Monday, May 11, 2009

Marilyn Monroe is Sugar Video

My latest YouTube endeavor features a lady who's held a lifelong fascination for me and zillions of others. Check out the results over here.

Yesterday, I caught Debbie Reynolds' final "An Evening of Music and Comedy" nearly sold-out show in North Hollywood at the El Portal Theatre. It was great fun to watch the living legend still trouping it up at 77 near her hometown with energy, wit and, yes, even grace. From humorously chastising latecomers ("Well, I got here on time!") by leaving the stage to personally greet them as they took their seats, to cutting up Eddie Fisher (my favorite line: after mentioning she grew up in a big family who, due to hard times, all had to share a large bed, Reynolds quipped, "So I never slept alone until I got married"), singing along with clips from her most famous roles, doing impressions of Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bette Davis and Barbra Streisand, and finishing up with a tender rendition of "Tammy," Reynolds demonstrated how to put on quite a show, and she made it all look effortless and fun, while being extremely accessible to her adoring audience- you could actually take pictures of Reynolds throughout the show's proceedings, and she referred to the audience a lot during her nearly two hours onstage (while watching her perform, I kept thinking of the "And Debbie's out in Vegas working up a brand new act" line from the Loretta Lynn hit, "One's on the Way"- Reynolds definitely knows this territory well). A tough pro, the perfectly made-up Reynolds managed to whip through the 75 or so well-wishers after the show in record time, while still making sure every autograph was granted and every picture taken. I was too tongue-tied to say much when I finally came face-to-face with Kathy Selden, Molly Brown, and Beatrice Henderson, but I did mention my mom saw Reynolds perform in the 1980's in Reno, an appropriate comment for Mother's Day, I guess. I had enough wits about me to get an autograph to match the one Mom received over 25 years ago, and a blurry, camera phone snapshot of me and my bad teeth with Reynolds, as Debbie informs me to say "Hi" to the photographer (and yes, I didn't know what the hell to do with my left arm once it got stuck in front, as hugging a big star you don't know, even the earthy, roll-with-it Debbie Reynolds, just didn't seem appropriate):

One of my earliest and fondest movie memories was watching The Unsinkable Molly Brown on T.V. one Sunday afternoon in the early seventies with my sister, both of us sitting in a transfixed state as we followed Molly's various adventures, while from the kitchen my grandmother worried why the youngsters were so quiet. I was wary to watch the film again after I grew up and became more knowledgeable, and therefore more critical, of films, but it holds up well- Reynolds and Harve Presnell keep the whole thing moving along, and Reynolds' high spirits and go-for-broke emoting, singing, and dancing make you believe in and care for Molly. In Reynolds' case, life appears to be imitating art: as the durable entertainer begins her seventh decade performing, she shows no signs of stopping, with plans to tour with her latest act (Vegas beckons yet again, according to her website), while also overseeing work on her yet-to-open Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, located at Belle Island Village in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. If the opportunity comes up, don't miss her (and bring along that Singin in the Rain DVD or Do it Debbie's Way VHS, as Reynolds' graciously signs all memorabilia presented to her).


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