"So treat me rough, muss my hair. Don't you dare to handle me with care. I'm no innocent child Baby, keep on treatin' me wild. Treat me rough, kiss my cheek. Kiss and hug and squeeze me till I'm weak. I've been pampered enough Baby, keep on treatin' me rough."

June in Tampa

June visited Tampa in 1993, and a year later I celebrated that visit with the creation of an Allyson roll-in for my 13-week series that summer on Tampa public access.  I later sent her a copy of the season premier, and her response constitutes my one and only fan letter in 15 years of access cablecasting.  I therefore cannot hesitate to share the story ...
My series' first program wanted mostly to tell what the term Contra Limbo was about.  Because it was a season's first I also had to explain the roll-in, entailing the inclusion of about 15 minutes of a message of mine from 1993.  For her fans (and probably all posterity), the most interesting and reproducible part of the 1994 program was in fact that 1-minute roll-in, so I will start with it - visualized as set to the scrolling tune above.  Even though we will have to wait for it's formal description farther along.
                 
1994: 7:15.  In today's program we have like what we call in studio theater a warm-up session, in order to get rid of old unfinished business, or to kind of set you up for what's going to be happening.  One of the elements of the program I think you may want to know about is particularly the roll-in - a roll-in with June Allyson: why or how does that particularly relate to this series.  I mean its not what you would expect as the lead-in to set of ass-kicking social action programs.  And so since this is a first program, and the roll-in is kind of a long story, I'd like to tell it this one time and then never have to talk about that again.  What it really does is to pick-up some unfinished business from last year.  Ella Geisman, alias June Allyson, visited Tampa March 13th last year as part of a UCH healthcare seminar for seniors ... (continues and includes the "Bride Goes Wild"segment from 1993 shown below: then ...)
21:39  I did attend at the appointed time and enjoyed her appearance at the hospital.  Now you have to realize we are not quite looking at the person we saw (in the Bride Goes Wild clip), but my feeling was that every bit of that personality and that charm was still there.  And actually for a person who last year was 76 years old, I thought was looking pretty good. 
That was the weekend that brought the fiercest storms I've experienced in Tampa, which had blown down all University's tents and outdoor exhibits.  So after her speech indoors, and the celebrity question & answer period, it was time for autographs.  If you put up a close-up on this thing, this is the one that I got.  The entire line involved about a hundred people in which, having been in the first row I was about fifth (for autographs).  Now for those of us who have not been to live programs involving senior movie stars ...  What they do at the beginning is play tapes of the highlights of their movies to remind or inform their old or just acquired - which means just trucked in - fans as to what the star has done. 
So at the end of the (video highlights), the audio system is loaded with movie soundtrack for playback during the autographing.  I should also mention that while Allyson was lunching privately with her (UCH) sponsors before the program, I did try to send her a copy (of which I brought several) of my 1993 script .  so whether that was delivered or not, I was known to the hospital staff and the Security people as having attempted an unorthodox approach to one of their most important properties of the day. 
I mention all of this because just as I approached the table where she sat for autographing, the background sound system went to a level not conducive to conversation  startling, but not necessarily in my case fatal.  So I told her, up close, that we had been looking forward to her visit, and talking about it, and handed her another of the folded scripts which she started to open.  I asked her to read it later, since there were lot's more people in the line, and she went on to write me this autograph.  While she was writing, she happened to wonder out loud if the sound that was booming out at us was from anything I particularly liked.  And I said it was OK, but for a short piece what I really enjoyed was the opening song from Girl Crazy. 
And when I said that, what she did was she tilted back in the chair and shot me for a second or two the full Allyson smiling face.  Which I have to say was like CinemaScope in my brain: I mean it was still there: she could do it.  I'm saying here's a woman who at 76 had a face that was not (now usually) the same face as you may remember in the movie (below), but she was able to re-do that face at will when she smiled. 
I thought that was pretty good.  It was like - you may recall the Bill Bixby play several years ago called Steambath.  Where the place was in fact Limbo - well, Purgetory - it may be a little vague on that.  And the Puerto Rican locker boy in fact was God, whose identity is rejected by the several transient souls in current passage.  So the locker guy who resembled Cheech Marin gives us, on the spot, a full minor Ascension.  I mean he levitates, surrounded by clouds and cherubim and flutes and ornamental brass.  It was wonderful. 
So what I think you may have felt, without having any reason for it of course except that the editing was so clever  you may have felt actually that  opening roll-in touched a little bit on some kind of a reality, without really hearing this much of the story.  But I have commemorated (my) Allyson moment with that video interpretation (of it).  In which she looks back from the pinnacle of her Technicolor career in 1948 - very realistically - at just her second movie appearance n 1942.  There is a little bit to say about that movie for people who are majoring in movies.  you might actually want to see the whole thing. 
Girl Crazy:  Allyson's name is way down low in the cast what you saw was her only contribution to the film.  It was really a Judy Garland - Mickey Rooney film which had a terrific Busby Berkely Western musical finale.  The number you saw at the front was really done in two parts.  Allyson did the first part, which sort of recreated the part that she had done on Broadway.  And she did it very much in the straight stand up Betty Hutton walk up to the camera and belt it out type of presentation.
Then in the film itself hers was actually followed immediately by Mickey Rooney having a chorus of the same song.  Remember Mickey who she grabbed by the collar.  Mickey was called to the stage where there were a "hundred beautiful women" surrounding him and he had a chance to do a (pampered) male version of the same tune.  In which then he wound up getting roughed up.  But it represented a transition from how a song might be done on Broadway, as to how the song may be done on the West Coast.  So it's interesting actually if you like to follow the evolution of these things, at least how the film industry understood them.  ...
                 
