I don't remember the exact occasion, I think it might have been a dinner to break the fast after Thanksiving, when I was invited to the parents' house of my friend Andy Marx. It was a notable occasion because of two of the guests. One was his aunt, Grace Kahn -- wife of the legendary songwriter Gus Kahn, who wrote such songs as "It Had to Be You," "I'll See You in My Dreams," "Toot Toot Tootsie," "5-foot 2, Eyes of Blue," "San Francisco" (Open Your Golden Gates), "Makin' Whopee" and countless more. At one point in the evening, she sang "Makin' Whoopee," and it was the best, most sensual, sly, funny rendition I've ever heard, even in her 90s. She was a songwriter herself, and among her least-well-known songs, she and her husband wrote the camp song, "Thanks for the Pines," for my summer camp, Camp Nebagamon -- which just celebrated its 90th anniversary with a big reunion a couple weeks ago. (I told the story here about the writing of the song, and singing it to her that evening.)
But also at the dinner, one of the other guests was another songwriter, Bernie Wayne. Among his many songs, he wrote "Blue Velvet." But though not his best-selling song, perhaps his most known at the time was -- "There She Is, Miss America." Which he sat at the piano and played that night.
The song comes from another era, but I thought it would be nice to hear it again. There's a slight context for the performance. I think this version comes from 1990. Bert Parks had bee the host of the show for many years, and always sang the song during the broadcast. But one year, the pageant directors decided he was too old to host and replaced him. There was an outcry, and he was later invited back -- not to host, I don't think, but at least to sing the song. I don't know for certain if this is that next year, I don't think so, but I believe it was the last time they had him on the show to sing the song, and it looks like he's surrounded by all the past Miss America's.
Side note: he did sing the song again, with slightly adapted lyrics, in a very funny performance in the movie, The Freshman, with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando. Also, it's not well-remembered but Bert Parks actually played the role of Prof. Harold Hill on Broadway in The Music Man, as one of the replacements of Robert Preston, and by all accounts was wonderful.
But here is for the last "official" time singing the song.