Cast & Crew
After attending a parade honoring soldiers returning from the Spanish-American War, sisters Patricia and Maureen O'Grady pass in front of Tony Pastor's vaudeville theater on the way to bring lunch to their father Dennis, a streetcar conductor. Tony, who is standing outside dressed as a bum, begs them for some food, and they give the lunch to him. Meanwhile, Dennis' friend, Miklos Teretzky, advises the overprotective father to tell his motherless daughters about men before it is too late. Unknown to Dennis, his oldest daughter Katie is secretly married to James Moore, a returning soldier, and is pregnant. They have not revealed their marriage because the wartime housing shortage has left them unable to find an apartment of their own. Later, Pat learns that the man who ate their father's lunch was not a bum as he appeared, but an actor, and marches straight to the theater to scold him. Tony apologizes, and after learning that Pat's mother was a well-known vaudeville performer, immediately writes a song about the "Daughter of Rosie O'Grady." He then drops in on the sisters to play the song for Pat and is still there when Dennis comes home. Dennis blames the death of his wife Rosie on the hard life of vaudeville and consequently is violently opposed to anything to do with the theater. For this reason, Pat tells her father that Tony is a college student, and impressed, Dennis decides that he should date Katie. During a dinner party with Tony and some of the other actors from his theater, who are posing as students, Pat secretly tells Tony that she wants to go on the stage. Tony insists that they first tell her father the truth about his profession, after which the furious Dennis bans Tony from his house until he gives up the theater, then locks Pat in her room. Pat sneaks out and, while staying with Miklos and his wife, becomes a hit at Tony's theater. When Dennis learns that one of his daughters is expecting twins, he decides it must be Pat and, although he is not a drinking man, immediately gets drunk. The bartender calls a policeman, and Jim, who is now working as a policeman, comes to take him home. Later, Tony helps Jim and Katie find an apartment. When Dennis learns about it, he disowns all his daughters. At Tony's Christmas party, Miklos tells Pat that her father is very ill. Hearing this Tony sends Pat home, telling Miklos that he loves her too much to let anything come between her and her father. Pat and Maureen arrive at Dennis', each carrying a Christmas tree and presents. Then Jim, also carrying a tree, arrives to tell the family that Katie is home awaiting the birth of twins. The family is reconciled, and for the first time, Dennis sees Pat on stage. She introduces her father, who does one of his old routines. Just then, Jim arrives to announce the birth of triplets, and a contented Tony presents Pat with an engagement ring.
Monte C. Brice
Wilfrid M. Cline
Charles W. Glover
Ben L. Goldman
M. K. Jerome
H. F. Koenekamp
Lewis H. Redner
L. B. Reifsnider
John Philip Sousa
C. Mordaunt Spencer
Fred Stromsoe Jr.
Robert L. Swanson
The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady
Talented leading lady June Haver had recently made a splash in Hollywood with her portrayal of Broadway star Marilyn Miller in the successful biopic Look for the Silver Lining (1949). She was also being groomed for major stardom at Twentieth Century-Fox on the heels of Betty Grable, one of Fox's biggest stars during the 1930s and 40s. Loaned out to Warner Bros. for the second time to make The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, Haver was once again paired with Gordon MacRae, who had also appeared with her in Look for the Silver Lining.
The small supporting character of youngest daughter Maureen was written especially for 17-year-old Debbie Reynolds and was her very first speaking role in a motion picture. A Warner Bros. executive by the name of William Orr had recognized her potential as a movie star and asked writers to create a role for her in the film as a means to showcase her considerable charm and help build momentum for her bourgeoning career.
Reynolds, still green in Hollywood at the time, was thrilled at the opportunity to appear in The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady. The director of the film, David Butler, gave her some useful advice. "He understood that I had no idea how to approach a role," explained Reynolds in her 1988 autobiography Debbie: My Life. "'Now don't try and act,' he advised like a kindly uncle. 'Just be you. They've written this to fit you; so just say the words the way you'd say them.'"
One unexpected issue that Reynolds ran into had nothing to do with her performance, but rather with her ears. "During makeup," she said, "they discovered a minor problem. I had ears that stuck out like my father's. I also had baby-fine hair that couldn't hide them. In the picture, they wanted me to wear my hair down. The ears, peeking through my waves like an elf's, spoiled the illusion. They decided to solve the matter by gluing the ears back with liquid adhesive."
