Tuesday, January 27, 2015

JIMMY STEWART

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I reviewed It's A Wonderful Life (click HERE for review), I mentioned that I might write a post with details about the great Jimmy Stewart.  In keeping with my new policy of attempting to kind of follow through with my mentionings, here's the Jimmy Stewart post. Some of this info is stuff I happen to know, and some of it comes from Wikipedia.

James Maitland Stewart was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, on May 20th, 1908. His father owned a hardware store. Jimmy was expected to take over the store one day. It didn't happen. Instead, Mr. Stewart eventually displayed his son's Academy Award in the window of the store.

  • Jimmy's first experience with acting came during his prep school days at The Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. You might recognize the name of this school. It is The Hurricane's alma mater; she also acted for the first time at the academy. 
  • When Jimmy Stewart was a student at the academy, it was a boys' school. No girls allowed.
  • Jimmy went to Princeton following his prep school graduation. He majored in architecture, but soon found himself drawn to the theater department.
  • He graduated from Princeton in 1932. 
  • Jimmy had parts in some plays on Broadway. Most of these productions were not successful.
  • MGM signed him to a contract in 1935.
  • Jimmy Stewart made ninety-two movies. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1941 for The Philadelphia Story.


Jimmy Stewart with Katharine Hepburn in
The Philadelphia Story.




  • Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda were close friends.
  • Jimmy married Gloria Hatrick McLean in 1949. They were married until her death in 1994.
  • He joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. My dad was a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps. Jimmy did not need my father to teach him how to fly. He was already an excellent pilot.*
  • He flew many missions and enlisted in the Air Force Reserves, as did my father. 
  • Jimmy became a Brigadier General in 1959, the year I was born.
  • He died in 1997 at age eighty-nine.
Jimmy Stewart is my all-time favorite actor. He made so many movies I love that I can't possibly recount them all. It's A Wonderful Life is my favorite movie. My favorite Hitchcock movie is Rear Window, which starred Stewart and Grace Kelly. 

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
You Can't Take It With You
Destry Rides Again
Rope
Harvey

Oh, how I love Harvey, the rabbit only Elwood P. Dowd can see. I think my children's favorite Jimmy Stewart movie is The Spirit of St. Louis. They discovered it on AMC and insisted that I watch it when it came on again. I had never seen it. There's no such thing as a Jimmy Stewart movie that I don't love--except I've never liked Vertigo, so let's not talk about it.

In his later years, I remember Jimmy Stewart sometimes reading his poetry on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.




The poem Beau still makes me tear up.

God bless you, Jimmy Stewart. I'm grateful I can still watch your movies, you tall drink of water at six feet, three inches, just like Favorite Young Man. I think I miss Faulkner as much as you missed Beau.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



*I did not mean to give the impression that my father knew Jimmy Stewart. They both happened to be in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and then both were in the Air Force Reserves. If my dad had been Jimmy Stewart's buddy, I would never stop telling you about it. I would write a post about their friendship every single day.

22 comments:

  1. Oh, I love that man!
    *she says as she wipes her eyes after hearing Beau again*
    He has always been my favorite actor, too. :)

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  2. I have always loved Jimmy Stewart

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  3. He's always been a favorite of mine & Bud's!!

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  4. It’s the first time I’ve seen this video,
    And I have to admit I think it is grand.
    It saddens me to think my CJ will one day go
    And I will never again feel him under my hand.

    No other dog has had this effect
    On either Judy or me;
    The feelings are deep and we detect
    A love too sweet to be.

    Enough of this bullshit. I love my dog like I have never loved anything else in this life. It is not the same as the love for Judy or my kids or the Waffle House, but just as strong.

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  5. Hey was one of my favorites too. I liked Little shop around the corner, or whatever it was called.
    Good reviews, Janie.

