Trixie it’s me Agnes.
I met Betty Comden during the blizzard of ’56 when a whole trainload of passengers barged into the Half Moon ‘cause the New York Central 286 was stuck in a drift. At first I thought she might be a new girl in town and I don’t like me no competition, but she turned out to be two fisted drinker with a laugh anna great sensa humor an she was always ready for a song, some of which she apparently wrote herself. We got along fine. She was on the train to Proctors in Schenectady for a try-out that night and never made it. Somehow she remembered me later, and every now and then Broadway show tickets would show up in my mailbox... and last week, tickets showed up for her memorial... I hadn’t known she passed, we’re losing all the old-timers, kinda sad.
So this morning after we both voted, I threw Tippy in my purse along with a mint chocolate coffee shake, and grabbed the train at the Front Street Station; Bucky the conductor lets me ride for free… well almost, he kinda asks for a favor just past Poughkeepsie, see. Arrived in the wonderful town with just enough time to run up to the Majestic. They didn’t want to let a smelly old lady with a cat into the theater even with a ticket, so I went to the stage door and told them I was Elaine Stritch.
Trixie, do you remember a great big Broadway musical comedy star named Dolores Gray? I didn’t think you would, you can barely remember as far back as Grey Gardens, the show that guy at the Red Dot is always running off about. Well Trixie, you could learn a thing or two about a feather boa from Dolores, that bitch knew how to sing to the rafters and work a room. Alas, she's not still here either.
So the memorial program they hand us for "Great Women Salute a Great Woman: Betty Comden" names some newcomer named “Lypsinka” who’ve I’ve never heard of, a real tall girl, must be some kinda Vegas showgirl or something. She comes out and sings one of Betty's songs, “Thanks a Lot But No Thanks.” And she NAILED it – she nails Dolores Gray – every sound, every gesture, every inflection, every hip swivel – if I closed my eyes I would think Dolores was on the stage the voice was so good, so ladylike yet strong… whatta entertainer this Lypsinker is…she stopped the whole goddamned memorial show... she was as good as those lady impersonator fairies they used to have at the Hudson River Theater! Click on this link and close your eyes… it brought me back to fifty years ago, catching a flick at the Community Theater on Diamond and Seventh…
THANKS A LOT BUT NO THANKS!
And the end we all stood up in the audience and sang this song together, and since you probably don’t know it Trixie I’m gonna post the lyrics here cause its a real nice song. It was a sad afternoon, but real bootiful too; I miss my old friends.
Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy.
Make just one heart the heart you sing to.
One smile that cheers you,
One face that lights when it nears you.
One gal you're everything to.
Fame, if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minute.
Where's the real stuff in life to cling to?
Love is the answer,
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you've found her,
Build your world around her.
Make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy
And you will be happy too.