“I need a Broadway star with huge stage presence
who's instantly recognizable to the entire country.”
From The Los Angeles Times:
Carol Channing, the Broadway star best known for her enduring portrayal of the meddlesome matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in the musical “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97.
Her first Tony was for “Hello, Dolly!,” which opened in 1964. She went on to appear in the play at least 5,000 times and once said it had become more real to her than the world beyond the stage.
Throughout her career, critics described her as a singular talent, starting with her physical appearance. Her saucer eyes and fringe of false lashes, froggy voice, blond bubble wigs and painted red lips left them straining for new ways to say she looked like a Kewpie doll.
Carol Elaine Channing (January 31, 1921 – January 15, 2019) was an American actress, singer, dancer and comedian. Known for starring in Broadway and film musicals, her characters typically radiated a fervent expressiveness and an easily identifiable voice, whether singing or for comedic effect. Channing also studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.
She began as a Broadway musical actress, starring in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1949 and “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964, when she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She revived both roles several times throughout her career, most recently playing Dolly in 1995. Channing was nominated for her first Tony Award in 1956 for “The Vamp” followed by a nomination in 1961 for “Show Girl”. She received her fourth Tony Award nomination for the musical “Lorelei” in 1974.
As a film actress, she won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Muzzy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967). Her other film appearances include “The First Traveling Saleslady” (1956) and “Skidoo” (1968). On television, she appeared as an entertainer on variety shows, from “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1950s to Hollywood Squares. She had a standout performance as The White Queen in the TV production of “Alice in Wonderland” (1985), and had the first of many TV specials in 1966, “An Evening with Carol Channing”.
I thought she would never die, to tell the truth. She had been out of the public eye for years I think and so I don’t know what her life was like lately. But in my mind she was still as vital as she was when I last saw her in the late 1990s.
The George Burns Show
- George Signs Carol Channing (1959)
- Carol Channing Guests (1959)
- Distant Relative (1983)
O’Bservation – Wendy ditched Magnum in a shady nightclub. But when he went to check out the ladies’ room….
All I saw was... Carol Channing.
At the movies!?
The Bold and the Beautiful
- Episode #1.1691 (1993)
- Episode #1.1692 (1993)
- Episode #1.1693 (1993)
I’m not exactly sure what happened during these three episodes, but Ms. Channing wasn’t the only League of Themselves celebrity who was there during that week. Steve Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows and Charlton Heston were there as well.
- Smoke Gets in Your Lies (1993)
As a result of Brighton getting caught smoking, Fran takes him to see her grandma Yetta who has been smoking all her life.
The Drew Carey Show
- New York and Queens (1997)
Touched by an Angel
- The Comeback (1997)
O’Bservation - It turns out that Ms. Channing knew Lillian Bennett (Burnett) and her “friend” Amanda Revere (Rita Moreno) back when they were all young in the business. She peppered her conversation with some of the lines she was known for - “It’s so great to have you back where you belong” being one of them.
- Episode dated 10 March 1977
- Episode dated 14 September 1979
- Episode #18.2 (1986)
- Episode #19.123 (1988)
- Oscar Can't Get the Sesame Street Theme Out of His Head (1993)
- Carol Channing (1980)
The $10,000 Pyramid (‘Friends’)
- Episode dated 29 March 1974
- A Week with Lucille Ball, Day 1-5 (1988)
5 other episodes as well
- Episode dated 22 February 1988
- Episode dated 31 October 1988
O’Bservation – Most likely it was the full week for each of those visits.
We’re coming up on the oddities now….
- Girlie Show (1995)
Ms. Channing not only could talk to the people in the Tooniverse, she already was one!
- Patriot Games (2006)
Hey, Brian, care to place a wager? Tomorrow night on Fox's Celebrity Boxing, I've got Carol Channing beating Mike Tyson in three rounds.
Carol Channing. You've got Carol Channing, the actress, beating Mike Tyson, the boxer.
