<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> George Duning Soundtrack: Picnic

Gallery

Picnic

 

Picnic

TK
Song Title
Time
Rating
Play Sample
1
Love Theme
2:37
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
2
Hal's Theme
1:57
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
3
Owens Family, The
4:14
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
4
Flo and Madge
4:28
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
5
Love Theme from "Picnic"
2:16
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
6
Moonglow
3:48
StarStarStarStar
Play Sample
7
It's a Blue World-Torn Shirt (Pt. 1)
5:01
StarStarStarStar
Play Sample
8
Torn Shirt [Concluded]/Hal's Turmoil
6:37
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
9
Rosemary Pleads/Rosemary Alone
2:14
StarStarStarStar
Play Sample
10
Culmination/Hal's Escape
5:55
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
11
That Owens Girl/Millie
1:34
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample
12
You Love Me/Madge Decides
5:40
StarStarStarStarStar
Play Sample


Picnic Back Cover

 

"The Sexiest Movie Alive In 1955!" - Picnic Article by John Stanley.

 

1955 PICNIC - MOVIE TIDBITS

Picnic Poster

 

Picnic's Production and Cast:

During the casting period of the film William Holden, at 37, was wary of playing Hal (Novak was about half his age). He shaved his chest for the shirtless shots and was reportedly nervous about his dancing for the "Moonglow" scene. Logan took him to Kansas roadhouses where he practiced steps in front of jukeboxes with choreographer Miriam Nelson. Heavy thunderstorms with tornado warnings repeatedly interrupted shooting of the scene on location and it was completed on a back lot in Burbank, where Holden (according to some sources) was "dead drunk" to calm his nerves. "Bomber" the paperboy was played by Nick Adams, who dated Natalie Wood and was a friend of both James Dean and Elvis Presley. Millie, the independently-minded girl who memorizes Shakespeare sonnets and rebels against her older sister, was an early role for Susan Strasberg, the daughter of well-known "Method" drama teacher Lee Strasberg. Elizabeth Wilson had a bit part as one of the local, smirking schoolteachers (12 years later she played a major supporting role in Mike Nichols' The Graduate as Benjamin Braddock's attractive, slightly high-strung mom). Verna Felton, a long time radio and TV character actor who was widely known to audiences in the 1950s, had a strong supporting role as neighbor Helen Potts.

Photo
Actor
Played Character
Born
Died
Age in Picnic
Age at Death
Years Since Birth
Cause of Death
William Holden
William Holden
Hal Carter
04/17/1918
11/16/1981
37
63
94

Dead

Blood loss from hitting his head after a fall at his apartment
(Santa Monica)

Kim Novak
Kim Novak
Madge Ownens
02/13/1933
-
22
-
80
Alive

Alive
Betty Field
Betty Field
Flo Owens
02/08/1913
09/13/1973
42
60
100
Dead

Cerebral hemorrhage
Susan Strasberg
Susan Strasberg
Millie Owens
05/22/1938
01/21/1999
17
60
75
Dead

Breast cancer
Cliff Robertson
Cliff Robertson
Alan Benson
09/09/1923
9/10/11
31
88
90
Dead

Natural Causes
Rosalind Russell
Rosalind Russell
Rosemary Sidney
06/04/1907
11/28/1976
48
69
106
Dead

Breast cancer
Authur O'Connell
Arthur O'Connell
Howard Bevans
03/29/1908
05/18/1981
47
73
105
Dead

Alzheimer's disease
Vera Felton
Vera Felton
Helen Potts
07/20/1890
12/14/1966
65
76
122
Dead

Stroke
Nick Adams
Nick Adams
Bomber
07/10/1931
02/07/1968
24
36
82

Dead

Overdose from accident, suicide?

Read about this mystery: Nick Adams: His Hollywood Life and Death by Peter L. Winkler; published by http://www.crimemagazine.com

Raymond Bailey
Raymond Bailey
Mr. Benson
05/06/1904
04/15/1980
51
75
109
Dead

Heart Attack

 

Picnic (play):

Play by Pulitzer Prize-winning William Inge, copyright, 1953, by William Inge.

