I’d apologize for the excessive birthday spam that you’ve seen from me in multiple mediums if we’re friends, but I’m not sorry. My favorite human turns 111 today, okay? Get off my case.
Just spent two days in the Library of Congress with fellow MacEddy sleuth Angela, trying to cram what could easily have been weeks into a number of hours. Already planning a return trip for more, because we turned up some amazing stuff. I have inquiries out for a number of archived television interviews/appearances/news coverage that we have to pay to view, but I think we’ve about decided to just bite the bullet and do it.
She’s worth it, you know? They’re worth it.
I’m excitedly awaiting a few things, not the least of which is a 500ft reel of footage of Nelson being interviewed the day after Jeanette died. The file notes say that the grieving Eddy reminisces about her and discusses how they met at a party. Guess who else has always reported that they met at a party? She was coming down the stairs and he was standing there and she saw him and “gasped in awe at the size of you and that head of hair.” It will be heartbreaking to watch Nelson this raw, but fascinating and insightful. We have other interviews of him after her death, but even Sharon hasn’t seen this one. Hot damn. Get back to me soon, archive lady!
Also worth reporting:
We found the radio broadcast Nelson did right after his marriage (1/22/39 Chase and Sanborn) and it is…appalling. He won’t come to the mic when they are touting him as the happy bridegroom and you hear him in the back muttering that this is “the wrong script.” He then doesn’t say anything when he does get up to the mic, and they introduce his first song. His song choices are odd, too. He sings a marching song from White Eagle (not one he was famous for), then towards the middle of the hour-long broadcast he comes back to sing The Czar’s Lament in English—the words are really powerful and speak of his desolation and destroyed life, begging God for mercy, dead children, etc etc. He is noticeably sharp and flat SEVERAL times throughout, his voice catches and by the end he is decidedly very, very emotional. Call it a “performance” if you wish, but Nelson Eddy, while not serious about acting, was deadly serious about his music. It is inconceivable that he would sing badly and off-key on purpose. After that, he returns to the mic one more time and offers the saddest rendition of Little Grey Home in the West that has ever been heard. That brought us to tears more than once over the weekend. This man was married 3 days before this broadcast. He should have, in theory, been honeymooning and in a great mood. Instead, you are left with the very distinct impression that the “lips I am burning to kiss” and “two eyes that shine just because they are mine and a thousand things other men miss” have nothing whatever to do with Ann Franklin [Eddy]. But please, don’t take my word for it. I’ll be providing recordings for you to listen to for yourself in short order. They are quite something.
And I found Jeanette singing the national anthem at Eisenhower’s 1957 Inauguration! That was really cool! I’ll give y’all a recording of that, too, as soon as I can get organized.
I have inquiries out on a few more pieces of TV footage, including a segment on Jeanette’s Vegas nightclub work. THAT should be a riot. Can’t wait. And I got to view her two 1951 appearances on Toast of the Town with Gene. The August one was an utter delight, the December one was fun too but not nearly as long or involved. Gene MC’d the first one because Ed Sullivan was away and I thoroughly enjoyed him and Jeanette–separately and together. They did a great job.
I also exported nearly 600 articles from the newspaper room at the LoC–and I only was able to get through the first thousand. There are over eleven thousand articles in one system alone—so I definitely need to go back just for that. We have a call slip out for several files of unpublished photos which we should be hearing back about soon. So you see, dear readers, I have not been idle, even though I have not been blogging. I just am in a phase of information gathering right now, so that my blog posts are as informed and up-to-date as possible. I think that I can best serve Jeanette and Nelson and what I’m trying to do here by providing the best information that I can.
In the meantime, here are some fun pictures of babygirl for her birthday. Happy day, Jeanette. You are loved.
Ahahahahaa. Maybe my favorite thing in the history of ever.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Back when the world was still possible. Lake Tahoe, during the making of Rose Marie.
Birthday cake, 1938.
And a birthday kiss.
Be seeing you–