Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dorothy Lamour in Hello, Dolly!

"This is the closest I've ever come to an Academy Award.
-Dorothy Lamour during curtain speech for Dolly!

Fondly remembered for her beautiful, long brown hair and trademark sarong, Dorothy Lamour was an important player for Paramount Pictures in the 1940s. She is best known for her performances in the "Road" films (Road To Bali, Road To Hong Kong, Road To Morocco, Road To Rio, Road To Singapore, Road To Utopia and Road To Zanzibar), which she costarred in with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton was born on December 10, 1914 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Carmen and John Slaton. Her parent's marriage lasted only a few years, but Carmen later remarried Clarence Lambour, and Dorothy took his last name.
The marriage also ended in divorce when Dorothy was a teenager. (Source: The official Dorothy Lamour Website)

Here is the story of Dorothy  through reviews and articles that ran at the time

Dottie, Ginger Share 'Dolly' Role In Vegas Reprise
Tab version of the David Merrick production, "Hello, Dolly!" will return to Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas for 12 weeks, starting August 23.
Dorothy Lamour and Ginger Rogers, will alternate in title role
for demanding schedule of 14 performances a week.
Each will play one show opening night, with Miss Lamour making debut as Dolly.
Miss Lamour,originally scheduled to head a national touring company of the musical in September, will undertake tour after Las Vegas engagement.
Miss Rogers starred in "Hello,Dolly!" for 18 months on Broadway succeeding Carol Channing.
She also has done show in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle
and Portland.
Betty Grable, who did "Dolly" at the Riviera last year, now is with the Broadway company. Variety, August 2nd 1967

David Merrick has signed Dorothy Lamour to star in the 40-week, small-city tour of "Hello, Dolly!" next season.
The show, booked by Tom Mallow's American Theatre
Productions*, begins its travels Sept. 21 in Providence, R.I. In the same way the Carol Channing and Betty Grable touring
versions of the smash musical expanded the market, for road
legit last season by playing week-long stands in hitherto-regarded
split-week t o w n s , the Lamour tour will play split-week engagements in many burgs hitherto limited to one and two-night

Miss Lamour starred in more than 50 pictures, including the
"Road" films with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, before "retiring"
from show biz in 1959. She'll get much tv exposure for the "Dolly" jaunt, including guest stints on NBC's "I Spy" and ABC's "Joey Bishop Show," "Dateline: Hollywood"
and "Dream Girl."

* Beginning in the early 1960's, Mr. Mallow produced more than 60 Broadway shows on the ''bus and truck'' circuit -- the touring productions that crisscross the country, stopping in small cities and towns. His shows included ''Hello, Dolly!,'' ''Sweeney Todd,'' ''Cabaret,'' ''A Chorus Line'' and ''La Cage aux Folles.'' 
 August 25, 1967 (Variety) Ginger Rogers, Dot Lamour Staging No
Ginger Rogers
Battle Of Dollys'; Interpretations Differ
 RIVIERA (Top Ticket Price $7.50)
Las Vegas, Aug. 24. — "The Battle of the Dollys" isn't really a battle at all — Ginger Rogers and  Dorothy Lamour are the best of  friends — but it is interesting to
compare their performances when  both are appearing nightly with the same cast (Marquee reads: "With Ginger Rogers or Dorothy Lamour.")

On opening night Miss Rogers was the dinner show "Dolly" and Miss Lamour did the role at the midnight show.
Each of the half-dozen or so Dollys has a different interpretation of the part. Here, Miss Lamour is the better singer and has warmth, while Miss Rogers walks away with the acting honors and plays the matrimonial matchmaker with the appropriate aggressiveness.
As in the previous edition here which starred Betty Grable, an outstanding feature of the show is the moving scenery which jigsaws in and out sans curtain. Certain
bits of business have been altered slightly to blend with the personalities of the different performers. As Horace Vandergelder, the target of Dolly's personal marriage
plot, Coley Worth is excellent. He plays the role of the "half a millionaire" feed store owner from Yonkers as a crotchety grouch who warms up — but not too much — ust in time for final curtain. (In this 100 minute tab version, there are no intermissions.)
Bill Mullikin, who has a fine singing voice, is just right as the 33-year-old feed store clerk who has never had a romance. His young assistant, played with wide-eyed exuberance by Danny Lockin, gets many laughs as does Beverelee Weir, who spends much time crying because she wants to get married. Marry Nettum as Vandergelder's intended bride, and Isabelle Farrella as her scatterbrained chum are also effective in the large, laudable cast.
Gower Champion's direction and choreography are brilliant; the attractive dancers (16 girls, 19 boys)
skillfully interpret his dance patterns.
The waiters' ballet and the subsequent entrance of Dolly down the stairway into the restaurant hits a peak of pleasantry. The David Merrick presentation, smoothly framed by the Jack Cathcart orchestra (21), has a
book by Michael Stewart and music lyrics by Jerry Herman with stage coordination by Milt Bronson. This show is in for an indefinite engagement.

