When Fanny Brice met Florenz Ziegfeld
first encounters sorel and sorel
Saturday 06 January 1996
Fanny Brice was almost 19. She had been born on the Lower East Side and brought up above a saloon in Newark. She was tall and skinny - a drawback in 1910, when chorus girls were at the very least statuesque. Skinny was funny. A comedian could capitalise on skinny.
The dream of every dancer, singer and comic in America was to make the Follies, so on the day Fanny arrived at work and was handed a telegram signed "Florenz Ziegfeld", she thought it was a joke. Still, what if... She didn't know that correspondence by telegram was Ziegfeld's style. On a hunch she telephoned. A moment later, she was whooping down Broadway.
But in Ziegfeld's presence she was suddenly speechless. She sat, knees together, fingers locked, hardly raising her eyes, and even when he offered her a job, she could answer only in monosyllables. Yes, she had been underage when she signed her present contract (thank God). No, her mother had not cosigned it: her mother could not read and write (Gott sei dank). Yes 75 dollars a week, next year a hundred, would do.
After she signed the Follies contract, Fanny recovered enough to thank Ziegfeld in her most ladylike manner. She thanked the secretary. She thanked the doorman. Then she raced back down Broadway and stood outside the burlesque house all afternoon, grabbing people, showing them.
Many more contracts followed. For 20 years, Fanny sang her funny/sad songs and lampooned ballet dancers in graceful poses and society ladies from Sutton Place and Oyster Bay. And Ziegfeld smiled his tender smile and wrote out his generous checks, because the Follies wasn't the Follies without Fanny
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
X Factor 2014 results: Chloe Jasmine and Stephanie Nala sent home
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing