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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I brought you some supper but if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped...sin and hellfire... one has lepers."
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December 07 2006

Joss on Wesleyan. Joss bigs up Wesleyan's Film Studies course.

I was going to leave this alone as a bit of Whedon treasure, but I thought it was sweet. And I want to know who the actress is at the end. I think he says cookie. Check it out.

I keep getting disconnected from the video in IE and Firefox. Is anyone else having this problem?
Great find. That was so much fun to watch. The lady looks familier I will have to rack my brain over who she is though.

Nope worked fine for me in IE with Quicktime.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-12-07 19:03 ]
dang! we're awash in Joss today! (but--*snif*--mine is a cookieless fate...)
It looks to me like Ingrid Bergman.

What a wonderful interview. Joss makes my world.

Although you have to wonder if there's something else going on with him there. Where have we heard the line, "They're not trying to tell you what to think, but how to think" before? Oh yeah, Serenity. :P Just joking.

If I weren't entrenched in a different field of study, that would totally make me want to go to Wesleyan.
Sweet, sweet find.
Cool find.
Studying there would be cool... if it weren´t that expensive. Ah well a girl can dream...
I see a blurry Joss with no sound. Grrr arghhh. Boo ummm hiss. I swear we need to be less popular. I think we'll go underground, become or something like that.
It worked fine for me too in Quicktime/IE. But I did just get a brand spankin' new puter. And had to download Quicktime. LOVE that man.

"Sweet, sweet find." I agree, gossi. Awesome links today.
I was going to apply to Wesleyan, then I realized my SATs were no where near where they had to be. That didn't stop me from visiting the school and prancing around said "mom, Joss walked on this path for four years!" "Mom, he ate his meals here" "Mom, he took his film studies classes in that building!"

I may be a stalker, but it was still fucking awsome.
Not working for me either (Quicktime through IE on a PC). But streaming video at work can be dicey at times. Have to try when I get home.
Ingrid Bergman(love her)-feel free to send me my cookie by mail. Also good to know that obsession is a good thing, yes sweet validation.
Worked fine for me.
I disagree. I don't think that was Ingid Bergman, but I am not coming up with anyone off hand. I would be inclined to think it is someone who taught at Wesleyan.
Nope, not Ingrid Bergman, but I'm not coming up with an ID, either. Must ponder further.
Yeah. It's Ingrid Bergman.
I think it's Ingmar Bergman but in fairness I haven't seen the video and don't know what Ingmar Bergman looks like anyway (doesn't want to work for me on IE or Firefox. Quicktime update may be on the cards).
Works for me in Opera. Pretty good video too.
Yep, downloaded Opera (used to use then switched to Firefox) and it worked fine, cheers for the tip. And are you all maniacs ? Ingrid Bergman ? It's clearly Homer Simpson, right down to the hula skirt. Sheesh.

(not convinced it's Bergman but it looks a bit like Vera Miles from 'The Searchers'. This could bug me)
Google Bergman's picture, I'll be eating my cookie. ;)
Well, we know it looks kind of like her otherwise so many wouldn't think it was her. Do you have a link to the actual photo onthedrift ? Cos let's have it if so, anything else is just cruel and unusual ;).

(obviously these things vary with angles and shadows and so on but Bergman's chin just looks rounder than Joss' mystery woman's and the eyes also seem disimilar)
The first name that sprang to mind was Ingrid Bergman. I've definitely seen that picture before.

I have 5 days before I finish my last undergraduate final. Is it too late to transfer from Cornell to Wesleyan and change my major from Chemistry to Film Studies? Because I'm feeling extremely tempted to do so.
I would bet a cookie it's not Ingrid Bergman - unfortunately I don't have an alternative name in order to obtain one from Joss.
I'm with you on the temptation non sequitur.

