Happy Easter
Posted on: 1st May 2011 19:44:25


Welcome to the April Installment  -- Easter Parade

Easter Parade was chosen for inclusion in the workbook because it fits well into the overall holiday theme of the book.

This film marks the entrance of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland into my work.   Fred Astaire appears again in November in Holiday Inn and Judy Garland in October in Meet Me in St. Louis

These two performers along with another favorite of mine, Gene Kelly, whom we met last month in Brigadoon and will see again in August in Singin’ in the Rain, are the most recognizable names in musical film. They embody what it means to be a star in a movie musical. They can act, they can sing and can they dance!  They are true Classics - Classic Looks, Classic Styles and Classic Voices. Everybody knows Astaire when they see him dance and hear him sing and Garland’s voice –unmistakable!

I am not alone in my admiration. In fact, Kelly admired Astaire so much that in 1948, after sustaining an injury which prevented him from starring with Garland in this film, Kelly called Astaire and asked him to take his place. Astaire agreed. This was the film that brought Astaire out of retirement.

Let me pull the admiration train back into the station before it runs off the track!

Shall we talk about what the patients/residents/clients think?

I find as soon as the DVD goes in the player, my patients are involved.  They recognize the actors and the songs. Doesn’t everyone sing along with Easter Parade?  

In fact, every time I jump to Scene Selection on the DVD (to move to the next scene and continue the group), we have to stop and sing along with Judy!

We also spend time talking about the fashion, the hats, the gloves, and the spats.  Some of the men in my group recall their fathers wearing them but only on very special occasions.

We talk about how men and women related to each other, and when things don’t go their way men tend to blame women.

This comes out in the scene when Don, (Astaire) and Nadine (Ann Miller), meet for lunch.  Don realizes he has been trying to make Hannah, (Garland), into a carbon copy of his former partner. He then confronts Hannah and tells her she’s been trying to be somebody else. I love how Hannah turns on him and says, “You told me to move like that!” I admire Hannah for standing up for herself.

I spend time here asking my group, “Who is to blame for the failure of their vaudeville act?  What happens when you try to change people into something they are not? Who wins the argument?

This scene also gives me the opportunity to address inferences. When Don gets up to leave Nadine alone in the restaurant, she is mortified. Why? What does Don mean when he says,  “You forget, you’re on your own now?” What does that imply?  I get some great answers.

The other character we spend time with is Johnny (Peter Lawford).

We know that Hannah and Don are going to end up together (who wouldn’t want to be wooed by Fred Astaire?). But I love how Johnny just keeps on trying. We spend time talking about flirting (which was called, by one group member, romancing). I liked that. In fact, I think it fits what these men do perfectly.

When Johnny gets out his little black book, after walking Hannah to her door in the rain, we know he’s done this before. We talk about the names women would give him, like rogue, rover, cad.  I also ask the men about the little black book. I get some smirks and winks but not a lot of admissions to owning one!

I also like this film for its use of language which allows me to ask questions about words we don’t hear very often— words like, “cad”, “Lad”, “picture ads” etc.   The scene that uses this language is “A Couple of Swells” and it showcases the perfect way to “walk up the Avenue ’til we’re there”.


I hope you and your group have enjoyed your walk up the Avenue and have found great memories along the way!


See you in May for a visit to OKLAHOMA where the wind comes sweeping down the Plain








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