Oh raspberries! It’s a special occasion for Doris W. Mr. Lousy just celebrated one, and right on its heels comes another. So much May mirth just as the month closes and summer opens wide. While Mr. Lousy may be singing the praises of
Tatum Channing, Channing Tatum, there is another Channing always ready to pounce:
Doris W. doesn’t always wax sentimental; in fact, I don’t think she waxes as much as she should, at least on this blog.
So on this, her special day, I write as a stand-in, recollecting some of the many exclamations, proclamations, and incantations that legendary performer Carol Channing has elicited from Doris W. over the years – as well as I can.
First, the shocking Larry King interview from 2002, for which we had been promised “a startling revelation.”
“ONE startling revelation!?!” cried a delighted, near delirious Doris W. panting on the telephone, as Channing announced one punch of astonishment after another.
First and foremost, there came an extremely confusing tale of how Carol Channing was part African American, the transcript of which can be found on Mulatto Diaries. Many commenters there point out that her muddled account suggests obfuscation and some lingering shame at passing for so many years. I must counter that the full transcript of the rest of the interview is almost as confusing, and perhaps even more evasive, especially in terms of her decades-long marriage to alleged gay Charles Lowe, with whom she had sex once or perhaps twice in over forty years of marriage, or the relationship with her estranged son, celebrated political cartoonist Chan Lowe. She also neglects to mention to the hopelessly inept Larry King that she did not do two movies as claimed but three. The world will never forget Otto Preminger’s LSD mob comedy, Skidoo! The Preminger estate tried to suppress it for years. Now re-discover its glory. Doris W. did.
A later appearance on the Wendy Williams show did very little to clarify Channing’s race saga, though Doris W. did find the Pebbles Flintstone hair-do Channing sported for the taping “just marvelous, the perfect peak of pearliness swirling to the heavens from her platinum pantsuit.”
While Doris W. insisted that a crypto-racial Channing “paved the way” for the election of bi-racial President Obama, the race revelations and subsequent baffling appearances on Larry King and Wendy Williams’ shows came no surprise to the longtime fan, especially in consideration of the Soul Sisters number from a long-ago broadcast of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In performed with Get Christie Love! star Teresa Graves:
Doris W. does lament some lost opportunities, including the senseless re-casting of Channing’s stage roles of Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to Marilyn Monroe and of the titular character of Hello, Dolly! to Barbra Streisand in the film versions, though Doris W. frequently contents herself with videos from performances as the characters made decades and decades and decades after the shows’ original runs –
as the gold-digging Lorelei:
or as matchmaking Dolly Levi, before a horde of homosexuals brandishing smartphones as they worship at the altar:
Another disappointment was the failure of Channing’s desperate attempt to re-create the controversial classic The Boys in the Band with an all-female cast. “We’ll never know,” pined Doris W., “how unintentional drag subverted into intentional drag thrust upon a landmark, highly divisive stageplay simultaneously excoriating and exalting homosexual identity in the mid-twentieth century might have transformed the work within the subtexts of gender deconstructionism, queer theory, and Marxist revisionism.” Doris W. went on to add, “I can only see Carol as a top. And in my mind’s eye, I see it a lot.”
Though for each missing gem in the Channing tiara, Doris W., ever the optimist, has found a replacement, such as Channing’s 1982 appearance on The Love Boat, alongside rivals Della Reese, Ann Miller, and Ethel Merman.
“Just look at how totally smoking hot and motherfucking goddess-like she was in that Wonder Woman outfit,” oozed Doris W., trading amazement at wardrobe for belly laughs at Channing’s deep-throated, playful punnery.
The Love Boat episode culminated in a showstopping, shipshaking performance of I’m the Greatest Star with rival guest stars, Della Resse, Ann Miller, and Ethel Merman.
“It’s the final fuck-you to Streisand,” crowed Doris.W with a twinkle in her eye and a tingle of venom in her heart.
“Those dicks gave Barbra Hello, Dolly! and then Carol Channing snatched a Streisand standard from Funny Girl (in which BS actually played her breakthrough role of Fanny Brice both on stage and on screen) and fucking dusted the floor with it!”
“And it was outfuckingrageous to see her as Julie the Cruise Director’s Aunt Sylvia on that big, crazy, beautiful boat!”
“I gotta say,” Doris W. then intoned in an almost somber turn,“Duran Duran, Wham! UK, The Dazz Band, Heaven 17, The Cure, and Carol Channing. That IS 1982 to me. It will always be.”
Since the banner Channing year of 1982, however, Doris W. has continued to bask in Channing’s presence, be it
her recording of Christian music, For Heaven’s Sake:
or her 1985 performance as The White Queen in what Doris W. has called “the one and only version of Alice in Wonderland that even matters, including that fucking book”:
or PORING over her autobiography
Why, sometimes Doris W. contents herself all alone, save for the Carol Channing ventriloquist dummy that she keeps in a tiny wooden cradle and takes out only for private playtime with Lady Fairchilde, Mrs. Beasley, and Madame.
And! tonight there is cause for celebration! I’ll lay odds that one very special tea party is taking place, and with those five ladies at the table, there’s bound to be trouble!!! I hear at least three of them are real talkers! I’ll bet Mrs. Beasley just does what she can to keep the peace!
So happy special day Doris W. and friends!
I wish I could be there to help celebrate, but don’t worry, I’ve got the recent documentary lined up for your summer vacation with Mr. Lousy. It will come when you least expect it, so let the anxiety start to sink in.
There is also the possible biopic of Carol Channing starring Johnny Depp – as Carol Channing. This could restore his credibility as an actor. We’ll talk directors later.
In the meantime, we wish you the very best!
And of course, to everyone at the tea party…