Shameless Self Promotion

Unless you have been living in a bubble, you know that there is a new Indiana Jones movie coming out at the end of the month.  What?  Sex in the City?  Yes, I've heard of it, but all the boys are talking about at my house is Indy.

With a PG-13 rating, it's somewhat interesting that the movie promoters have chosen Legos as one of their avenues of indoctrination, but Blandings' boys 1, 2 and 3 can tell you almost everything you need to know about a movie made well before they were born.

Catalogues and computer games extol the adventures of Dr. Jones and what mommy can argue with a hero with a Ph.D.?  You don't think I missed the opportunity to tell them how many years he went to school and how hard he had to study do you?  Yes, the message is definitely that women and adventure follow straight A's and advanced graduate degrees.

Indy wasn't our first Lego love.  Star Wars was number one in the Blandings' box office, a smash hit, for over two years.  Again, PG-13 movies promoted by products with "7 & Up" on the box.

A Star Wars "museum" was erected in the dressing room.  ("She'll never let us do it, you know she won't.")  Sheets removed and Chicken Walkers installed. 

 Alas, the Legos rarely stay in the museum.  Not made to reside on shelves they are brought out for battle and sometimes just to show.  Repairs must be made when #3 gets in over his head.

But do not count our day as the day of shameless promotion.  In 1948, David O. Selznik and RKO Radio Pictures built 73 houses across the nation to promote the new film, "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House."

Based on Eric Hodgins's book of the same name, the movie struck a chord with American audiences.  Postwar movie-goers were flocking to the suburbs looking for dream houses of their own.  The star, not Grant or Loy, but the house, was modeled after Hodgins's house in Connecticut.  His book was a fictionalized account of its conceptualization and construction.  Building the house nearly bankrupt him and he ended up selling it.  Once he had success with the book and the movie, Hodgins attempted to buy it back.  The owners would not sell.

RKO's original plan was for 100 houses in 100 cities.  The studio provided the blueprints which local builders could modify.  It seems all the kitchens were state of the art GE electric.  Fancy.  Generally, tours of the homes were conducted and proceeds benefited a local charity.  PR machine.

I have relatively recent articles from Tulsa, Toledo, South Bend, Oklahoma City, Chattanooga, Portland and, yes, Connecticut, providing updates on the Blandings' homes in their cities.  Most of the homeowners were not aware of the houses history when they purchased them, but all are captivated by the charm of the homes and the story.

We have one right here in Kansas City a short stroll from my Dream House.  I didn't know until I started writing the blog and folks started saying, "Oh, like the house around the corner."  One of our iconic developers, J.C. Nichols claimed he could build the house of a fraction of the $18,000 that Grant's character paid for his.  I contacted the owner and asked her if I could post an image.  Lovely and gracious, she agreed.  She knew, of course, the house's pedigree.  She said, "Come by soon, everything is green and blooming."  A dream house, indeed.

Many thanks to my sister-in-law who was an unbelievable help with the research.  Love 'ya lots, Luc.