Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ann Blyth and Perry Como - Winter Wonderland


A very Merry Christmas to all our readers and Ann Blyth fans everywhere!  This image is taken from a clip of Ann singing "Winter Wonderland" with Perry Como on his television Christmas Show from 1958.  From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. here's a description of that episode:


The Perry Como Christmas Show – December 20, 1958, NBC, Season 11, Episode 15.  Ann is guest, along with puppeteer Burr Tilstrom and his Kukla and Ollie puppets.  Ann sings with Perry and ensemble at the opening, “Happy Holidays.”  She also sings “You Are Love” from Show Boat in a stunning performance demonstrating her range, control, and power as a trained singer.  She belts her last soaring note facing upward as the camera is lifted above her.  As noted earlier, this show was performed live in New York at the Ziegfeld Theatre, where Show Boat coincidentally debuted in 1927.  For this number Ann, with her hair in a curly bob, wearing bold  lipstick, is dressed in a light colored evening gown with a fitted waist and, as was the fashion of the day, a full skirt.  As noted by longtime fan Gerald Waters, who researched the episode: Late in the song, filmed with only one camera, the camera develops problems due to a weak vacuum tube and the transmission wavers and fades for a moment.  Due to the flickering red light on the TV camera, Ann was aware that something was occurring, but she completed ‘You Are Love’ as if nothing was wrong.”  Ann also performs “What Child is This?” in a solo where the cast are dressed in nineteenth century costumes in a Dickensian setting.  The simple accompaniment with flutes, oboe, and clarinet is quite lovely.  The medley with Perry and the ensemble includes an intricate a cappella duet on “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  She also sings a duet with Perry on “Winter Wonderland,” and they chat about her (then) three children and shopping for presents, noting that old fashioned skates and sleds have been replaced by toy rockets and missiles.
Have a look at the clip of Ann and Perry singing "Winter Wonderland" here on YouTube.  May I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a bright New Year.  Thank you for the pleasure of your company.

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