Anyone who’s followed this blog knows we are great fans of Van Johnson.
MGM signed him in the early 1940s and molded a career for him which included drama and comedy and an occasional musical. But they rarely took advantage of his excellent dancing abilities.
Van, after all, had been a chorus boy on Broadway. He had an OK voice and strikingly handsome all American good looks. And could he dance.
Check out a clip on YouTube from 1946’s Til the Clouds Roll By, of Van singing and dancing with Lucile Bremer. (There they are above.)
“I Won’t Dance” was one of the Jerome Kern songs featured in that biopic about the composer. Van does a mean jitterbug.
And while you’re at it, check out Van’s nice turn with Lucille Ball in a 1955 episode of her I Love Lucy tv series, titled The Dancing Star. Lucy and Van (as himself) cut the rug in great style with Johnson nicely showing off what he could do.
We’ve written lots about Van Johnson through the years. For example, way back in 2012, we ran a blog headlined WAS VAN JOHNSON GAY, covering the actor’s MGM days during which his offscreen sexual preferences were very much a subject verboten.
It was one of our most popular blogs ever, and drew a hearty range of reader opinion.
One reader, Rosemarie, wrote this:
I’m writing again. I don’t care what any one says of (Van Johnson).
I fell in love with him since I was 13 (when) I am in my senior
I will always have a place in my heart for him.
I only regret that coming to the United States (I am from another
country), I didn’t do my best to try to meet him. I (would) surely
have fainted in front of him, that’s the impact that would
have made in me since he was the love of my life — (platonic
Nicely done, Rosemarie. Shall we dance?