July 16, 2012

Impossible Things Are Happening Every Day

In 1943 the world was at war and America was coming out of the Great Depression, pulling itself up by its worn old bootstraps.
The Broadway season was probably the last thing on most people's minds -- families sent  young men off to Europe, while women kept the homefires burning.
Celeste Holm, an Academy Award-winning actress who died today in New York at 95, would be one of the lights in the dark world of 1943.  She triumphed in her role in "Oklahoma" on the Broadway stage as "Ado Annie," the girl who "ca'int" say no.  
With or without the mistletoe, I'm in a holiday mood.
 Holm, who made dozens of movies and starred on stage, also worked in television, soap operas and television specials, notably the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein "Cinderella."  By then matronly but still gorgeous and elegant, Holm played the fairy godmother and enchanted young  Baby Boomers in the CBS broadcast that September.
Holm received an Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in 1947 for "Gentleman's Agreement" and nominations for "Come to the Stable" (1949) and "All About Eve (1950).  As Bette Davis' galpal in the latter, Holm gave a tremendous performance in the drama written and directed by six-time Oscar winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
For those among us who worship at the footlights of the Broadway musical, it is the bookends of Rodgers and Hammerstein performances we will remember.  
"Oklahoma" changed the musical theatre forever away from the old-style follies of Mr. Zeigfeld, into a story.  "Oklahoma" was also somewhat controversial at the time, because of the long, almost classical ballet sequence at the end of the first act. 
More than two decades later when the world war was ended, and Americans built bomb shelters, Holm captured the small screen with her peformance in "Cinderella" as the fairy godmother on the CBS special broadcast.  Cast as Cinderella was newcomer Lesley Ann Warren, and future "General Hospital" star Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermain) as the Prince.
So the world is full of zanies and fools, who don't believe in sensible rules, and won't believe what sensible people say,
and because these daft and dewy-eye dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening every day. 

Rest in Peace, Miss Holm