Article by the Tootsie Rollers

Say “Casablanca” and most people’s minds spring to the iconic film noir.

Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman star in the film’s unconventional love story set against a backdrop of World War Two. Europeans fleeing the conflict had to wait in Casablanca to obtain visas to reach the promised peaceful lands of America. Bogart’s character, Rick, runs the most popular nightspot in Casablanca. He is aloof and distant, to keep his political neutrality in a town full of corruption. Rick is emotionally detached from life until one night, the love of his life, Ilsa, walks in… “Of all the gin joints in all the world – you had to walk into mine.”


As the story unfolds, characters have to confront painful “What Ifs?” In a war torn world, when sometimes love cannot be the answer, we must be accountable for the greater good. However, “We’ll always have Paris”…

As you might expect, we Tootsies are huge fans of the 1942 classic. We fired up six iPads to watch the film in perfect sync on our flight to Casablanca! That’s right, we were lucky enough to visit this beautiful city in Morocco. We could hardly contain our excitement last month as we checked into our hotel and ordered French 75s (the cocktail of choice at Rick’s Cafe!).


We walked through a palm-lined courtyard and entered an ornate forecourt where drinks were served. On the same balmy evening the Casablanca football team were arriving for their stay at the palatial hotel. The atmosphere was a far cry from the smoky hum depicted at Rick’s Café, yet positively bustling nonetheless! The unfamiliar language rang in our ears and as darkness fell, lanterns and coloured glass came alive about us. Casablanca, though different from the romantic film we love, was no disappointment, and yet again our vintage-inspired music had opened another door to another adventure for us all.


It always surprises and delights us that “vintage” doesn’t need translating. It crosses language and cultural boundaries. Despite Tootsie tours to India, the UAE, and Europe (to name a few) pre dating this adventure, we felt our show in Casablanca, to an audience of French and Arabic speaking locals, was the greatest test of our theory so far. We relished the audience reaction, proving that the vintage icons inspiring us in performance still have mass global appeal. After the show, audience members spoke to us in their own language scattered with utterings of “Marilyn Monroe” and enthusiastic gestures to our curls and victory rolls. The magic of retro glamour and live musicianship is a universal language thrilling audiences far and wide. We hope we brought a sprinkling of the film’s retro magic to everyone present on the night of our show. Casablanca 1942 met for a moment with Casablanca 2016, and it was wonderful!

It’s so exciting for us to take the Tootsie show all over the world and to see people’s reactions. So thank you, Casablanca – you were a joy… Until next time! “Here’s looking at you, kid.”


Casablanca Film Facts!

In the famous scene where the “Marseillaise” is sung over the German song “Watch on the Rhine”, many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.

Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany.

Because the film was made during World War Two they were not allowed to film at an airport after dark for security reasons. Instead they used a sound stage with a small cardboard cutout airplane and forced perspective. To give the illusion that the plane was full-sized, they used little people to portray the crew preparing the plane for take-off. Years later the same technique was used in the film Alien (1979), with director Ridley Scott’s son and some of his friends in scaled down spacesuits.
The difference in height between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman changes throughout the film. This is because Bergman was actually a few inches taller than Bogart, though to create the illusion that it was vice versa, Michael Curtiz had Bogart stand on boxes and sit on pillows in some shots, or had Bergman slouch down (as evident when she sits on the couch in the “franc for your thoughts” scene).

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!