PRINTING HISTORY:

Random House edition published May 1953
2nd printing September 1953
Fireside Theatre Book Club edition published September 1953
Acting edition published by Samuel French Theatre Arts Magazine edition published April 1954
Batam edition published February 1956

Images of the front & back of the 1956 Bantam edition:

Picnic Play . . . . Picnic Play Back Cover

Picnic (film): [Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picnic_(film)]

One of the biggest box-office attractions of the 1950s, Picnic was adapted by Daniel Taradash from the Pulitzer Prize-winning William Inge play. Picnic is a 1955 Cinemascope film in Technicolor which tells the story of an ex-college football star turned drifter who arrives in a small Kansas town on Labor Day and is drawn to a girl who is already spoken for. The plot covers a 24-hour period. With a cast headed by William Holden, Kim Novak, Susan Strasberg, Cliff Robertson, Arthur O'Connell, Nick Adams, Betty Field, Rosalind Russell and Verna Felton, the film is sometimes cited as a richly detailed snapshot of life in the American Midwest during the 1950s. It won two Academy Awards and was nominated for four more. The screenplay was adapted by Daniel Taradash from William Inge's Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same title. Directed by Joshua Logan, Picnic was widely popular and made Kim Novak a star.

Picnic's Plot:

Hal Carter (William Holden) is a former college football star, now adrift and unemployed after having tried and failed to begin an acting career in Hollywood. On Labor Day, September 5, 1955 he arrives by freight train in a Kansas town to visit his old fraternity buddy Alan Benson (Cliff Robertson), son of a wealthy grain elevator owner. Working for his breakfast by doing chores in the backyard of a kindly Mrs Potts (Verna Felton), Hal stops "Bomber" the local paperboy (Nick Adams) from pestering neighbor girl Madge Owens (Kim Novak) for a date. Madge happens to be dating Alan. Her single-parent mother (Betty Field) is hoping Madge will marry Alan, which would thus raise both Madge and herself into the town's highest, "respectable" social circles. Alan also wants to marry Madge, but his father thinks she is "below" him and Madge tells her mother she doesn't love Alan and is weary of being liked only because she is pretty.

At first Hal gets along wonderfully with almost everyone and Alan is very happy to see "good old Hal," whom he takes to see the family's sprawling grain elevator operations, where he promises Hal a steady job as a "wheat scooper." Alan then invites Hal to the town's Labor Day picnic. Hal is wary about coming to the picnic, but Alan nudges him into it, saying Hal's "date" for the picnic will be Madge's bookish and bright younger sister Millie (Susan Strasberg), who is quickly drawn to Hal's cheerful outlook and charisma. Alan reassures Mrs Owens that although Hal flunked out of school and lost his football scholarship because he didn't study, there are no worries about him. The afternoon carries on very happily until Hal carelessly starts talking about himself too much and Alan stops him with a cutting remark. As the sun goes down, everyone wanders off. Millie draws a sketch of Hal and tells him she secretly writes poetry. Hal's behavior towards her is very friendly and utterly trustworthy but his replies show he has no understanding of her world at all. A bit later into the evening, Madge is named the town's annual "Queen of Neewollah" (Halloween spelled backwards) and Hal longingly gazes at her as she is brought down the river in a swan-shaped pedal-boat. They shyly say "Hi" to each other as she glides by.

Middle-aged schoolteacher Rosemary (Rosalind Russell), who lives in a rented room at the Owens house, has been brought to the picnic by local store owner Howard Bevens (Arthur O'Connell). As a band starts to play dance music, Howard says he can't dance, so Rosemary dances with Millie, whereupon Hal and Howard start dancing together, which nettles Rosemary. She grabs Howard, who then dances with her while Hal tries to show Millie a dance he learned in Los Angeles, but Millie can't quite get the beat. Madge stumbles upon this, begins clapping handily to the beat and the two of them begin dancing together. Having been cast aside by both Rosemary and Hal, now wholly ignored, Millie sulks off and starts drinking from a whiskey flask hidden in Howard's jacket. Rosemary, drunk from the same whiskey, jealously breaks up the dance between Madge and Hal. Rosemary flings herself at Hal, saying he reminds her of a Roman gladiator. When Hal tries to ward off the schoolteacher, she rips his shirt then bitterly calls him a bum. Mrs Owens and Alan show up and think Hal has caused a messy scandal, made all the worse when Millie breaks down, screaming "Madge is the pretty one!" and becomes ill from the whiskey. Rosemary, still blinded by her anger, tells Mrs Owen that Hal gave Millie the whiskey while Howard's plea that he brought the whiskey seems to fall on deaf ears. By now a big crowd is watching and Hal flees into the darkness.

Madge follows Hal to Alan's car and gets in with him. He angrily tells her to go home but she won't budge, so he drives off with her to town. By the riverbank he tells her he was sent to reform school as a boy for stealing a motorcycle and that his whole life is a failure. Madge kisses Hal, which astonishes him. They promise to meet after she gets off work at six the next evening. Hal drives back to Alan's house to return the car but Alan has called the police and wants Hal arrested. After trying to talk things out Hal flees from the house in Alan's car with the police following close behind. Leaving the car back by the river Hal goes into the water, gets away from them and shows up at Howard's apartment, asking to spend the night there. Howard is very understanding and now has his own worries: A highly distraught, desperate and remorseful Rosemary has begged him to marry her. Back at the Owens house, both Madge and Millie cry themselves to sleep in their shared room.

