Our Unbiased Opinion: So Long, Patty Andrews

13 Feb

I grew up on movies.  I went to see them with my dad in the theater almost every weekend growing up, and we watched even more at home.  By the time I was in high school, I was going to Blockbuster every Monday and picking out three movies I wanted to watch that week.  But when I was a kid, it was my parents that did the picking out.  This is why I still watch Abbot and Costello, Bob Hope, and Disney films.  Those were a large chunk of my childhood.  There was nothing I would rather do as a child than watch Lou Costello bumble his way through the military.  Or a riverboat.  Or an African safari.

This upbringing also left me with a deep appreciation for classic musicals.  And musical numbers in classic movies.  Most of the best Abbot and Costello films (and the Bob Hope and Big Crosby films) featured musical sequences even though the films themselves were not musicals.  And the ones that always stuck with me featured the Andrews Sisters.  These three sisters appeared in Buck PrivatesHold That Ghost, and In the Navy (the first Abbot and Costello film I ever saw).  And they were fantastic.

The-andrew-sisters

Mostly known for their boogie-woogie and swing hits, these three sisters from Minnesota remain one of the biggest selling groups of all time.  According to Wikipedia, they have sold somewhere between 75 and 100 million records.  And they continue to sell today.

The first time I watched In the Navy, I was struck by two things.  First, that it was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen.  And secondly, that the Andrews Sisters were amazing.  Their harmony was incredible, their presence was captivating.  And the sister that always stood out was Patty.  Patty was blonde (at least some of the time), while her sisters were both brunettes.  Patty was the youngest.  Patty always stood in the middle.  And Patty was definitely the star.

Patty played the unattainable love interest for Lou Costello throughout In the Navy.  She unwittingly caused him to do some of the funniest and dumbest things in the film.  But when she would sing, it wasn’t just Costello that forget what he was doing.

Patty Andrews

As I continued to grow up and watch more movies, I continued to see Patty and her sisters.  Their other two Abbot and Costello appearances are just as good as In the Navy (Buck Privates might even be better).  And once our family had exhausted the Abbot and Costello films we moved on to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.  The Road to… films that Hope and Crosby did are classic comedies that I enjoy to this day.  And one of the most fun things about them are the appearances of the other celebrities.  Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin showed up.  Peter Sellers played an Indian physician at one point.  And the Andrews Sisters appeared as themselves in Road to Rio.  I was excited to see (and hear) them again.  And while this is the only film that Crosby appeared in with the sisters, they made numerous records together.

For a long time I thought those were the only films I had seen with Patty and her sisters in them.  Only recently did I learn that they provided the songs for two Disney shorts that I grew up watching.  Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet (in which two hats fall in love in a department store and are then seperated) and Little Toot (about a young and immature tugboat).

I could go on, but I’m trying to say that Patty Andrews had a big impact on my childhood and on my love of film that is still so very much a part of my life.  She was the last surviving sister, but she passed away on January 30th.  She was just 17 days shy of her 95th birthday.

Thanks for all the music, fun, and laughter Patty.  We’ll all miss you.

andrews_sisters

– david

“Gimme Some Skin”, from In the Navy.

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