Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"He Thinks He's Ethel Merman."

I almost missed it.

Thank God Jeff Roscoe emailed me and reminded me that today is a Gay High Holy Day.

Today, brothers and sisters, is Ethel Merman's birthday. She was born 100 years ago today.

And while she is and will be remembered for her killer-belt of a voice, I admire Ms. Merman for the words of wisdom she left behind.

For instance, backstage one night, someone standing in the wings with Ms. Merman heard Ethel's entrance cue and said...

"Ms. Merman! You're on!"

Merman replied...

"Yeah? How am I doin'?"

Or her response to being asked how she thought her song went on a particular night...

"They CLAPPED, didn't they?!?"

But the all-time best is the night she came backstage to meet Harvey Fierstein after seeing him in his brilliant three-act play, TORCH SONG TRILOGY.

There was Merman standing in Harvey's dressing room and as the story goes, he just couldn't resist asking her the question that was burning in his mind.

Harvey said...

"How did you like the play, Ms. Merman?"

Merman replied...

"I thought it was a piece of shit, but everyone around me was laughin' and cryin', so what the fuck do I know?"

That response from The Merm is quite possibly the best review anyone could ever receive.

Happy Birthday, Ethel baby.


Project Christopher said...

She was a sassy broad wasn't she? Class, class, class! Without her I'm SURE that Sidetrack wouldn't have a showtune night.

And on the eighth day, God started working on Ethel Merman.... not a creation to be hurried into one single day!

Stephen, does that mean that you're just a week younger than her?

Polt said...

The dont make 'em like her anymore, do they?


Aaron said...

My favorite Ethel moment was in "Airplane" when she was Lt. Hurwitz ("he thinks he's Ethel Merman"). That, and the time she was on "That Girl" and came to dinner at Ann Marie's house and made stuffed cabbage.

Lance Noe said...

what no video?

Jeez shammez!

Lack lust, rader, lack fucking lust!

just me said...

She sounds like me, but I'm not that savvy. No one like her anymore, sad to say..but then she was one of a kind..loved Ethel Merman. Did you see It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world? The original with Milton Berle and Jonathon Winters? She was great in that movie.

Anonymous said...

OK, Steve -- I got one.

Ethel and Benay Venuta were going out after Gypsy one evening. Benay went to Ethel's dressing room and knocked to announce her arrival.

Upon entering Benay saw Ethel struggling with a turban on her head, and pulling locks of hair out from underneath it. Benay went over to Ethel and said, "Oh, Ethel. That's not the way you wear a turban. Let me show you", and tried pushing the strands of Ethel's hair back up under the turban.

Swiftly pushing Benay's hands away from the turban Ethel said, "Fuck you, Benay! I need a little softness around my face."

Tilly Screams said...

My favorite Ethel story:

When asked why she never spoke to her Gypsy co-star Sandra Church, Ethel Merman said, "Of course I talk to her! Every night after the curtain closes, I tell her to go fuck herself!"

She had brass balls!

Mark in DE said...

Spouse says EM was so great that writers wrote musicals with the idea that she would star in them. He also reminds me that they will never turn out the lights on Broadway when Madonna passes on.

Mark :-)