Judy, Frank and Dean: Once In A Lifetime–A Review

Just watched the 1962 television special entitled, “Judy, Frank and Dean:  Once In A Lifetime,” and I really enjoyed it.  The song list was:

Judy, in a black short v-neck dress with black hose and heels, and a burgundy shiny jacket with sequin detailing around the neck and front, singing the opening:

–Just in Time

–A bit of The Man That Got Away

–When You’re Smiling (with the verses)

She changed to the same black dress but with a light blue jacket with sequin accents, to sing:

–You Do Something To me –partway through this song, Frank Sinatra appears and they end the song together.

Patter ensues, then Frank sings:

–Too Marvelous For Words

Patter, then Judy sings

–You Do Something To Me–partway through this song, Dean Martin appears and they end the song together.

Patter, then Dean sings:

–You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

Patter, then all three sing:

–You Do Something To Me (reprise)

Patter with Dean and Frank, then Frank sings:

–I See Your Face Before Me

Judy appears next, in the same black dress, but this time with a black jacket accented with black fur around the neck line and cuffs, and she is seated at a table in a room adorned with red, and she sings:

–The Man That Got Away

Frank and Dean next appear at a 1960′s bar, and they are smoking and drinking and they sing:

–The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else–they start by singing together, then alternate lyrics between the two of them.  At the end of the song, they turn upstage and throw focus to Judy, who appears behind them.  She is in the same black dress,  but this time with a pink jacket with sequin adornments.  She sings:

–I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (very slowly, unlike the way it is typically played at most trad jazz jam sessions)

Next is a medley with the three of them, which includes:

–Let There Be Love, into

–You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You

The end of the show is all Judy.  She wears an ultra-mod, 1960s black pants and flats with a dark blue v-neck sequined shirt.  She sings, in a theatre in the round, so she is smack dab in the middle of the entire audience:

–You Made Me Love You

–The Trolley Song

–Zing!  Went The Strings Of My Heart

–Rockabye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody

–Swanee, How I Love You

and the closer was:

 –San Francisco, Open That Golden Gate

The show on video ran 50 minutes, and there were 18 song selections, some of which were reprises.

I liked that they appeared to be having fun.  I liked that it felt personal, that we as audience members wanted to be one of them and having that kind of fun.  They were the epitome of sophisticated style, but they didn’t act snobby.  Instead, they included the audience in the moment, and allowed them in, to share in their moment in each song.  They were all middle aged at this point, but all were so very sexy and all were in good voice, despite the cigarette smoking and alcohol swilling that appeared to be going on.

What really struck me was how they caressed the lyrics.  There was no glossing over the meaning, but each moment was held up as a jewel, and the audience was allowed to see it through the singer’s lens, which helped the audience to understand it, and thus they related to it, and thus loved it, as was apparent in the thunderous applause at the end of each segment.  Each song told a story, and they used their acting–story-telling abilities as well as their beautiful voices to bring each song fully to life.

Many good lessons in this short video for cabaret performers.  I recommend you watch it if you get the chance.  It is available on Netflix.

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About Athena at McElrath Cabaret

Athena McElrath is an entertainer with a love for theatre and singing. She enjoys delving in the area of historical cabaret, researching the singers and clubs that were in business from before 1920 to the present, in New York and beyond.
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