The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net

by Paul C. Leibe
"The Enterprise" - 10-10-2001

Dunlap builds a 400-page web site in tribute to Cary Grant

What started out as a family joke has, in the past few years, turned into a big part of Debbie Dunlap's life.  Every evening the Great Mills resident spends at least two hours at her computer, fine-tuning her web site and responding to emails sent to her from all over the world.

Dunlap's web site -- www.carygrant.net -- is a tribute to the life and works of the popular actor.  Dunlap works as a webmaster, maintaining the online sites for 30 to 40 area businesses.  She started the Cary Grant site about four years ago after her husband jokingly suggested that she build a site to her favorite actor.  

"About nine years ago," she explained, "we turned off our cable.  We were watching too much television.  I started looking for movies to rent, movies for the whole family to watch together.  I found two Cary Grant films at a local video store, brought them home and we loved them.  Then I went looking for more at all the stores in the area.

Eventually I got online and started checking sites for more movies," she continued, "and, in doing so I got more interested in Cary Grant the person.  I started gathering all the information I could find about him."

One evening about four years ago, she said, her husband, as a joke, posted a picture of Cary Grant on a web site and suggested that his wife build a tribute page around her favorite actor.  Dunlap accepted the challenge and soon had four pages dedicated to Grant.

Now, four years later, her site is one of the most comprehensive and largest Cary Grant sites on the Internet.  It contains more than 400 pages of information, photographs, biographies, sound and movie clips, a filmography and other topics.  "I'm getting about 50,000 hits [visitors clicking onto her web site] a month," she said.

Through the site, visitors can also join the "War Brides," a combination mailing list and fan club for Cary Grant aficionados.  The club's name comes from the title of one of Grant's films, "I Was a Male Warbride."

Last weekend more than 30 members of the War Brides, which has a total membership of more than 200, met in Washington, D.C., for a Cary Grant convention and sightseeing weekend.  Dunlap, with help from fellow War Brides member Debbie Moran, a Rockville-based attorney, organized the get-together.  People attending this, the fourth War Brides convention came from all across the United States and from as far away as England and Scotland.  The first convention, Dunlap said, was held in Florida and was actually little more than several of the members going on vacation together.  Since then each year's meeting has gotten a little bigger.

"I've had a blast putting this thing together," Dunlap said, explaining that she started the preparations in March.  "It's a classy group, just like Cary Grant.  All of us are a little wacky.  It's just a nice group of goofy people.  He was a nice guy, and a little goofy, and so are we."

The group met Friday evening at a hotel near Union Station in Washington.  From there they visited some D.C. landmarks and capped off the evening at the Mary Pickford Theater in the Library of Congress where they watched "Notorious," starring Cary Grant and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  "It was quite a coup for us to get to see this film," Dunlap said.  "The Library of Congress just finished their restoration work and we were the first people to see it."

Other weekend activities for the War Brides included a trip to the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, a trolley tour of D.C. and a Potomac River cruise.  In between, they also watched several more Cary Grant films, including "Singapore Sue," his first film test.

"He was so cheesy in that film," Dunlap said.  "Looking at that movie today it's surprising that anyone ever thought he'd become a good actor."

Because of her web site, Dunlap has received e-mails and telephone calls from people who were either looking for more information about the actor, passing information along to her for inclusion in her site, or just complimenting her on her efforts.  "I even did a live telephone interview on the BBC [British radio] recently," where she talked about her web site, she said.  "There's five hours difference in time zones, so I had to stay up until 3 a.m. to be on their morning show."

Dunlap has collected on videotape, all 72 of Cary Grant's films.  "I want to  preserve these films as much as I can," she said.  "I would like to put them on DVD because, even though they're on tape now, the tapes are degrading just sitting there."  Dunlap has also collected photographs, posters and other memorabilia from 60 of Grant's films, and is hoping to acquire at least one item representative of each of  his films.

As she was finalizing some last-minute details for the convention weekend, Dunlap received a package in the mail from one of her fellow War Brides who could not attend the convention.  In the package were several dozen tiny vials of Creed cologne and a note, requesting that a vial be given to each of the War Brides attending the get-together.  "This is the cologne that Cary wore," the note said.  "I wanted to share some with everyone, even though I can't be there."

Dunlap said that her ever-growing hobby has been a labor of love. 
"A labor-intensive labor of love," she said.

BBC Radio Bristol
Morning West Show
Cary Grant Interview w/Debbie Dunlap
April 12, 2001

Bristol Radio Interview  (4.86mb)

Kansas City - KCXL 1140 AM
"Best Radio Variety Show......PERIOD!"
Christian Radio Station one hour interview w/Debbie Dunlap
May 21, 2006

KCXL Interview (8.9mb)

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