Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm in Love With Joanne Woodward

I've just had one of those aimless evenings spent looking at random YouTube clips. I always end up feeling guilty. Another wasted day. Why didn't I spend my time reading a novel or watching an Ingmar Bergman film, rather than typing 'skateboarding chimps' in the search box?

I blame it on stress.

But I find that if you spend enough time on YouTube, you invariably stumble on something wonderful.

This evening I started looking at clips of 'What's My Line' from the late 1950s and early 60s, marvelling at the quality of the guests, e.g. Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock and Eleanor Roosevelt. No E-list former reality tv contestants or failed pop stars, although there was a slightly bizarre appearance from Colonel Sanders (who looked exactly like the Kentucky Fried Chicken picture).

My favourite 'What's My Line' clip featured Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. I remember reading articles about Newman and Woodward's marriage and the subtext was always "here's a man who could have any woman he wants and yet he's chosen to remain faithful to his wife who, let's face it, is no glamourpuss, although she's a formidable character..."

However, on the strength of this clip, I can see exactly why Paul Newman fell in love with Joanne Woodward and remained happily married to her until his death. Apart from being beautiful and elegant, she radiates intelligence, wit and a sense of fun.

I think I'm a bit in love with Joanne Woodward too:

N.B - Since writing this post, I've discovered that there are rumours that Dorothy Killgalen - described by Frank Sinatra as the 'chinless wonder' - may have been assassinated!


lucy joy said...

My partner works at the local college, and often comes home whining about the hair and beauty department. The head of this department was apparently a stunner in her prime. Now, the years of sun-worshipping and dieting have left their mark, she is 'ordinary'. However, she still thinks she can charm her way into getting favours by batting her false eyelashes, it doesn't work. It must be wonderful to have men fall at your feet simply because you've fallen lucky in the looks gene-pool lottery. It must also be lovely to have men be in awe of your intelligence and wit. To have an even mix of both, like Joanne Woodward, I'd say that's just not bloody fair!

Roger Allen said...

One of the nest poemsabout unrequited love, from Wendy Cope:

I think I am in love with A.E. Housman,
Which puts me in a worse-than-usual fix.
No woman ever stood a chance with Housman,
And he’s been dead since 1936.

Brett said...

YouTube is amazing, isn't it? Your mention of "Wichita Lineman" took me to The Seekers, and tunes I remembered well, "Georgie Girl" and "A World of Our Own".

Poetry24 said...

A quality clip, Steerforth. So-called 'celebs' take note, these are real stars.

Caroline said...

Yes, I agree with Martin H. Stars that could really act and were classy as well.

Little Nell said...

Nearly eroded my afternoon there too. What was nice to see was the way the stars shook hands with the panellists, instead of all that sloppy air-kissing that goes on in any TV show these days.

Anonymous said...

Martin and Caroline are so right, they had real class. Steerforth, I wish you hadn't mentioned this new possibility for whiling away an afternoon!

(The random word generator is admonishing me in French: cesse!)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I have no idea why they said Joanna Woodward was 'no glamourpuss'. She seems exceedingly glamorous on this clip, though I don't think I could have watched a series as ponderous as this on a regular basis. You are right about the quality of guests they used to command though.

Burgess Horne said...

I love the revelation at the end that their baby daughter "ate a cigarette yesterday". Today there would be a sharp intake of middle class breath from the audience at such a confession. And somebody would probably start an internet petition to have the child taken into care.

magiciansgirl said...

I believe Paul Newman once said about being faithful to his wife "why go out for hamburger when you can have steak at home?"

Steerforth said...

I'm glad that the clip struck a chord. Apologies to those who ended up wasting hours watching clips of 'What's My Line?'!

I like the Wendy Cope quote - it's so true. At least Joanne Woodward's still alive, but I think our relationship will have to be strictly platonic - Paul Newman's a hard act to follow.

Burgess is quite right. Today Woodward would have been splashed all over the tabloids and vilified.

Barbara said...

I can attest to Colonel Sanders looking like the advertisements. When I was a teenager, I won a prize through 4-H (an American farm youth program, similar to Boy and Girl Scout, with an emphasis on livestock production). The prize was a trip the Poultry Fact Finding Convention in New Orleans. Kentucky Fried Chicken was a big sponsor of the event, and all of the “Jr. Fact Finders” had dinner on a river boat with the Colonel. I have had a hard time convincing my children that he was a real person and not the cartoon pitchman they are familiar with. If only my prize had let me met Paul Newman instead.

Steerforth said...

Wonderful Barbara! I wish I had an anecdote like that. Most of us have met celebrities at some point in our lives, but it's a real novelty to meet someone who most people think is a fictitious character - that's far more interesting.

I have to say I agree with you. The good Colonel didn't come across as a terribly interesting man (although he was a 'good old Southern gentleman') compared to Paul Newman.

Barbara said...

Now that my memory has been stirred, had a brush with Paul and Joanne’s dog in the late 1980’s The 2 were in town (Kansas City Missouri) filming Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. The house were most of the filming was being done was a huge attraction at the time. While I lived in a very different neighborhood, it was within walking distance. On a nice spring evening my dog and I were strolling by the set and the Newman/Woodward dog was out in the yard while a scene was being filmed inside. A production assistance came out and ran us off because he claimed they could hear my dog breathing across the street. So, we left the neighborhood without seeing either on of them. By-the-by, I highly recommend either Mrs. Bridge or Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Wonderful books that give a real taste of the American Midwest.