CBS (ended 1967)
The night sky has gained another star.
I hope GSN does a nice tribute to her. She deserves a noon-to-6 on Saturday tribute or maybe a Saturday night prime time tribute (certainly not a pre-empt WML? tribute...she deserves better than Monday morning at 3:30).
Well sadly, I went over to the GSN message boards and saw the sorry news that she is relagated to a WML? pre-empting tribute. As I posted over there, we older GSN viewers are steadily being devalued. This is like throwing a dry bone to a starving dog. She deserves so much more. :-(
My own experiences with Kitty were very fleeting, indeed. At one point I was a semi-regular on a New York public-access talk show (sort of like Joe Franklin on steroids - not the host, but the show format) and on one of my appearances, Kitty was booked to appear. She did her interview solo, that is, without anyone else other than the host and his sidekick. I recall she wore red and a string of pearls around her neck - and appearing as she always did. (I tried to use another word which was highly complimentary, but . . . ) And she was introduced as "superstar Kitty Carlisle Hart." After she got off, I came on and said, "Sorry for the delay, but I got lost on my way to the World Trade Center." (This was taped the day after the first WTC attack in 1993, but I'd mangled my opening line. But enough with the tangents.)
May I extend my condolences to all her family and friends, however brief my crossing paths were.
Date: 19 Apr 2007
From: Greg M.
Here are a couple of Kitty anecdotes taken from a discussion group I frequent. These guys were all total strangers and Kitty was absolutely gracious to each and every one of them. There are, I'm sure, a million such "Kitty Stories" -- all of them good. She never had a bad thing to say about anyone, nor did anyone ever say anything in the least negative about her. I like the "popcorn" story the best, so endearing! Greg
I, too, am very sad about her passing. She was a true favorite of mine. I posted about this in back when it happened, but thought I'd share it again here:
I attended a screening of JUNE MOON at Film Forum in NYC on July 5, 2005. As many of you are no doubt aware, it's a 1931 adaptation of a play written by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner that, we were told, hadn't been screened since its initial run more than seventy years ago.
To mark the occasion, Anne Kaufman Schneider, Kaufman's daughter, and James Lardner, Lardner's grandson, were on hand.
And so was Kaufman-Schneider's pal Kitty Carlisle Hart.
Since she was seated directly behind me, and given that she was one of my favorite New Yorkers, I decided to turn around and tell her as much.
"Thank you, dear," she said when I told her it was an honor to be sitting in front of her. "I do hope you'll try to scrunch down in your seat so I can see the movie."
I promised to do my best.
A few minutes passed, and I felt a finger tapping on my shoulder. I turned around.
"May I have some of your popcorn," Ms. Hart asked, pointing at the nearly full bag of popcorn on the floor next to my seat (we were both seated on the aisle).
"By all means -- have as much as you like."
And she did just that, reaching over and grabbing a handful of corn several times through the course of the picture.
I was thrilled. Someone who once starred opposite the Marx Brothers was sharing my popcorn! And impressed, too -- I hope, when I'm 95, as she was then, I'm still up to bending over and snagging some popcorn from a bag on the ground.
I spent most of the movie contorted every which in order to keep my fat head from blocking Ms. Hart's view of the screen, and after the final credits, I turned around and asked her if my efforts had been successful.
"I didn't miss a thing," she said effusively. "Thank you so much!"
We chatted briefly for a moment or two more, and I screwed up enough courage to ask her if she would consent to my conducting an interview with her one day soon, if I could find a publication interested in running it, and she readily agreed, telling me how I could contact her if and when the time came.
Later, I spoke to Ms. Kaufman-Schneider, thanking her for the Q&A she participated in after the movie. She had been great -- whip-smart, opinionated (she hated the movie, and wasn't afraid to say so), frank, and witty.
She asked me if I wasn't the young man whose popcorn Kitty had been filching; I admitted that I was.
"I don't know what to do with her," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "She said to me, 'I'm hungry, and this nice young man has some popcorn,' and I couldn't talk her out of it."
I'm glad she couldn't.
I, too, am saddened to hear this news. Back in 1990 I got a standing room ticket to the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season. Back then, they still allowed you to wonder up to the private box area at the opera house, and knowing that Kitty Carlisle usually attended opening night, I brought with me my copy of the sheet music of the song "ALONE" with the Marx Bros. & Allan Jones and Kitty on the cover. During one of the intermissions, I went to the parterre level and sure enough, I spotted Kitty and I approached her. When I asked her to autograph the sheet music cover, she looked at it and said that she was flattered that I carried this with me. She asked why such a young man would have this old piece of music with him? "How did you know I was even going to be here?" she asked. I joked and said that I carry this with me everywhere just in case I bumped into her. She laughed. When she signed it she asked my name and inscribed it to me. She signed it "KITTY CARLISLE." As she handed it back to me, she pointed out to me that she didn't add "HART" to her signature because it would make it more valuable in the future because she normally signs KITTY CARLISLE HART to everyday autographs. I thanked her, and as she walked away with her friends, I heard her telling them that she was so flattered that a young man like me thought enough to look for her and bring that music with him to the opera. A real sweet lady. Doug G.
"I'll toss in my Kitty Carlisle anecdote:
Some years back she toured through Albany with her one-woman show, and I stood patiently for an autograph. As she signed, I told her that back when she was on To Tell The Truth (I was born in 1957 so was pretty young) I had a huge crush on her. She didn't look up, but said out of the corner of her mouth "That's the first time anyone's ever said THAT!" Greg M.
Here is the Press Release with all the shows that will air in honor of Kitty on GSN. As WML fans, we lose out on another one a week airing.
GSN OPENS ITS VAULT TO PRESENT A SPECIAL WEEK-LONG HOMAGE TO KITTY CARLISLE HARTFor Immediate Release
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007
2002 NPR interview with Kitty Carlisle
This is a great audio clip and I dare anyone to not get a tear in their eye when she sings "Always."
From: John T.
Date: 22 Apr 2007
This is Kitty Carlisle singing "Alone" from a performance in New York City in 2006. Remarkable! Hope you enjoy it.