Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! Today’s post is in honor of the 107th anniversary of Ethel Merman’s birth, which is coming up on Friday the 16th. Regular readers of this blog know that Merman is a regular fixture around here, and a simple search of her name will reveal a whole host of goodies that I’ve shared both on Musical Theatre Mondays and Wildcard Wednesdays. But for those who’ve yet to become a worshipper of La Merm, I want to share a few of my favorite Merman artifacts. Some of them have been seen here before; some of them haven’t been seen in decades.
Once again, here is my favorite Ethel Merman interview. It was shot in January of 1983 for the Museum of the City of New York and conducted by Gene Shalit. In this 28-minute interview, Shalit tells Merman that he’s going to have her share memories from each individual show. (Though they skip a few – Something For The Boys, for instance – almost every show is covered in some manner.)
In her concert years, Merman developed a medley of her greatest hits that she would often perform live and on television. This is her rendition, which I’ve also shared before, from a one-night-only concert that occurred on May 15, 1977 called Together On Broadway (Mary Martin & Ethel Merman). This is Merman at her best.
Now, for some stuff to quench the thirst of my fellow Mermaniacs! Here’s her rendition of “But Not For Me” from one of the Max Liebman Spectaculars called “The Music of Gershwin,” which aired May 12, 1956.
Here’s Merman’s rendition (audio only) of “More Than You Know” from the March 4, 1958 episode of The Eddie Fisher Show.
Here’s “Taking A Chance On Love” from the November 29, 1958 episode of The Perry Como Show.
And finally, here’s a never before released audio excerpt of Merman at a private party in the early ’60s with “This Is It,” which she introduced in Stars In Your Eyes (1939). Happy birthday, Ethel!
Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!