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The Minstrel's Shakedown - the villainous Van Johnson with his gang versus Batman and Robin

The Minstrel’s Shakedown

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The Minstrel’s Shakedown / Barbecued Batman? Batman season 2

Van Johnson appears in “The Minstrel’s Shakedown“. He’s both musician and electronic genius. He plans on blackmailing the Gotham City Stack exchange for $250,000 — weekly!

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Two Girls and a Sailor

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Two Girls and a Sailor, starring Van Johnson, Gloria DeHaven, June Allyson, Jimmy Durante

Synopsis of Two Girls and a Sailor

Emmy-nominee Van Johnson (“Too Young to Kiss,” “Thrill of a Romance“), Golden Globe-winner June Allyson (“Too Young to Kiss,” Little Women“) and Gloria Dehaven (“The Yellow Cab Man,” So This is Paris“) take part in a romance where one sister falls in love with a World War II sailor, but the sailor finds himself in love with the other sister instead.

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High Barbaree [Van Johnson, June Allyson]

High Barbaree (1947) starring Van Johnson, June Allyson, Thomas Mitchell, Marilyn Maxwell

Synopsis

At it’s heart, High Barbaree is the story of a young man who gives up on his dreams, regrets it, and tries to turn around. As two World War II airmen are shot down, afloat in the ocean, one of them (Van Johnson) tells the other his story. The story of High Barbaree.

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In the Good Old Summertime

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In the Good Old Summertime (1949) starring Van Johnson, Judy Garland, S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Buster Keaton

Synopsis

In the Good Old Summertime is the story of two clerks in a turn of the 20th century Chicago sheet-music store. They’re intensely antagonistic toward each other at work. But unknown to them, they’re getting very chummy as pen pals. It’s a musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner.

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Too Many Girls

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Too Many Girls (1940), starring Lucille Ball, Richard Carlson, Desi Arnaz, Ann Miller, Eddie Bracken, Frances Langford, Hal Le Roy

Synopsis

Spoiled heiress Connie Casey (Lucille Ball) goes off to college. Unknown to her, her father secretly sends along four Ivy League football stars as her bodyguards. In no time, they turn tiny Pottawatomie U into a gridiron powerhouse! Fast-paced and funny, Too Many Girls is celebrated for its George Abbott-produced Broadway roots, its buoyant Rodgers and Hart score, and the movie debuts of three talents from the original stage version: Eddie Bracken, Van Johnson and Desi Arnaz. It’s also where Desi met the film’s leading lady, Lucille Ball.

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Divorce American Style

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Divorce American Style (1967), starring Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds, Jason Robards

Synopsis for Divorce American Style

 After 17 years, things have got too predictable and stale. They argue, they visit a marriage counselor, Richard (drunk) visits a prostitute. They split up. After meeting other people, they are re-united at a night club where they realize that their marriage was better than their divorce.

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Yours, Mine and Ours

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Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson, Tom Bosley

 I can honestly say that  Yours, Mine and Ours  is one of my family’s favorite movies.   It’s a wonderful story, about the merging of two large families. The Beardsley family of ten children, with the widowed father played by  Henry Fonda. And the North family of eight children, with the widowed mother played by  Lucille Ball).   First comes the courtship of the father and mother… Awkwardly, clumsily, with the very understandable resentment of the children who don’t want their deceased parents ‘replaced’. This leads to “An alcoholic Pearl Harbor” that gives Lucille Ball an opportunity to play the drunk. It’s reminiscent of the classic  Vitameatavegamin episode of her classic  I Love Lucy  series. Ending with the dramatic revelation that she’s fallen in love again.

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Thirty Seconds over Tokyo

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Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1944) starring Van Johnson, Phyllis Thaxter, Spencer Tracy, Robert Walker, Robert Mitchum

The old adage says that you shouldn’t judge a book by its’ cover — and that goes for DVD cases as well. Judging from the DVD case, you would think that Thirty Seconds over Tokyo is starring Spencer Tracy — and you would be wrong. Spencer Tracy does appear, and he does a fine job portraying James Doolittle, the man behind the World War II raid on Tokyo. But the central character in this movie is pilot Ted Lawson. Van Johnson portrays him excellently. The movie breaks into three parts:

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Brigadoon

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Brigadoon (1954) starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse

Brigadoon, like most Gene Kelly movies, is a musical with plenty of singing and dancing.  More than that, it is a movie with heart, and a strong message about the values that matter.  It begins with Tommy Albright (played well by Gene Kelly) and Jeff Douglas (played to the hilt by Van Johnson). They’re Americans who are caught up in the rat race, and not loving it.  Tommy is engaged, but is not eager to marry her. Partly to delay the wedding, he accompanies his best friend, Jeff, on a hunting trip to Scotland. There, they become lost.

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