Also, outside of individual songs and talk show appearances, there isn't a lot of extended video on her, where you can get a larger sense of her in full performance. I have a couple of those, and we'll post one of them today.
This is a 13-minute set of her hits from the Waldorf in New York, for what appears to be for TV telethon in the mid-70s. (That's a pretty long set for TV, even in the 1970s.) It stands out for a few reasons.
Rather than just singing, she sort of performs the numbers (or at least some of them) as if she was onstage in the shows. Not a lot, but it's nice to see the little touches.
Also, halfway through she tells a story about how she got her starts. It's a bit melodramatic in the telling, but interesting.
And whether one likes her singing or not...boy, did she introduce some major songs in the Great American Songbook. And what a career to have worked with George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin -- not to mention all the way up to Stephen Sondheim, who did the lyrics for Gypsy, with Jule Styne.
I remember a very long time ago when a kid watching a talk show she was a guest on. There were other Broadway performers on, and the question was asked about getting nervous before a performance. Some of the guests told stories, and then Merman sort of brushed away the question, saying something like, "No, I really don't. I know that if I knew my part and had rehearsed it, I'd be ready and just do my job." One of the panelists there was the singer-comedian Kaye Ballard (who had been in the musical Carnival!), and she interrupted in some awe, and I've always remembered her comment -- "Boy, when God created you, did He do some dance."