Earn Your Gay Card: Free online course about movie musicals

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“Meet Me in St. Louis” is one of the classic movie musicals featured in TCM’s free online course, “Mad About Musicals,” beginning June 3. Credit: TCM.

So, you think you know everything there is to know about movie musicals? What self-respecting queen can’t quote every line from “The Sound of Music,” “Mame” or “Funny Girl?” Actually, there are many out there who didn’t inherit this profoundly gay trait, but don’t surrender your “gay cards” yet, because there’s help out there.

Beginning June 3, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and Ball State University are offering a free, four-week online class, “TCM Presents: MAD ABOUT MUSICALS,” dedicated to the history of Hollywood musicals.

The interactive class, created on the Canvas online education platform, promises students “an entertaining deep-dive into the Hollywood musical, from the 1930s to the 1970s, with addictive multimedia course materials, digital games, ongoing interactions with your fellow film fans on the TCM message boards, and more!”

Previous courses offered by TCM and Ball State included “Film Noir” (2015), “Slapstick Comedy” (2016) and “50 Years of Hitchcock” (2017).

The distinguished Ball State University faculty include Vanessa Theme Ament, Ph.D, a Foley artist and voice actor for such films as “Platoon,” “Predator,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Edward Scissorhands” and author of “Hollywood Sound Design” and “MovieSound Newsletter;” seven-time Academy Award-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom; Richard Edwards, Ph.D, author of “The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism;” and Wes Gehring, Ph.D, author and associate media editor for USA Today.

Each week’s curriculum is comprised of lecture videos, content pages, quizzes, discussion forums, digital games, live tweeting events, optional readings and signature “Daily Doses of Musicals.” The Daily Doses are brief, five-minute learning modules including a short video clip that will unlock inside the Canvas course on Mondays through Thursdays during the duration of the course.

Topics include the influence of stars from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams and Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland to Vincente Minelli, Gene Kelly and Elvis Presley; the effect of improved sound and film technology and the influence of changing tastes among audiences.

Coursework takes approximately two to four hours per week, in addition to time to watch the musicals on TCM or online. A cable subscription to TCM is not required for the course. On Tuesdays and Thursdays during June, TCM will air more than 90 musicals, including “42nd Street” (1933), “Swing Time” (1936), “Wizard of Oz” (1939), “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), “Jailhouse Rock” (1957), “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) and “Cabaret” (1972).

To learn more and register for “TCM Present: MAD ABOUT MUSICALS,” go to Canvas.net.


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