I was looking for some material on the ol’ YouTube on the late Harve Presnell for my more retro-minded other blog home. I didn’t find much, but I did find this trailer for a film that was for one of Presnell’s few shots at movie stardom, a long forgotten attempt at what Hollywood journos and suits like to call a “four quadrant” film, in that it tries to appeal to both genders and all age groups. So, we get a film with hitmaker Connie Francis, Broadway baritone Harve Presnell, lots of Gershwin tunes, but also rocker’s Herman’s Hermits and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, but also Louis Armstrong, the man who practically invented jazz. Oh, and Liberace, too. Check it out.
The movie was “When the Boys Meet the Girls” and it appears it didn’t exactly make a mint for MGM. This was the age when clueless grown-ups thought they could remake an old musical property (the twice-before filmed Gershwin Broadway hit, “Girl Crazy”) and bring people of all ages together in a theater simply by mixing elements appealing to grown-ups and teens of the time. What they didn’t seem to realize was that there was an increasingly acrimonious cultural war raging in the country between young people increasingly hostile to “old people’s music” and “old people” who had never stopped being hostile to rock and roll. About a year or two later they’d be calling it “the generation gap.”
The ironic thing is that, in this “High School Musical” era, the youth of today happily listen to music from all eras — including the pre-rock days — and the angry youth of the past are, of course, now “old people” themselves. In the era of “High School Musical,” as doofy as this trailer might look (though, of course, I kind of dig it…kind of), an approach like this could actually work commercially. Expect a fourth “Girl Crazy” remake shortly.