The Carmel Myers…Thing

Today, I am bringing you another piece of film, courtesy of The JAM Project. We have had it digitized and ready to go for a couple of months but a plethora of other responsibilities has kept me from sitting down and putting together a blog post about it.

Many of you may have, by now, seen Jeanette’s appearance on The Carmel Myers Show — which is, without question, the most cringeworthy, hilariously awkward thing that has ever been available to view. (I mean, she did a good number of guest spots on TV game/panel shows that have been considered “lost” — so we will probably never see them and who knows what fantastic nonsense she got up to on those shows.) It has previously been available in a super low-quality, grainy version, and there’s another copy of it floating around on YouTube, but this one is made from Jeanette’s film, and it’s the clearest and best version of it that I’ve ever seen, certainly, and what you may not have seen is the few minutes before Jeanette’s appearance…oh Lord, definitely pull up a chair for that. Even though this is a “lesser” appearance as far as Jeanette is concerned (like, by a country mile), we still felt that it was worth salvaging HER print of it, and having a good copy preserved in perpetuity, so we went ahead and spent the money and did it. Our thanks to Brad and the crew at Video Conversion Experts for once again exceeding our expectations and being fantastic to work with! They have been educational, patient, prompt and such an important part of the team. They have treated Jeanette’s stuff with utmost care and respect and have returned it in perfect condition every time. I would recommend their services to absolutely anybody — just fantastic. 🙂

The Carmel Myers Show was done August 7, 1951, just two days after Jeanette and Gene appeared together on Toast of the Town. (I think Jeanette’s haircut is awfully cute, not that anybody asked, but I do.) It is the most cloying, ridiculous mess one has ever seen — like, on WHAT PLANET do you have Jeanette on your show and literally bust out the uke and have the titanium balls to sing at her — not once, but twice — with your marginal-at-absolute-best voice?! Just………….like……………I get it if you can’t pay her to sing and if she’s being a good egg and appearing to spend a few minutes chit-chatting and tripping over her words because TV makes her nervous and holy God she’s adorable but like……if you’re not letting her/paying her to sing, then YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT SING EITHER.

This is, without question, the only appropriate response. Thanks, J-Mac, for keeping it real for the folks at home:

(Is your bosom stuffed? It is. It is migrating away from your person. It is leaving. Somebody get the girl some double-sided tape, STAT.)

It is impossible to watch this thing without absolutely sobbing. Also………..um, that is the most sanitized and fluffed over version of the Louella Parsons story that has ever been told.

Side note: some jerk stole Jeanette’s diamond wristwatch that she left in the dressing room when she went out to shoot this scant few minutes of television. ……..SERIOUSLY?! She has to endure Carmel Myers and the uke AND she gets her watch stolen. Nice.

If you’ve seen Toast of the Town, you’ll know that there’s some super awkwardness when Nelson’s name is brought up during the “interview” segment (Gene is acting as host and Jeanette is the guest). She says the most frequently asked question she gets is, “Why didn’t you marry Nelson Eddy?” and Gene goes, “Well, why didn’t you?” and she responds by this very weird blast of out of character nervous cackling and turns upstage, leaving her back to the camera while she pulls herself together. It’s sort of funny until it isn’t. Then it’s just weird.

Jeanette and Nelson were photographed together for the “last” time at the Melchiors’ 25th Anniversary party, May 26, 1950. They would not be seen together again until November 12, 1952, when Nelson surprised her (and made her cry) on This is Your Life. Their personal breakup of over two years took its toll on both of them, but they reconciled immediately following This is Your LifeToast of the Town and The Carmel Myers Show both fall into the window when she and Nelson were on the outs, and as such it is interesting that when Carmel shows pictures from Jeanette’s movies, not one of them was from a Nelson film. Was that prearranged? One kind of has to think it was, to avoid Jeanette having to discuss him/them on the air. I feel like it was weird enough with someone “safe” like Gene — it would have the potential to get way weirder with someone like Carmel. I mean, say what you want to about Jeanette being a great big deal in her own right and I will agree with you all day long, but if you’re like….recalling glorious moments from her past films….it seems pointed and strange to pick only movies that Nelson wasn’t in. Let’s just toss a sheet over the elephant in the room and pretend nobody can see it. (It’s also interesting to note that it was during this time period that the proposed reunion film Will You Remember was being discussed for Jeanette and Nelson…and Gene was the self-styled talent broker, trying to get Nelson on board, trying to schmooze him, making appeals to Nelson’s sexiness, calling him Nels, in general being his assy self, as Angela demonstrates in her presentation at this link, go to one minute in to get to the relevant info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScwIS_NYaYo&feature=youtu.be  Turk incorrectly interjects this into the timeline where it suits him, on page 305 of Hollywood Diva, he places this occurrence in 1954, to suit the mood of frustration on Jeanette’s part and to make Nelson look like a jerk. Angela now owns the script [which is effing delightful and would have been for them what The Barkleys of Broadway was for Fred and Ginger–sigh!!] and all original correspondence surrounding it — it’s all from 1951. The attitudes surrounding it were personal and not professional. Jeanette and Nelson were not speaking and Gene is over here trying to play messenger boy. Trust and believe, Gene, if they wanted to talk, they would not need your help.)

Also, where is the fly swatter with which to slap the hell out of Carmel when she does that insufferable humming at the end? It’s a reeeeeeeeeeeal toss-up, friends, about which is worse: Carmel Myers or Anita Louise doing the Hazel Bishop commercials. You look at that and think… my God, Jeanette weathered the fifties JUST. BEAUTIFULLY.

