Photo of the day: BABY JANE HUDSON LIVES! – Walking along Abingdon Square in Greenwich Village I came across that unmistakable shock of white unkempt damaged hair, tiny little old lady frame and the dark sunglasses to hide behind. There she was, listening to big band music outside of Injera Restaurant. Perhaps she was humming her favorite tune….”I’ve written a Letter to Daddy…”
(For those of you too young, the reference is the scenery chewing performance by Bette Davis as a fading demented film star in the 1962 film “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”)
Injera Restaurant for Ehtiopian Fusion food with a flair: http://injeranyc.com/
Mondays on Memory Lane: PLEASE HELP GIVE CAROL CHANNING A 2013 KENNEDY CENTER AWARD – If you are of a certain age, or you know your entertainment history, there are certain voices that on first note you recognize instantly. The Brooklyn of Jimmy Durante, the heart of Louis Armstrong, the belt of Ethel Merman, the breathiness Marilyn Monroe, the growl of Eartha Kitt, the shaky quality of Katherine Hepburn, the accent of Marlene Dietrich, the staccato speech pattern Bette Davis and above all the big hearted gravely “hello” of Carol Channing!
Carol is larger than life, she is a living caricature of herself, a favorite of the best caricature artist of all time Al Hirschfeld. She is also living Broadway history having created two of the most iconic characters in theater history, Lorelei Lee of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and Dolly Levi of ‘Hello Dolly’. No matter who you remember playing these characters on screen, Marilyn Monroe or Streisand – Carol originated them! But above all, there is no other creation like Carol herself. You fall in love with her the moment you set eyes on her.
At age 92, nothing has changed, her saucer eyes, her broad grin, that bowl cut hair style, the platinum blonde hair, that child-like enthusiasm with a heart of gold and above all, above all – that voice! I have had the thrill of seeing her on stage many times in my lifetime: 3 times as Dolly in 1970, 1978 and 1995. Once as Lorelei Lee the ultimate diamond loving gold digger the 1974’s ‘Lorelei’, the musical stage version of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. In film she will be forever remembered as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Julie Andrews’ ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ as Carol sang in a vocal range from a high ‘C’ to the lowest note possible in ‘I’m Just A Jazz Baby’ and ‘Raspberries!’
On April 30, 2011, my good friend Jeffrey Shonert and I had the thrilling absolute surreal honor of sitting in front of Carol Channing and her late husband Harry Kullijian at the premier of her life story documentary “Larger Than Life” at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. This was thanks to the larger than life heart and love of my dear friend, entertainer and author Richard Skipper. As the film ran I could hear Carol commenting on the film to her husband – two Carol voices at once – surreal!! Richard, I am forever indebted to you!
Once a year The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C hands out lifetime achievement awards to the greats of entertainment. Since their inception in 1978, in all this time, Carol Channing has never been honored. How they have overlooked and bypassed this legend is a travesty and embarrassment. What to me makes it worse, last year seemingly having run out of names to give it to, they gave it to mad magazine poster child David Letterman. How throwing watermelons off a roof while stupidly grinning into the camera merits a lifetime achievement award over the life’s work of Carol Channing is beyond me! She has entertained us since the 1940’s, has worked tirelessly for Arts In Education. She IS theater!
My dear friend Richard Skipper, personal friend of Carol Channing, is championing the cause to finally having Carol be given her due. PLEASE, if you love Carol, are a friend of mine or just a show biz lover, please sign the enclosed petition to correct this unjust oversight and GIVE CAROL CHANNING THE 2013 KENNEDY CENTER HONOR ! Please sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-kennedy-center-honors-give-carol-channing-a-2013-kennedy-center-honor
Thank you !
Hans Von Rittern
The trailer for ‘Larger Than Life’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ_aQMAP5xM
Two of the biggest hearts in show business, both Hello Dolly’s themselves – Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey = priceless! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcazoYIRIoo
Richard Skipper’s blog http://richardskipper.blogspot.com/2011/08/carol-channing-deserves-2011-kennedy.html
Past Kennedy Center honorees http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/specialevents/honors/history.cfm
“WHY DO THEY ALWAYS LOOK LIKE UNHAPPY RABBITS?”: Marilyn Monroe’s (as Miss Caswell) query to Addison DeWitt played by George Sanders when asked to go and meet the theatre producer Max Fabian played by Gregory Ratoff and “go do yourself some good”. She puts back her shoulders and puts on a big smile and goes to do herself ‘some good’ at Margo Channing’s (Bette Davis) ‘blasted party’ for Bill Sampson’s (Gary Merrill) birthday.
Photo taken during the Bryant Park and HBO Film Festival showing of “All About Eve”. Monday, August 13th, 2012. Bryant Park is behind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. 10,000 people showed up to see Marilyn, 50 years after her death. Marilyn lives eternal.
“FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS, IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY NIGHT!”: ‘All About Eve’ is my obsessive favorite film of all time. I own film memorabilia from the film and had the extreme privilege to meet Celeste Holm in 2011 and even attended her 95th birthday party. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when she signed my original 1950 film poster for me.
Imagine my euphoria to find out Bryant Park’s and HBO’s Film Festival was showing ‘All About Eve’, Monday August 13th, 2012. I would have attended if I had the plague. Approximately 10,000 people showed up to see Marilyn Monroe ascend the staircase on George Sander’s arm and make her entrance in the party scene just after Bette Davis as Margo Channing utters one of the immortal film lines of all time: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” The audience stood up, hooted, hollered, cheered, whistled and applauded. It is a truly unique New York experience and I was in heaven . . .