One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media’s Producer’s Circle series. This evening honors Ethel Merman, star of Broadway, television, and film. Rebecca Paller (curator, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks before introducing a series of highlights of Merman’s television appearances. Clips are interspersed throughout, including: Merman’s appearance with Dave Garroway on “Ford Startime: Talent Scouts” (1960); Merman singing “I Got Rhythm” on “Texaco Star Theater” (1949); her appearance singing “When the Red, Red Robin” alongside Mary Martin on the “Ford 50th Anniversary Show” (1953); her surprise appearance alongside Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland as they sing “There’s No Business Like Show Business” on “The Judy Garland Show” (1963); Merman’s appearance on the pilot for “Maggie Brown” singing “Mutual Admiration Society” (1963); Merman singing “I Get a Kick Out of You” on the “Bell Telephone Hour” (1964); Merman being interviewed on “The Gypsy Rose Lee Show” about her role in “Gypsy” (1965); her appearance singing “Some People” and a medley of other songs alongside Fred Astaire on “The Hollywood Palace” (1966); her appearance on an episode of “That Girl” (1967); Merman singing “You’re Just in Love” with Larry Blyden at the 1972 Tony Awards; Merman singing “They Say It’s Wonderful” on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” (1975); her appearance on “The Muppet Show” singing a version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (1977); Merman and her family being interviewed by Edward R. Murrow on “Person to Person” (1955); Merman on “Shower of Stars” singing “That’s the Kind of Dame I Am” (1955); Merman on a BBC concert special singing “That Old Feeling,” “Make it Another Old-Fashioned Please,” and “Blow Gabriel, Blow” (1964); a Texaco commercial starring Merman; Merman in an advertisement for Canada Dry ginger ale; Merman in a commercial for Friendship cottage cheese; her appearance on “The Dinah Shore Show” singing “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1958); and Merman singing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” at the 1972 Tony Awards. Paller then introduces the evening’s guests: Stephen Cole (Lyricist, “After the Fair); and Brian Kellow (features editor, Opera News). Topics of discussion include: how Cole met Merman; Kellow’s memories of watching Merman on television as a child; Merman’s continued popularity on television after her heyday as a Broadway star; Merman’s trouble with her marriage to Robert Six; her memoirs and how they reflected on her state of mind; her reluctance to discuss her personal life; her sentimentality and sense of “innocence;” why Kellow decided to write a biography of Merman; Cole reminiscing about his visits with Merman; Merman’s energy as a performer; her dramatic television roles; her long struggle to get her own television show; her “complicated” friendship with Benay Venuta; her numerous appearances on the talk show circuit; Merman’s early career as a stenographer and how it impacted her work on Broadway; Merman’s disparaging feelings towards matinee audiences; and how Merman got her special lifetime achievement Tony Award in 1972. Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics: Merman’s lack of formal vocal training; Kellow’s encounter with Merman’s son Robert Levitt Jr.; the tragic death of Merman’s daughter and how it affected her; the missing 1967 telecast of “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Merman; and Merman’s work as a volunteer at Roosevelt Hospital in New York.


  • DATE: November 5, 2007 6:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:30:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:92015
  • GENRE: Seminars
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Women's Collection - Music


  • Rebecca Paller … Host
  • Stephen Cole … Moderator, Guest
  • Brian Kellow … Guest
  • Fred Astaire
  • Larry Blyden
  • Judy Garland
  • Dave Garroway
  • Gypsy Rose Lee
  • Robert Levitt Jr.
  • Mary Martin
  • Ethel Merman
  • Edward R. Murrow
  • Dinah Shore
  • Robert Six
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Benay Venuta
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