As if enjoying a free classic movie matinee is not enough, this month’s Silver Screeners showing of the classic film “Never A Dull Moment” on Sunday, April 24, 1:30 p.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry Street, will include a special visit with Katharine Weber, granddaughter of the woman behind the music and the movie, Composer Kay Swift.
The movie is based on Swift’s 1943 book “Who Could Ask for Anything More?” and is based on her own whirlwind marriage in 1939 to Oregon rancher Faye Hubbard, “Chris” in the film played by Fred MacMurray. The film tells the story of Kay Kingsley, a sophisticated and successful songwriter in New York City (played by Irene Dunne) who falls in love with a widowed rancher during the Madison Square Garden Rodeo. The couple elopes and runs off to his ranch out west leading to a romantic comedy as she tries to adjust to a cowboy lifestyle far away from the bright lights and glitter of Broadway.
An acclaimed composer, Swift is credited as the first woman to completely score a Broadway musical “Fine and Dandy” (1930). Her hit songs include “Can’t We Be Friends,” the jazz classic “Fine and Dandy,” and “Can This Be Love?”. She also wrote the musical score for the film “Never a Dull Moment.”
Swift is also known for her intense lifelong devotion to George Gershwin and his music. She worked closely and was romantically involved with Gershwin for more than ten years until his sudden death in 1937. Weber will share rare memorabilia, music and photos from the Faye and Kay Ranch, Gershwin, and stories of her grandmother’s creative involvement with George and Ira Gershwin, her decision to run away from Broadway to live on an Oregon ranch for eight years and her return to the East Coast to spend much of her time and creative energy on Gershwin projects until her death in 1993. Her life and collaboration with Gershwin included some of his most productive creations including “Porgy and Bess,” “An American in Paris,” (she was photographed wearing two antique gold cuff bracelets he gave her as a gift for the premier) and other classics.
Weber, currently a Richard L. Thomas Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College, is the author of “The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities,” “Triangle,” “The Music Lesson,” “The Little Women,” and “True Confections” which will be featured at the main library adult book discussion on Tuesday, May 17. She is also a trustee and administrator of the Kay Swift Memorial Trust which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the music of her grandmother.