Cast & Crew
Jack and Kitty Moran have a popular radio show in New York and when Kitty learns that she is pregnant, she tells Jack about it while they are broadcasting. Afterward, they are congratulated by the show's scriptwriters, Walter and Janet Pringle, who later host a baby shower for them. However, on their way home from the shower, Kitty and Jack are involved in an auto accident and Kitty loses the baby and has to face the prospect of probably never being able to have another. To try to cheer her, Jack tells Kitty that their sponsor is interested in moving them into the new medium of television. Later, Jack, Kitty and their dog Milton go to visit Walter and Janet on their farm, where they are welcomed by the Pringles' six children. Janet reveals that the two oldest children are adopted, as she and Walter had thought they would be unable to have children, but the other four are their own. Later, when Kitty and Jack decide to adopt, they go to the same agency the Pringles used, the Sarah Wilson Foundation. The Foundation's Miss Irma Gilbert is concerned that the founder's daughter, Mrs. Johnston, may not consider performers to be suitable parents and tells Kitty and Jack that they may have to wait as long as a year while a thorough investigation is made of their background and circumstances. In the meantime, Kitty and Jack make their debut on television, on station PBS, for their sponsor Cosmo Cosmetics. Immediately after their first show, Miss Gilbert and her colleague, Miss Amelia Evers, pay an unexpected visit to the studio to tell them that they may have a baby boy for them but that first they will have to meet Mrs. Johnston. After Kitty and Jack collect the boy, Mrs. Johnston decides that she will return with them to inspect their apartment as the adoption is subject to cancellation during the first year if it is deemed not to the child's advantage. Unfortunately, a noisy, baby-welcoming party is going on in the apartment and Mrs. Johnston refuses to allow the baby to remain there. Kitty and Jack are devastated but continue their successful television show. One day, Walter tells them that he has found a seven- month-old baby girl for them. The pecuniary aspect of the adoption is not pleasant, and the exchange takes place in the back rooms of a tavern in Trenton, New Jersey. There, through a lawyer, they acquire the baby, who, they are told, is not wanted by either parent. One evening, as they are about to leave to do their show, Kitty fires the baby's domineering nurse, Miss Bates. As their maid, Selma, has left early to go to a birthday party, Kitty and Jack realize that they have no one to look after the baby. Kitty decides to stay home and Jack performs with Gloria Adams, a young dancer in the show. They work well together and Gloria soon replaces Kitty, who becomes a full-time mother. However, Gloria begins to pursue Jack and even tells Kitty that she and Jack are in love, although Jack denies any involvement. This conflict is resolved when Kitty decides to return to the show. During one broadcast, Selma makes an emergency phone call to the studio and Kitty and Jack rush home. There Selma announces that the baby has been taken by the lawyer and the child's father. A lawyer advises Kitty and Jack that as the adoption was not done through official channels, they may not be able to regain the baby. At that moment, Mrs. Johnston reenters their lives, saying that she had acted too hastily and now has another baby for them. Simultaneously, Walter and Janet arrive with the news that they have recovered the baby girl and that, this time, an adoption can be legally arranged. Kitty and Jack decide to adopt both children. Later, after performing a number on their program, Kitty passes out and is told by a doctor that she is pregnant.
Vicki Lee Blunt
Thomas B. Henry
Mary Eleanor Donahue
William R. Klein
Arthur E. Arling
James B. Clark
Paul S. Fox
Arthur L. Kirbach
S. K. Lauren
Charles Le Maire
Harry M. Leonard
Sol C. Siegel
Joseph C. Wright
Darryl F. Zanuck
My Blue Heaven (1950)
My Blue Heaven generates a degree of novelty by focusing on the freshest and most exciting entertainment development of its day: the advent of television, only a couple of years into its phenomenal rise to popularity and power. In fact, My Blue Heaven is not only up to date, it's beyond up to date, full of on-screen TV sets showing broadcasts in vivid color, even though color TV wouldn't be available in real life until three years later. You can't blame Fox for wanting to spread the movie's Technicolor hues to every corner of the big screen - or for reminding viewers that since real-life TV hadn't caught up with color technology yet, some treats were only available at the local picture palace.
Grable and Dailey play Kitty and Jack Moran, talented entertainers who have their own radio show at the beginning of the story. On the air they portray an affectionate but sometimes feuding couple. Off the air they have a contented married life that becomes even happier when two things happen: they get an offer to do their own TV show, and Kitty learns she's going to have a baby. The move to TV works beautifully, but a car accident ends Kitty's pregnancy and makes it doubtful she can ever have another one. She and Jack are too spirited to stay childless against their will, however. Learning that their friends Walter and Janet Pringle have adopted some of their many kids, they go to an adoption agency, put in an application, and receive a baby boy to love and nurture - only to have him snatched away because the stuffy, prissy head of the agency thinks show-biz people are too flighty to make good parents. Still determined to have the pitter-patter of little feet in their Manhattan apartment, the Morans adopt a little girl from a shady broker representing a single mom, but again the deal goes sour and the baby goes away. And now the pressure starts eating away at the Morans' marriage, nudging Jack toward an affair with Gloria, the second banana on their TV show.
