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Dick Powell shines on Cinefest’s silver screen

— ‘Happy Days…’

Powell sings the film’s title tune (an Arthur Johnston-Gus Kahn composition which became a hit for him) along with the song “Pocketful of Sunshine.” Fred Allen warbles “Happy Days are Here Again,” and Ann Dvorak and Patsy Kelly sing and dance to “Sugar Plum.”

The Yacht Club Boys, a quartet of comic singers popular in the 1920s and 1930s, also appear in “Thanks a Million” singing “Sittin’ on a Hilltop” with Powell and a tune called “Square Deal Party” based on Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Another Cinefest film of interest is “Dancing Pirate,” a 1936 musical starring Frank Morgan and Charles Collins screening at 4:25 p.m. Saturday, March 15. A young and unbilled Rita Hayworth appears as one of the movie’s Royal Casino Dancers.

Cinefest 34 kicks off at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 13, with “Main Street to Broadway” (1953) in which Rogers and Hammerstein create a new song, “There’s Music in You,” then perform it for their friends. The film’s musical director was Ann Ronell, composer of the jazz standard “Willow Weep for Me.”

Powell’s Indy roots

By the way, Dick Powell broke into show business in the mid-1920s singing for the Charlie Davis Orchestra in Indianapolis. Charlie and I became friends in the 1970s when he lived his later years in Oswego where I worked as a cub reporter at The Palladium-Times. Charlie always knew Dick Powell would become a big star. He had that “leading man” presence and a pleasant personality to boot.

Moviehouse memories

Did you ever go to movies at the Lakeshore theater? No, not the drive-in, but the upstairs theater that operated in the 1920s above what is now Nichols Discount Liquor store on First Street. If you remember the Lakeshore, you should join the Historical Association of Greater Liverpool as the group presents film historian Norm Keim discussing “Flicker shows at the Lakeshore,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at Liverpool Public Library; lpl.org; 457-0310.

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