And we're back with Fox Celebrity Boxing with Mike Tyson and Carol Channing.
I tell you, Jim, how Carol Channing outlasted that barrage in the second round we'll never know.
Come here, young man.
I'm gonna bop you one.
She's getting beat!
No, she's getting mad!
Ah, you ain't so tough, young man.
That all you got, you son of a bitch.
You're going down, young man.
You're going down!
I ca- I can't believe this.
She keeps getting up.
And the winner, by technical knockout, weighing in at 67 pounds, Carol "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" Channing!
Yeah! Up yours, young people.
You and your rock and roll eight-track tapes!
A member of the League of Themselves can have their existence in the main Toobworld confirmed by references from fictional TV characters. And Carol Channing had a few of those in several TV dimensions….
So while we’re still in The Tooniverse….
The Man from Jupiter (2012)
"Who calls it Tinseltown? Carol Channing? Or somebody who just thinks that's what movie stars call Hollywood."
O’Bservation – I’m not sure who says that line. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Burt Reynolds. My script source doesn’t supply who says what.
Let’s head back to the main Toobworld….
Just Shoot Me!
- Dial 'N' for Murder (2000)
"Don't get me wrong, there are people who are into all sort of weird things. Men who worship feet, women who enjoy a good spanking, the powerful executive who occasionally likes to camp it up as Carol Channing."
"That last one is a little weird."
The Larry Sanders Show
- What Have You Done for Me Lately? (1992)
"I didn't know Harrison Ford did impressions.
His Carol Channing was terrific."
Now there’s another type of reference in TV series which can verify that a celebrity from the Trueniverse does exist in Toobworld, and it’s very rare.
I said earlier that Carol Channing was her own best caricature, but she was so outsized In personality and memorable that other TV characters have attempted to mimic her.
I know of only two examples in which other TV characters did impressions of Carol Channing….
The Lucy Show
Lucy And The Undercover Agent
Lucy impersonated Carol Channing so that the Countess could sneak into an army base and get photographic evidence which they thought was wanted by the enemy. But the soldier who was on duty as the gate sentry, supposedly named Sol Schwartz, was in on the trap to catch enemy agents. So when she was serenading him with a rendition of her signature song (changing the lyrics to “Hello, Solly”), he wasn’t buying it.
The other example happened farther north from Los Angeles in the City by the Bay….
The Streets of San Francisco
- Mask of Death (1974)
It’s weird enough that Carol Channing was somehow smuggled INTO Stalag 13. It’s bad enough that a 1960s era box of Jell-O was used in a 1940s prisoner of war camp (also a box of Dream Whip from the Swinging Sixties.) And one day I will update the reason there are anachronistic products in Toobworld’s past. (Think Gallifreyan. Not that one, a more meddlesome one….)
‘Doctor Who’ is a font of fanfic and I often cite the Time Lord to deal with many of those TV discrepancies which I call Zonks. And I think he – or she – could come in handy in this case.
There are three incarnations of the Doctor whom I think provide the best opportunities for fan fiction because of the gaps in between their televised adventures -
- The Seventh Doctor – all of Time and Space between his last episode and the TV Movie
- The Eighth Doctor – From the end of the TV movie until he reappeared in the minisode “Night Of The Doctor”
- The Eleventh Doctor – While Clara was his companion, she wasn’t with him all of the time.
At some point in the 1960s he picked up the televersion of Carol Channing and off they went on a series of adventures. (Perhaps they had an over-riding mission – to retrieve all of those time-displaced products which could affect the Toobworld timeline – the Jell-O, the Dream Whip, Bud Light, FedEx, Pepsi, etc.)
So that’s why she looked older than she did in the 1940s when she was first starting out. And I guess she was famous enough by then for Colonel Robert Hogan to have recognized her.
That’s my splainin and I’m sticking with it.
She will have plenty of friends in the Hall of Fame, mostly other members of the League of Themselves, including George Burns, Jack Benny, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bob Hope, and fictional characters like Big Bird.