By Tom Morrow
Back in 1986 or ’87, I had the pleasure of taking my daughter to see the Broadway play, “42nd Street.” Shannon had just graduated from high school and I wanted to show some of the wonders that lie ahead for her.
Now, “42nd Street” originated as a movie and decades later became a hit Broadway musical play. Ordinarily it was the other way around – productions started as plays and later became movies.
Just as the play was about to begin, this elderly lady passed down our row of seats. She was wearing a rather shabby coat and her shoes were worn with toes cut out, obviously to make them more comfortable. The old woman took the seat next me.
The play was a sensation and the packed audience gave the cast three curtain calls. On the last go around, the director of the play came center stage and announced that the original star cast member for the 1933 production was in the audience. Would we give a standing ovation to noted Broadway star Miss Ruby Keeler. The audience roared with approval. During the Great Depression, Ruby Keeler was one of the most popular stars on “The Great White Way of Broadway.”
I looked to my left where the old lady was sitting. I saw a big smile come across her face as she slowly rose to her feet. The great Ruby Keeler had been sitting next to me throughout the entire production of “42nd Street,” the musical that launched her long entertainment career. The one-time wife of the great Al Jolson stood basking in the tremendous applause she was receiving. It was an unforgettable experience. My daughter had no idea what was happening nor why it was important. I explained later as we drove home.
Some moments in life have to be savored – that was one of those times.
Ruby Keeler died Feb. 28, 1993, at the age of 83 in her home in Rancho Mirage.
GREAT QUOTES: “How do they know?” – Dorothy Parker, when told President Calvin Coolidge had died.
SCAG SEZ: “Gardening thrives against all odds because it’s based on the premise that what goes down must come up.” — Cecil Scaglione, www.maturelifefeatures.com
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