The next morning, Howard comes to the Owens house intending to tell Rosemary he wants to wait but at the sight of him she becomes overjoyed, thinking he has come to take her away. Flustered in front of the whole household and other schoolteachers, Howard wordlessly goes along with this and as he passes Madge on the stairs, tells her Hal is hiding in the backseat of his car. Hal is able to slip away before the other women gleefully paint and attach streamers and tin cans to Howard's car, throwing rice and asking him where he'll take Rosemary for their honeymoon. As Howard and Rosemary happily drive off to the Ozarks, Hal and Madge meet by a shed behind the house. He asks her to meet him in Tulsa, where he can get a room and a job at a local hotel as a bellhop and elevator operator. Mrs Owen finds them by the shed and threatens to call the police. Hal runs to catch a passing freight train, crying out to Madge "You love me! You love me!"

Upstairs in their room, Millie tells Madge to "do something bright" for once in her life and go to Hal. Madge packs a small suitcase and despite her mother's tears (but also nudged on by Mrs Potts), boards a bus for Tulsa.

Picnic's Filming Locations:

Picnic is a richly detailed snapshot of life in the American Midwest during the 1950s. In all, five Kansas cities and towns—Salina, Hutchinson, Halstead, Sterling, and Nickerson—in the heart of the state were selected to provide the authentic Kansas backdrop for the picture. Filming took six weeks in Kansas, with interior shots filmed afterwards in Hollywood. (Click the "More Info" button below to see many more details about Picnic's filming locations):

More Information

US Map

Picnic's Cinemascope Format:

James Wong Howe's widescreen photography for the film was considered trend setting. The Cinemascope format was highlighted in the film's final aerial shot when it pulls back to frame a sprawling horizon showing both a freight train and a Continental Trailways bus separately bearing the two leading characters. The film had a restoration in the mid-1990s which brought many art house screenings.

Picnic's Music:

"Theme From Picnic" was a hit song which reached number one on the 1956 Billboard charts and was number 14 overall that year. Composed by George Duning and Steve Allen (although Allen's lyrics were not used in the film) the song is featured in the famous dance scene between Holden and Novak, wherein Columbia's musical director Morris Stoloff blended "Theme From Picnic" with the 1930s standard "Moonglow." The two songs were often paired in later recordings by other artists. The soundtrack album reached 23 on the Billboard charts.

Picnic's Reaction:

Picnic was widely successful both financially and critically when first released, winning two Academy Awards for its art direction, sets and editing along with four other nominations. In the wake of changing tastes and cinematic trends throughout the 1960s the film was later dismissed in retrospective reviews written during the 1970s and 1980s, although by the end of the 20th century, following releases in its original aspect ratio on Laserdisc and DVD, critics were praising Picnic's resonant portrayal of small-town life in the US during the Eisenhower era, along with its melodic soundtrack and strong performances by a supporting cast including Arthur O'Connell (reprising the role he played during Picnic's successful run on Broadway) and a young Susan Strasberg: A half century later both of these performances still drew wide praise.

Picnic's Awards:

Picnic won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (William Flannery, Jo Mielziner, Robert Priestley) and Best Film Editing and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (O'Connell, who reprised his stage role), Best Director, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (George Duning) and Best Picture. In 2002 Picnic was named #59 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions.

Picnic's Remakes:

Picnic was remade for television in 1986, starring Gregory Harrison, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Learned, Rue McClanahan and Dick Van Patten. It was directed by Marshall W. Mason. It was again remade for television in 2000, starring Bonnie Bedelia, Josh Brolin, Gretchen Mol, Jay O. Sanders and Mary Steenburgen. The screenplay adaptation by Shelley Evans was directed by Ivan Passer.

More Picnic Tidbits:

Picnic Filming

The whole movie was filmed in May of 1955 and released in 1956. It won two Academy Awards and was nominated for four more. Picnic won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color and Best Film Editing.

Interior shots for the Picnic production were filmed in Hollywood and at the Columbia Ranch.

See more details of Picnic tidbits at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picnic_(film): Quote: "Much of Picnic's lasting appeal seems to derive from its well drawn supporting characters and subplots, the authentic location settings in central Kansas and the time-capsule depiction of life in 1955 small town America."

