About Christmas TV History

Monday, August 22, 2016

Rosemary Clooney House

Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, KY

It's that time of year again. I've been traveling to pop culture destinations on summer vacation. You may remember some of my earlier destinations: The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA; It's a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls, NY; The Waltons-Hamner Homestead in Schuyler, VA; The Lucille Ball museums in Jamestown, NY; and A Christmas Story House Museum in Cleveland, OH. Earlier this year, I even visited NameThatChristmasSpecial.com webmaster and Christmas music collector Jeff Fox in Ottawa. I love traveling and sharing my adventures. What pop culture destinations have you visited?

Augusta is a sleepy little town located on the banks of the scenic Ohio River.

Last week I went Augusta, KY to visit the Rosemary Clooney House. The singer/actor's personal home has been turned into a museum filled with treasures from Clooney's long career. Getting there was half the fun. Rosemary was raised in nearby Maysville--this is also where she currently rests. But she purchased the beautiful home in Augusta to be near her family and as an isolated getaway between New York and Los Angeles. Since I live in Ohio and was traveling from the north, I took a ferry across the Ohio River to reach Augusta. I recommend it--riding the small ferry was an adventure in itself.

Crossing the Ohio River. On the Ohio side, there are many historic sites and museums dedicated the Underground Railroad and nineteenth century paths taken by escaped Southern slaves seeking freedom in the North.

Sheet music and original 7" recording of Clooney's Christmas hit song "Suzy Snowflake."

Inside the museum, you'll find photos, artifacts, memorabilia, and costumes from Rosemary's singing career and appearances in Hollywood films. Bet I know what you're interested in! The stuff from the 1954 movie White Christmas, right? The museum boasts "the largest collection of White Christmas memorabilia anywhere in the world." Make sure you contact them before you visit--during the holidays, pieces from the collection travel to other museums. (I almost visited late last year but waited until now when I knew the collection was all at the Rosemary Clooney House.)

Remember the sparkly gloves she wears during the song "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" in White Christmas?

Pardon the glare from the glass case: here's a blue fan from the performance of "Sisters."

That's Rosemary's brown coat in the back from the scene in which she boards the train. There are lots of Vera-Ellen costumes too.

The "White Christmas" dress in the back is a re-creation, and the "Sisters" dresses have experienced their own long history--ask the museum staff, she'll explain.

Rosemary's bedroom in the house.

The museum also features Rosemary's original bedroom set and her personal items. What a treat it was to see the things she owned and loved. There are more costumes and memorabilia from Clooney's other Hollywood films as well.

The museum also has several Bob Mackie hand-drawn designs of fashions Rosemary Clooney wore.

Geroge Clooney's bib overalls from the Coen Brothers' movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Holy smokes! They also have costumes and personal items from her famous nephew--maybe you've heard of him? GEORGE CLOONEY. He was raised in Augusta and the Clooney family still owns several properties there in town, so he occasionally drops by. I looked for him, but he wasn't around when I was there. Go figure. The museum is now run by Heather French Henry (beauty pageant winner Miss America 2000) and her husband Dr. Steve Henry (former Lt. Governor of Kentucky). The museum also features several of their accomplishments too. There's lots to see and experience at the small museum.

Sorry--pardon the glass case glare. Here's a dress worn by Sondra Locke in the movie Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story from 1982.

Amanda and I pose in front of a larger-than-life-sized OSU football player in Columbus, OH. Neither of us knows anything about football.

While I was traveling, I also got a chance to visit with Amanda By Night from Made for TV Mayhem website and the Made for TV Mayhem podcast. We spent an evening together in Columbus, OH discussing our favorite TV movies. What more could I ever want?

Where did you go on summer vacation?

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