Saje, my eyes went bleary looking for an exact match. (Also I consider it one of the great mysteries of the internet why a picture of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake came up under an Ingrid Bergman search.) The closest I found in my ardous eight minute search is the first picture in the photo gallery here:
However you have successfully decreased my certainty, and I've always thought that Donna Reed in her younger years looked like Ingrid Bergman. Can I interest you in half of a slightly mushy half-eaten cookie?
Hey, so speaking as an actual Wesleyan Cardinal, who ironically didn't discover Joss Whedon until after he graduating, thus missing when he gave a presentation my senior year on "Once More with Feeling" on campus (dammit), just wanted to chime in:

1) While it's true that Joss ate his meals there, knowing how bad the food was in 2001, and assuming it was even worse (the company that provides the food is Aramark, most well known for providing food at baseball parks) back then, I'd say he threw up a lot of that food. Plus, it's college, so lots of throwing up anyway.

2) The film department just got a beautiful new theater, so I encourage anyone who visits to check it out.

3) The courses in the film department are really cool. The sci-fi/fantasy genre class made me decide to attend, even though I spent exactly one day in a film class at Wesleyan (wound up a religion major) because...

4) The courses are really challenging. The intro. class is a level 300 course, and the readings were really tough. They don't mess around.

5) The teachers ARE really cool, and the students ARE very eclectic, althogh no one I went to school with had anywhere near the talent as Joss.
OK, peace out, go cardinals!
I couldn't hear but every two-dozenth word. You'd think the Film Department of a high-class university would know how to format better. lol.

Pointless Brag: Last year I worked at the Wesleyan Bookstore (Broad Street Books) while the hubby taught golf nearby for the summer. When I found out it was The Man's alma mater I had a total Geek Moment -- snorty giggles and everything. Thanks, Joss, for providing silly events in my life.
*sigh* I thought it was Marlene Dietrich.

No cookie for me.
Yeah, at first I was positive it was Ingrid Bergman, so that I was even jumping up and down with excitement that Joss was wearing an Ingrid Bergman shirt even before he started talking. But something about her does seem off. The more I look at the picture the more I wonder if it isn't actually her; but I have a hard time telling.
Can I interest you in half of a slightly mushy half-eaten cookie?

Hmm, tempting ... ;). I'm (equally) not 100% convinced it's not Bergman onthedrift (especially since it's on a T-shirt which is likely to bend/crease in weird ways) so you could be right. I think this'll just have to be one of those questions i'll forget to ask Joss if I ever bump into him on the street then kick myself about for years afterwards ;).
I've got it. Her name's Joan Leslie, formerly Brodel. I found the same picture at Apparently she was in such films as Yankee Doodle Dandy and Rhapsody in Blue. Ooh, and she was in a film called Where Do We Go From Here?

I can't believe I got the cookie when I'm the one who posted it. I thought yous guys would get it.

[ edited by space_giles on 2006-12-08 17:35 ]
So someone finally got the cookie. If it's any consolation to the rest of you, most people guessed Donna Reed. The woman on the sweatshirt (a home-made X-mas gift from Kelly Wheeler) is in fact Joan Leslie. Let me now pre-empt the collective "Huh?"

Joan Leslie happens to be my favorite movie star. She was a very successful ingenue in the 40's, usually supporting someone more famous (and much older) in films like Sergeant York, High Sierra and most notably, Yankee Doodle Dandy. She was a particular sweetheart of the armed forces in WWII, working once a week (as many stars did on the one night of the week their studio was allotted) at the Hollywood Canteen, serving, entertaining and mingling with the boys going overseas. She was such a fave that when they made a film (called, wait for it... Hollywood Canteen) about it, she's the star the serviceman wins a dream date with.

So why Joan Leslie? I always felt she had that fabled girl-next-door-if-I-lived-in-like-some-way-awesomer-neighborhood feel, but with a kind of sly understanding (it may have been the occassionally cocked eyebrow) of her image and her world. She entranced me. And never more than in The Sky's The Limit, a middling RKO pic with her and Fred Astaire, which contains my absolute all time favorite musical number, "I've got a lot in common with you". The song is cute, but the dance... she's literally the best partner for Fred this side of you-know-who. Rita Hayworth, Bah! Even Cyd Charisse didn't bring out Fred's exhuberant hoofer side. Ms Leslie is a revelation, in a swingin' number (performed at the hollywood Canteen) that Fred choreographed himself. Watch it, if you can find it, and watch their style, their precision -- and that eyebrow. She looks like she's having the time of her life, and I recently found out why.

