Sunday, August 29, 2010

As a kid I marveled at the concept that someone well known or famous came from the same town or area in which I lived.

Although I was born in Roswell New Mexico, I never considered it my hometown. As a service kid, I attended kindergarten, first and second grade in Springfield, Mass., third grade in Montgomery, Al., part of fourth in Rantoul, Ill., the second half of fourth and the first half of fifth in Hadley, Mass., the second half of fifth in Greenville, Calif. and my sixth, seventh and apart of eighth grades in the Department of Defense schools on Okinawa.

Springfield was always where I considered home and if someone asked what was my hometown, Springfield was my response.

Although I spent my high school and college years living in Granby, Mass., Springfield is my hometown.

When I became interested in film during junior high school, I was very intrigued to discover the show business connections to the area and Springfield. Among those was Eleanor Powell, who was born and raised in the city.

Now I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but there are some performers who are just electric on screen. I’m a fan of Fred Astaire, for instance and I love those early 1930s Warner Brothers musicals with the over-the-top numbers of Busby Berkley.

What bowled me over with Powell was that she danced like no other woman on the screen at the time. She had a kind of athleticism the other female dancers lacked. Strikingly attractive, she made what she did looked so easy and effortless, while of course anyone watching her perform would know it was the product of grueling work.

Powell’s time of the screen was relatively short, compared to some of her contemporaries. She basically retired from film in 1944 while still a young woman.

She does have fans today, thanks to her films being broadcast on Turner Classic Movies. If you’ve not seen one of her films, do yourself a favorite and haunt the TCM Web site to see when one will be on.

Here is the official Web site for Powell

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