Much has been written in the past six days about the incredible talent and person that was Betty White. Justly her abilities as one of the great comic actresses of all time has been lauded and written about at great length in the media – both news and social. However one facet of her talent has been largely ignored: her singing.
Back in the early 1950s she produced and starred in her own syndicated variety show on NBC. She had full creative control and when challenged on featuring Arthur Duncan, a African-American tap dancer, as a regular she told the Network: “I’m sorry. Live with it!” The show featured skits and musical numbers with White, regulars like Duncan, and guests. It was a rating hit but ran afoul of Southern affiliates and sponsors.
She was also popular on the Summer Stock circuit in the 1960-70s and appearing most frequently in musicals as well as light comedies. She toured in South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Mr. President, Take Me Along, and The King and I. She often performed with her husband Password host Allan Ludden – their romance had begun when they toured the circuit in Critic’s Choice in 1961.
Here she is in a clip from that early show displaying her way with a song. The song ends at the 2:24 mark and for some reason is repeated for the balance of the clip. However it was the only example I could find of her singing.
As her TV career took off she had fewer chances to display her vocal talents however perhaps some of her incredible timing as an actress and comedian had its foundations her musical training?
The word for January 5th is:
Afoul /əˈfoul/: [adverb]
Into conflict or difficulty with.
North America: 1809, originally nautical, “in a state of collision or entanglement,” from a- (1) + foul (adj.). From 1833 in general sense of “in violent or hostile conflict,” mainly in phrases such as run afoul of.