A heavenly dancer?

The next few days might be a let down for readers, but a bonus for me. Why, you ask? Because apart from Sunday, if you’re lucky, one blog will cover both versions! Tonight, because of the event, and next week, because of the holiday. But for now…

113 years ago today, in a small part of Pottawatomie county, Oklahoma Territory (as it was then, only became a state in 1907), a baby girl was born, to, I assume, a Mr and Mrs Johnson. They seemingly named her Clara Elaine, and the rest, in terms of Hollywood Chorus girl duties, and the like, are history.

Maybe one day, I’ll do more of a dig on Ancestry.com, and discover what her parents names were, and if there were any more brothers and sisters, as well as her. The only tentative suggestion (apart from the lack of birth control back then) that there was more than 1 child, was one of her actual film credits, when there was also a Peter Johnson listed in the cast. Of course, that might simply be a name coincidence, though her 1930 Los Angeles census record did mention 1 brother, so I am inclined to suspect it was probably him.

All I know of the early history is that she moved to LA from Texas in 1925, but when the move there, from Oklahoma, no idea. I need a long enough period of time to really work on Ancestry.com to dig into that sort of matter, and also I need the funds to buy a subscription for a few months at least, that I can get to really use to dig for info. So probably wont happen until I’ve finished working, whenever that is, but then… Even then, I suspect I’m only going to have the 1910, and 1920 census details, so unlikely to find exactly when the Texas moved happened is still going to be vague.

The other thing that needs a major digging through, is a list of marriages in the LA area in the late 30’s (most likely, as her work career seems to stop around 37/38), or perhaps the beginning of the 40’s, because for now, thats where my trail goes cold, with the lack of her married name. Given that her daughter she mentioned would now be in her 70’s, if still alive, it might be fascinating to follow the family tree from there. Probably grand children, and great grand children by now! I wonder if any know, or wonder what Grandma/Great Grandma did?

As I say, if I survive to retirement, and I’m mobile enough to still do it, I suspect it might be my post retirement challenge to try and find out more. I guess that nowadays, I could do a lot from the comfort of a computer at home, anyway?

I must admit, one thing I’d love to do, just once, especially at my age, is do the whole chorus girl thing. My dancing wouldnt be great, I’d probably look less than graceful in one of those flimsy outfits, but my attitude is, just once, I dont care, I want to do the whole Clara Johnson thing! I have 2 lovely friends who are trying to work on making that happen, so who knows, but I hope so?

Anyway, given this was the first year I actually have known her birthday, before the big day, I wasnt going to miss this chance. Its funny to think though, she had all the glamour of working in Hollywood, without any of the fame!

So, happy heavenly birthday, Clara Elaine Johnson, and hopefully, maybe one day, we can get to actually meet, though not in this world.

OK, video time. I have seen her dancing in numerous musicals of the late 20’s, and through the 30’s, including many of the famous ones. For all that, back then, unless they went on to make it, chorus dancers didnt normally get credits. One that Clara did, was a film named Strike Me Pink, though seemingly she was working under her middle name at the time, probably because Clara was a little ‘old fashioned’ name by 1936? Its also the best sighting of her, because she fills the screen between 4:13, and 4:17 in this clip

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Didnt I have a lovely time, the day I went to Blackpool?

Well, hopefully a few of you at least have been eagerly waiting for the report from Friday night. If you werent, you’re getting it anyway! 😛

Beyond a few moments of, err, entertainment on the last section of the journey, from Preston, to Blackpool, in truth the journey was relatively unexciting. The ‘entertainment’, some very loud children, and the fact that we had 2 wheelchair passengers, as opposed to the train designed 1, caused some fun. But in truth, we arrived pretty much on time.

The hotel was pretty much standard budget hotel, with thin walls which we noticed overnight (people talking outside the room), and though in theory we had a second bed, it was so designed that neither of us, in perfect health conditions would have been able to get out, and besides, we had no bedding for it anyway! Survey comments done, lol! But fine, thats not what you want to hear about, is it? So after a meal together, Eric went back to the Trams, I went off to the Winter Garden, and through the time travel portal. Fine, not literally, but you get the drift? After an early false start, the staff worked out where we needed to go, and lo and behold, I was soon in a lovely, and short pink flapper dress. Fine, I wasnt going to care about length for one night, but more on that shortly. Thing is, flappers werent designed to have boobs, or big shoulders, and the zip wouldnt do up properly at the back. Anyway, as you will see shortly, I was quickly changed into another dress which was longer, with no zip issues, perfection! Well, I was flashing someleg, but…

Oh fine, like this!