But first, a slight diversion. During the Buffy years, I was not what you kids today call sane. Stress was a thing. And whenever it got too bad I would throw on this number and it was literally like therapy, like a weekend at a spa. Watching those two jump about meant everything was gonna be okay. So when my Professor Jeanine Basinger told me last year that Joan Leslie was being honored by the Veterans Association for her contributions to the war effort (apart from the canteen work, she did a lot of USO and bond drives) I flew to New Haven just for the chance to listen to her speak. What a sweet, sane, centered woman. She was a canteen fave 'cause she cared deeply about the effort and had no trouble mingling with the boys -- most of whom were 19, same as her. She had a work ethic and a simple gratitude about her career that reminded me of no one so much as Nathan Fillion. And the reason she looked like she was having so much fun in that musical number is that she was DANCING WITH FRED ASTAIRE, and was smart enough to know what that meant.

She also did something almost unheard of in this town. She left. Married, had two kids (I met one of her daughters, a university professor who was very sweet and bright) and instead of turning into some Crawfordesque gargoyle, just lived her life. The sanity and decency she projected on screen, that was a comfort both to the 'greatest generation' and the lamest (that would be mine), came from within. And that is not unheard of, but neither is it the norm.

And gosh, was she a beauty back in the day.

It's possible that no one wanted to know any of that. But no one won't know who's on my shirt anymore, and maybe a few of you will dig up a film or two and see what I mean. She's worth it.
Thanks Joss. It's weird that I wouldn't really have heard of her when I've seen quite a few Fred Astaire films and films from around that time. She seems cool; I'll check her out. There'll probably be a rush on Joan Leslie films at now. : )

So guys dig sane, huh? I'll have to work on that. : )
P.S. I'm a girl. Should've picked a girl's name, grumble, grumble...

[ edited by space_giles on 2006-12-08 18:31 ]
Thanks for that information, Joss. I have seen Joan Leslie in a couple of the movies you mention - and I recognise the name, but I will definitely look out for "The Sky's the Limit", as I'm a Fred Astaire fan too.
Ahh, blessed relief. I was gearing up for the obsessive searching of old archives while gibbering 'Like Bergman but not Bergman though, oh no my pretties'. No idea what i'm gonna do at the weekend now.

Cheers sp-Giles and not-officially-but-possibly-honorary-sp-Joss.

Yep, she was quite the looker (i've seen some of her films but still don't remember her, may take a look even though i'm not a huge musical fan).

What is it about screen women from back then that makes them so beautiful ? I mean when you think classic beauties you think (or I do anyway) of people like Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman etc. Maybe black and white's just kinder or maybe the different cultural tastes give them a very slightly 'exotic' edge ?
I'm really glad for the sake of the sanity of this place that you answered that Joss. The Sky's The Limit is one of the few Fred Astaire I've not seen so I'll have to check that one out (he was amazing in On The Beach btw).

I noticed on IMDB's page that Joan Leslie was also in a movie called "Where Do We Go From Here? which tickled me.
Thanks, Joss. Now I'll be able to sleep at night. Time to check out Joan Leslie... *mumbleobessionno.32536365mumble*

Sanity? It's highly overrated!
Brava, space_giles.

From that same site, here's a picture from "The Sky's the Limit", I presume from the dance number Joss is talking about.

(BTW, the Wesleyan video worked fine for me with Firefox 2.0 and QuickTime 7.1.3.)
Actually, that photo's from the number "My Shining Hour", which is the more well-known of the two big numbers. (Notable also about that film is that Fred sings "One for my Baby" years before Sinatra -- not as soulfully, of course, but the drunken tapdance that follows it is key.)

Done Geekin'. -j.
Joss, thanks for ending the controversy, a great story, and the shame (oh the shame!) of being way off. (You'd think I'd be accustomed to it by now.) I'll be off searching for "The Sky's the Limit", I love Fred Astaire. And just to let you know, my crappy day/stress therapy is popping in an episode of Firefly, so thank you, and indirectly a thank you to Joan Leslie.

spacegiles I'm sending you a cookie. :)
Saje I agree with you on the classic beauties. You gave some great examples and now we (thankfully) have a new name to add.

