Friday, December 15, 2017

December Battle of the Bands


December represents ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.  When I think of ‘the most wonderful time’ I am easily transported back to the mid 80’s. I had just completed my first year of college and set off to find that perfect summer job. I found that perfect summer job working for the Sun Valley Resort in Central Idaho.


There is something magical about the Sun Valley area. I don’t know if I can quite put my finger on what it is exactly. Celebrities have found this hidden magic there as well and many have made the area their part-time homes. I could tell you a few stories, but I won’t. See, that’s part of the magic of the place. You might be a celebrity, but everyone knows that you also live there and they don’t make a big deal out of it.  In fact, one of the first people I met was a celebrity - and it didn’t even occur to me until just LAST YEAR that this person was a famous actress. My first job was in housekeeping at the Lodge. One of the guests was this sweet old lady who insisted on staying in the same room every year (she visited at least once a year) The room was our smallest room with two twin beds. She’d offer me treats and the like whenever she was in the room when I just happened to be the one cleaning her room. I knew her name but her celeb status wasn’t even on my radar - especially since she was so down to earth. Back in those days we didn’t have a thing called Google. I literally cried when I found out who she really was, because she had made such an impact on me.  (okay, I’ll tell you her name.. But you will have to do your own research!  Her name was Ann Sothern)

Speaking of down to earth - you simply have not lived until you have experienced the 'Trailing of the Sheep'. Each spring sheepherders herd their sheep through town on their way to the high country. Every fall, they make the return trip to the lower country.

I guess I could tell you a bit of history about the place. In the 1930’s Union Pacific Railroad Chairman W Averell Harriman set out to find the perfect winter destination in America. In 1936, he found this wonderful place, and Sun Valley Resort became the very first Ski Resort (or winter destination) in America. That same year, the world’s very first chairlift were installed on Proctor Mountain (also part of Sun Valley area). In 1937, the first Inn was built.

Ernest Hemingway completed For Whom the Bell Tolls, while staying in suite 206 of the Lodge in the fall of 1939. Averell Harriman had invited Hemingway and other celebrities, primarily from Hollywood, to the resort to help promote it. Gary Cooper was a frequent visitor and hunting/fishing partner, as were Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and several members of the Kennedy family. Hemingway was a part-time resident over the next twenty years, eventually relocating to Ketchum ("Papa" and his fourth wife are buried in the Ketchum Cemetery). The Hemingway Memorial, dedicated in 1966, is just off Trail Creek Road, about a mile northeast of the Sun Valley Lodge.  I would spend many of my afternoons visiting the Hemingway Memorial, sitting on a stone bench reading a book, or simply taking in the beauty of the surroundings. There is a little creek that runs directly in front of this memorial, and while the benches are really only a few yards from the road, you wouldn't know it. The back side of the memorial is part of the local golf course.

During World War II, the resort was closed in 1942 and converted to a convalescent hospital for the U.S. Navy (Pacific Theater), which was operational in July 1943. It re-opened to the public in December 1946.

After the war, the resort's clinic operated on the third floor of Sun Valley Lodge until the Sun Valley Community Hospital was built in 1961. While the third floor was used as the clinic, the fourth floor was the operating and recovery rooms. I will tell you from personal experience the fourth floor has paranormal activity.

After my first summer, I returned to college where, much to my parents chagrin, I promptly dropped out of my classes and made my way back to Sun Valley. I would spend the next 11 years there. One could say that I truly fell in love with the area.  I could share many stories about movie producers dialing my phone number wanting to speak with Mr Eastwood (not a prank! We had the same phone number with different prefix) Or the time my car broke down and I had to go door to door asking to borrow a phone to call for help, and Richard Dreyfuss coming to my rescue, or how a certain actor that I had a crush on as a young teen turned out to be an arrogant piece of … work. Or even the time Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were in town and they had a store close so they could shop in privacy. Or I could tell you about visiting the set for the movie Pale Rider.  But those are all stories for another day.

Oh shoot. I got carried away and almost forgot - we’ve got a battle today!


Sun Valley was featured (and promoted) in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade, starring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Milton Berle, and bandleader Glenn Miller. Scenes were shot at the resort in March 1941. Sun Valley transfer local and future gold medalist Gretchen Fraser (her husband was also an Olympian skier - both lovely people that I am honored to have met) was the skiing stand-in for Henie.

The movie features many of Glenn Miller favorites, including “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.

But since I’m talking about this wonderfully magical place, today song choice is:


‘It Happened in Sun Valley’


Today, I’ve got three different contenders for you to choose from. Listen carefully and choose the one you enjoy the most!


Contender # 1 Jo Stafford w/Paul Weston's Orchestra & The Starlighters






Contender # 2 The Fraser Hayes Four







Contender #3 The Glenn Miller Orchestra





Please vote for the contestant that you like best in the comments.  You may have heard by now, I am moving this weekend. Please don’t let that stop you from casting your vote. Voting will end on December 21, 2017 at 6pm EST with results being posted on December 22 (or as soon as I have internet connected)

By the way, the perfect location for the best view of the area for photographs (in my opinion) is along the road above Clint Eastwood's home.

I’d like to encourage you to visit the other bloggers participating in the battle of the bands as well. You can find a current list on Stephen’s blog (you can also request to join the battle of the bands blog hop on his blog).






27 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea about the place. Great stories! Thank you for sharing. As for the battle, I'm going to go with Glenn Miller. Best wishes on your move!

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    1. Thanks Darla!

      First vote goes to Glenn Miller.

