Pool stars of the small and silver screen
Forget fluffy animals and cute kids - when it comes to scene-stealers nothing hogs the limelight like a swimming pool. Pools have featured in TV and film productions since the early part of last century and their scenes are among the most memorable in entertainment history.
Forget fluffy animals and cute kids - when it comes to scene-stealers nothing hogs the limelight like a swimming pool. Pools have featured in TV and film productions since the early part of last century and their scenes are among the most memorable in entertainment history. Here are 10 that have made us sigh with envy (or groan in embarrassment).
1. The Beverly Hillbillies
You’d need plenty of “Texas tea” to replicate the “cee-ment pond” that featured in so many episodes at the Hillbillies’ mansion, although you’d never be able to swim in it. The luxurious pool, surrounded by huge columns, was nowhere near the mansion used for most of the filming. It was built in a studio and was only 27 inches deep.
2. The Thunderbirds
What child hasn’t leapt out of bed at 6am to watch this futuristic show (set in 2065). The puppet characters may have been the “stars” but it was the whizz bang pool that slid back beneath the deck to reveal Thunderbird One’s launch bay that was the show-stopper.
3. The Norman Gunston Show
Gobsmacked international guests of the “Little Aussie Bleeder” found themselves being offered GI cordial, pineapple doughnuts and Chiko rolls (served from a real takeaway hot food bar). But the ultimate shock was being interviewed by Norman as he swam around in the above-ground studio pool. Only Gary McDonald could have done it!
4. It’s A Wonderful Life
This classic movie directed by Frank Capra features an unforgettable scene where stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are dancing at the school prom when the floor opens and they fall into the pool beneath. Amazingly, this pool really exists in the Beverly High School gymnasium.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
It may be snowing outside, but Clark Griswold plans to give his family a pool for Christmas, to be paid for with his expected bonus cheque. (It’s cheaper to buy in the off-season.) We never see it, but that pool is the focus of all Clark’s manoeuvring throughout the movie. When it seems his plans are about to be thwarted it sparks a hilarious confrontation scene.
6. Million Dollar Mermaid (and most other Esther Williams movies)
It seems most of Esther William’s movies combined her amazing underwater ballet talent with some incredible (for the time) technology in the form of the glass-sided pools in which she performed.
7. The Middle
The Hecks are at the lower end of the middle (class that is) but all that seems set to change when they get an above ground pool. No more sitting around with their feet in the kiddie pool trying to cool off. There’s even a point when neighbour Derrick Glossner admits to having a crush on Sue but admits that she’s out of reach. “You're a rich girl - with your above-ground pool, your two kinds of chips, and your one dad? Forget it. You're way out of my league."
8. High School Musical 2
It may be a Disney made-for-TV movie, but there’s something about the pool at the resort where the characters get summer jobs that has you yearning for the swimming season. Not only do Troy and Gabriella find themselves in hot water (forgive the pun) with their boss after taking a late night swim, the pool also features in the huge dance scene at the end with everyone taking turns to leap from the top of the waterfall.
9. High Society
The 1956 musical had an A-list cast including Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Celeste Holm. The pool and pool house are stunning and the scene where Grace Kelly sits on the edge of the pool and places a sailboat on the water is Hollywood magic.
10. The Great Gatsby
The pool in Gatsby's house is a symbol for both his wealth and his dreams. It provides the setting for possibly one of the most extravagant parties in cinema history. It’s also the setting for tragedy.