See also http://www.answers.com/topic/picnic-film

See this great article about the filming of Picnic from KANSAS HERITAGE: SPRING 2005: http://www.kshs.org/publicat/heritage/2005spring_shaffer.pdf; (50 years anniversary of the filming of Picnic);

Salina, Kansas
City Map, City Data
Hutchinson, Kansas
City Map, City Data
Nickerson, Kansas

City Map, City Data; Location of the two adjacent houses where The Ownen's family live, with Mrs. Potts next door.

On June 9, 1955 the crew utilized a helicopter to film the final shot of Picnic.

211 S. Nickerson Street, Nickerson, KS 67561 is the address of the "Owen's" family house that was used in the movie: Facts about this home: Single family home, Built in 1886, 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath, 1,735 sq. ft.; It was 69 years old in 1955 when the movie was filmed and is now 126 years old.

Halstead, Kansas
City Map, City Data (see bridge photos), (pop. 1,912) was founded in 1877and is located in Harvey County. http://www.halsteadkansas.com/parks.html & http://www.halsteadks.com/history.htm
Sterling, Kansas
Map, City Data (see Sterling Lake photos);
The Waterfall
The small river waterfall (opening scene where Hal Carter washed up & cleaned his boots) was upgraded in 1967, 12 years after the filming of Picnic. 275 East Iron Avenue and S. 4th Street where the Union Pacific railway crosses East Iron Avenue, Salina, Kansas.
The Swan Boat
The pink "Swan Boat" was specially made for the movie Picnic. This boat has been preserved and is now on display in Heritage Museum & Depot just a few blocks from "Riverside Park" in Halstead where it was used in the movie. http://www.rrhm.org & http://historicalsociety.halsteadkansas.com/page5.php
The Salina Kansas Grain Elevator
The grain elevator that is shown on Hal's left as he walks down the tracks in the opening scene has since burned down. 275 East Iron Avenue and S. 4th Street where the Union Pacific railway crosses East Iron Avenue, Salina, Kansas.
The Hutchinson Grain Elevator
In one scene, Hal and Alan is shown emerging from a door onto the grain elevator rooftop to imply that there was a stairwell to the roof. Not so! That was an elevator machine room that they had stepped out from. The only way onto that roof was up a 16 foot vertical metal rung ladder and through a roof floor hatch. Filmed at the Collingwood Grain Inc. building, 1700 North Halstead Street, Hutchinson, Kansas.
The Little Arkansas River
Madge is named Queen of "Neewollah" (which is Halloween backwards) as she floats past the suspension bridge on the Little Arkansas River. "Neewollah" was borrowed from the city of Independence, Kansas (a small Kansas town which is about 80 miles southeast of Wichita, Kansas), for which the town folks have "THE NEEWOLLAH" festival and parade each year.
The Suspension Bridge

Halstead's unnamed suspension bridge that crossed the Little Arkansas River next to Riverside Park that was shown in many of Picnic's scenes was nearly washed away during a flood. A plaque indicates the bridge was built in 1938 by local builder Orris Hinshaw. It is a small footbridge with steel towers. Location: N 38.00838 W 97.50696. See current views of the bridge here: http://www.city-data.com/city/Halstead-Kansas.html

Halstead is prone to periodic flooding from the Little Arkansas River. When floodwaters reaches 23 feet, that’s bad news. A large vertical ruler stuck into the river bank shows the water level. On the south side of the river, the city has built a dike to keep flood waters out of town. And to prevent water from sneaking in on the roadways, they have added steel walls on the two bridges into Halstead that can be closed tightly, sealing off the town when waters rise.

Riverside Park

There is a plaque at the entrance to Riverside Park that reads: "The 1955 movie Picnic was filmed here."

For well over 120 years, Halstead's Old Settlers has been celebrated by the Halstead community to recognize and give thanks for the community's heritage. Halstead's Old Settlers is the oldest continuous celebration in Harvey County, Kansas. Early in August every year since 1887, a two-day picnic for the old settlers of Harvey County is held in Riverside Park. According to tradition, the old KIT CARSON TREE back of the band-stand marks the spot where a wagon train led by Kit Carson was ambushed by Indians.

Bomber
"Bomber" the paperboy was played by Nick Adams, who dated Natalie Wood and was a friend of both James Dean and Elvis Presley. Nick had starred with Natalie Wood and James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause.
The Picnic Play
The Pulitzer Prize winning play “Picnic” was written by Kansan William Inge. The screenplay was adapted by Daniel Taradash from William Inge's play.
Reno Community High in Nickerson
The old red brick school, Reno Community High, shown in various scenes of Picnic burned down. A new school, Nickerson High, was erected in its place. The school is located directly across the street from the Owen's house in Nickerson, Kansas.
Link
A little write up about a fan of old Picnic film locations, Bob Laudemann: http://members.tripod.com/harlowgold/picnic.html
Moonglow Theme

George Duning composed the score for the film "Picnic." "Moonglow," a song from the 1930's, is heard during a Picnic dance scene with William Holden and Kim Novak. Moonglow, was played by a small band, then gradually faded into Duning's Picnic theme, that was performed by a full string section.

