I was never a particular fan of Moms Mabley. I enjoyed some of her stand-up comedy, but overall it wasn't my style, and I thought it was a little too precious, being the outrageous, raunchy old lady.
I never was a particular fan either of the song, "Abraham, Martin and John." It's okay, and I understand the appeal, I just find it somewhat forced, overtly trying to tug at the heartstrings. I understand that the sameness of each verse is part of its appeal, but it's a subject that's so rich and yet is handled too simplistically to my taste, to really love it.
So, it came as a shock when I saw a video recently that, for me, is not only the best rendition of "Abraham, Martin and John" to the point of truly moving, and that it's from, of all people, Moms Mabley. Singing! In that croaky, garbled voice.
I don't know how much of this is her being moved, as well, and how much is performance. It's likely a little bit of both. But if it's all acting, she gets it right. And she should have been hired a whole lot more.
This comes from an appearance she made on The Merv Griffin Show. The video is a promotion from the distribution company, so there are graphics superimposed over the whole thing. But that can't get in the way of the performance.
I figured that Martin Luther King Day would be a fine play to post it.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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