AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE {MABEL MERCER} (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 installment features intimate performances by, and conversation with the legendary cabaret artist Mabel Mercer; the opening announcement notes that Mercer, who began singing as a teenager, is celebrating her fiftieth anniversary "as the foremost interpreter of song." Seated near the piano, Mercer begins with the musical declaration "I Feel Merely Marvelous." She goes on to introduce her longtime pianist, Sam Hamilton, and to perform "After You" by Cole Porter. Mercer then talks to the students about her early career in Paris in the 1930s, explaining that she met composers such as Porter, Vincent Youmans, and Irving Berlin in the French capital. After she sings "If You Leave Paris," she names a few of the songwriters who have composed specifically for her -- including Bart Howard, Cy Coleman, and Alec Wilder -- and goes on to sing a Wilder tune, "While We're Young." Mercer discusses her reputation for calling herself a storyteller rather than a singer and her reluctance to explain songs to her audiences. She then sings a nostalgic tune, "When the World Was Young," followed by the sprightly warning "Trouble Comes" and the light-hearted "Isn't He Adorable?" Next, the humorous lament "Season's Greetings" combines every possible seasonal message. After Mercer performs the lively "Everybody's Looking," the students present her with a cake and flowers in honor of her anniversary. She dedicates "More I Cannot Wish You" to the young people and concludes with "Days Gone By." At the program's finish, the CBS Jazz Group plays "Once Upon a Time."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Details

  • NETWORK: WCBS-TV
  • DATE: February 22, 1964 Saturday 3:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:42
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:67331
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Music, Popular (Songs, etc.)
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
    • Anthony Farrar … Director
    • Sandy Bell … Direction (Misc.), Technical Director
    • Dave Roth … Direction (Misc.), Assistant Director
    • Howard Smith … Conductor
    • CBS Jazz Group, The … Music Group
    • Mabel Mercer … Guest, Singer
    • Sam Hamilton … Instrumentalist, Pianist
    • Irving Berlin
    • Cy Coleman
    • Bart Howard
    • Cole Porter
    • Alec Wilder
    • Vincent Youmans