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Ethel is in Heaven smiling.
Posted by: portenopete 12:08 pm EDT 09/26/21
In reply to: Merman & Martin - reed23 07:20 am EDT 09/26/21

I hope Ethel is getting satisfaction knowing that her legacy and reputation are being held up so vociferously and passionately. I knew I was going to get in trouble for this one.

Whether or not Ethel Merman was a bigger star than Mary Martin in 1946 (I'll give you that) or Judy Garland was in her early or late 20's when she got fired from Annie Get Your Gun (we were both wrong: she was 26), the core of my comment is something I stand by. The whole point of the R&H revolution that began with Oklahoma! was to add a modicum of sense and cohesion to a form that had previously been a ragtag collection of bits and schtick. That's the world in which Ethel Merman came of age and she was supremely well-positioned for it. But whether or not the producers (R&H) or the creators (Berlin and the Fieldses) thought she was the best person to carry their show, on reflection and with hindsight, I doubt that there was much sense of everything we are told about Annie in the script. "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" (not sure if that apostrophe is correct) just makes no logical sense coming out of Merman's mouth. She's smart, sassy and urban: not dumb, awkward and rural.

So I'll stick with her being absurd casting for the role and agree (in theory) that she was eminently entertaining to behold.
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Previous: Merman & Martin - reed23 07:20 am EDT 09/26/21
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