Sunday, March 4, 2012
"The Shape" as performed by Mary Martin
This 1953 spoof on the cycles of early 20th century fashion is performed by the brilliant actress, Mary Martin, who is probably better known for her roll in "South Pacific" (singing "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair") and as "Peter Pan".
In this skit, Mary contorts her jersey tunic dress into silhouettes from the past decades, 1900 through 1950's. She is aided only by random costume props and accessories in her frantic changes in shape and posture as the decades of style change.
Skit: The Shape, choreographed by Jerome Robbins
Date: June 15, 1953
CBS and NBC simulcast live from Rockefeller Center
A spectacular television event that stared Mary Martin and Ethel Merman, both the leading Broadway divas at the time.
To learn more about Mary Martin read "Mary Martin, Broadway Legend", by Ronald L. Davis, 2008.
Below: A young Mary sings "Ain't it a Shame about Mame", 1940, from the movie "Rhythm on the River" (available on Netflix). At 27, she shows her typical spunky style and looks adorable in her costume: a print dress and little hat.