[ edited by onthedrift on 2006-12-08 22:11 ]
Ah, it said "My Shining Hour" on the site, but I thought maybe that was a quote from Ms. Leslie about that being the high point in her career. =)
Thank you for my praise and cookie! : ) I wonder who Joss' favourite male film star is...
Done Geekin'. -j.

That'll be the day ;).

onthedrift, does space-giles get a brand new cookie or is it the increasingly soggy, even more eaten one you were peddling earlier ? ;-)
Ummmmm, that one is kind of a brand new sugary cookie it is. (I totally had to eat it, you know, to deal with the shame.) And geekin' is a good thing, ask anyone around here. :)
I remember her mostly from This Is the Army (yes, bad, but fun if you make allowances) and Rhapsody in Blue with Papa Alda, Oscar Levant, and the great Jolson himself. If you want to see a little bit (a very little bit ) of her in stunning living black and white, has the original trailer for RiB. Enjoy!
Congratulations space_giles!

I've seen a bunch of her movies but don't specifically remember her. I will have to go back and look for her in them.

Many of the classically beautiful actresses from the 40's have always blended together for me. Does anyone else have that problem? That is why I knew this was not Ingrid Bergman or, for that matter Donna Reed. I knew Donna Reed from her show on TV and Ingrid Bergman because there was something just different about her.

Maybe it was watching them on those snowy black and white TV sets when I was a child that made it so that I could not tell them apart...or the fact that as a female I was paying more attention to the men. ;-) On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if it is the better actresses rather than the big personalities that I can't keep straight. I have had the experience of not realizing who a certain actor was who blended into his roles so well that even though I had been specifically enjoying his performances for years I had no idea they were all played by the same person. When he was pointed out to me, I had to go back look at pictures to realize it was the same actor. Other actors who had an unusual look, like Robert Duval as Bo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird, never left my head and I recognized them everytime I saw them from that moment on.

I remember the "Once for My Baby" drunken tap dance. I don't remember whether I saw it as part of the movie or as part of something on Fred Astaire. Jeez, now I've got to go back and watch all of these that I have not seen in years...not the worst way I can think of to spend my time...
Joan Leslie was Velma in High Sierra - Humphrey Bogart does what he can to obtain money so she can have treatment for her club foot. She isn't interested in him but sad-eyed Ida Lupino is but he can't see past his infatuation. Marvellous stuff.
What a great story, Joss. That really made my day other than the whole Adam Baldwin being a real-life hero and blowing my mind.

Crud, I was hoping to swoop in here all smart-assy and say Netflix had The Sky's the Limit, but they don't. They obviously have a limit which I will attempt to erase by making a member suggestion that they stock some copies. We need to have access to these older films to just ... remember.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2006-12-09 01:39 ]
maybe a few of you will dig up a film or two and see what I mean.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Sergeant York

High Sierra

[ edited by gossi on 2006-12-09 01:46 ]
"The Sky's the Limit" one of my favorite Astaire pictures.

and "High Sierra" love.
I have enjoyed most of the pictures I have seen Joan Leslie in, and I thank my mother for that.
There was some good Jossian-stuff in this vid, too -- I thought the "agenda vs. obsession" stuff was pretty nifty, and can be applied, as he mentioned, more broadly than just in relation to filmmaking.

*mutters* Wish I'd watched the thing earlier. *sniff* I could have won that damn big honkin' virtual Joss cookie./mutter ends

"The study of filmmaking ultimately is the study of yourself." -- Joss
Tonya J, I think the reason Netflix doesn't have "Sky's the Limit" is because it's not on DVD. So far, I haven't found evidence of a DVD of it, looks like it's only on VHS.
The Sky's the Limit is on right now. :) Alhough it's nearly over, the " common with you" song is long past. Leslie is so gorgeous but so girl next door that you just know she was nice as can be.

Kind of an odd dance on the terrace though.

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