As Reynolds began work on the production with her ears glued back, it didn't take long for them to rebel. During one scene in particular Reynolds could feel something was amiss under the hot lights as the cameras rolled. Suddenly in the middle of the scene, one of her glued ears sprang loose from the side of her head. "'CUT!' David Butler yelled," recalled Reynolds. "'GLUE HER EARS BACK!' My face must have turned beet red. Everybody looked at me as if I had two heads. I was horrified."
After Reynolds' renegade ears were glued back again, shooting resumed. "I was afraid to move my head. Every move, every gesture I made, was done as if I were balancing a glass of water on top of my head, wondering when it was going to drop." Once again, however, the hot lights melted the glue and her ears came undone, calling for yet another repair and re-take. Even though she managed to get through the day, she couldn't help but worry and be embarrassed about how her ears had a habit of holding up the shooting schedule. When she brought the matter to her mother's attention, Reynolds was soon taken to a doctor's office for an operation to surgically pin her ears back permanently. After that, needless to say, her ears never came unglued again.
The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady opened in April 1950 to enthusiastic audiences. Over the years it has evolved into a nostalgic favorite just right for family holiday viewing with its heartwarming Christmas-themed finale. Packed with spectacular music and dance numbers, songs in the film include "A Farm Off Old Broadway," "My Own True Love and I," "Winter" and the popular title song sung by Gordon MacRae.
Producer: William Jacobs
Director: David Butler
Screenplay: Jack Rose, Melville Shavelson (screenplay and story); Peter Milne (screenplay)
Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline
Art Direction: Douglas Bacon
Film Editing: Irene Morra
Cast: June Haver (Patricia O'Grady), Gordon MacRae (Tony Pastor), James Barton (Dennis O'Grady), S.Z. Sakall (Miklos 'Mike' Teretzky), Gene Nelson (Doug Martin), Sean McClory (James Moore), Debbie Reynolds (Maureen O'Grady), Marcia Jones (Katie O'Grady), Jane Darwell (Mrs. Murphy), Virginia Lee (Virginia Lee)
by Andrea Passafiume
The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady
Sean McClory (1924-2003)
Born on March 8, 1924 in Dublin, Ireland, he became a leading man at the famous Abbey Theatre in the early '40s and relocated to the United States shortly after World War II. His first roles were small bits as a police officer in two RKO quickies: Dick Tracy's Dilemma and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (both 1947). He eventually graduated to more prestigious pictures like The Glass Menagerie (1950), Les Miserables (1952) and John Ford's The Quiet Man (1952).
After a few more supporting roles in quality pictures: Niagara (1953); the sci-fi chiller Them! (1954); and for John Ford again in The Long Gay Line (1955), McClory turned to television. He kept busy for several years with guest roles in a variety of popular shows: Bonanza, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits (1964) and countless others. By the mid-'60s, McClory became slightly more heavy-set, and began tossing off variations of jovial, "oirish" blarney for, yet again John Ford in Cheyenne Autumn (1964); and in a string of Disney pictures: Follow Me, Boys! (1966, his best role, a moving performance as the alcoholic father whose behavior alienates his son, played by a 15-year old Kurt Russell); The Happiest Millionaire (1967), and The Gnome-Mobile (1967), before he returned to television. His final role was in John Huston's acclaimed Irish opus The Dead (1987). He is survived by his wife, Peggy Webber McClory.
by Michael T. Toole
Sean McClory (1924-2003)
The film's working title was A Night At Tony Pastor's. Antonio Pastor was born in 1837 and, as a child, made his first theatrical appearance with impressario P. T. Barnum. Displeased with the vulgarity of variety theater, Pastor opened his own theater, which he named Tony Pastor's Opera House, and banned drinking and smoking. He always appeared in his own shows as a singer of popular ballads. In 1881, he presented the first performance of what later became known as vaudeville at the Fourteenth Street Theater and operated it for twenty-seven years. Stars such as Weber and Fields and Lillian Russell appeared at the theater. Pastor died in 1908. A November 17, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that the film was to have starred George Raft.