Thanks to an ably constructed screenplay, My Blue Heaven manages to add a steady string of song-and-dance numbers to the Morans' miseries without showing too much strain. Some of these are fun, including a Halloween number that begins by spoofing Irving Berlin for having written about all the other big holidays while forgetting this one. There's a more period-specific kind of amusement in a number called "Friendly Island," which pokes fun at South Pacific - a smash Broadway musical at the time - and features Dailey singing in a bizarre pseudo-operatic voice meant as a parody of Mario Lanza, the classically trained tenor and up-and-coming movie actor who was starring in the stage production.
In its nonmusical scenes, My Blue Heaven works better when it aims for laughs than when it tries for drama. Yet some of the most interesting moments find a precarious balance between the comic and the serious. Eager to show the adoption-agency lady how responsible they are, for instance, the Morans soberly escort her to their apartment, which turns out to be full of champagne-guzzling friends throwing a surprise party for them, instantly destroying the joyous event they were trying to celebrate. Other examples include scenes with a nasty nurse who almost ruins Kitty's pleasure with Baby #2, and a strange scene in the TV studio where Jack inexplicably starts kissing Gloria, who promptly decides he has to abandon Kitty and run away with her. These aren't great moments in cinema, but they have a peculiar sort of charm.
Grable and Dailey play Kitty and Dan with panache. (Fittingly for a story that starts with a radio performance, they recreated their roles for an hour-long radio adaptation of the film in 1952.) Mitzi Gaynor is admirably perky as Gloria, the tempting actress who does the ridiculous commercials on the Morans' television show. David Wayne and Jane Wyatt are solid as the friends who inspire Jack and Kitty to adopt a baby, and Una Merkel is excellent as a nice woman from the agency. The wonderful Louise Beavers gets to shine briefly as Selma, the Morans' sensitive and sympathetic maid. The film's title notwithstanding, its color scheme concentrates mainly on green, with blue and red in secondary roles; but the magic of Technicolor makes every hue look vibrant.
New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, a cinema snob to his bones, found My Blue Heaven to be "probably the gooiest and guckiest musical film from Twentieth Century-Fox in years," evidently pitched to "that audience which...gurgles and glees at the most elementary banalities that occur on the video screen." More recently, though, Leonard Maltin called it a "pleasing musicomedy" and Entertainment Weekly said it uses the "feckless heroine's ethereal charm as a springboard for elegant melodrama." Perhaps the most prescient review came from Variety in 1949, applauding "some highly entertaining goings-on" by the stars and declaring that "the real eye-catcher of the pic is a lush brunet youngster making her initial screen appearance. She's Mitzi Gaynor. She's long on terping and vocalizing." Few viewers today will disagree.
Director: Henry Koster
Producer: Sol C. Siegel
Screenplay: Lamar Trotti and Claude Binyon; based on a story by S.K. Lauren
Cinematographer: Arthur E. Arling
Film Editing: James B. Clark
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler, Joseph C. Wright
Music: Harold Arlen; lyrics by Ralph Blane; musical direction by Alfred Newman
Cast: Betty Grable (Kitty Moran), Dan Dailey (Jack Moran), David Wayne (Walter Pringle), Jane Wyatt (Janet Pringle), Mitzi Gaynor (Gloria Adams), Una Merkel (Irma Gilbert), Don Hicks (young man), Louise Beavers (Selma), Laura Pierpont (Mrs. Johnston)
C-97m. Closed Captioning.
by David Sterritt
My Blue Heaven (1950)
According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio purchased rights to S. K. Lauren's unpublished story "Storks Do Not Bring Babies" in May 1949 for $50,000. In a memo to studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, producer Sol Siegel regarded the property as potentially "one of the top comedy dramas of the year" and suggested Fred MacMurray as the lead. Zanuck responded that he saw it as a great vehicle for Grable and Dailey, that the "Pringles" might be played by Anne Revere and Percy Kilbride and "Selma" by Thelma Ritter. In October 1949, a Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Claude Binyon, who was to direct as well as write the picture, had been assigned to another project and that Henry Koster would now direct My Blue Heaven. On January 11, 1950, Hollywood Reporter stated that Koster had completed the dramatic sequences the day before and that the picture would shut down for two weeks while choreographer Billy Daniel rehearsed the musical numbers. Studio records reveal that in the pre-production stage, Daniel was preparing a number based on Ten Cents a Dance, but that number was not included in the final film. Early in February 1950, Phoebe and Henry Ephron wrote retakes and additional scenes for the film. Although actor Don Hicks has onscreen billing, his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. It is possible that he played the father of the baby girl the "Morans" adopt in a sequence that was shot but later discarded. Additionally, it has not been possible to confirm the participation of dancers Buddy Pryor and Irving Fulton, although they May be inside costumes in The Friendly Islands number. Mae Marsh, Kathleen Hughes and Gene Norman are listed by CBCS as appearing in the film, but their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. In late May 1950, Mitzi Gerber's name was changed to Mitzi Gaynor. My Blue Heaven was her first film. On February 25, 1952, Betty Grable and Dan Dailey appeared in a radio adaptation of My Blue Heaven on Lux Radio Theatre.