      Delete
  2. Hi Mary; Hope all goes well with your move. Great story about your time in Sun Valley! I remember Ann Sothern from the movie "Letter to Three Wives" and she also had a TV show later on. How cool that Richard Dreyfuss helped you out! Did you get to meet Clint, as well?

    As for the battle, they were all good, but Glenn Miller stuck with me. Please give my vote to him.

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    1. Hi Debbie!
      I did not officially meet Clint but I did step aside for him on a sidewalk. Not quite the same but still exciting.

      Another vote for Glenn Miller.

      -Mary

      Delete
  3. I honestly can't recall if I've ever been to Sun Valley. If I have it would have been in summer and if I haven't then I was mighty close to it. Working there sounds like a great job especially for a single young person.

    Never heard of this song. It's kind of a strange one in a way. All the versions are relatively similar. My preference of the three is the one by Fraser Hayes Four. To me this version was more musically interesting.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thanks Lee!

      Sun Valley is a great place for the young and single. Thanks for the vote!

      Mary

      Delete
  4. Howdy, MARY, MARY, QUITE EXTRAORDINARY ~

    I've never been to Sun Valley, but I HAVE been to Rigby, Idaho. That's almost the same thing, right? ;^)

    I really enjoyed your blog bit. Sounds like you've got a "Virgnia City thang" for Sun Valley.

    Just a few weeks ago, I actually saw Ann Sothern in a 1971 episode of 'ALIAS SMITH AND JONES'. She played a character named Blackjack Jenny.

    When's the last time you visited Sun Valley?

    Everyone knows how Lucy van Pelt said no one is truly famous until they've had their picture appear on a bubble gum card. Well, I have a saying too: Nothing and No Place are truly noteworthy until someone has written a song about them. Sun Valley, ID., is noteworthy; Virginia City, NV., is noteworthy. Mountville, South Carolina is NOT noteworthy.

    I own on compact disc that includes the Glenn Miller recording of 'SUN VALLEY JUMP'. And although the Glenn Miller Orchestra is my #1 all-time favorite musical artist, in this case I'm going to surprise myself and vote for THE FRASIER HAYES FOUR. I enjoyed all three versions, but that one seemed to be the most spirited with crisp, bouncy instrumentation.

    Mary, I sure hope the move goes well and that you have a nice Christmas Day!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

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    1. Hey there! Did you know that I grew up in Rigby? That's where I graduated from.

      I haven't been back to Sun Valley since 1996. I hear from friends that live in the area that the area has changed some but the ambience is still there.

      Move is going well so far. Movers are loading truck now. We leave town this evening.

      Another vote for Fraser Hayes Four.

      Thanks!
      Mary

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    2. I had NO IDEA that you grew up in Rigby. That's funny! I only mentioned it because I have a friend living there right now, and I drove through it once. Not absolutely certain when that was but most likely in 1988.


      ~ D-FensDogG
      STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

      Delete
    3. I should be spending the night just outside of Rigby tonight. Currently in Rock Springs, Whyoming. Stopping for gas and grub.

      Delete
  5. All three are great. I love this kind of singing. As for my favorite, I choose the first one, because it has Jo Stafford, one of my favorite singers.

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    1. Thanks John!

      First vote for Jo Stafford.

      Mary

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  6. I vote for Jo Stafford because I love her voice, which really represents the time period. You met a lot of interesting people!

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Thanks Janie!

      And just like that we have a three way tie!

      Mary

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  7. You make me want to spend one of my weekends in Sun Valley Resort. I've driven through there frequently but never stopped. I will next spring.

    As for the Battle; no contest for Stafford and company.

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    1. Donna I heartily recommend a visit. You will not regret it at all!

      Another vote for Stafford on the books.

      Mary

      Delete
  8. Hey Mary.
    How's the move going?
    Thanks for sharing all the cool info about Sun Valley. Sounds like a fascinating and magical place. Especially with all the snow!
    My vote is going for the Fraser Hayes Four. I liked their version best and if I had to choose one that I'd listen to over and over, that one would be my choice.

    All the best wishes for a succesful move! I said it before: moving sucks. Just take time to enjoy the settling in and unpacking. Take your time and relish in your new digs!
    Merry Christmas Mary!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Thanks Michele!

      Am in Idaho now. Move into the place tomorrow. Getting excited! Hope your holidays are great.

      Mary

      Delete
  9. Perhaps I am developing some sort of musical mental illness. I keep thinking, "oh, this is a tough one!" Whatever happened to my jump-to-conclusion years?

    Loved Jo Stafford, loved Frasier Hayes Four (I have a leanin' towards all the Big Band and harmony stuff), but I gotta give it to Glen Miller and friends.

    Nice battle! Merry Christmas!
    Cherdo

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    1. Thanks Cherdo!
      I think this may be one of my favorite battles yet. I won't have Internet until next week. So will post results then.

      Mary

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    2. Thanks Cherdo!
      I think this may be one of my favorite battles yet. I won't have Internet until next week. So will post results then.

      Mary

      Delete
  10. I have to give it to Glen Miller..I prefer it over the others..maybe because it reminds me of old movies. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks Birgit!

      I've got your vote counted. Will post results next week when hopefully I have Internet access. Merry Christmas!

      Mary

      Delete
  11. Jo Safford gets my vote! Happy Holidays

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  12. Glenn Miller. Definitely Glenn Miller.

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    1. Thanks, Terri!

      I will be posting results soon.

      ~Mary

      Delete

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