There’s No Business Like Show Business – Ethel Merman
I’ve always been fond of La Merman. I’m unsure if she reminds me of my mother’s favourite cousin, Isabel, or if Ethel was the first diva I ever became aware of.
I’m sure I first saw her on a rerun of “The Lucy Show”, where she played herself but pretended to be someone else. In typical Lucy fashion, she tries to get Merman to perform in a PTA benefit or something like that; not only was I charmed by her, but what a set of pipes she had. Probably around the same time, I saw her on an episode of “That Girl” with Marlo Thomas. Again, she played herself doing some sort of show where Thomas’ Anne Marie had a walk-on. Once again, she charmed me.
I believe this is the first Celia Cruz song I remember hearing and liking. I guess it was also the first time I heard of Willie Colón. Like most of the songs from this week, I chose this one because I like it; nothing much to say about it.
If “Les Uns Et Les Autres” (See Week 15 No. 100) was the movie the made me want to be a filmmaker in 1983; the year before that, “Victor/Victoria” was the film that taught me that you can tell any story you want to tell as long as you know how to do it.
A woman pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman, seemed like a very convoluted story to tell, but director Blake Edwards managed to pull it off brilliantly. Under the guidance of Toddy, Victoria Grant, an out-of-work opera singer in Paris, poses as a drag queen in order to find a job as an entertainer in a cabaret. On the night of her debut at Cassel’s, she captivates the audience with her rendition of Le Jazz Hot. Everybody is impressed, including King Marchand, a gangster from Chicago who doubts if Victor is really a man.