Sunday, August 03, 2014

Happy Birthday, Lina Lamont!

Today marks what would have been the 91st birthday of actress Jean Hagen. Her name may not be remembered today, but her most famous role, Lina Lamont in "Singin' in the Rain," still wows 'em! When we first meet Lina, we see a very glamorous platinum haired beauty, who seems both shy and demure…until she opens her mouth.

A behind-the-scenes shot of Hagen in makeup for the film; sure would love to know what's going through the mind of the assistant on the right of this image.

A publicity still showing the film within the film being shot with Gene Kelly and Jean.

A closeup of the ginormous corsage on her dress that would eventually be used to hide the microphone when the silent film "The Dueling Cavalier" was to be converted to sound.

A clip of the classic scene where Lina meets with her diction coach (expertly played by Kathleen Freeman) in a vain attempt to improve her voice:

Oblivious to the shrill quality of her voice, Lina loves how she sounds in the premiere as the rest of the audience shrieks at her.

Sadly, Hagen passed away from esophageal cancer at the young age of 54, without ever having any leading roles that allowed her talents to shine as much as they did in this 1952 classic.

54 years ago today, Hawaii's own eight-year-old Raymond Sleeper became the 10-millionth Disneyland Railroad passenger. He took this historic ride with Walt Disney himself, as well as R.G. Rydin, Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Executive Vice President. Walt is seen here sifting through the 10,000 pennies in a presentation boxcar that Raymond was awarded. I hope he invested it wisely!

A color shot from my collection of this momentous occasion:

From the original Disneyland photo history blog that started the whole durn thing here comes this shot that also shows Cast Member favorite Engineer Bill (Bill Stulla) aboard the Ernest S. Marsh:

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Hope you are having a fantastic Sunday!

See more Daveland Movie photos at my main website.


K. Martinez said...

I loved Jean Hagen from her first appearance in "Adam's Rib" to other films like "The Asphalt Jungle" and of course "Singin' in the Rain", my favorite musical. I thought she was exceptionally great in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Enough Rope for Two". I still watch that from time to time.

I'm surprised you didn't mention her connection to Disney in which she appeared in the Walt Disney Studios production of "The Shaggy Dog" playing the part of Freeda Daniels, the wife of Fred MacMurray's character.

Nice post today. Thanks, Dave.

Bryce said...

Jean Hagen's voice was not really as shrill as she played in the movie. In one scene, Debby Reynolds' character pretends to dub her voice for Lina's--but it's really Jean Hagen's voice heard on the soundtrack.

CoxPilot said...

Both KM & Bryce are correct. Gene was an accomplished actress. That's why she was able to pull off the shril voice with such believability.

Dreemfinder said...

Dave, As a kid I was a guest on the Engineer Bill show on KTLA, Channel 5 in Los Angeles. The correct spelling of his last name is Stulla.

Martin Turnbull said...

I'm a huge fan of both this movie, and Lina/Jean, but I didn't know it was really Jean Hagen's voice heard on the soundtrack. The thing a person can learn on the Daveland blog!

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

My father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and was commissioned by the RR to design and build the boxcar for the 10,000 pennies.
He was given a week to complete the entirely hand made project. This included casting the tracks and wheels in metal (after weighing the 10,000 pennies). We were invited to the ceremony and had a special place on the platform. Afterwards Walt Disney came by to greet us. He apparently knew I was in attendance as he had a gift of a Super Chief electric train set waiting for me.
I didn't know who Walt was at the time. My kiddie show hero was Engineer Bill who I watched every day. As walt was shaking my hand and handing me the train set all I could see was that Engineer Bill was walking away from the crowd. I never did get to meet him but I still have the train set. Thanks for posting the color photo!!!

Daveland said...

David - Thanks for the great extra info and story about Walt and Engineer Bill! - Dave