Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Van Johnson's 100th (and I'm Late!)

Van Johnson was simply one of those people who was instantly likeable.  The strawberry-blonde hair, blue eyes, big smile and red socks, always the red socks.  He could both sing and dance in musicals and impress with dramatic roles.  He went from being an uncredited chorus boy in Too Many Girls (1940) to a box office success in the mid-40s (even to the point of being assigned Robert Montgomery's former dressing room at MGM.)  

          Van Johnson, b. August 25, 1916, d. Dec. 12, 2008 (age 92) 

It was his role in A Guy Named Joe (1943) with Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne that jump started his career.  My favorite Johnson roles are:  the ever resourceful and knowing Tech. Sgt in Command Decision (1948) with Clark Gable and Walter Pidgeon; the sardonic pal of Gene Kelly in Brigadoon (1954); and in the same year, the earnest, not quite that bright but capable Lt. Maryk in Caine Mutiny.  He really was a good actor, but just never got the credit for it.

I remember him fondly from his appearances on The Tonight Show.  Always entertaining, wearing that big smile, sometimes a tad tipsy with a drink in hand, and wearing those red socks ... always. 

No comments: