DAVID FANTLE and TOM JOHNSON in person - at SEWI Festival of Books

In Person Event- 
SEWI Festival of Books 


Friday, October 13 
7:00-8:30 p.m.

in the Hub 
UW Milwaukee Waukesha 

1500 N. University Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188


The Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books present an evening with film historians David Fantle and Tom Johnson, who will give an in-person talk on their latest book: C’mon, Get Happy the Making of Summer Stock. Summer Stock is a 1950 MGM musical starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and it was Garland’s final film at the studio she called home for 15 years. They will trace the history of this “troubled” production as well as provide insights into the mechanics of MGM’s famous musical film factory system.


Books are available for purchase from Books & Company, the official SEWI Festival of Books bookstore. A percentage of sales will be donated back to the SEWI Festival of Books.



About the book: 
In their third and final screen teaming, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred together in the MGM musical Summer Stock. Despite its riveting production history, charismatic lead actors, and classic musical moments, the movie has not received the same attention as other musicals from MGM's storied dream factory. In C'mon, Get Happy: The Making of "Summer Stock," authors David Fantle and Tom Johnson present a comprehensive study of this 1950 motion picture, from start to finish and after its release.

The production coincided at a critical point in the careers of Kelly and an emotionally spent Garland. Kelly, who starred in An American in Paris just one year later, was at the peak of his abilities. On the other hand, Summer Stock was Garland's final film at MGM, and she gamely completed it despite her own personal struggles. Summer Stock includes Kelly's favorite solo dance routine and Garland's signature number "Get Happy."

The authors discuss in rich detail the contributions of the cast (which included Gloria DeHaven, Eddie Bracken, Phil Silvers, and Marjorie Main); the director (Charles Walters); the producer (Joe Pasternak); the script writers (George Wells and Sy Gomberg); the songwriters (which included Harry Warren and Mack Gordon); and top MGM executives (Louis B. Mayer and Dore Schary). The volume features extensive interviews, conducted by the authors, with Kelly, Walters, Warren, and others, who shared their recollections of making the movie. Deeply researched, C'mon, Get Happy reveals the studio system at work during Hollywood's Golden Era.

Additionally, the authors have written a special section called "Taking Stock" that buttonholes numerous contemporary dancers, singers, choreographers, musicians, and even Garland impersonators for their take on Summer Stock, its stars, and any enduring legacy they think the film might have. Artists from Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ben Vereen, and Tommy Tune to Garland's and Kelly's daughters, Lorna Luft and Kerry Kelly Novick, respectively, offer their unique perspective on the film and its stars.



About the Authors
David Fantle, mostly in collaboration with Tom Johnson, has been interviewing, writing and speaking about Hollywood’s Golden Age stars for 40 years where their work has appeared in media outlets throughout the world. Fantle’s career also includes more than three decades working as an award-winning marketing and public relations professional, including a tenure as Deputy Tourism Secretary for Wisconsin. He resides in Milwaukee, WI and is an adjunct professor in film at Marquette University. Tom Johnson began his collaboration with David Fantle in 1978 as a student journalist at the University of Minnesota by co-writing an award-winning arts and entertainment column for the “Minnesota Daily” called “Entertainment Ltd.” Johnson was a senior editor at Netflix and has written movie reviews and features for E! Online, Moviefone and People magazine, among other publications. Johnson’s entertainment writing has been recognized with a Minnesota Newspaper Association achievement award and a National Hearst Foundation award for news writing.

Tom Johnson is former senior editor at Netflix and has written movie reviews and features for E! Online, Moviefone, and People magazine, among other publications. His entertainment writing has been recognized with a Minnesota Newspaper Association achievement award and a National Hearst Foundation award for news writing.




Visit  http://www.sewibookfest.com/  for more festival events and information! 

Event date: 
Friday, October 13, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
1500 N. University Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188
C'Mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock By David Fantle, Tom Johnson, Savion Glover (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496838391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Mississippi - October 10th, 2023

Hollywood Heyday: 75 Candid Interviews with Golden Age Legends By David Fantle, Tom Johnson (Editor) Cover Image
By David Fantle, Tom Johnson (Editor)
ISBN: 9781476668055
Availability: Not On Our Shelves Now--Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: McFarland & Company - May 16th, 2018