A Joint Birthday Post: Two Legends

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Today’s post is in celebration of two legendary ladies — one of the theatre and the other of television.


Ethel Merman (01/16/1908 – 02/15/1984)


This lady needs no introduction, and if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that Miss Merman has popped up fairly regularly. In celebration of what would be her 106th birthday (we think), I present to you a 1982 episode of The Merv Griffin Show in which Ethel is honored with ASCAP’s Pied Piper Award. Hal David, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, and surprise guests Lucille Ball and Ginger Rogers make appearances. It’s wonderful to see these three dynamos — all great friends who had worked with each other — together with Merv. Take a look.

Additionally, here’s an excerpt from Ray Knight’s home movies of Ethel singing “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” in the original production of Anything Goes (1934). I added this as an addendum to November’s Anything Goes anniversary post, but for those who may not have seen it, here it is again. Simply magical!


Betty White (01/17/1922 – Present)


One of the most active entertainers in American situation comedy, Betty White also needs no introduction. To help celebrate her 92nd birthday, I want to share a clip from White’s first situation comedy, Life With Elizabeth, which was a live program on KTLA from 1951-1953 and aired in syndication from 1953-1955. The syndicated episodes are in the public domain and several have been released on DVD. Each episode is comprised of three vignettes. Here’s one of my favorites, in which Elizabeth (White) and her husband Alvin (Del Moore) play Monolpoly. Take a look.

Also, here’s a full episode of Betty’s second situation comedy, Date With The Angels, which aired on ABC for two seasons from 1957 to 1958. From the episodes that I have seen (and about 20 of the 33 have been released on public domain DVD sets), the series seems to be a run-of-the-mill husband and wife show of the ’50s. However, this episode, which aired on November 1, 1957, and is entitled “Diane,” features Cara Williams (of future Pete And Gladys fame) and seems to be a cut above the rest. Cara plays an ex-flame of Betty’s husband, played by Bill Williams. Take a look.



Come back next Wednesday for a new Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!