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  6. Are you saying that your father served along side Jimmy Stewart? I like Jimmy Stewart a lot as an actor (don't/didn't know a lot about him personally, which helps with any artist). Though you said not to talk about it, I like Vertigo a lot, my weak spot in his oeuvre is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Not because of him, he was fine, but that movie rubbed me the wrong way (probably because that's not how politics or government works anymore, and probably not even then). But seriously, did you your dad pal around with Jimmy freaking Stewart? And how did Jimmy Stewart fit comfortably on a plane in order to pilot one at that height?

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  7. Hi, Janie! I happened to be watching The Tonight Show the night Jimmy read that touching poem about his dog Beau. It made me cry then and again now. Any dog lover, you and I included, can relate to the deep feeling and the sense of loss. Thank you for posting that classic clip.

    My favorite Jimmy Stewart performance was as lawyer Paul Biegler in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder. The scene in which Biegler explodes in the courtroom and tips over his chair is one of the greatest and most realistic I ever witnessed. I never sat down and decided on a favorite actor but, if I ever do, Jimmy Stewart will be near the top of the list.

    Thank you, dear Janie, and enjoy your Tuesday!

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  8. That's a very cool connection between Jimmy and your dad.
    Rear Window is my favorite Hitchcock movie too. I often think about it when I'm glancing out a window and see people in the windows I'm looking towards. It's so good. Jimmy and Katherine set the screen on fire.

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  9. The Jimmy Stewart fan club. And, Vertigo is at the bottom of my list, too.

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  10. I think the only one I've seen is Rear Window. When I was little, I used to watch old movies. Now it's 1960s to present . . .

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  11. Janie, you made me cry already this morning. Jimmy Stewart is so incredible. What other person in this world has a voice that is so readily recognized as he? And the reminder of Johnny Carson was fun as well. Great post.

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  12. Jimmy Stewart is one of my faves too. He elevated any movie in which he appeared. And hey, Janie, you're two years younger than me, girl!

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  13. Oh, I loved the movie Harvey. I think it must be one of my all time faves :)

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  14. I love Jimmy Stewart. I cry every time I watch him read that poem.

    -andi

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  15. He always gave a compelling performance and did a magnificent job of showing the strengths and pitfalls of the average American guy when placed in extraordinary circumstances.

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  16. People who excel often are outstanding at more than one thing. I think Jimmy Stewart falls in that category.

    Though I never knew him personally, he always gave me the impression that he was a stand-up guy, a gentleman and kind. If any of that was wrong, then he was an even better actor than I first thought!

    I can't even think of one movie he did that I didn't like. Gosh, I wish we had about ten more of him right now. There's never enough "class" to go around.

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  17. Ok-Jimmy Stewart is my favourite actor and It's A Wonderful Life is my favourite film! We connect with this!:) I had the pleasure of going to his hometown last July and loved every minute of it. He loved to joke, was a prankster when he lived with Henry Fonda and had a strong love for Margaret Sullivan who was married briefly to Henry Fonda. That love was never requited. When I see pictures of Gloria Hatrick MacLean and Margaret Sullivan the similarity is striking (at least to me). I have his book of poems and I weep every time I listen to Jimmy recite his poem about Beau (I put this in my blog a while back). He is one film star who truly had a wonderful life. He was decorated for his services in WW2 and was an outstanding pilot. At one time, his plane was hit and it was certain they would crash but Jimmy kept his cool and landed the plane to the amazement of the other pilots. He was faithful, steadfast and true. I love Rear Window and I do enjoy Vertigo but not quite sure why it is held in such high esteem....not getting it. Glad you gave a nice homage to the great James Stewart.

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  18. Welp, you're right. Should not have watched that. Not sending it to Boyfriend. Need tissue.

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  19. It's interesting that you don't like Vertigo. I hear that mentioned in a few best-movie-of-all-time lists.

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  20. We watched "Spirit of St. Louis" over the week-end! Never had watched it before and enjoyed it very much. xo Nellie

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  21. We watched "Spirit of St. Louis" over the week-end for the first time and really enjoyed it. xo Nellie

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  22. My hubby and I watch It's A Wonderful Life every year at Christmas. It has become one of our traditions.

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