! Sigh! But don’t worry, Jean Tom is close behind.

Weaved throughout this delicious movie are gloriously technicolor nods to the beautiful Belle Epoque wonders and artists. And just such glorious colors too..

Oh, and a little nod to a certain famous artist…

Speaking of Toulouse Latrec, one of the best parts of movie is when Meowrice had Mewsette’s portrait painted by some of the best impressionist painters of the time, like our friend, Mr. Latrec.

I think this would be a terrific movie to watch this weekend with your kiddos!  Think of it as a little lesson in French and art history to boot!

Have you seen it?