Miss Marian and The Music Man
Posted on: 1st July 2013 20:34:54


 Welcome to the July 2013 Edition!


This month the Road to Reminiscence travels to “I –a way” and stops in River City to attend the 4th of July exercises hosted by Harold Hill ~ The Music Man.


In keeping with this year’s theme of adaptability for other populations this film like its predecessors (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Easter Parade and Brigadoon)is great for students,   with great insights into social behavior, etiquette, dating, flirting which can help students understand proper relationships and open   grandma’s memory and encourages her to share.


In this film, as in many of the others spend time discussing the culture in which these men and women find themselves.


It is the turn of the 20th Century in a small town, governed by a pliable Mayor but ruled by his narrow–minded wife. (“The ruby hat of Omar Ki..I..I… is a dirty book …what Elinor Glyn reads is her mother’s business”).


The townspeople: “We can be cold as a falling thermometer in December if you ask us about the weather in July…but we’ll give our shirt and our back to go with it if your crop should happen to die.  So what the heck, you’re welcome, glad to have you with us, even though we may not ever mention it again!”


Marian The Librarian: A strong, liberated, independent woman. She does not need a man (much to her mother’s surprise and disappointment) to measure her self worth or to support her.  She knows what her life is and is content to provide piano lessons to the town’s children and “counsel and advice to the ladies of River City”.


The Widow Paroo:  She, like so many mothers of her time, wants to see her daughter married. “When a woman’s got a husband and you’ve got none, why should she take advice from you?”


Enter the stranger, who according to Mrs. Paroo, may be Marian’s “very last chance” ~ Harold Hill~The Music Man.    Professor Hill is the absolute essence of the slick con man – good looks, charm and a line for everyone!


The characters in place, spend time with your students discussing their motivations:

  • Why are the townspeople narrow-minded?


  • Why do they discourage visitors?


  • Why do they dislike Miss Marian? Gossip about her?


  • What drives Miss Marian‘s need for independence/acceptance?


  • What motivates the attitudes of the Professor and Miss Marian?


  • How do their attitudes toward each other change as the story progresses?


  • What outside forces (The Widow Paroo/ brother Winthrop), are working to bring Marian and Harold together?  Why?


 As with many of the other films, discuss flirting/ courtship:


  • Why don’t Harold’s lines ("Didn’t I meet you in…I have some wonderful caramels at the hotel…I’ll only be in town a short while”), work on Miss Marian?

What does work?  (Hint: Watch Miss Marian’s face when she sees Winthrop get his cornet at the end of Wells Fargo Wagon).

Is flirting always about compliments and gifts?

  • Is it at times just being nice/ considerate? 


These questions should jump start your classroom discussion and keep it going all month long!


When it comes to families and sharing memories with Grandma, guide her to: The scenery, the clothes (women in hats and gloves and men in suits, ties, spats and straw hats). Classic.  The Music, a great opportunity to sing along with 76 Trombones and Ya Got Trouble   (Keep those language skills going!) The Romance, “what was dating like for you?” “Did you have a special place to meet? “Did you have a favorite song?”   (“Till There Was You”).


Classic Movie Musical Romance for Grandma, opportunities to address reasoning skills with students cloaked in the perfect slice of Americana that is ~ The Music Man.


Have a Safe and Happy Independence Day!



See you in August for MGM’s homage to the “Rainy Season” ~ The Best Musical Ever Made  ~ Singin’ In The Rain!








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