Thursday, July 26, 2018

Before Johnny Carson there was ...

The Jack Paar Show. It was 1961 and my husband and children  and I were living in NY City. Television was coming in to it’s own by then and we loved to watch his show after the evening news. 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, a singer with the strange name of Barbra Streisand. (I was sure that a cast member was responsible for the misspelling !)
It was her TV debut and he said she would be singing 'her interpretation of the old Tin Pan Alley standard Happy Days Are Here Again”. This seemed odd to me. I couldn’t see how her choice could possibly help her 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.  


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You’ve managed to dredge up another very fine memory. I don’t know how you do it. But keep it up.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Great memory Ginnie! She is one of the most gifted singers!

7:28 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

She really was and is a one in a lifetime special talent.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was a fan of the Jack Paar Show and saw that performance on his show. I have been a lifelong fan of Ms. Streisand's. Exquisite voice and style of singing that elicits all sorts of feelings from my soul. In addition to Ms. Streisand's singing talent, she truly has always had a terrific sense of humor. Thanks for bringing back memories. drew39 @ Word Press

7:32 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Well, another one of your great memories, Ginnie. But one I missed. I was in the Middle East then- no TV... come to think of it, no TV for another 15 years!
But I did hear Barbra sing during my time back in the states- and have loved her ever since. So, once again, you made me look up something- it WAS an interesting approach to that song - and I prefer it!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Joared said...

I enjoyed seeing the Paar Show occasionally. Even though the station where I worked was the affiliate, I couldn’t always stay up late to view as had to be up for our live morning talk show with audience. I didn’t see that show but liked Streisand when saw her later though my husband was less enthusiastic.

2:21 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

I loved Parr also though my parents were not all that happy their teenage son wanted to stay up that late on a school night...:)

12:18 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I don't recall ever watching jack Parr when his show was on, but have seen episodes on You Tube and they sure don't so shows like they used to, sadly. I really enjoy Ms. Streisand's singing and also have liked several of her movies, especially Funny Girl!

5:27 PM  

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