I sat at the Theater on Film and Tape archive, years ago, to watch HELLO, DOLLY! I'd seen Ms. Channing in countless television appearances -- things like awards shows or "Hollywood Squares" -- but I'd never seen her perform on a stage before.
I was freaking blown away.
This woman was such an incredibly likable star from her very first moments that it made me feel like any show you put her in would have been a hit. I could not believe my eyes.
to this day I don't understand why people think Ethel Merman was the cats pajamas. I feel like i can see her acting from a million miles away. And, I'm sure, if I'd been in the theater before the age of microphones, I would have heard her, too. I'd never say she isn't distinct, or memorable. But 'lovable' does not come to mind.
What TOFT or film performance should I seek out to see Ms. Merman at her lovable best?