Tuesday, July 6, 2021

5 guest appearances Ethel Merman should have made

Ethel Merman has become the breakout star of this season of BOTNS, and if she hasn't, well, I am gonna try my darndest to make it happen. As much joy as her performance in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July gave all of us, it's tough to top her late 1970s disco album and subsequent disco TV tour that took her all the way to The Tonight Show. And of course there is this:

But it's difficult not to think about what might have been--the missed opportunities of TGV appearances Merman could have but did not make. Here is my list of 5 appearances I wish we got, concentrating on her disco/Rankin-Bass era up until her death in 1984.

1) Saturday Night Live: I confess this as much for the stories as for the television. Imagine the backstage hijinks, the chaos, the general awesomeness of Ethel Merman partying with John Belushi all week.  You have a larger-than-life icon who consumed all the air in the building, let alone the room; someone with a legendarily voracious lust for life...and Belushi. Would 30 Rock still be standing today?

2) Three's Company: My pitch to you: Merman plays Stanley's long-estranged sister, who coms to town to make up with her brother...and ends up trying to make time with Jack! 'NUFF SAID.

3) CHIPS: Notice I don't spell it CHiPS. You know why? Because when Ethel Merman is on, everything has to be ALL CAPS!

Longtime listeners of the podcast already know how well this cop show does disco and celebrities. Merman would have been the biggest guest star of all. Well, except for maybe Uncle Miltie.

4) Buck Rogers: Don't tell me you can't picture it.

5) Soul Train: Can you really be considered a legend in the musical corner of showbiz if you never appeared on Soul Train? Nothing against Merman, but many would argue no. Duke Ellington...Nat King Cole...Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart--All legends with one glaring gap in the resume. It boggles the mind that Merman wasn't on the Train to do her disco version of Alexander's Ragtime Band.

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