Here are 10 things you should know about Alice Faye, born 105 years ago today. She was a huge star who all but pulled the plug on her career before the age of 40.
Very few performers have ever managed to carve out a nine-decade career in show business, but that’s just what Rose Marie (Baby Rose Marie, to Cladrite Radio listeners) has done—and she’s still going strong. Since launching her career at the ripe old age of four (she had a weekly radio program that was broadcast nationally before Shirley Temple was even born), Rose Marie has enjoyed success in vaudeville, radio, records, motion pictures, Broadway, and television.
A delightful new documentary, Wait for Your Laugh, documents Rose Marie’s amazing life and career, and we’re delighted to share a very lightly edited transcript of a telephone conversation we recently had the pleasure of enjoying with her. Buckle your seat belts; it’s a delightfully wild ride. As you’ll soon see, Rose Marie is as sharp and as funny as ever.
Cladrite Radio: I have a lot of things I’d like to talk to you about.
Rose Marie: First of all, let me ask you a question.
Cladrite Radio: Sure.
Rose Marie: Did you see the movie [Wait for Your Laugh]?
Cladrite Radio: I did!
Rose Marie: What’d you think of it?
Cladrite Radio: I loved it. I thought it was great.
Rose Marie: What’d you like about it?
Cladrite Radio: I’m very interested in the popular culture of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s, in addition to …
Rose Marie: That’s my era.
Cladrite Radio: It sure is. I have an online radio station that features music of that era. I play some of your records on the station.
Rose Marie: Oh, nice.
Cladrite Radio: When I got the chance to interview you, I was so excited. I’m a fan of your music, and I grew up with you on TV as well.
Rose Marie: I know, everybody says that. It makes me feel so old.
Cladrite Radio: Oh, well, I’m not so young myself.
Rose Marie: I’m 94, wanna bet?
Cladrite Radio: You’re doing great. You’re probably doing better at 94 than I am at 59.
Rose Marie: Okay.
Cladrite Radio: I wanted to ask you about the documentary. Whose idea…
Rose Marie: I’m very happy to tell you. I’m very proud of it. I love it. I’m so proud of [director] Jason Wise, I can’t stand it. I think he’s a genius. I think he’s going to be one of the biggest men in the business in a couple years. I think this will introduce him to everybody. I think he’ll even be bigger than Steven Spielberg.
Cladrite Radio: I’ll bet he wouldn’t mind that a bit.
Rose Marie: Oh, he’s wonderful. You have no idea. You don’t know how particular he is. When we decided to do this thing, I kept everything from the time I was three years old. Postcards, pictures, film, anything I had, I kept. When he talked about doing the documentary, he says, “Let’s talk.” I said, “I have everything in scrapbooks. Why don’t you just go through everything?” I emptied out my house, and I mean he cleaned me out of everything. He put it in that documentary. Just a genius.
Cladrite Radio: All the materials that we see in the documentary, the film clips we see and some of the programs and promotional materials and various things that are included in it…
Rose Marie: All mine. All mine that he dug up out of my house.
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The delightful Jimmy Durante was born 122 years ago today. If ever we find ourselves fretting over our age and perhaps wishing we were younger, we remind ourselves that, were we born later, we might not have shared time on God’s green earth with some of our favorite performers of years gone by, and the Schnozzola certainly deserves a spot on that roster. We weren’t around for his heyday, but he was still a busy performer when we were younger and we got to enjoy him as a frequent talk show and variety show guest.
Durante doesn’t immediately spring to mind when we’re asked to name some of our favorite stars of yore, but when we do think of him, a smile invariably forms on our lips, and that’s as strong an endorsement as any performer could hope for: to make people smile at the mere memory of you some 35 years after your passing.
Happy birthday, Mr. Durante, wherever you are. Give our best to Mrs. Calabash.
(To Mrs. McEvoy On The Occasion of Her Son’s Birth.)
Eve had no Xmas
Neither did Adam.
Never had socks,
Nobody had ’em.
Never got cards,
Take this and have it
On Adam, old kid.
This week’s Snapshot in Prose visits a pair of classic composers who need no introduction, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, when they were at their most successful.
The author of the story speaks to both men, and we learn that they were of very different temperaments, outlooks, and lifestyles. Apparently musical theatre, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows.