I’ll See You Again, Part 2 (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE)

Gee, I’ll be glad when I can stop talking about everybody dying for a while. This is about as depressing as finding yourself on a honeymoon with Gene Raymond.

So, yeah, Jeanette died (I was just so very diplomatic with my word choice right there. I would like a prize.) at 4:32pm, January 14, 1965. Her death certificate:

deathcert

Note all the varied heart conditions listed. Also note the incorrect birthdate of 1907. She was born in 1903, but shaved 4 years off somewhere and that misinformation is on her crypt, too. She was flown back to California on January 15th. Her funeral was January 18th.

The press, of course, lost no time in finding Nelson. “The networks were there and I was crying,” was how he explained it later. The fact is, he stayed up talking to the press until 5:00 in the morning. The reporters actually stayed with him, the consensus of opinion being that he needed to talk and had nobody else to talk to.

Here is one very well-known example of Nelson talking to an interviewer within hours of hearing of Jeanette’s death.

She was stunning and startlingly beautiful. I mean, she would take your breath away. I remember the first time I actually met her, I was tongue tied and I didn’t quite know how to act.

…Okay, WHO TALKS LIKE THAT ABOUT SOMEONE IN WHOM THEY HAVE NO ROMANTIC INTEREST.

Nobody.

I mean really, even at her death–or maybe especially at her death–Nelson’s word choices are revealing. And gorgeous. Is it any wonder she was crazy about him? Who wouldn’t want to be described thus?

Even more importantly, the interview was ended because Nelson had broken down in tears.

The next day, January 15th, Nelson granted an interview to ABC News. Angela and I were able to locate this clip within the ABC archives, paid to have it digitized and we are excited to present it to you, here. This interview has not been seen by ANYONE since it originally aired. It is for educational purposes only and may not be reproduced anywhere except where expressly authorized by Angela or myself. Listen to the difference here, hours of telling the same stories later. He has pulled himself together somewhat, and started being more careful.

I just…… yeah.

This man is hurting.

The lines in his face are 3 feet deep, you can tell he hasn’t slept and his grief is palpable. He is speaking very slowly and chosing his words carefully, especially at the beginning, before he really gets his footing in the conversation. His voice getting all soft when he says “…big movies and a really big star,” just breaks my heart.

He points out that he met her at a party, rather than at the studio, and it was “under personal circumstances” rather than on a film. Booyah. Even though in reality, he’s actually not accurate about the time frame of the party where they met–they met before she made Merry Widow.

And he points out that, “She did most of the acting, believe me.” See? He knows he wasn’t a great actor so you can all just shut your mouths about it. What’s more, HE WASN’T ACTING when he was with Jeanette. Aside from the singing, he really stinks 98% of the time in his movies without her. I’ve said this for years. Either the man was a great actor or he wasn’t. The Saints love to slam him for his lack of acting chops on one hand and then say that his intense chemistry with Jeanette is “just acting” on the other. They like it when they can have things both ways, see. No. Please go watch the hand porn and finger pulling in Girl of the Golden West and the neck-blowing in Sweethearts and on and on and please, please tell me more about how he’s just acting, losers.

I love his face when he recalls them “always having our digs at each other.”

“We’d fight like cats and dogs sometimes, just to make people wonder.” …… Mr. Eddy, darling, we don’t wonder.

“And we had to cut it out because people started to believe it.” Well, yes, there’s a problem. Some people still do believe it.

“We never changed in our attitudes at all.” ❤ ❤ ❤

feud

“We found ourselves…….elsewhere.” (post MGM) Yeah, he’s a little bitter about Metro still. You detect that in several places in this interview.

“I think it was wonderful of her to want to hold her head high.” — in regards to not slipping down into junky movies, but really also for her attitude about not lampooning their work in nightclubs, as he was more or less reduced to doing. He mentions taking out the skit he and Gale were doing where they “kidded” Rose Marie. It’s not funny, it’s cheap, he wasn’t a huge fan of doing that crap anyway but it sold tickets and let him keep working. Jeanette, in that sense, had more professional integrity (and worse health, but let’s pretend her health wasn’t a problem–she still wouldn’t have torn down everything she worked so hard to build up. She was proud of her movies.) and you get the feeling watching Nelson talk about how the “kidding” wasn’t funny right now that he regrets having done it in the first place. He is so damn supportive of her, all the way through this. Lots and lots of we this and we that. I like getting the sense that he is on her side, in her corner, that he knows why she did things that she did and he is sticking up for her. Even later, as he recalls the “doghouse” incident–which he mistakenly attributes to Sweethearts; in fact, it happened during Naughty Marietta, as a photo of the event can attest—and that’s a very, very well known story so you can see how shaken up, messed up and tired the man is. Nelson is usually very on point with the details. That mistake is interesting, in and of itself. Anyway, even as he recalls that incident, his telling of the anecdote comes from the perspective of someone who is on her side, even ending with the comment, “I mean, who doesn’t want to look at the rushes?” His delight with her antics and cleverness, even in this sad sort of retrospect, is also apparent. He’s proud of his girl.

