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For as long as I can remember, my July 4th has usually ended with the viewing of the 1942 film “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
You can catch it tomorrow (Saturday, July 4) at 7 p.m. CDT on Turner Classic Movies. It is the story of one of America’s best song-and-dance men, George M. Cohan. Not only was he a talented performer, but he is considered one of this nation’s best composers ever and a Broadway legend as a producer and a performer.
He wrote over 300 songs including such American standards as “Over There” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and of course, “Yankee Doodle Boy” which is also known as “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
The film “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is exuberant, patriotic without reducing that patriotism to schmaltz and just a wonderful story of a very talented man and Cagney was the perfect choice to play Cohan.
About midway through the movie, Cagney, as Cohan, performs “Yankee Doodle Boy” with the company of “Little Johnny Jones”, one of Cohan’s many musicals he composed.
I have a feeling that the Oscar voters decided at the point of the movie that Cagney had the best actor award wrapped up. Those few minutes of the film are an amazing display of song and and dance by the actor.
Have a wonderful holiday.