MGM Studios, 1951...
Out of a clear blue sky
Into my heart you came
Not for a day but here to stay
I'll always feel the same
The girl wore a pretty if modest-looking 1920's period dress, she was ostensibly portraying one of many guests in the party scene. The stars were huddled in the large area just off stage. The music for the number they had just shot seemed to be stuck in her head; she preferred an older,less manic version, but the one for the movie was a much faster recording; they'd dub in the performance version post-production.
She looked over and saw the woman she idolized; at the very least she admired the woman for the amazing range of talent she displayed. As usual, everything was shot out of sequence, and the girl had watched the woman go from sophisticated and charming off stage to ditzy and impossible in front of the camera.
“Okay…I’m happy with that shot. We’ll do Don’s surprise with Kathy after lunch.” Stanley Donen was as demanding as anyone could ever imagine, but he seemed to take co-directing as an almost duel between himself and Gene Kelly; the star of the movie and the genius both in front of and behind the camera. The girl walked up to her idol and stood patiently; hands behind her back holding an autograph book.
“Miss Hagen?” She practically whispered. The woman turned just a little and put her hand out and waved as if to say, give me a second. She downed a paper cup of coffee before turning and smiling at the girl. Nodding in welcome, she spoke,
“Yeah?” The voice was the one she had been using in character; Lina Lamont was the ditzy if mean-spirited leading lady opposite Gene Kelly’s hero. A second of near embarrassment was followed by a more relaxed and normal giggle.
“I’m sorry. I’ve tried to stay in character, but it’s all okay. What’s your name, sweetie?” The girl blushed and pivoted just a bit on her right big toe before speaking.
“Marnie, Miss Hagen.”
“Well, Marnie Miss Hagen, I’m rather pleased to meet you.” She laughed softly; the kind of laugh you would expect out of a proud mother or favorite aunt instead of a star; but that’s how she treated everyone. Her real personality was so strikingly different from her character that people actually cringed when speaking with her.
“I’m glad to make your acquaintance, Marnie….?” She tilted her head.
“Marnie Svenson.” The girl blushed at the smile Jean sent her way; feeling more than just her embarrassed self.
“And yes, I’d be happy to sign your autograph book. But only if you tell me your real name, okay? I'm Jean Verhagen from Elkhart, Indiana," she said and nodded enthusiastically. The girl looked down in embarrassment.
“It’s okay. Don’t tell anyone but I think Mr. Kelly may be Irish.” She laughed, putting the girl at ease.
“Oh…it’s Agnetta…Agnetta Svenson.” She held out the book. Miss Hagen took the book in hand, hesitating before leaning closer. She pointed to the girl’s neck.
“It’s okay. Your secret is safe with me,” she whispered. My cousin Herman dances in a club in Manhattan… very much on the Q.T. I understand.” She leaned closer and kissed the girl on the cheek, leaving a very bright red pucker of lipstick on the girl’s face.
“I mean it, kid. I understand. It’s the nineteen fifties, not the twenties. Come on? Gunnar? Nils?” The girl’s eyes filled with tears.
“Mmm….Markus.” She would have walked away but for the gentle touch of Miss Hagen’s hand on her face. The woman reached back to the table behind her and grabbed a serviette. Gently dabbing away the girl’s tears, she kissed her once again on the cheek and spoke.
“Agnetta is a nice name, young lady.” She practically stressed the word ‘lady,’ causing Marnie to begin to sob.
“Everything okay, Miss Hagen?” Linda Vanderwege, Jean Hagen's dresser, walked over with a sympathetic look on her face. Jean took Marnie in her arms and patted her on the back gently.
“Just stage jitters, Linda. She’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay, aren’t you, Miss Svenson?” Marnie looked into Jean’s eyes and saw nothing but acceptance. She then turned and looked into Linda’s eyes and felt nothing but her own embarrassment and shame as she broke free and ran off stage and out of the studio.
“Wow…cute kid...I never saw stage fright quite like that.” Linda said, scratching her head. Jean looked at her and laughed softly at a secret she would never share with another soul as she said almost gently,
“No, Linda. I don’t suppose you have.”
All I do is dream of you the whole night thru
With the dawn, I still go on and dream of you
You're every thought, you're every thing,
You're every song I ever sing
Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring
And were there more than twenty four hours a day
They'd be spent in sweet content dreaming away
When skies are grey, when skies are blue
Morning, noon and night time too
All I do the whole day thru, is dream of you
Next: You Were Meant For Me!
All I Do Is Dream of You
words and music by
Written by Arthur Freed
and Nacio Herb Brown
as performed by
Miss Judy Garland
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