Me in Blackpool

There is a better one of me, but it has someone else in the picture, and I’m loathe to use that without her permission. I suspect she wouldnt care, but to be on the safe side… If she grants it in hindsight, I will add it to the posting. So if you come here in 6 months time, see 2 photos, and are confused, you know why!

The evening was great fun, lots of lovely people that I was working with, equally a lot of nice people in the audience, including 1 wonderful gentleman I talked to for a while, who had originally come from Bradford! However, having flirted as an Usher prior to performance, stood on the stairs, we eventually got told that part of our work was done. I decided to give the film, Some Like It Hot a chance, but it didnt grab me much, so after an hour or so, I headed back to the refreshment area, got myself a coffee, and started chatting with a few others, until it was time for part 2, getting those who had paid for it, to the party upstairs.

All went smoothly, then a few of us went up to the Balcony, put on a bit of a show (very tame dancing, by Flapper standards, I suspect) for the guests for a while, then I, and a few others went back and changed into modern life again. One treat I had for a while, was to do something I’d never done before (and no, it wasnt to dance the Charleston), which was to wear a pair of those long gloves that go up to your elbow, and maybe beyond. I’d seen pictures of them, always wanted to wear them, and now I have!

End result, everything, and everyone was so lovely, I’m already planning on going back next year, however crazy, and unpractical that is. Might be a different era, but as long as it doesnt mean wearing something as revealing as what my past life self, the chorus line dancing, Clara Johnson had to wear, all should be fine. But no, I’m not going to suggest 42nd Street, or the like, just in case, lol! But beyond that, I’ll definitely be back. Fine, if it is that, I will probably still go back!

The journey home by ‘modern trains’ was a bit more entertaining. The train from Preston, back to Manchester was very crowded, but ‘Queen Bitch’ soon pushed a way through for me, and Eric, to our reserved seats, and someone was already sat in them! Yes, they got moved, probably not my most diplomatic moment of my life, but hey, its principle, and neither of us could have stood, anyway!

Then we get back to Manchester, running late, so going to be a tight push, or no go for our booked train back to Huddersfield. Only…I looked at the departure board, it had been cancelled! So anyway, the next train was going to be very crowded, (2 sets of passengers, plus loads of football fans), but I lined Eric up roughly where I thought the doors would be, and we grabbed 2 seats very quickly!

After that, out last night, with Ella as well, for the birthday meal. I wore the same dress as last week again, so I stayed in Flapper mode for the weekend. Oh, should I mention, this was all done in lots of snow!

In theory I’m back to work tomorrow, but if it had been today, I’m certain it would have been a ‘snow day’ off, with my physical issues. Tomorrow, who knows? Hopefully its better in the morning, I must say. Not just because I’m due back, but because I need to learn something for the following week, which I will probably relate later in the week, but until then…?

Yes, I hurt, partly because of Friday, partly because of the current weather. When (or strictly at this point, I guess, if) I do this next year, I’ll pace it better, all that travel, on top of everything else, in 1 day, was just too much now. Go down the day before, build to it, and have a day off afterwards to recover, before coming back, far wiser! But hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Video time. The frightening thing for me, this song is 50 years old, and I remember it being released!

If words could make wishes come true?

Fine, I’m in a sort of ‘What if?’ mood tonight, so if thats not your thing, maybe you should pass on this one tonight? It probably is a ‘week of my 60th Birthday’ thing, so if anyone has anything cheery they would like for Thursday night, please let me know. Inspire me, and all that.

Yes, its probably because I’m looking back on my 60 years (less 3 days, at time of posting) and thinking I havent done much that I’m going to leave as a mark when I’m gone. I know, I’ve done more than many, I’ve written, I’ve acted, but nothing that I’m ever going to be remembered for 5 years down the road, let alone decades! And the highest level my sporting skills ever got me was into County Competitions when at school, so nothing notable there either.

