Friday, February 8, 2008

The USO Show, Part III

[Reminder: Some of my posts, including this one, are memoirs of my abusive childhood. In this post I'm relating events that happened in January 1958, in Taiwan, when I was 8 and a half. The links to the right can be used to follow backward through the memoirs, or to restrict viewing to other kinds of posts.]

And, Video Find of the Day

First, I have to address my own confusion about this part of the story. When I first talked about it for the Art in Balance article for Real Change way back in 1995, I remembered the headline act of the the USO show was Betty White. Then, as I back posted that about a year ago to this blog I convinced myself that the last name was Whiting, not White. So I fessed up to the confusion and noted the changes called for.

Well, now I think we're not talking about a Betty Whiting, but one of the Margaret Whitings. There are two listed on IMDB. I've gone back to the Art and Balance post and made those adjustments.

The confusion continues. I think the Margaret Whiting who headlined was the one IMDB calls Margaret Whiting (I). I think so because of the list of songs she's noted for. She sang at the show, and I recognize some of the titles.

I'm not the only one who has confused Margaret Whiting with someone else. I confused her with Betty White not only because of the name, but because she did some stand-up that had a kind of humor I associate with Betty White, and because of the physical similarities, as shown by these two photos that show them as they appeared in the 50s.

Others have confused Margaret Whiting with Doris Day because of her voice and singing style.

Baby Its Cold Outside - Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer

So, OK, this decade I think it was Margaret Whiting.

The show was held in a giant tent. It was a rectangular tent, but bigger than a three-ring circus tent. There was a raised stage at one end and in front of it were long files of rectangular banquet tables stretching back to the other end with a few breaks for waiters to pass between. Dinner wasn't served until after the show, though.

I can't remember any of the other performers. Whoever she was, Margaret Whiting, Betty White, Betty Whiting, or Margaret White, she gathered up all my attention. Her voice told me I could trust her.

A perk of being the boss' son: my Dad was running the base, so the headliner, let's call her Margaret Whiting, was seated at his table. Of course, so were my Mother and I.

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