Duning loved the original '30s Moonglow recording so much, that he asked that the same four guys who recorded it to re-record it for the Picnic score. George Van Eps was one of those four guys. His daughter, Kay Van Eps, said: "They couldn't remember exactly what they'd done. So, they played the old record - Dad [George Van Eps] had the old record, and listened to what they had done. They just recorded it in one take. They were all such pros. They recorded that and then the big orchestra came in with the strings."

George Van Eps

George Van Eps
(Member of the Band that Recorded "Moonglow" for "Picnic")

Source: http://www.classicjazzguitar.com/articles/article.jsp?article=34

Picnic Actor Tidbits:

William Holden's Birth name
Holden was born William Franklyn Beedle Jr. in O'Fallon, Ill on April 17, 1918. He married Miss Marshall in 1941 and they raised two sons, Peter and Scott, and her daughter from a previous marriage, Virginia.
Tribute Website for William Holden

William Holden Wildlife Foundation: http://www.whwf.org/

William Holden left $250,000 in his will to girlfriend actress Stephanie Powers. She used the money to start an animal preservation fund, in Holden's memory. The William Holden Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1983.

Stefanie Powers: "Although William Holden's illustrious acting career spanned over 40 years, and included nearly 80 films plus a coveted Oscar for STALAG 17, the role in which he took the most pride was as a conservationist and co-founder of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch. His dedicated efforts to preserve the wildlife so precious to all of us soon expanded through the world, as he instilled in everyone he touched a reverence for nature's creatures.

In his memory, the William Holden Wildlife Foundation was founded to carry on his important efforts and to meet the ever-increasing demand for alternatives to extinction. The foundation's education program currently serves over 10,000 students per year. Overhead expenses in the United States are underwritten through the generosity of a single donor, ensuring that virtually 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to our work. We hope you will consider participating in our present and in our future." (excerpt from http://www.whwf.org/).

William Holden Car Accident
Holden was convicted of manslaughter in Italy, in the 60's, following an automobile accident in which the driver of a small car was killed.
William Holden's Death

On Monday November 16, 1981, Holden's building manager, Bill Martin, became very concerned about Holden since he hadn't seen him in many days. So he let himself into Holden's apartment and found his body next to his bed. Toxicology reports found his blood alcohol level was .22 percent; investigation suggested the actor had been dead for four days. Los Angeles Coroner Thomas Noguchi concluded that Holden, intoxicated, had tripped on a throw rug next to his bed, hit his head on a sharp corner of a teak bedside table, and then passed out and died from loss of blood. He hit it so hard, that it jammed the nightstand into the wall, and left an indentation of two or three inches into the plaster. Holden lay down on the bed for a few minutes, trying to stop the bleeding, then rolled onto the floor, where he died. There were 8 bloody Kleenex's found next to his body, and a working telephone just inches away from him. Holden obviously didn't comprehend the seriousness of his injury, tried to stop the bleeding himself, and passed out from blood loss. The wound to Holden's right forehead was 2-1/2" ling, penetrating to the skull. Holden was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

William Holden autopsy report No. 81-14582; by Thomas T. Noguchi, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner; Los Angeles County Coroner.

William Holden's Friends

President Ronald Regan: William Holden and Ronald Reagan became friends though their work in the Screen Actors Guild after World War II. Holden and his wife Brenda Marshall, were best man and matron of honor at Reagan's 1952 wedding to Nancy Davis.

Glen Ford: William Holden was best man at actor Glen Fords wedding.

William Holden's Apartment

Holden died in his apartment at The Shorecliff Towers at 535 E. Ocean Ave., Apt. #43 (4th floor), Santa Monica, California, 90402. He owned a major interest in the building. It is located overlooking the famous Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean and the scenic Palisades Park where numerous Hollywood movies have been shot.

The Shorecliff Towers

Shorecliff Tower Map

The Shorecliff Towers 2

Tribute Website for Kim Novak

http://www.kimnovak.org/

Kim Novak interview with Robert Osborn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGpEmZ2TQgs

Wikipedia Biography for Kim Novak
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim Novak
Official Website for Cliff Robertson
http://www.cliffrobertson.info/
Wikipedia Biography for Cliff Robertson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Robertson