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