Saturday, April 24, 2021

On This Day...Penny Serenade (1941)

Today sees the release of Cary Grant's 39th film, Penny Serenade, back in 1941. It was his third and last film with Irene Dunne.


As Julie (Irene Dunne) prepares to leave her husband Roger (Cary Grant), she begins to play through a stack of recordings, each of which reminds her of events in their lives together. One of them is the song that was playing when she and Roger first met in a music store. 

Other songs remind her of their courtship, their marriage, their desire for a child, and the joys and sorrows that they have shared. A flood of memories comes back to her as she ponders their present problems and how they arose.

"Cary Grant turns in a surprise performance as he fills the dramatic requirements of his serious role."
Philip T. Hartung, The Commonweal

"Cary Grant is thoroughly good, in some ways to the point of surprise, for there is not only that easy swing and hint of the devil in him, but faith and passion expressed, the character held together where it might so easily have fallen into the component parts of too good, the silly, etc. His scene with the judge is one of the rightly moving things in the picture."
- Otis Ferguson, The New Republic.


 Irene Dunne ... Julie Gardiner
 Cary Grant ... Roger Adams
 Beulah Bondi ... Miss Oliver
 Edgar Buchanan ... Applejack
 Ann Doran ... Dotty
 Eva Lee Kuney ... Trina (at the Age of 6 Years)
Leonard Willey ... Doctor Hartley
 Wallis Clark ... Judge
Walter Soderling ... Billings
 Jane Biffle ... Trina (at the Age of 1 Year) 

Did You Know?

In a flagrant disregard of the then Production Code, it would appear that Irene Dunne and Cary Grant share a marital bed instead of separate ones. Also, there's an implication that the two have sex on a train, something unheard of in the morally hidebound 1940s.

Third of three movies that paired Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, following The Awful Truth (1937) and My Favorite Wife (1940). In all three, they played spouses.

Cary Grant, one of the cinema's greatest comedic actors, was only ever nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Actor, in both instances for lesser-known dramatic roles. This was one of them, followed three years later by None But the Lonely Heart (1944)

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 16, 1941 with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne reprising their film roles.

Cary Grant considered his role in this film as his best performance.

Irene Dunne once said, "One thing about Cary, he was afraid of sentiment. He was leery of a scene with the little girl in 'Penny Serenade' in which he had to break down and cry. The director, George Stevens, had to convince him that he would never regret having exposed his emotions."


