Sunday, April 29, 2007

"KITTY CARLISLE" (NOT "PUSSY C*NT")



I'll get to the rude parenthesis in a minute. First, some nostalgia.
The first celebrity I ever met was Kitty Carlisle. I was in a museum with my parents and they pointed her out. No, she wasn't on display at the museum, though she was picture perfect. I guess my folks figured it would be a "learning experience" to meet a celeb and not be shy. So Dad found a pen, Mom had a crumpled bit of blank paper in her purse, and off this grade-schooler went. "Excuse me, Miss Carlisle..."
She couldn't have been more graceful or kind. She ultimately turned me around, put the paper against my back (no furniture) and signed her name. I still have that piece of paper, and a fondness for this woman who was the epitome of class, manners and good taste. Things, obviously, that remain elusive for me.
You'll hear Kitty singing on the download below. Yes, she really was a singer. That's her singing voice in "A Night at the Opera," and she appeared on stage in many operettas. While she would attain an odd star status as a quiz show personality via "To Tell the Truth," and as the wife of Broadway legend Moss Hart, Kitty was a legit singing star, and she performed at Feinstein's and on tour till she was 95. She died at the age of 96 last week, still looking at least 20 or 30 years younger.
Oh yes, the Pussy Cunt remark. Well, that's pretty much what "Kitty Conn" meant to the French. When she went off to Paris to complete her education, her real name, Kitty (short for Katherine) Conn, caused problems: "My last name was Conn, and in Paris, it was an embarrassment, because it sounded like a very naughty French word, so I couldn't wait to change it."
Only over the past decades has "con" changed to mean not only cunt but fool or asshole. Across the channel, "cunt" in England can also mean an idiot more than a part of the anatomy. In fact, a "cunt" could be a jerk who's a prick.
To bring this tribute to Kitty Carlisle out of the gutter, here's a lovely song by the lady herself, "Now," from "Song of Norway." I actually saw the show in a revival, and it was more like "Song of Bore-way," and the audience needed the revival of drinks at intermission. However, "Now" as originally done by Kitty, still has charm and a good message: "Yesterday's dead. Tomorrow you'll be older...all that matters is now."
Kitty Carlisle sings... NOW!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Record.....

Thanks for the post

The Dog

soulpeeps said...

Thanks for the info. I loved Miss Kitty, even though I only knew her from the quiz shows.