1993:  14:34: What I'd like to tell you about today (while it's still timely) is that sometime this month (in March) we will be visited by a fairly celebrated old-timer. I'm not going to mention her stage name, but she was born (per Variety's Who's Who in Show Business (rev 1989)) 'Ella Geisman' on October 7th in 1917, so this year in October she will be 76 years old.  And I'm sure that here as well as in Orlando there have been many audiences of approximately my age (or even older) that have looked forward to seeing her.  Now, Ella actually peaked (so to speak) in the decade from 1943 to 1952.  But she peaked (in a way) with just 20 films over 10 years (or 2 a year) that she became a national institution.  I won't mention all of her films, but in a moment I'll show a clip from one of them.
(read from Current Biographies 1952p 15) "In a nationwide survey conducted by the Motion Picture Bureau in 1946, she was chosen as the "Most Typical American Girl," and editors of 20 college papers voted her 1947's "Most Lovable Movie Actress."  Selected as one of the five top women stars in Photoplay's polls from 1947 through 1950, she was also named second to Bette Davis as the most popular feminine star in Women's Home Companion's 1949 and 1950 polls.  According to Boxoffice magazine's yearend survey, she was United State's moviegoers' favorite star in 1950."
16:23:  I want to add to that (as part of the clip that I'm going to show, that) currently I have been particularly an admirer of (the program) Cheers. and as a Roman Catholic you know we are not established as teetotalers.  So the fact that a tavern might be the place where everyone knows your name" is not at least either unnatural or immoral to most of us.  The clip we have here will indicate how Ella played the part in a bar) seduction scene with an actor named Van Johnson.  The movie was called The Bride Goes Wild.  Now for all the episodes of Cheers that I've seen that had to do with seduction under the influence of alcohol, I have never seen actually one that (well, to me at least) was this entertaining.
(roll clip: from Allyson char: "Another one; why not!" to Johnson's char: "Miss Terryton, come back: you'll fall down.")

"Bruce was away at Penn State at the time, and naturally when this man told me it was grape juice I believed him. He was a surveyor. The increditabilty of a sixteen-year old girl; really Mr Rawlins. ... To make a long story short, I made quite a spectacle of myself: I remember I couldn't stop giggling. My Aunt Susan and My Aunt Putie were scandalized; after I came to my senses so was I. So you see Mr Rolin, I mustn't drink, not even a drop."

"Do you know why? tell you why. My father drank. He was an artist: he's deceased. The scandelous things he would do. Really Mr. Rawlington, you have no idea. He was always running off, with my mother with him. She's deceased too. Once they went to Paris and had lunch over a cafe. So you see Mister (?), that's why I must never, ever, .."

"Bruce. I'll watch my own tendencies. Viligent, that's what - ever viligent - you blew in my ear. Well, don't you think that's a little bit - intimate? I'm glad that you agree with me. What was I saying? Tendencies. Viligent, ever viligent. You did it again. (I couldn't resist, after all I'm only flesh.) What's that? (Coffee Tasmainian - this round is on me, with the good brandy}. Brandy? (imported) Why you trickster - (I'm awful sorry, Uncle Bumps) ..."

21:10: In addition to this segment of comedy she has also been responsible for some fine work in period productions.  Particularly she was nominated for (Oscar's) best actress for her part as Jo March in Little Women (but didn't happen to win); she has also been featured in that phenomenon called the (MGM) "musical," which for folks who wanted to enjoy that genre', was virtually limited to Metro Goldwyn Meyer products.

21:53: I could for instance mention, if you happen to be in Los Angeles (as I had been ten years ago), there's a theater on Wilshire Boulevard just within a block west of MacArthur Park, where you can find folks (if there happen to be one of these musicals in progress) who will actually (if maybe a Judy Garland or Lena Home number is on) persistently applaud (at the end) in the darkened theater.  As though that performance had been just for them: and of course there's no performer there to hear that response.
22:41: But, this is a level of enthusiasm that can't be altogether strange. You have to remember that for a lot of folks who come from the 40's or 50's, we didn't have television and we didn't have much money, and there weren't very many ways to experience public entertainment.  So a lot of roles and models in our lives were formed by those people you now see principally on the Tumer network. So what we have is that Ella will be here in Tampa as guest of a program by the University Community Hospital called Senior Celebration
Here we rejoin the 1994 program, above:
                 
2002 postscript:  Since first published, I have come to suspect the interpretation of June advanced here would be pleasantly enhanced by parts from at least two other films.  That being a delightful romp with her husband called The Reformer and the Redhead. Two scenes with Richard: the scripts and just one (there being no visual progress) still from each.  In the diner eating a burger, and in a cab on the morpholgy of dating.  Also we need a running copy of After the Show.
I sent June a copy of 94q3no1 for Christmas, and received her note around Valentine's Day (prepared I think on her kitchen table).  As that hour program was not all given to the materials shown above, I am sure her praise tends to include some for these other items.  The 1994 program finished with trailers from my annual location shoots at Tampa's Seminole Presbyterian Church (and Middle School).  There were four, so effectively Seminole's 1994 class was followed thru its career with the Music Department. I have also shown what survives of the poster I put up at Access, and am really pleased at how well my roll-in has "travelled" to the present time and the present media.  The thought of referring to June as "Ella" (or vice versa) began its travel for me with a Collier's cover story in the 50's, and seems to work even well on the "Official" site.  I thank you for your time, and attention;  Joe D.
     
  A Career that began once upon a dare...  
     
  Thankfully, she was up for the challenge!  
  Otherwise, Ella Geisman from New York  
  would never have become the world's  
     
  June Sign.gif (3282 bytes)

June Allyson

 
   
   
   
   
from "The Official June Allyson Site."
return to Allyson without Tears