Here’s the show:

As this is the last video that will be shared by The JAM Project for the foreseeable future, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible help we have had over the past year in providing this material to the public, on YouTube, for everyone to enjoy at no charge. We have felt from the beginning that this is the right thing to do, and have thrown our collective shoulder into making it happen.

We fundraised among a group of people who love Jeanette and Nelson and believe in our work and I want to thank them for this roster of restored, preserved and digitized film:

Digitized 1/30/17

Clip from Lux Video Theatre, with Jeanette and Nelson

and

1955 NBC Screen Test of Jeanette

$220.40

Digitized 2/15/17

1962 ClanClave Footage (Luau/Twin Gables)

$113.85

Digitized 6/21/17

This is Your Life

$949.50

Digitzed 7/15/17

Person to Person

$519.19

Digitized 10/19/17

The Carmel Myers Show

$472.58

So…….$2,275.52 has been spent in the last year for cleaning/restoring/digitizing/preserving film to share. That’s incredible! And that doesn’t even include the cost of other preservation/digitization efforts, such as having Jeanette’s personal collection of like 250 11×14’s scanned, all the audio digitization my brother has done for us, and transferring a few transparencies into incredible color photos. HUGE gratitude to our dear friends around the world, whose donations to this project and purchasing of autographed pictures and a few extra books, etc, from the holdings, have made this possible for everyone. In no particular order and hoping against hope that I have not excluded anyone: Annette, Margaret, Angela, Di, Lynda, Leslie, Mary Lynn, Tracy, Charlotte, Peter, Philip, Scott, Melissa, Sandra and Gabrielle. When I say this could not have been done without you — boy, do I mean it. Our dear Miss Mac is not an inexpensive proposition. Good thing she’s cute. 😉

Big gratitude to our friend Blythe, who gave me my first ever new source interview, and was kind enough to recall her precious childhood experiences with “Miss Jeanette” and her “co-star”. Printing that sheer delight of an interview was one of the MacHighlights of 2017.

My thanks also and in particular to my trusty pal Angela, who owns Jeanette’s Metropolitan Opera correspondence and the MacRaymond financial documentation, both of which have been the subject of extensive blog entries here at The Case for Jeanette and Nelson, with high resolution scans. It’s hard to strike the balance of wanting to put good material forward, (which I think it is safe to say we have done!) but also knowing it is absolutely correct and imperative to hold things back for the eventual book. Luckily, there is so much here that we’ve been able to do both in a satisfactory way. Angela also owns the original of Nelson’s 1960 letter, in which the word “love” — which was quoted by Jeanette when she sent a note to his fan club after being honored as the Philadelphia Woman of the Year — was whited out, presumably by Clara, Tessa or Gene Raymond, and the censored letter was then quoted, with censorship in place, in Hollywood Diva. Suck on that, kids. Nelson can’t express love for Jeanette (in a letter that was going to be read out loud in public for God’s sake!) without somebody trying to strike it from the record. What’re y’all afraid of, hmm? (That has, of course, also been scanned, photographed against the light so you can see the word “love” under the white-out, and has been made the subject of its own blog.) Angela, the use of this material has furthered everyone’s knowledge of the details behind the scenes — and has contributed greatly to our understanding of what was actually going on in the life of this incredible human being. Thanks, buddy.

And here, here’s a thing. A real, real, real cute thing. An unretouched, crystal clear, oh-em-gee-someone-hold-me sort of cute thing.

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4 thoughts on “The Carmel Myers…Thing

  1. Thank you Katie and Company, for your generosity and dedication to preserving this material.

    Re the Louella Parsons story — the best moment is when Jeanette, without so much as batting an eye, refers to Ms. Myers as “a fellow singer!” She was the soul of generosity, to put it mildly.

    But a few moments later, just as Carmel finishes her immortal rendition of “Sally,” the camera pans back, and you can catch a very brief glimpse of Jeanette looking off-camera with a “can you believe this?” look on her face.

    Apart from the ‘singing’, note the difference between Jeanette’s warm and polished elocution and Carmel’s quasi-Lina Lamont way of speaking. She even drops her Rs in Some Enchanted Evening: “strange-UH,” “laught-UH.”

    Ah, well, more proof that Jeanette was a real trouper and a devoted friend.

    • Apples and Oranges, to be sure. Jeanette is social and sweet and lovely and yet……..somewhere behind her eyes it’s a little bit on the order of “somebody please strangle this bitch” — but she is a darling. You always feel like she’s got this enchanting spark of mischief, and you feel like you’re participating in the fun with her. She’s a total scene stealer, but from all accounts, that’s exactly how she was from earliest childhood. I love the trace of scamp in her, amid all the daintiness and frills. And she retained her softness through the fifties, when so many of her contemporaries (many of whom I adore, so this is not a criticism, it’s just the times + their ages) got so “hard” looking in this decade. Not Jeanette. ❤

    • i thought the clip was a joke. can’t believe that carmel would think jeanette wanted to be sung to.
      jeanette is the classiest lady in any situation. sure hope this was the last time jeanette had to endure such a farse.

  2. Not sure how I missed this! What a beauty Jeanette is here. Very soft, beautiful jewelry, love that smile!!!

    I wonder why she always love to wear the sleeveless dresses? I guess maybe it was just the style during the 50s? I find it an annoying style to wear, have to keep pulling them up, make sure wrap is just right if wearing one, etc.

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