And my favorite thing—him pointing out that she was smart. He starts out referring to her in present tense and corrects himself, which is sad, but I love that comment. J-Mac, he didn’t just want you for your hot bod. He likes your brain. 😉

doghouse

He starts to talk about how they often talked on the phone, but is careful to go back and amend his words with my wife and I and she and Gene. Yep. ‘Kay. I’m sure Ann and Jeanette had SO MANY TOPICS on which to chatter away their idle time. Again, he’s more careful in this interview than in the first one. By the way, he mentions that he and Gale are going to rehearse the substitute material that afternoon. In reality, he got to rehearsal, sat in a chair and cried, unable to rehearse either of the replacement choices, and said as much to his audience that night.

(Paraphrased from Sweethearts, new edition, pages 516-517) Linda Knight (club member) was in the audience for the entirety of Nelson’s Anaheim run, which opened that day, January 15th. Nelson had, for a long time during his nightclub years, been in the habit of singing a special song for Jeanette at some point in the evening when Gale was offstage changing her costume–not always something the audience knew, but something that meant something to him and to her. The lights would be really low and Nelson would be illuminated with a pin spot on his face as he sang. Linda notes that this night, he was sweating profusely, was physically exhausted and emotionally drained. He sang I Married an Angel and Rose Marie seemingly okay, but choked up during the poignant little song from Bitter Sweet called If You Could Only Come With Me. Then, this night in Anaheim (as well as the closing performance, the only two nights he sang this song), the lights dimmed and Nelson’s special song was one which had been deeply significant to both him and Jeanette, and sung by both of them, for many years:

There’s a little brown road windin’ over the hill
To a little white cot by the sea
There’s a little green gate at whose trellis I wait
While two eyes o’ blue come smilin’ through at me

There’s a gray lock or two in the brown of the hair
There’s some silver in mine too, I see
But in all the long years when the clouds brought their tears
Those two eyes o’ blue kept smilin’ through at me

And if ever I’m left in this world all alone
I shall wait for my call patiently
For if Heaven be kind, I shall wait there to find
Those two eyes o’ blue come smilin’ through at me

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4 thoughts on “I’ll See You Again, Part 2 (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE)

  1. Oh, Nelson. I just want to give him a big hug, especially after those clips. It was sort of a relief to have a visual; I had never really recovered from the previous audio and its sadness. But you can definitely still see him aching, despite being more composed. Heartbreaking!! Thanks immensely to both of you for providing this!

    On a more lighthearted note, I love the term “hand porn”. And I nearly fell off my seat laughing at your description of his lack of acting skillz. So true, so true.

  2. his interview was quite something- how articulate he was- yet was he confused?? this was a golden find- good job to you and katie-
    i was trying to make out the reporter- i knew him his name- escapes me – not harry reasoner?next- was nelson confused from grief? several things on how they met- where- and the dog house incident was naughty Marietta- not sweethearts!
    he look very tired here- but my god what a wonderful long video of him- – – anyway -ye gods! just a wonderful interview up close and personal- thanks so much
    wow!
    oh just a note– is it not a shame that after her death- he still could not reveal the truth? but the other parties were alive- and still i guess this was his time to talk about her in a positive light- so much to digest- just wonderful- it does seem he is “choosing his words more carefully”
    and he does look beaten! yet his eye’s flash every now and then when he mentions something funny or interesting about JAM- and oh the look on his face when the reporter asked about “a relationship change” referring to being a star- nelson “i don’t know what you mean” ah yeah!
    anyway thank you this is really a treasure- great work -it was quite wonderful to see him …..

  3. Another truly inspirational blog post Katie. Thanks to you and Angela for finding such a revealing video. I was so pleased for Sharon that Nelson verified how he and Jeanette had met at a party before they were ever teamed in Naughty Marietta. This must have given Sharon a real boost to have yet another point confirmed. For all of us who are not completely blinkered into seeing only what we want to see, it has long been obvious the way Jeanette and Nelson felt about one another. Mr Eddy (the guy certain people claimed was a lousy actor) was an open book so far as his adoration of Jeanette was concerned. She was a little more guarded, but when her guard slipped, her warring emotions were laid bare for all to see. She looked haggard in The Girl of The Golden West when Nelson sang ‘Who Are We to Say?’ and her tears were genuine when she tried to sing the same song in a later scene. In New Moon when singing the very emotive ‘Wanting You’ she battled to keep control of her feelings, but her breathing was laboured and gave her away along with the yearning look in her eyes. The way she extended a very unsteady hand to him, the way she practically dissolved in his arms and plucked nervously at his jacket…I guess it could have been put down to the fact that she was a good actress. She was in fact, better than good…but she would have had to have been phenomenal to have alerted the audience to the fact that she really wanted the man whose arms held her…just as she alerted everyone who watched This is Your Life. There is more evidence out there, I just know it; and when it is found I hope the so called saints find the decency to apologise to Sharon Rich who has been branded a liar and so much more for relaying what Blossom told her. Sadly I won’t be holding my breath.

    Di

  4. Pingback: I'll See You Again, Part 2 (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE) | Tinseltown Times

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