Tagged: Musician

White Christmas: Bing’s Powder Blue Jacket

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Vitals

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner, World War II veteran, and “a lonely and miserable man”

Florida, December 1954

Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Happy holidays! This Christmas Eve felt like an appropriate time to focus on White Christmas, the most successful film of 1954 and one of the most beloved holiday classics. Continue reading

Pal Joey: Sinatra’s Gray Dinner Jacket

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1957)

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1957)

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans, womanizing nightclub singer

San Francisco, Spring 1957

Film: Pal Joey
Release Date: October 25, 1957
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Jean Louis

Background

Today marks the birth of Frank Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board himself, born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken. This son of tenement-dwelling Italian immigrants grew to be one of the most influential, best-selling music artists in history.

Sixty years ago, Sinatra was rising as one of the biggest stars in the world when he starred as the titular Pal Joey, a performance that earned him a Golden Globe award. Originally a stage musical starring Gene Kelly as the singing and dancing anti-hero, Pal Joey was reconfigured for the screen with the character more reflective of Sinatra’s own charming yet mischievous “nice guy” persona. Continue reading

Dean Martin Turns 100: Dino’s Iconic Tuxedo

Dean Martin on the set of The Dean Martin Show, circa 1965

Vitals

Dean Martin, smooth and multi-talented entertainer

Burbank, California, 1965 to 1974

Series: The Dean Martin Show
Air Dates: September 16, 1965 – April 5, 1974
Director: Greg Garrison
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

On June 7, 1917, Dino Paul Crocetti was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela and Gaetano Crocetti, the latter a barber from the Abruzzo region in Italy where much of my own family hails. One hundred years later, the world remembers him as Dean Martin, the charming crooner whose legendary career spanned half a century as a major headliner from nightclubs and casinos to movies and TV shows.

Effortlessly charismatic and unflappable, Dino brought his smooth star power to his popular comedy act with Jerry Lewis and later as a leader of the Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Continue reading

Ray Charles’ Blue Silk Stage Suit

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004)

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004)

Vitals

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, groundbreaking R&B musician

Indianapolis, Fall 1961

Film: Ray
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

Background

On a suggestion from a great reader of this blog, I revisited Jamie Foxx’s Academy Award-winning performance as Ray Charles in 2004’s Ray and noticed the abundance of excellent period costumes that Foxx wears as the titular virtuoso.

In addition to Foxx’s Oscar for acting, the 2005 Academy Awards also gave a well-deserved nod to costume designer Sharen Davis, who beautifully recreated the era through Ray’s natty attire both on and off the stage. One outfit that particularly stood out was the black satin-trimmed stage suit in blue flecked silk that Ray wears during a couple of early 1960s gigs across the Midwest. Continue reading

Californication – Lew Ashby’s Light Gray Date Suit

Callum Keith Rennie as Lew Ashby on Californication (Episode 2.09: "La Ronde", 2008).

Callum Keith Rennie as Lew Ashby on Californication (Episode 2.09: “La Ronde”).

Vitals

Callum Keith Rennie as Lew Ashby, maverick record producer and rock legend

Los Angeles, Spring 2008

Series: Californication
Episodes: “La Ronde” (Episode 2.09)
Air Date: November 23, 2008
Director: Adam Bernstein
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer

Background

Californication‘s early seasons are often considered to be its best, and the show’s ability to avoid a sophomore slump should give major credit to Callum Keith Rennie’s appearance as Lew Ashby, the enigmatic, charismatic, and hedonistic record producer that shelters Hank for most of the season. Continue reading

Johnny Cash in All Black (Walk the Line)

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005).

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005).

Vitals

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, badass but troubled country rock musician

Los Angeles, January 1968

Film: Walk the Line
Release Date: November 18, 2005
Director: James Mangold
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Pam Lisenby

Background

Columbia Exec: Your fans are church folk, Johnny. Christians. They don’t wanna hear you singing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin’ to cheer ’em up.
Johnny Cash: Well, they’re not Christians, then.

The terrific 2005 biopic Walk the Line features a great scene of Cash rebooting his career as a prison performer (and reformer) when he confidently strides into Columbia Records and announces his plan to record an album live from Folsom Prison. He dudes himself up appropriately in all black and is the most self-assured as we’ve seen him throughout the film.

To honor Johnny Cash’s birthday (he would have been exactly 83 years old today), here’s a look at Joaquin Phoenix’s take on “the Man in Black”. Continue reading

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

Cash at Folsom, 1968.

Cash at Folsom, 1968.

Vitals

Johnny Cash, badass country rock musician (later played by Joaquin Phoenix in 2005’s Walk the Line)

Folsom, CA, January 1968

Background

46 years ago today, Johnny Cash made music history by recording a live album from inside the walls of Folsom State Prison. Although he wrote the song “Folsom Prison Blues” while serving in the Air Force in the early ’50s, it wasn’t until fifteen years later that he actually performed at the titular prison. Many don’t know that he had performed in prisons before, beginning with gigs at Huntsville State Prison in 1957 and at San Quentin on New Year’s Day 1958, but At Folsom Prison was the first album Cash released that was actually recorded from a live prison concert. By the time of his Folsom gig, he had actually served some jail time. Continue reading