The Glenn Miller Story, Then and Now

I just graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder, a place that probably would not seem to have any big ties to Hollywood. The tradition of the film program here is one more grounded in art cinema and experimental film, being the home of Stan Brakhage for years, and now filmmakers like Phil Solomon.

But there are a few little ties to classic Hollywood on campus. One is the large fountain and courtyard near the University Memorial Center, dedicated to Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo, who attended CU (not sure if he graduated), was one of the Hollywood Ten, blacklisted in the 1947 HUAC hearings, and served time in jail. Trumbo, a screenwriter, won two Academy Awards, both under fronts. He was credited for working on Exodus and Spartacus, which helped to work towards ending the blacklist, as well as restoring his own name to projects. Unfortunately, there were many that were blacklisted and never able to work under their own names for the rest of their careers. The courtyard is meant to be a place where people can speak their minds, and it is a wide open area where many students study or eat meals on nice days.

The second Hollywood connection I didn’t even know about until I watched the movie. Glenn Miller is another famous past CU student, attending in the 1920s before going off to pursue his musical endeavors. In 1953, Anthony Mann directed Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson in The Glenn Miller Story. They ended up shooting some of the film on campus at Miller’s widow Helen’s request, right on the bridge that goes by Old Main.

As you can see from the screencaptures, not much has changed. The tree that appears prominently behind Allyson and Stewart isn’t there, but other than that and the new lampposts, much of it looks the same. There was talk that perhaps the change in background is because once getting back to Hollywood, some of the footage from the bridge scenes were not up to par, and the crew had to recreate and reshoot some of it on a soundstage.

Driving up to Old Main (the road is still there)

June and Jimmy look at Old Main

Jimmy and June sitting on the bridge. If you continue on the sidewalk, there’s a Starbucks to the right..today there is, not then

Jimmy leaves, Old Main is directly behind him.

Old Main today

The bridge today looking back at Old Main. Jimmy and June sat to the right.

The bridge today (not in Technicolor…)

Me, where the lovely Ms. Allyson and wonderful Jimmy sat

Pretty cool huh? Kind of neat to think two of my favorite stars shot a scene on my campus, far from a Hollywood studio…

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