Friday, March 6, 2009

After and Before: Movin' on Up

In her Park Avenue drawing room, a kind of timeless monument to a very specific kind of New Yorkiness, Kitty Carlisle, Mrs. Moss Hart. The society lady as showbiz survivor who was there when it happened and lived to tell the tale.

Young Kitty Conn, freshly minted as Kitty Carlisle and setting out on Life Upon the Wicked Stage, the creation of a genteely (if not gentilely) poor, ravenously MammaRoseische social-climbing mother and a vague ambition to succeed, if only to escape her.

Sometimes the unlikeliest stories have happy endings...


  1. Oh, I love Kitty. The greatest answering machine message I ever got was, "Donna Lethal, this is Kitty Carlisle. I got your sweet, sweet letter." My boyfriend (ex!) erased it! Actually, we spoke again - she was just fantastic. And she was listed in the NY phone directory under "Mrs. Moss Hart."

  2. a night at the opera is on tomorrow night on tcm...

  3. She was heaven, wasn't she? I met her a couple of times during my arts-admin years in NYC, and she was always totally lovely.

    But a phone message? It must have been a stormy night chez Lethal when that got erased (I had one once from Lauren Bacall - I still have the tape somewhere...)

    (and while she's fun in Night at the Opera, Murder at the Vanities is my favorite of her 30s flicks...)

  4. muscato, i'm watching," a night at the opera" right now. kitty carlisle is beautiful. my partner has never seen it...its wonderful...