Las Vegas, Aug. 27.1967 (Variety) — "Hello, Dolly! (2)" stars Ginger Rogers and Dorothy Lamour have been selected by David Merrick for schedule which has Miss Rogers doing eight
shows each week at the Riviera and Miss Lamour the other six.
Miss Rogers does both the dinner and midnight shows on Monday and Saturday, and Miss Lamour solos it on Sundays.
During rest of week, Miss Lamour takes the dinner shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Miss Rogers doing the early shows on Thursday and Friday.
The midnight performances are dived as equally . . .On opening night, the Vegas "Dollys" got a wire from Carol Channing: "Love and luck from one Dolly sister to a couple of others."

Dorothy Lamour and Terry DeMari

HELLO, DOLLY! Variety Review, January 25th, 1968
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Top Ticket price, $6

Whether the cash customers came to see "Hello, Dolly!" or Dorothy Lamour might be a moot question.
Anyway, the response that greeted the former sarong gal in her current delineation of Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi by the only half-filled Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Tuesday sounded like the thunderous acclaim that welcomed Carol Channing when show opened two years ago at the larger Music Center Pavilion. In for a single stand in its tour of one-niters musical demonstrated it still is a hit, or maybe it was Dorothy who made it seem that way.

For Miss Lamour, switching from the sarong that boosted her to stardom on the screen to the bustle and florid costumes of the marly NY. era, "Dolly" Is a triumph. She surprises with the authority she bestows upon both her characterization and her singing.
 While she's strictly Dorothy Lamour trooping up there on the stage, spicing the character of the prolific matchmaker with her own bits of business, she displays an awareness that makes it difficult to believe she's making her legit bow.
She makes audience forget that the Michael Stewart-Jerry Herman musical basically still is a one-song show.
Highlight number, of course, is the title song, in which Dolly is backed by the maitre'd,  the waiters and the cooks, as lively a rendition as has been staged and which the audience took in storm.
A standing ovation at curtain led to nearly five minutes of intimate talk by star addressed to the audience, in which she cracked, apropos to the hall, "This is the closest I've ever come to an Academy Award."
Re-staged by Lucia Victor from
Gower Champion's original production, piece carries the settings originally designed by Oliver Smith and costumes by Freddy Wittop, and a caat of clever supporting players. Eric Brotherson as Horace Vandergelder is particularly outstanding, and Leslie Daniel as Mrs. Molloy, Dick Leppig as Cornelius, Andrea Bell as Minnie also are standouts.

Ginger Rogers
On February 14th, 1968, Variety reported that the lengthy journey of "Hello, Dolly," with Ginger Rogers, will end after its current six-week Boston stand. The Dorothy Lamour bus-and-truck edition will continue.Without the product of earlier seasons, this one would not be the potential record-breaker it is, however.

