Cheesecake, cheesecake and more cheesecake. Producer/director William Forest Crouch knew the value of an attractive smile and figure, and there are many Soundies built around a little music and a large number of pretty models.
She Looks Cute in Her Bathing Suit has a somewhat split personality. The vocal with Bob Kennedy was recorded and filmed in New York (May 1946), with Kennedy accompanied on soundtrack by a conventional big band. While the song itself is of little consequence, it gives us a chance to hear a fine vocalist who, shortly after this Soundie was made, found himself as a replacement for Alfred Drake (“Curly”) in the Broadway hit Oklahoma! Kennedy went on to become a very popular television game show host.
Crouch and his production crew then packed up their equipment and headed south to Miami Beach where they filmed the “action” for eighteen Soundies. In this case a large number of models in bathing suits gathered around the swimming pool at the Versailles Hotel. That footage was later edited into Kennedy’s vocal performance.
The woman in the white bikini, standing by the tree toward the end of the film, is my good friend Jeni Freeland, perhaps the last surviving Soundies star. Jeni was “Miss Florida” in 1944 and third runner up in the Miss America pageant. Here she is part of an ensemble billed as the Seashore Sweeties. A lengthy interview with Jeni is included in the upcoming Soundies history, and among her thoughts is the following: “We made the jukebox shorts up at the studios in the Bronx and down in Florida. And I was in a lot of them. Sometimes I was an actress, and I sang and danced and acted, also posed as a bathing suit model. But sometimes they would use just a body part. In one film the singer, Gracie Barrie, sang something like, ‘Oh, just look at me,’ and she was supposed to pull up her dress. But her legs were too fat, so I got into her dress and they used my legs instead.”
While this Soundie may take a musical backseat to many we have shared, it is important to remember that Soundies was a visual medium. Kennedy’s vocal and the models gathered around the swimming pool fit the bill perfectly!