Wednesday, April 17, 2013

that's my line!

Something happened at George Sidney's wrap party for "Bye Bye Birdie" in 1962 that caused a roomful of jaws to drop, a raunchy riposte that's been attributed to two different sources in two recent books.

Everyone was toasting everybody, with Sidney thanking all for their contributions to his film, when someone reportedly addressed Ann-Margaret directly. "Ann-Margret," the anecdote goes, "I just want you to know that I'm the only one here who doesn't want to (blank) you!"

In his companionable new memoir, "My Lucky Life (In and Out of Show Business)" (Crown), the star of the film, Dick Van Dyke, credits his co-star, the outrageous Paul Lynde, with the quip.

However, in his compulsively readable "Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them" (HarperCollins), Frank Langella points to ... Maureen Stapleton who, by all accounts, was a pistol.

Frankly, I like Langella's version better - the imagery of it is funnier - but given that he was very young at the time (24) and wasn't there and that Van Dyke was, I have to think that Dick's is the more accurate one.

Van Dyke also recounts an eccentric bit of business by Stapleton during the party.  It seems she showed up with her own salad, which she ate with toothpicks, and spent most of her time sprawled out on the floor.

"Maureen, wouldn't you like a chair?," Dick asked her.  To which she answered: "I'd tell you where I'd like to sit, but your wife is here."


Note in Passing: Turner Classic Movies airs "Bye Bye Birie" @ 3:15 p.m. (est) on Sunday, May 5th.