Judge: [Judge firmly addressing two unseen attorneys] I'll give you an opportunity to better prepare your facts.
Man: [Hands Judge some papers] Adoption proceedings, the Adams case.
Judge: What?
Man: The Adams case.
Judge: [Looks disturbed] Oh yes, yes. Uh...
[turns back to attorneys]
Judge: if either one or both of you gentlemen conduct yourselves like you've been doing today I'll hold you in contempt, the both of ya!
Judge: [Walks into chambers, sees Roger, Miss Oliver, and the baby all seated. Sits at desk] Uh, oh this is the child in question. Ahem, let me see. Yes, I recall looking over these adoption papers. I see you have no income at present.
[Looks at Roger]
Judge: Is that correct?
Roger Adams: Yes your Honor.
Judge: Now what is this Miss Oliver? You know this case should never have come before me.
Miss Oliver: Well your Honor I feel that this is a special case. I kept hoping until the last minute Mr. Adams might be able to resume the operation of his paper or get a job. But unfortunately he hasn't been able to do either, so I thought...
Judge: Under these conditions I can't grant the adoption. This child will have to revert to the orphanage.
[Gestures to Roger]
Judge: Will you draw up a chair please while I prepare these release papers for you to sign? Just a matter of routine.
Roger Adams: If you please your Honor, it can't just be a matter of routine for people to have their baby taken away from them. This child is ours Judge...
Judge: [Interrupting] Those are the requirements of the law.
Roger Adams: Yes but you see we've had her since she was six weeks old. It just doesn't seem reasonable to give her back to-to-to strangers.
Judge: Mr. Adams, you're not here to plead your case. You've had the regular opportunity to prove your fitness to provide.
Roger Adams: We are fit Judge if you just look at the record.
Judge: Without any income I have no alternative. Didn't you make that clear Miss Oliver?
Miss Oliver: Yes your Honor I did, but I thought...
Judge: [Firmly] I'm sorry but that is the law.
Roger Adams: Look your Honor, she's not like an automobile or an icebox or a piece of furniture or something you buy on time and when you can't give up the payments they take it away from you!
[Baby starts to cry]
Roger Adams: Now sit still and be a good girl. Anyone could give up those kinds of things, but I ask you Judge how can you give up your own child? And she is our child just as much as if she'd been born to us!
[Baby continues crying]
Roger Adams: Now, now, Daddy's not going to go away.
[Baby stops crying and smiles]
Roger Adams: Look Judge, we've had her over a year now. Why we-we walked the floor with her when she had the colic. We've lost nights of sleep worrying every time she cut a tooth. We've gone through everything, everything real parents have with one of their own. Ask Miss Oliver here about the inspections we've had to have. Her-her weight charts, her vaccination certificates, h-her toys, her toothbrush! How many parents could keep one of their own and
[voice cracks]
Roger Adams: go through that? And you sit here and say it's a matter of routine for you to take her away from us.
Miss Oliver: Please! Mr. Adams...
Roger Adams: I'm sorry Judge, but we weren't as fortunate as most people. We would've had one of our own only-only... well you don't know how badly my wife wanted a child. It wasn't so important to me. I-I don't know, I suppose most men are like this but children never meant a great deal to me. Oh I liked them alright I suppose, but well what I'm trying to say is your Honor the first time I saw her... she looked so little and helpless. I didn't know babies were so-so little. And then she took a-hold of my finger and I held onto it. She-she just sort of walked into my heart Judge
[begins to cry]
Roger Adams: and-and she was there to stay. I didn't know I could feel like that! I'd always been well, kind of careless and irresponsible. I wanted to be a big shot. And I couldn't work for anybody, I had to be my own boss, that sort of thing. Now here I am standing in front of a judge pleading for just a little longer so that I can prove to you I can support a little child that doesn't weigh quite twenty pounds. It's not only for my wife and me I'm asking you to let us keep her Judge, it's for her sake too. She doesn't know any parents but us.
[starts sobbing]
Roger Adams: She wouldn't know what'd happened to her. You see there's so many little things about her that nobody would understand her the way Julie and I do. We love her Judge, please don't take her away from us. Look, I'm not a big shot now, I-I'll do anything, I'll work for anybody.
[Starts to break down]
Roger Adams: I-I'll beg, I'll borrow, I-I'll... please Judge I'll sell anything I've got until I get going again. And she'll never go hungry, she'll never be without clothes not so long as I've got two good hands so help me!
[Camera fades out as Judge, Roger, and Miss Oliver all ponder what has just been said]

Roger Adams: She's yours, dear. Ours, now and forever. Nothing can ever take her from us now.

Roger Adams: But we don't know anything about such little babies.
Miss Oliver: [Chuckling] Well, no one does until they have them.

Lobby Cards:

Directed by George Stevens.
Produced and Distributed by Columbia.
Running time: 120 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

On This Day...Cary Grant marries his fifth wife: Barbara Harris.

 Cary Grant married Barbara Harris on this date back in 1981.

With Jennifer Grant. They were married at their home in Beverly Grove.

They met in 1976 at the Lancaster Hotel in London, where Barbara Harris worked as a public relations executive. The hotel was hosting a Faberge trade show.

Cary Grant and Barbara Grant in her own words. She says it all!!

With Frank Sinatra.

With Jennifer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

On This Day...This Is The Night (1932).

 On 8th April 1932, Cary Grant made his film debut in the Paramount Picture...This Is The Night.
(see blog dated 8th April 2020).


An affair is almost exposed when Claire's husband (Cary Grant) unexpectedly returns early from Summer Olympics.

"...a perfectly ordinary and unformalised farce. The plot hardly worth repeating, for it is occupied only with the ritual humours of infidelity and intoxocation."
- The Times (London)


 Lili Damita ... Germaine
 Charles Ruggles ... Bunny West
 Roland Young ... Gerald Gray
 Thelma Todd ... Claire Mathewson
 Cary Grant ... Stephen Mathewson
 Irving Bacon ... Sparks

Did You Know?

Some prints of film have blue-tinted night scenes.

Film debut of Cary Grant.


Stephen Mathewson: Didn't you ever go in for athletics?
Bunny West: I used to jump at conclusions.