I suppose its fair to say, as you might have gathered from the title of this blog, the one that probably annoys me the most is the acting one. Yes, if I’d had the chance to go to University, get involved in drama there, well who knows?  That was just a piece of fate I had no control over, the child with a single parent who had to go out to work as soon as she was old enough, and the rest was history. Yes, I have done amateur dramatics since then, but nothing in a long while now, and I think in terms of genuine roles, I’m probably done by now.

So yes, I’m sort of seeing Friday night as that final fling, the final farewell, or whatever you like to call it, even if its not strictly acting. Its just being dressed up, albeit for a very good cause, as a Flapper girl from the 20’s, which will be a lot of fun, but somehow I suspect I’ll be the only one putting much thought into the role, all the same. Might be a few others, but I suspect for most, its just a night out dressed up, helping a good cause.

No, I have no plans to go over the top in the role, but I’m sure I will put a bit of effort into it, just to satisfy myself, if nothing else. But yes, I plan to have fun at the same time. Who knows who will be there, though I doubt I will be whisked off to Broadway, Hollywood, or even the London theaters due to my work lol! Strictly, it may not even be it, but being honest, I cant see my body getting strong enough to do much again, or the opportunity being likely to arise unless I put a lot of effort in, and at my age, I’m probably past that point!

But yes, one big last performance, absolutely, just for me. As I say, I’m not saying there wont be more, but in all honesty, I have my doubts. So no, I’ll have to pass on that Oscar now, lol! 😛

Still, for one night, I can act out the life of a 20’s flapper, and not worry about anything else. Well, maybe the length of my dress, I suspect, but otherwise… lol?

OK, the video. Someone who died far, far too young, at the age of 30. I know, older than Harlow, but all the same, a talent lost way too early. The blog title, a line from this gorgeous song

Yesterday once more?

No, not the video you’re expecting, in this case. But I needed a different title, for a repeat blog, so…

So, last night, for the first time (but not the last) in a week, I got into flapper girl mode last night. Oh fine, pushing 60, girl might be being a bit optimistic, but hey, all I need is a good rejuvenation machine, and a dancing skills neural download, then watch me go! Open to all mad scientist offers to arrange that, by the way! 😉 Oh please, dream birthday present, and all that! Then I could show Clara Johnson how to dance! Well, probably not, but…

So yesterday, after the working day, I, and several work colleagues (8 in the end) showed up for a lovely meal, at a lovely restaurant in Bradford. 3 of us at least probably had the staff wondering which decade they’d opened the doors into! No, to be fair to the others, notice was limited, and it is a cost, so… still kudos to Madi, and Rebecca for putting on a show too. What, you want proof, of me at least? Oh fine!

 

 

Now where did that time travel portal disappear to? As you cant see from these shots, my dress wasnt quite as short as the ones being worn by the young ladies in the video, but hey, I’m very nearly 60, so… Not sure the dress on Friday will be as long lol! But yes, if I get pictures, and my legs arent too shocking a sight…? 😉

In truth, my dress was very maxi in length, and even after Ella took it up (thanks given) a few inches for me, it was still touching the ground! Taking it up again, and then I might even flash a little ankle, ooh! If done, I might take it to Blackpool on Friday as a back up, as I know it fits, and then I might wear it again next Saturday, for the birthday meal for the home group. If not, it will get worn again, I’m sure, just not quite sure when!

Still, until next Friday at least, I will have to live in this strange thing called the modern world! Unless I can find that portal, and then wouldnt I be the cat’s whiskers, darling!

Video time. No, I didnt do any dancing last night, nor will I be planning to dance on Friday without a lot of assistance mentioned above. My dress last night wasnt this short, but next Friday, who knows?

 

If I Could?

Is it ironic, or depressing that I was asked today what I wanted for my 60th Birthday present, and I hadnt got a clue! I could come up with a few impossible dreams, like a new body, a fully interfacing robot suit, or a nice flying saucer, but when it comes to talking of something realistic, and practical, I hadnt got a clue! Oh, I also wouldnt mind having a share of Clara Johnson’s dancing skills for the 20’s party at Blackpool next month, on my birthday, but thats not going to happen either! A reliable public transport service would also be nice, but never going to happen!

I’d love to say my lack of ideas is because I dont need anything, but I’d be kidding you if I said that. But most of the things I might need, are boring articles like bras, shoes, and the like, and really, in truth, I would love to think that the 60 milestone should be, I dont know, more exciting than that?

