Esther Williams: ‘Pools and Smiles’ formula grows stale [See previous post: "Esther Williams: Swimwear MGM Musical Star Dies."] By the early ’50s, Louis B. Mayer had been ousted from the studio he had helped to found, having been replaced by Dore Schary. Whether or not a coincidence, with the exception of Million Dollar Mermaid, the Esther Williams movies of the ’50s — e.g., The Duchess of Idaho, Skirts Ahoy! (stolen by Vivian Blaine in a supporting role), Dangerous When Wet, Easy to Love — lacked the luster of those released in the previous decade, despite more prestigious directors (George Sidney, Charles Walters, Robert Z. Leonard) and the usual co-stars (Van Johnson, Red Skelton, Howard Keel). (Photo: Esther Williams in Million Dollar Mermaid.) Not surprisingly, although MGM’s color musicals would remain in vogue a few more years, Esther Williams and the studio parted ways following George Sidney’s tired-looking Jupiter’s Darling (1956), with Williams and Howard Keel (as Hannibal) fooling around in ancient times.