“The Knight on the White Charger”

…is one of the ways that Sunny Griffin described what Nelson was to the woman who adored him. I know he said it. I’ve seen the footage. And really, what a perfect way to describe what goes on between their eyes.

Angela recently acquired this stunning, crystal clear photograph and was kind enough to allow me to post it here. Please don’t attempt to profit from her generosity.

This is one of my favorite shots of them, because of everything it stands for. These people are not young, especially if you consider how many years they had left, at this point. It’s not Naughty Marietta time anymore. They’ve sung all their songs together. They’ve been through heaven and hell and decades and breakups and eight films and personal triumphs and poor decisions and regrets and secrecy and bitterness and stalled career moves and laughter and tears and practical jokes and fake feuds and health struggles. They’ve sung for presidents (FDR for him, Ike for her), they’ve officiated the funeral of their best friend. They’ve buried their child. They’ve recorded an album of Favorites that went Gold. They’ve married the wrong people. They’ve confided in some people and kept their silence among others. They’ve kept up appearances. They’ve lied to protect themselves and their spouses and their careers. They’ve let their eyes and their emotions give them away. They’ve been good, honorable, kind, trustworthy, decent human beings. They’ve been late-blooming emotional adolescents, growing up and realizing too late what they were throwing away. They’ve lied to allow their fans to keep their illusions, unrealistic as they may be, because when the chips are down, they can’t bear to disappoint and disillusion their faithful. They’ve had to live with and in some cases be tortured by their choices.  They’ve served their country with honor. They’ve given millions of people hours of happiness, while never fully being able to realize that happiness for themselves, in their own lives. They’ve loved each other with a power mere mortals can’t begin to comprehend and they’ve lost each other but every time they’ve found their way back again. They’ve neglected to put enough faith in the sheer scope of what they had together. They’ve doubted each other when they should have trusted. They’ve said no when they should have said yes. They’ve had to come, at long last, to the realization that maybe it won’t ever work out for them.

Everything has changed.

Nothing has changed.

And still they hold each other; Jeanette cradled in Nelson’s arms, one around her shoulders and one at her waist.

And still they have that special, special something between their eyes.

This is not the best picture ever taken of Jeanette. I am 99% sure that she’s wearing a wig in this picture, the hairline at the back of her neck looks that way. She did do that, in her 1963 desk diary she has notes of appointments with wig fitters…and she had not performed in several years.  I think Jeanette is pretty much perfect, always; the only reason I bring up the wig is to point out how much Nelson’s eyes don’t appear to see it. In this picture, we see Jeanette looking up at her white knight with a delicacy and an adoration that I have simply never seen beamed at Gene Raymond.

The look on Nelson’s face is utter magic. He’s young and, yes, sexy here in a way we never see in this part of his life with the other two women. Ann makes him look like, to paraphrase Angela, a crabby old man about to yell at someone for walking on his grass. (LOL!) Gale makes a rather odd pairing with him. Onstage they worked well. Up closer, well, they look sort of odd together, the age difference very apparent. With Jeanette, we see tender Nelson. Adoring Nelson. Gentle, wicked, artistic, sensitive Nelson, holding his muse. The look on his face is full of knowledge and history.

OlderMacEddy

You get the sense that their bodies are older but that is not what they see when they look at each other.

What I see is two people who had every curve ball known to man thrown at them, but who ultimately stood the test of time and found their way back to each other over and over and over and over again.

NMfalling

Thank you for sharing the picture, Angela.

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January 13, 1946 – My Wonder One

Nelson Eddy, romantic.

On his January 13, 1946 episode of The Electric Hour radio show, he sang a song that he co-wrote with Ted Paxson. Ted wrote the music and Nelson the lyrics. It’s called My Wonder One, and his exquisite lyrics leave very little room for doubt as to the object of his adoration and muse of his writings.

Here are his lyrics:

My wonder one

My shining sun

I feel your thrilling vibration.

Your witching face,

Enchanting grace,

Have cast a spell of elation.

My magic you,

My dream come true

My world’s divinest creation.

My search is done

My prize is won

The wonder is, you’re mine!

I see in your smile

Something mesmerizing.

You have a winning guile

Your touch is magnetizing.

I stand before you in surrender,

How I adore you.

With a tender yearning

I am burning.

 I made a video tribute to this gorgeous thing, using Nelson’s performance from that show:

Side Note: I think it’s really interesting that when Nelson’s writing lyrics about BabyGirl, he sure does seem to yearn a lot. See above for his tender yearning-burning.

When he did a pilot for a tv show called Nelson Eddy’s Backyard, when they were broken up, he sang a song called Wish You Were Here, which he sings for the first time on the show while standing in front of a huge painting of Lake Tahoe, hint hint. When he sings it later in the show, he sings a slew of original lyrics that have never been heard of before or since (see Eddie Fisher’s version of the same song to see what I mean). He wishes he was “THERE in old Manhattan” (………guess who was in NYC….) and then he misses “where the scenery omits the greenery” and then he talks about the “silver studded twilight that shimmers through the TV antennas” (Um, do you wish to be in someone’s bedroom, sir? That seems like the kind of view one would have out a bedroom window.)  Anyway it’s all very sweet and “these memories fill me with a yearning, a hungry yearning beyond compare” — the poor dude is seriously missing his girl.  I mean, there’s no good legit reason for him to pick THIS song to sing on the show…of all the songs in the world to sing. That bit about these two talking to each other with their song choices is just eight hundred percent legit and that’s all—if you can’t see a thread here, welp, idk what you did with your soul but you might want to have that checked out.

Here’s a video of his performance with his original lyrics:

And here’s the one from the first time he sang it on the show, pipe the Lake Tahoe painting in the background. ❤

(Another side note: That’s Ted Paxson at the piano. Love him!)

Because let’s be honest literally effing NOBODY writes love songs about Ann Franklin.