Ethel Merman is not to everyone's taste. But like her or not, she's a legend. And like her or not, this video is a special treat.
It's difficult to say which of Merman's shows would be considered her #1 classic -- but fighting for the top spot would be Annie Get Your Gun. And here is Ethel Merman on a Sesame Street Christmas special singing from Annie -- no, not "Get Your Gun, the other one. Just plain Annie.
And like her or not, this is an absolutely charming rendition of "Tomorrow." It's made all the more fun by her interaction with the residents of the street, all glum, needing a pick me up. And if you look closely, one of those residents is the great Imogene Coca (speaking of Sid Caesar, as we were the other day, since she was his female lead on Your Show of Shows). But the real treat is what Merman says to her as she passes by and says, "Imogene. What's the matter?..." I'll leave the rest of the line for you to hear for yourself. And by way, the woman next to Imogene Coca who she refers to as "Leslie" is Tony-winner Leslie Uggams.
What I also find fascinating about this is that Merman does the near impossible -- she gives the song a somewhat new interpretation that works really well. It doesn't come across the way most people sing it, like the innocent hope of a child, but as a wistful song of survival by someone knowing who's been through the wars.
And it all comes, not tomorrow, but now...
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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