In “My Dream is Yours” (1949), we have a film which spoofs radio advertising, the music business, agents, and really has no Easter message at all, except for the small Easter celebration toward the end of the film when single mom Doris Day’s uncle is seen dying colored Easter eggs for her son Freddie, and Freddie gets stuffed bunnies from all the grownups.
Doris Day and Jack Carson sing a musical number with Bugs Bunny in an animated sequence, which is Freddie’s dream. Day and Carson are dressed as Easter bunnies. Even Tweety, who must have had a good agent, has a cameo.
Even beyond the animated sequence, the film is awash in color, in the pastel gowns in the all-female orchestra on S. Z. Sakall’s radio program. Eve Arden, whose sassy sense and smart mouth foreshadow her success on radio with “Our Miss Brooks” is vivid with her red hair and yellow jacket. In another scene she wears green slacks, the color jumps off the screen. Among the ladies there are green hats, blue dresses, pink blouses. The message may not be fashion, but it certainly is color. The drab war years are over.
The plot is typically simple. Arrogant radio singer Lee Bowman dumps agent Jack Carson to go on to bigger things. Carson replaces him with nobody Doris Day and spends much of the film trying to arrange her first big break. Doris falls for the lout Bowman, but in the last moments realizes good guy Jack Carson, who adores her son, is the one to be with.
A fun aspect to this film are the many shots of post-war Los Angeles, some location shooting, and some rear-screen projection, of street scenes and landmarks including the Brown Derby and the Copacabana.
Another point to remember in these post-war Easters is that gas rationing of the war years was over. Sugar rationing is over. Clothing rationing is over. The urge to celebrate, not just victory, but the return to a normal life is what makes a huge difference in how the celebration of secular Easter has come down to us.
During the war, we had a brief glimpse of Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds singing “Easter Parade” as they left a small country church in “Holiday Inn” (1942). They are dressed simply and modestly for church, but there is no opulence. When Fred Astaire greets them on the porch of the inn, he is not wearing a top hat or carrying an Easter lily. It is a sweet, but not a splashy segment.
By 1949, Easter, like the eggs in the color bath, got a bit splashy.
Tomorrow we finish up with “Easter Parade.”