On July 24th, 1968, Variety reported  Lamour Settles Agent's % Claim; Pact Cancelled
A dispute between Dorothy Lamour and her former agent over commissions from the recently -
closed bus - truck tour of "Hello, Dolly!" was settled last week in arbitration.
The actress - singer agreed to pay about $9,500 of the $10,000 sought by the ex-agent
Tom Korman, of Korman and Lorner
Associates. She obtained cancellation of the agent pact. Miss Lamour had sought cancellation of the deal on the ground that Korman didn't make it clear to her that the terms of the "Dolly" contract were broad enough to include a bus-and-truck operation and one-night stands.
She asserted that she was led to believe that the tour would consist primarily of split-week and singleweek
engagements. She also said she didn't realize it committed her ,"to tent appearances or arena -
(N.J.) Music Circus. Korman insisted that the terms of the agreement were clearly explained to the star. The settlement was reached after two days of arbitration before Joseph Wildebush, an attorney acting as arbiter. Vincent Donahue, Equity's chief business rep sat in ex officio. Miss Lamour was represented by the firm of Weissberger and Frosch, while Korman- Lorner were represented by Barovick and Konecky. It was indicated this week that the actress - singer may sign a contract with Milton Goldman, of the Ashley Famous
office, as her agent.
One of the terms of the new Equity -League of N.Y. Theatres contract is that henceforth, contracts
for bus-and-truck tours will include a rider clause clearly spelling out details of the tour, particularly the fact that many one-nighters will be involved.
There has reportedly been much complaining to Equity from actors in bus-truck companies about poor
working conditions, violations of contracts and assorted malpractices.
Donahue denies reports that Equity is planning stiffer policing of agents. He says complaints about tenpercenter misdoings havebeen rare lately, and that the union has an amiable relationship with
the Theatrical A r t i s t s ' Representatives Assn. Agent commissions for legit vary according to the type contract involved. For Broadway production pacts, agents get 5% of the minimum weekly wage or

July 17th, 1968: LAMBERTVILLE, N.J.
Hello, Dolly, Music Circus (MORS)
(5th wk) (Dorothy Lamour).
Previous week, $28,929.
Last week, $45,201. Closed Sunday
(14), ending the tour.

July 8th, 1971: Pearl Bailey confided she awakened 5:37 Tuesday morning "with a strange feeling." Louis Armstrong died 6:80 a.m. When Pearl arrived at the Shrine for her "Hello, Dolly!"bow, the mall handed her included the letter Louis wrote, mailed July 1. She told the openingnight audience at show's conclusion, "The letter was full of humor, affection and love," urging everyone not to be sad. She read a funny,
short passage from the lengthy letter, in which he told of his love for Jewish cooking—and soul food—once a week. And signed with a "Stay happy," as he farewelled "Dolly." It was a night to be remembered for both her closing tribute to Louis and the "Dolly" performance which preceded . . . On hand to tribute Pearl was Greg Peck—for whom she had performed "Dolly" with the all-star chorus at the Gala. The SRO
audience heavily applauded his announcement (from his seat) the Music Center night raised $800,000 for MPTRF . . . "Dollys" introduced for a bow by Pearl included Dorothy Lamour and Phyllis Diller. Martha Raye was also announced—but she didn't show. However a pair of "Dollys" there, but unannounced, were Ruta Lee and Kaye Stevens . . . Later— and until 6 a.m. — at Chasen's, Pearl birthday-partied hubby Louis Bellson. Among guests, Joey Heatherton whom Pearl suggested to David Merrick for "Some Like It Hot" which Gower Champion will also direct . . . Bellson zoomed to Vegas on an emergency call to sit in with Tony Bennett at Caesars Palace. Upcoming, a "Big Band Challenge"tour with Bellson vs. Buddy Rich. Meanwhile, Pearlie Mae nixed an 81-date tour for only four. She's just tired.

June 8th, 1971, Lamour opens "Hello, Dolly!" for two weeks at Milwaukee's Melody Top.

I want this to be a definitive account! Did you appear with Dorothy Lamour in any of these productions? Did you see her? Do you have any pics? If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at

Thank you Dorothy Lamour for the gifts you have given and continue to give to the world!

Your devoted fan,


May 31
CHICO'S HOUSE OF JAZZ, 631 Lake Ave., Asbury Park, NJ 07712
ReVision Theatre and the City of Asbury Park couldn't have a better summer kickoff! After introducing ReVision Theatre to the great City of Asbury Park 5 years ago, Richard Skipper returns in "Richard Skipper: At Last". Richard is the perfect start to the musical summer of 2012 in Asbury Park. For more information visit or call us at 732-455-3059. To purchase $15.00 General Admission tickets please visit
This show is not to be missed! Musical Direction by: Rich Siegel

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
Tomorrow's blog will be..YOU TELL ME! I'm open to suggestions!!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Richard Skipper,                            

This Blog is dedicated to EVERYONE who has EVER had a connection with Hello, Dolly! on ANY Level!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

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