Claire Mathewson: [they are seated in the back of their car; Claire has had her dress torn by the car door] Gerald, aren't you going to do anything?
Gerald Gray: Here?
Claire Mathewson: No, no. I mean about discharging your chauffeur
Gerald Gray: Oh, oh let me keep him. I've let you keep your husband
Claire Mathewson: I haven't kept him
Gerald Gray: What?
Claire Mathewson: He left this morning
Gerald Gray: For good?
Claire Mathewson: No, no, for the Olympic Games at Los Angeles. He's in them, you know. Haven't you ever heard of Steve Mathewson, the javelin thrower?
Gerald Gray: Javelin thrower?
Claire Mathewson: ah ha
Gerald Gray: Do you mean those long, murderous harpoon things?
[she nods]
Gerald Gray: Claire, the moment you meet a man, right after you've said 'how do you do?' you should add 'my husband throws javelins'.

Lobby Cards:

Directed by Frank Tuttle.
Distributed by Paramount Publix.
Running time: 80 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.

Monday, April 5, 2021

On This Day... MY LIFE IN A YEAR WITH ARCHIE: One Year On!

So what has My Life In A Year With Archie been all about? Where to begin? How about at the beginning?

Well, simply….. it’s been about me, and him: Archie, Archie of course being none other than Archibald Alec Leach, better known as Cary Grant.

But why, you may ask? How did it start? Where is it going? Well…let’s start at the beginning...

The Start

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Cary Grant. He was the film star that both my grandparents adored and my parents grew up with.

There never was, and still hasn’t been, anyone on film quite like Cary Grant. Charlton Heston observed, “...he was without peer in films where he stood around in beautiful rooms, wearing beautiful clothes and saying beautiful things to beautiful women.”

Cary Grant famously admitted, “...everyone wants to be Cary Grant - even I want to be Cary Grant”.  And, I, like most males, wanted to be like Cary Grant. So, over the years, through film, we’ve stayed in touch.

Then, in late 2019, Archie became a more constant feature in my life.


In September 2019, I began to post more regularly on my Instagram account. I was pretty sure that, although people may be mildly interested in what I was getting up to, they didn’t necessarily want to see me doing it.

I decided, therefore, to bring along Archie. He would be the face of my life and my various observations on life.

So, on 27th September 2019, I posted my formula for living, which is quite simple… “I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can” - well, it was Cary Grant’s formula for living, which I adopted.

Then, over the following weeks, observations about various things… smiling, being kind, the weather, and even lunch, were accompanied by pictures of Archie laughing, doing a double-take or simply being…well…Archie.

For example, on 15th October 2019, under a picture of Cary and Grace Kelly picnicking in the 1955 film, To Catch A Thief, the caption read, ‘Wet, dark and cold!!! Walking to work aint no picnic!’ get the idea.

Then towards the back end of October, the posts became regular – there seemed to always be a different Cary Grant picture for every occasion.

So, when 2019 came to a close, I decided on 31st December, that I would challenge myself, to post a Cary Grant picture every day for the entire year, commencing on the 1st January 2020.

This officially was the start of My Life in A Year With Archie – little did we realise what 2020 was about to bring.

My Life In A Year With Archie Begins

January started off with the positive reminder, which was almost prophetic: to Keep Calm and Cary On!!

Then followed pictures of Archie, with captions again relating to life observations and key dates in both of our lives:

For example, on 8th January, I noted that I seemed to always work at Sheffield Odeon on the same day of the week. My post pictured Cary smiling through gritted teeth with the caption, ‘ In Sheffield today, must be Wednesday’.

Then, my post on 18th January, marked Cary Grant’s birth date with the caption of a reported exchange between Cary and a journalist who asked “How old Cary Grant?"  “Old Cary Grant fine, how are you?"

Notably, with all these early posts – January, February and March – I was getting 2 or 3 likes from friends who were sympathetically following my private account.

Then, as March came around, the decision was to go public. Timing was impeccable: the UK entered its first lockdown, on 23rd March, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

My Life In A Year With Archie in Lockdown.

From March, my posts took on a new dimension: they were not only highlighting mine and Archie’s life events, film releases, etc; now they were also documenting life in lockdown.

By April 10th, life was already very different, days merged, so much so that, with a tuxedoed Cary holding his hand over his eyes, my caption read: ‘Don’t tell me, let me guess! It’s Saturday…no Wednesday…no, no, I give up! What day is it?’

Life certainly was different.

Posts were already playing a role in keeping my sanity intact whilst staying locked down, but, as I had more time on my hands, and I’d gotten into a good swing with posts, I decided to enter the world of the blogger.

