AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE {CAROL CHANNING} (TV)

Summary

One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. This edition is devoted to the career of Carol Channing, specifically "Show Girl," the Broadway revue in which she currently stars. Robert Hunter, musical director of "Show Girl," opens the program by conducting the CBS Orchestra in a signature song of Channing's, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Host Jim Morske introduces Carol Channing, who says that her comedic bent began in the fourth grade when she started imitating her teachers. Calling comedy the highest form of sanity, she stresses its usefulness in satirizing earlier periods such as in Broadway spoof of the 1920s she appeared in, Charles Gaynor's musical revue "Lend An Ear." Channing then tells the story of Anita Loos seeing her in that show and wanting her to play Lorelei Lee in the musical adaptation of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." She uses the fact that she was physically wrong for the part to point out that feeling right for a role is the key to becoming the character. Next, she defines a musical revue as not simply a collection of songs, but one that has a central theme, such as "Show Girl," written for her by Charles Gaynor. After singing the show's opening number, Channing reveals a very unusual aspect of her working relationship with Gaynor. Next, Channing explains that in impersonating someone it is essential to understand and love that individual. She follows this with a discussion of how she came to grips with the character of Ruth Sherwood in "Wonderful Town," and how many musicals feature a song that defines the main character's personality or soul. Channing then stresses the importance of her ballet training in disciplining her to recreate a performance night after night, and closes the program by impersonating Sophie Tucker and describing how she developed her characterization of that legendary performer. Commercials deleted.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundation, 1998.

Details

  • NETWORK: WCBS-TV
  • DATE: March 26, 1961 Sunday 12:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:20
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:54144
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Acting
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
    • Neal Finn … Director
    • Herb Benton … Production (Misc.) , Production Supervisor
    • Robert Hunter … Conductor
    • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
    • Ralph Burns … Music (Misc. Credits), Orchestration
    • Jim Morske … Host
    • Carol Channing … Singer, Guest
    • Charles Gaynor
    • Sophie Tucker