Oh fine, a spectacular dress might be nice, but how often would I wear it? Especially given that most of the really spectacular dresses arent items you can just put in a washing machine to launder?

But yes, if anyone has any bright ideas what a ‘crazy’ old lady might want for her birthday, within a pretty sensible budget, feel free to suggest away. Please note, that unless you’re in a position to provide said robot suit, flying saucer, or something similar, there is no point in suggesting it, however much I might enjoy them! Just remember, I’m not in great physical health before suggesting anything too wild in that sense, either! But fine, if someone wants to tell me they can arrange for me to look like, and be able to dance like a young Clara Johnson, on my birthday, try stopping me! No, not going to happen, but I can dream…?

Seriously, if anyone can think of anything I should be suggesting, please, please let this crazy old lady know! I would say thanks in advance, but knowing that no one is going to suggest, is there any point?

Tonights video, not strictly the blog title, but close enough. A big name line up, star performance of the song!

Putting On The Ritz? Maybe Not!

On an average day to work, I wear what is probably now the standard wear for most women in an office. A decent/nice blouse, or top, and a pair of trousers, or slacks. And sorry, for those who dream of such things, my shoes have barely got a heel, or are flats. In truth, even if I could walk in high heels (which I cant, because of my knees issue), I wouldnt wear them anyway! I still wear low(ish) heels for formal occasions, or if I’m walking about 20 yards maximum, but thats about it!

No, sorry, Civil Servants do not wear a formal suit to work every day, well, not in our office at least. What strange things they may do down in London, no idea! I think everything is probably more modern, for most, though all pictures of staff there seem to show men wearing ties at least, ah well…

But on rare occasions (and this is why you’re getting this blog tonight), I dress up nicely for work. No, not for work as such, but because I’m going on somewhere after work, without the chance to go home. And yes, this Saturday is going to be one of them, as I’m going out for a meal directly after work, to celebrate someone’s birthday. So yes, apart from looking immaculately dressed for work, for one day, I’m going to look totally out of place on the train to work, and the bus home again afterwards! But yes, you guessed it, no heels on shoes! Am I going to worry about that, not a chance! In fact, I’ve got a short journey by coach as well, as Huddersfield station has no trains running through it this weekend, as they are attempting to upgrade the line, and service. Yes, I’ll believe all that when I see it, assuming I last that long lol!

Ah well, the next birthday dinner from here will be mine, when I will officially be ancient, at 60!

But yes, if you see an immaculately dressed woman walking through Huddersfield, Halifax (where I swap back to train, from coach), or Bradford on Saturday, it might just be me! Or, of course, if you work with me that day…?

The video. I suspect this is going to be a love it, or loathe it job. Its not the original 30’s version, its a more modern version from the 1980’s, and it shows. But yes, for some reason, I quite like it!

All The Small Things (I Could Do)

You know all these people who do something crazy to celebrate their birthdays, especially the landmark ones? No, I never have, been thoroughly boring in that sense, all my life.

So now, why do I feel I want to do something this year, beyond the fact its the oldies landmark of 60, no idea? Even more so given that I’ve now got issues with my back, issues with my budget, given I’m now only able to do a 4 day week, and never done anything crazy like that up to now?

The answer is, no idea, but I feel that I do! The only possible so far, which would definitely be fun, is this, http://www.auntysocial.co.uk/some-like-it-hot-volunteers/ which I have put myself forward for, but its actually on my birthday, and its miles from me, but yes, it would be a wonderful way to celebrate officially hitting old age!

Now I dont (seriously) expect any passing aliens to offer me a flight in a space craft, nor do I seriously expect a friendly mad scientist to turn me into a robot, brainwashed, or the like either (If anyone wants to roleplay for real, either of those 2 things, and you’re in a suitable location…?) . Equally, and lets face it, its too late now for research anyway, do I expect to get offered a guided tour of an ECT theater either. Also, lets face it, I’m not likely to be offered a part in a film, movie, or theater run now, either!

There is also the snag that not only do I now have physical issues, which would stop anything too crazy on that front, but because I’ve had to cut my working week due to it, I havent got the money to treat myself either! So, in truth, beyond perhaps the Blackpool thing, it looks like being another quiet birthday week, ah well…

But fine, it might be fun to just do something silly, once in my life, before I’m officially too old, just saying…? But what?

OK, video time. Big clue in the title here. I know, never been done before, but anyway…