Friday, February 19, 2010

Kathryn Grayson

The report out of Hollywood is that Kathryn Grayson passed away on Feb. 18th of natural causes at the age of 88. And if you're scratching your head and asking yourself, "Who's Kathryn Grayson"--you should be spanked. She appears in the one iconic image that--along with the famous scene of Maureen O'Hara/John Wayne in McLintock--every spanko should know. If you need a further hint, here's the well-known picture:

(Howard Keel spanking Kathryn Grayson in the film musical, Kiss Me, Kate")

MGM signed Kathryn when she was a teenager. They thought they could use her as a rival to Deanna Durbin, a star at another studio. What Kathryn really wanted to do, though, was to sing opera.

"I thought they were wasting their time and money," Grayson recalled of her first days at the studio. "I even told (studio boss) Louis B. Mayer that. He said he knew a lot more than a 16-year-old girl who is and who isn't good material for pictures.

"He offered a deal: I would make a screen test, and if the studio liked the test, I would shut up forever. If not, I would go. It was the longest test in motion picture history. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars; it was almost a two-reeler .... The studio liked it. I told Mr. Mayer I didn't like it. He went home with a heart attack."

Concerned, Grayson agreed to stay, and she turned down an offer to sing "Lucia" at the Metropolitan Opera. She later learned that Mayer had two ploys to persuade recalcitrant actors: to cry or to claim a heart attack.

Kathryn did realize her ambition of singing opera after she left her film career behind. But there were many film roles for her before that happened, with Kiss Me, Kate probably being the most well-known--among spanking fans, anyway.

The appeal of a spanking was never lost on Hollywood or the publicity mill. Think of all those spanking publicity shots that exist for movies that contain nary a spanking scene. Along with sex, I think it's safe to say, "Spanking sells". That probably explains this poster of the movie:

I'm not sure why the drawing of the spanking on the poster depicts the two of them in street clothes when the scene takes place on stage during a performance. Maybe it was just an excuse to show off her legs and for the dress to seem to be raised to her knees. Perhaps it seemed more enticing that way. Who knows?

Among her fans, she will be remembered for more than just Kiss Me, Kate. For spankos the world over, though, we thank her and Howard Keel for this wonderful and classic spanking scene. Rest in peace, Kathryn Grayson.


Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

Hermione said...

This anonymous person leaves bland, vague comments on so many blogs. Yet I don't see the link to the cheap pharmaceutical or porn site. What gives?

Oh, and thanks for explaining about Kathryn. She is indeed memorable.


Anonymous said...

I think that Kathryn was really beautiful. I watched Kiss Me Kate with Himself this Christmas, I have never seen it before. I loved it - I liked the dresses but Himself was carried away for quite a different reason. :)

Dr. Ken said...

Anonymous--making up the titles is part of the fun for me. Sometimes they're pretty straightforward, other times I can get creative.

Hermione--I have no idea. As long as it isn't outright spam, I'll allow it.
There are probably 3 iconic photos that come to mind when you talk about spanking in the movies--McLintock, as I mentioned in the post; elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii; and this one.

Poppy--Gee, I wonder what that "other" reason might be? LOL
On Chross's blog, he has a whole section devoted to pictures from various productions of "Kiss Me, Kate". It's well worth a look.

Anonymous said...

I had a little girl tucked under my arm and was trying to keep her from getting so comfy between pretty dress scenes she fell asleep.


Anonymous said...

I was most rudely awakened.
And blushes.

PhilK said...

Not only was the spanking scene in KMK shown on posters and ads, but the publicity display in Times Square when the movie was released incorporated an electrical device whereby Howard Keel's arm rose and fell, impacting Ms Grayson's lovely bottom 24/7 - surely the longest depicted spanking in history.

Spanking sells, all right!

sixofthebest said...

Yes Kathryn Grayson brought to us 'spanking enthusiasts, one of our all time favorite spanking scenes in "Kiss me Kate, when Howard Keel wallops her bottom most vehmently. Oh how I wish her bloomers were taken down, and the action taken place on that voluptous bare bottom of hers. I am sure her sopranic voice of pain would have been most enjoyably heard.

Dr. Ken said...

Dev--I wish I had a girl to tuck under my arm and watch movies with.

Poppy--admit it, you were thrilled to be woken up....:-)

Phil--thanks for the information. I bet production fell off a good deal in all office buildings in view of that display.
", or watch the spanking? Work, or watch the spanking?"

sixofthebest--of course, if they'd tried to film it that way, it would have been censored and the film would never have seen the light of day. So I'm perfectly happy with the mainstream version!