Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hey There, Birthday Girl!

The indefatigable (and indefatigably glamourous) Miss Mitzi Gaynor turns an ever-youthful 83 today, and we can all thank our lucky stars that still she's with us.

I was first introduced to this hectic rendition of a familiar favorite by (to no one's surprise) our dear Thombeau over at the Redundant Variety Hour, and so can make no claim to originality.  Even so, I doubt very much that any Café regulars will mind renewing their acquaintance with this splended bit of Miss G.'s oeuvre.

I'm particularly taken with the star's quick clap just before she belts out the last phrase - as if making sure that every viewer knew that dammit, while bits may have been 'synched, that mic was live and she was singing as much as she could, given all the dancing.

One of the highlights of my life on the fringes of the Business We Call Show was the chance, all those years and decades ago, back when I was an usher (and, I'll have you know, eventually an Assistant House Manager), to see acts like Mitzi's not just once, but for as often as they played our hall.  It was the kind of now-vanished regional arena that housed a seemingly endless parade of touring acts, Miss Mitzi by no means least among them, along with the likes Steve and Eydie, Tom Jones, Charo, and even the occasional top-topliner like Frank or Miss Ross.  But every year we'd look forward with gleeful anticipation to her annual run (anything up to two weeks - make no mistake, Mitzi was a draw), especially as they always seemed to follow some doleful folk-pop reunion show that attracted dour, non-tipping audiences (do people still tip ushers?).  Her stage show in those days was like a (slightly) stripped down version of her then-recent television specials, and every year it seemed she'd add another pair of the dancers we now refer to as Safety Gays, one more costume change, and one fewer majorly taxing dance sequence.

Had she continued on that trajectory, I suppose, she'd now be headlining a two-act revue consisting of six-dozen costume changes, 126 chorus boys, and absolutely no motion whatsoever.  Frankly, I wouldn't be half surprised if that weren't exactly what she's up to, right now...

And bless her for it, along with all those happy returns of the day!


  1. I do adore the Mitz and her particular brand of chutzpah. I remember the first time I watched the DVD compendium of her specials appropriately called The Razzle Dazzle years and being just that. I'll watch her in anything except South Pacific, how I hated that movie!!

  2. She was also in Les Girls, opposite Gene Kelley and his Brazen Buttocks, as this all-American gal. So odd and inappropriate, I'm half convinced she only got the role based on her haircut.

    1. Of course, that picture also starred piquant one-off international starlet Taina Elg, so basically all bets were off. But Mitzi certainly had great hair - and it was all hers, unlike some Brazenly Buttocked leading men I could mention...

  3. I didn't always buy what she was selling, but there is no denying that she sold the hell out of it. Miss Lady WORKED.

    Tania Elg - original Broadway productions of Where's Charley? and Nine. Makes her a keeper in my book.