Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Lack of Imagination

A friend recently sent me a photo of the great actress Dame Judi Densch as Sally Bowles in a 1967 London production of  "Cabaret". Although she looks much the same as now in physical appearance it is a tad difficult to imagine the stately lady of stage and screen that she is today portraying the saucy sexpot.

In younger days Arnold Schwarzenegger was fond of donning tight fitting polo shirts. Unfortunately, although his style sense has not changed, his body has. Several years ago I saw news footage of him running up a few steps to a podium wearing one of the form fitting shirts. The effect, to quote Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot" looked like "jello on springs", not in a good way. Looking at him today it would be difficult, were it not for movies and photos, to imagine his once award winning physique.

So it was, while quietly standing behind my jewelry counter some years back, that a tiny lady entered the store. I judged her to be perhaps 70, if not a bit older. As I rang her transaction I invited her to add her name to our mailing list. She mused a moment then decided on one of the two names she went by. "That's the name I used when I played nightclubs and cruise ships", she informed me. As we continued to talk she said she had been in the original companies of two Broadway shows. "I was in the chorus of "The Sound of Music" and had one line in "Gypsy." In "Gypsy" she played Electra, one of a trio of strippers encountered by Gypsy Rose Lee. In a delightful song, "You Gotta Have a Gimmick", they attempt to teach Miss Lee the ropes of their profession. She told me her single line  "You're much younger that I was when I started stripping", she delivered in a Marilyn Monroe coo, eliciting a laugh from the audience each time.

Ethel Merman, the show's star, apparently was not as amused as the audiences. Having none of it she cornered the stage manager and instructed him to "Tell Electra to cut it out!" God forbid that the audience should be entertained by a one line bit player.

As she left the store my mind's eye began to imagine her scantily clad on the Broadway boards. I shuddered a bit. It was at that point that I determined, my immense natural curiosity notwithstanding, that some things are best left unimagined.


1 comment:

  1. I recently saw Judi in Ibsen's 'Ghosts" - I can't envision Cabaret !