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Hi Chad,

My two favorite Van Johnson movies are "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo' and "The Last Time I Saw Paris."

The first because I have always been a war movie and history buff -- and, in the early 1960s, I was able to attend a reunion of the real Gen. Jimmy Doolittle Tokyo Raiders in Santa Monica. They had a bottle of French wine or champagne on display -- and the last one standing was to drink it in honor of his comrades. I often wonder if that has happened yet. Also, Bob Hope was the guest speaker at the reunion dinner.

I guess I like "The Last Time I Saw Paris" because I am a romantic at heart. About two months ago, I saw it on television -- and shed the same tears as the first time I saw the movie.

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

If I ever knew he starred in "La Cage aux Folles", I had forgotten it. He was best friends with Ethel Merman, having worked with her at some point I am sure. I recall seeing Miss Merman's apartment published in Architectural Digest many years ago. On a chair in her living room was a needlepoint pillow which read "Van Loves Ethel". Van Johnson had done the needlepoint himself and given it to her.

I also had no idea he was living in Nyack. I visit there once in a while to see a friend.
The play he appeared in at UNA was the comedy THERE'S A GIRL IN MY SOUP, directed by Jim Davis. Jim said Van was a dream to work with and thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the Shoals.

About fifteen years later I saw Van in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES on Broadway. In addition to those MGM musicals, I also enjoyed him in Henry Hathaway's 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET, THE CAINE MUTINY and Woody Allen's THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, plus he was the villainous Minstrel in the old BATMAN series with Adam West.

"God, here and there, makes madness a calling." -- Ray Bradbury

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