1961.…“The Jack Paar show “
In 1961 my husband and I lived in NY City. We had two small children and were in an apartment on the 11th floor of an old building on West 94th St.
Television was coming in to it’s own by then and we loved to watch “The Jack Paar Show” after the evening news. (This, of course, is the TV success that became “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.)
I can remember so clearly a night when I was watching alone and my husband was in the next room doing paperwork. As I recall Jack Paar was not hosting that night and there were no big name guests listed to be interviewed.
Then the temporary host introduced the next guest who was a singer with the strange name of Barbra Streisand. (I was sure that a cast member was responsible for the misspelling !) He explained that this was her TV debut and that she would be singing her interpretation of the old Tin Pan Alley standard “Happy Days Are Here Again”.
This didn’t grab me particularly since, although I liked the lilting tune, I couldn’t see how this was an appropriate song for a singer trying to break in to the “big time”.
Then Barbra walked on stage, the lights dimmed and the orchestra played very softly in the background as she started to sing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She sang this normally upbeat song very, very slowly and each note was pure as a bell. I called to my husband and we listened, entranced, as she continued to sing and ended on a single note that seemed to go on forever. There was dead silence in the room and then the audience exploded … as did we, the two of us sitting alone in our apartment and clapping to beat the band.
I have never experienced another pop singer who impressed me as much as Barbra did that night. I was not at all surprised to read that her debut album “The Barbra Streisand Album”, released early in 1963 and including her rendition of “Happy Days” was voted Album of the Year and won three Grammy Awards.