OK, that’s a lousy post title, especially since many-a-Carol Channing impersonator over-exaggerates that aspect of Carol’s wonderfully unique voice and speech pattern (except Richard Skipper, who is not so much an “impersonator” but wholly (and respectfully) embodies the true Carol Channing experience). But, back to the cliche but eye-catching title. Earlier today the Associated Press, for some reason, put out the very erroneous story that Carol Channing had passed away. Concerned, I called a few contacts and was overjoyed to find that the reports of Carol Channing’s death had been greatly exaggerated (thank you Mark Twain. By the way, did you know Mark Twain was kind of a stud?).
In any case, among the folks I spoke with today was my pal Larry Ferguson who is in the finishing stages of production of Carol Channing’s new patriotic CD, “True to the Red, White & Blue” (isn’t that a great title! I love it.). Carol’s new CD (tentatively due in stores around Veteran’s Day 2011) features some old American chestnuts like “Over There”, “God Bless America” & “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, a couple sacred songs like, “Amazing Grace”, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (a personal favorite) and even “St. Louis Blues” (for which Carol has quite the accompanying story as to why she includes this track). Also featured is a new version of Carol’s signature tune from HELLO, DOLLY!: “Before the Parade Passes By”. Carol has sung this song so many times over the years and it will be great to hear a new take on this classic. Below, you can even hear a live version from one of my annual “Christmas Carol” episodes of “That’s Kentertainment!” (you just have to get through the surreal pseudo-Peanuts Christmas-Ken-Id-Ego opening bit…another personal favorite). :)
Speaking of surreal, here’s a quick clip of Carol Channing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” – an except of a longer opening number from my “8th Annual Christmas Carol” from 2009. I adore Carol and her terrific sense of humor.
So there ya have it. Carol Channing is alive & well and ready to roll out her new CD. At 90 years of age, this is not only impressive but also makes one ponder: ”What did I do today?” Well, besides write this post. :)
p.s. Richard Skipper started a petition to get Carol Channing a well-deserved Kennedy Center Honor. Carol Channing is an American original. As someone once said, “If Carol Channing didn’t exist, you couldn’t make her up.” Her legendary stage, screen and television performances plus her tireless crusade & numerous benefit appearances to bring Arts Education back to schools are inspiring to all. Click here to sign the petition.