Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

The Day Van Johnson Sent My Aunt Ruth to the Fainting Couch

Happy Birthday to the fabulous and insanely underrated Van Johnson, the light, romantic leading man with hidden depths. Though actually they weren’t hidden at all—they were pretty much right there, even in his breezier roles, but especially in weightier films such as Battleground, The End of the AffairMiracle in the Rain and A Guy Named Joe. If you’re not familiar with that Van, treat yourself to a binge some rainy Saturday.

johnson-2

Or ask my Aunt Ruth about him. And then get ready to catch her.

My aunt is terrified of doctors, and every year, when she has to go get her physical, she treats herself to a trip to Bloomingdale’s afterward, to pick up a perfume or a pillow, something fabulous and frivolous to smooth away the memory of cold tables and cotton hospital gowns. And one year, a miracle happened. There she was in the Linens section, fondling the fancy sheets, when she looked up and straight into the eyes of… Van Johnson, her favorite actor from the time she was 14. He was starring on Broadway in La Cage Aux Folles.

Well, oh my God. From everything she told us later, it was clear they talked for quite a while. I have this wonderful image of tall, dashing Van regaling Ruth with tales of old Hollywood. And Ruth, all five feet of her plus a few inches of bun, teetering in her pumps and hanging onto a rack of blankets to keep from fainting. 

When she got home that day, she made straight for our house. She walked, or kind of wobbled, into the living room, all woozy, and threw herself across the sofa like Greta Garbo in Camille.  She had just come from the doctor, so we were like, “Oh my God! It must be something horrible!”

My mother ran and got the Harvey’s Bristol Cream, pretty much the elixir of life in our house, and Ruth clung to her glass and composed herself. “What? What is it?” we asked her, as she still struggled to catch her breath. Finally she told us.

“I just saw Van Johnson in luxury bedding.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Diabolical Blog Of Joe DeVito

Laugh at the serious stuff + stare blankly at the jokes

MovieMovieBlogBlog II

A continuation of moviemovieblogblog.wordpress.com...More of my thoughts on movies and pop culture

ladysilky

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Eddie Selover

The Art of Communications

supervistaramacolorscope

Movie & TV stuff by Mel Neuhaus

Ephemeral New York

Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts

The Old Hollywood Garden

Come take a walk with me in Old Hollywood. There's so much to talk about!

"fate keeps on happening"

"Going to the fortune teller's was just as good as going to the opera, and the cost scarcely a trifle more - ergo, I will disguise myself and go again, one of these days, when other amusements fail." - Mark Twain, Letter to Orion Clemens, February 6, 1861

Making a Cinephile

All things film-related.

cracked rear viewer

Fresh takes on retro pop culture

cinemaclaco

über Film und Kinos in Leipzig

OldMoviesaregreat

Old Movies are best

The Film Noir Guy

Film noir off the beaten path

Well, Here's Another Nice Mess . . .

Random, Rambling, Ruminations . . .

Etcetera

Thoughts from my perfectly-wrecked brain

Abstractly Distracted

'So many thoughts, so little concentration.'

SCENTS MEMORY

Wear what you love, not what they say you should like.

%d bloggers like this: