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Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Lily Pons
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Nov 2018 01:21:54 -0500

text/plain (169 lines)

Mr. Mitnick, where oh where do you get your facts?  Durbin was the biggest female 
star in Hollywood for at least ten years, far bigger in box office and salary impact 
than Garland EVER was and don't take my word for it, read IMDB:

Undoubtedly, the people who made the decision do let her get away from MGM to 
Universal (she saved the studio) bitterly regretted it the way Warner regretted 
letting Ginger Rogers get away to RKO in favor of keeping the dimly talented Ruby 

On Fri, 9 Nov 2018 20:12:23 -0600, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> 

>> ---------- Original Message ----------
>> From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: November 9, 2018 at 7:47 PM
>> Subject: Re: Lily Pons
>> Deanna Durbin??????????
>> I'm sure we've all heard Deanna Durbin, and while it was a novel experience to 
hear such a young girl (not yet twenty) sing arias from Trovatore, Rigoletto, and 
other operas, it's significant to note that when both of their respective contracts 
expired at the same time at MGM, it was Judy Garland whom MGM chose to retain.  
Deanna Durbin's career was effectively over by 1940, while Judy Garland became 
the greatest musical star of the 1940's, and then in the following decade, became 
the greatest entertainer since Al Jolson.  I don't see how you can even compare the 
promise Deanna Durbin undoubtedly exhibited to the impact and electricity that 
Judy Garland came to represent.  Judy Garland hit her peak in around 1945, and 
when she was terminated by MGM, she went on to concertizing all over the U.S. 
and Europe for years and years ---- despite her personal trials and tribulations.  
She was also an excellent actress, as evidenced by her non-singing roles in "The 
Clock", "A Child is Waiting", and "Judgement at Nuremberg.  She put her acting 
chops and her voice together in her 1954 version of "A Star is Born", which was/still 
is Prime Garland.  And of course there was that legendary Carnegie Hall concert in 
>>     Deanna Durbin was a "flash in the pan" compared to what Judy Garland 
became.  Teenagers singing in opera (remember Marion Talley at the Met?) never 
were able to make it into the "big time".  The days of Malibran, Patti, and others 
were long gone ---------------even by 1940.
>> > On November 9, 2018 at 5:34 PM James Camner <[log in to unmask]> 
>> >
>> >
>> > I finally read this (I'm just now decompressing after the election - yes we got 
>> > candidate Katie Hill into the Congress!!).
>> >
>> > What you write shows that you have scant understanding of how prestigious 
>> > opera singer was in Pons's time.  Opera singers occupied a higher plane of 
>> > than any pop singer including Crosby. That of course is no longer true, but it 
was in
>> > the 1930s up through Pons's heyday although it ended just after. This is 
partly the
>> > reason why Pons drew more people to the Hollywood Bowl than even the 
>> > would. But the main reason she drew so many people is that she was Lily 
Pons and
>> > in her heyday, she was at the pinnacle.
>> >
>> > In her time, Pons's name was synonymous in the United States with opera 
just as
>> > Caruso's had been in his time and as Callas was in hers and Netrebko's is 
>> >
>> > For someone like Lily Pons, or Lawrence Tibbett, or Beniamino Gigli making 
>> > was a lark, something to do when they weren't at their main business of 
opera. The
>> > same went for an operatic supernova like Geraldine Farrar who did have an
>> > important movie career.
>> >
>> > Regarding the earlier diva, one can read in John Barrymore's autobiography
>> > "Confessions of An Actor" how he approached Geraldine Farrar nervously in 
order to
>> > ask for her autograph. At the time Barrymore himself, a member of an 
>> > theatrical family was already a Broadway star. But opera singers had their 
>> > special divinity (although even the expression "Diva" now applies more 
correctly to
>> > pop singers today) None of us born after WWII can conceive of just how 
>> > singers were worshiped by the public, even the parts of a public who had 
>> > interest in opera per se.
>> >
>> > Here's another example of how opera stars were in a class by themselves, 
>> > Rodgers and Hammerstein heard that Ezio Pinza might be available, they 
>> > South Pacific for him. It was Pinza, not Mary Martin who was the catalyst for 
>> > masterpiece even though he barely sang more than 15 minutes of the music.
>> >
>> > Undoubtedly Crosby was the most ubiquitous and probably richest pop singer 
>> > Gene Autry (through his breath of activity), but I don't believe he was ever 
>> > number one box office movie star. That honor went to such as Shirley 
Temple, Will
>> > Rogers,  Rin Tin Tin (the dog), Deanna Durbin (in her prime far bigger than 
>> > Garland) and Ronald Reagan.
>> >
>> > The revisionist trashing of Pons's posthumous reputation was accomplished 
>> > (but not exclusively) through British writers who were jealous (and still are) 
of the
>> > United States's hegemony in cultural matters. Of course it wasn't just Pons. 
>> > example, the noted record collector Richard Bebb told me that Harold 
>> > called Rosa Ponselle a "cow" (after she sang Norma at Covent Garden). I 
could also
>> > reference Scott's "Record of Singing" which also IMHO, endlessly distorts and 
>> > the history of what he is supposedly chronicling. And so it goes.
>> >
>> > Here's a question: has any singer ever "dined out" more successfully on the 
basis of
>> > one (admittedly excellent) 78 RPM recording than Eva Turner?
>> >
>> > James Camner
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > **********************************************
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