The Blog and a Turning Point

On 5th April 2020, my Instagram posts were now being complemented with my My Life In A Year With Archie blog.

The blog posts went into more detail of the things I’d mentioned on Instagram, such as more information on film releases. I also began to use the blog as a form of scrapbooking of things relating to Cary Grant’s life and career, along with my ever-growing collection of Cary Grant memorabilia.

I have to say, at this point, the Instagram and blog posts were primarily for me: to entertain me, keep me busy and give me that 5 minutes of ‘Me-time’.

Then, on 11th April, came a turning point: after posting a picture of Cary complete with horsetail wig, from the 1949 film, I Was a Male War Bride, along with my caption ‘I’m beginning to regret the decision not to have a pre-lockdown haircut’, my Instagram posts began to record more and more likes. The fact that other people were also enjoying my posts was an added bonus.


By the end of December 2020, a full year of Instagram posts was completed – and, interestingly, the last post of the year was my most popular with currently over 260 likes.

My blog now has more than 27,000 views and on 5th April 2021, was 1 year old.

And here we are.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone who is a Cary Grant fan who would like to contribute their thoughts on Cary, his life and career – please get in touch at

Don’t forget to check out my My Life In A Year With Archie Instagram account @mylifeinayearwitharchie.

So, keep well and happy thoughts...

If you would like to hear the Podcast version of this blog, check out the link below:

Friday, April 2, 2021

On This Day...Big Brown Eyes (1936)

 Cary Grant's 22nd full length film was Big Brown Eyes, and was released on this date back in 1936. It was his first of two films starring alongside Joan Bennett.


Sassy manicurist Eve Fallon (Joan Bennett) is recruited as an even more brassy reporter and she helps police detective boyfriend Danny Barr (Cary Grant) break a jewel theft ring and solve the murder of a baby.

"The one faint disappointment was the work of Cary Grant, who seemed slightly ill at ease as the two fisted detective. Grant has turned in one capable performance after another. In this, he somehow didn't click. Perhaps it is that his innate good breeding subconsciously rebels against the role of a good-natured plebian. But don't misunderstand. His portrayal offered no point of criticism; it simply had, with the exception of one scene, nothing to recommend it. But watch for his brief little impersonation of a girl friend on the make, a clever bit of pantomime."
- Paul Jacobs, Hollywood Spectator


 Cary Grant ... Danny Barr
 Joan Bennett ... Eve Fallon
 Walter Pidgeon ... Richard Morey
 Lloyd Nolan ... Russ Cortig
Alan Baxter ... Cary Butler
 Marjorie Gateson ... Mrs. Cole
 Isabel Jewell ... Bessie Blair
Douglas Fowley ... Benny Battle
 Henry Brandon ... Don Butler (as Henry Kleinbach)
 Joe Sawyer ... Jack Sully
 Dolores Casey ... Cashier
 Doris Canfield ... Myrtle
 Edwin Maxwell ... Editor

Did You Know ?

Cary Grant's first of two films with Joan Bennett. The second was Wedding Present released in the same year ,1936.


Danny Barr: [stopping Eve from telephoning] Wait a minute, will you, honey?
[Eve smacks his hand from the phone]
Danny Barr: Oh, how I wish you were a man!
Eve Fallon: Same to you.

Danny Barr: Why don't you listen to reason?
Eve Fallon: I'm not in the listening mood. My ears are tired.

Eve Fallon: Where are you going?
Danny Barr: I don't know yet. I haven't made up my mind.
Eve Fallon: Can I go with you?
Danny Barr: Where?
Eve Fallon: Where you're going.
Danny Barr: Well, I just told ya. I don't know where I'm going.
Eve Fallon: Well, when do you leave?
Danny Barr: I don't know that either.
Eve Fallon: Well, why can't you take me along?
Danny Barr: Where?
Eve Fallon: That's what I'm asking you.
Danny Barr: I'm asking you that.
Eve Fallon: Say, who's going - you or me?
Danny Barr: Where?
Eve Fallon: I don't know. I'm not going - you are.
Danny Barr: Well look, what time is it?
Eve Fallon: What time does your train leave?
Danny Barr: How do you know I'm going by train? I might be going by boat.
Eve Fallon: What kind of a boat?
Danny Barr: I don't know. I haven't seen it yet.

Lobby Cards and Posters:

"Big Dark Eyes" - Italian.

"Miss Detective" - Swedish.

Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Running time: 76 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.