May 29, 2018
Happy 93rd Birthday Carol Channing. Please Live Forever
Carol Channing turns 93 today. 93! Is there really anything else you have to do today besides watch Carol Channing videos the rest of your afternoon? Probably not! With 60+ years of performing under her belt, there are many many things you could go watch, because you live in the age of technology and can just sit around ordering things up on YouTube like a boss. There’s even some footage of her performing “Hello, Dolly” from back in the 1960s when the show first ran.
Also, too, you can scare up some grainy footage of performances from the 1994 revival, when Channing was 73 and still toured in the title role.
I saw her on that tour, and throughout the entire show, she never failed to deliver, and she never failed to seem anything less than utterly delighted that she got to be in show business. No tortured soul, her. Just madcap and silly and fantastic and fun.
Hell, she even performed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, (she originated the role on Broadway) and “Hello Dolly” in 2010 for the Equity Fights AIDS benefit.
She’s 89 there, people. Are you going to be that awesome when you are 89? You are probably not. Sorry.
You could do worse than continue your afternoon Channing marathon with “Jazz Baby,” her song from 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, which also starred Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore and is a really underrated hilarious film.
However you spend your Channing-filled day, under no circumstances should you miss her 1986 Sesame Street appearance where she sang “Hello, Sammy” to Sammy the Snake.
If you’re still not sold on the greatness of Channing, know this: she was first — FIRST! — on Nixon’s enemies list.
In 1973, the investigation into Watergate revealed that President Nixon kept a list of his political enemies and critics. Among the few entertainers on it was Carol Channing.
CC: I read it in the paper, and it was terrible. There were no As or Bs, so I was the top one. My parents were Republicans, and my mother read this, and she almost verplotzed! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what the problem was. Why didn’t Nixon like me? I thought maybe he didn’t like my singing because I sang “Hello, Lyndon.” The press asked Nixon, “Don’t you like her singing voice?” And he said, “No, no, no. It’s just people who don’t know how to act in the White House, they don’t have enough manners.” I thought, are you kidding?! Mary Baker Eddy wouldn’t let me in the mother church if I didn’t have enough manners. Well, there you are.
She later said that being on the list was the highest honor of her career. See? She is the best.
The happiest of birthdays to you, Carol Channing.