Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! This month is our annual tribute to Broadway legend Ethel Merman, who was born on January 16, 1908. I’ve shared a lot of great Merman rarities over the years, but this time I’ve got something extra special — for subscribers who comment below to alert me of their interest — and, for a change, it’s non-musical.

It’s an unreleased candid conversation between Merman and her pal, entertainment columnist Shirley Eder, that was recorded in spring 1966 (ahead of La Merm’s revival of Annie Get Your Gun). At 38 minutes, this chat doesn’t house any earth-shattering revelations for devoted fans, but it does provide added insight into the thoughts and personality of this iconic Broadway dame. Here’s an excerpt — about theatrical discipline and her feud with Fernando Lamas.

And, heck, I’ll throw in something musical for interested subscribers too — a live audio from a party Eder threw in Merman’s honor during the latter’s stop with Gypsy in Detroit, April 1961. There are a few fun songs by the piano, like “This Is It” from Stars In Your Eyes, heard below.



Come back next month for another musical rarity! And stay tuned tomorrow for Get Smart!

14 thoughts on “MERMAN TALKS

  1. I have loved Ethel Merman all my adult life, indeed since I was a kid. I have many of her albums but not these tapes which I would love to have. You do get your hands on some wonderful rareties. Thank you—and best wishes!

  2. First of all, the shot with the blue curtain is a real eye catcher! Jackson, I would love to hear what you have to share, of course! As an aside, I grew up in the Detroit area, so Shirley Eder was the entertainment columnist I grew up with–if I remember correctly, her column was right next to the comics. The first I ever heard Ethel Merman was when my parents went to see this production at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. They brought home the album, and as a very little kid, I wore it out. Happy memories all around.

    • Hi, Greg! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I have emailed you at your earthlink address.

      (Incidentally, I thought GYPSY was perhaps the last show to play at the Riviera, and THE GAY LIFE the first at the Fisher, later in 1961.)

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