Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Night with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks & Charlotte Rae.

Charlotte Rae called us and said she wanted to take us out last night because Estelle Reiner, Carl Reiner's wife, was scheduled to sing a private cabaret at the Gardenia down on Santa Monica Blvd. But, she said, Estelle wasn't really feeling very well, so it was possible that some of the family members -- and extended family members would, instead, fill in and make it a nice evening. Sure enough, Carl got up and emcee'd the night.

First, their daughter, Anne, sang. My favorite songs were written by Leonard Cohen. I hadn't heard much of Leonard Cohen before and it's always great to be introduced to amazing songs by a writer I've always read about but hadn't explored much. He has a terrific way with words. And Anne did a wonderful job on them.

We sat close to Mel Brooks, who we'd met very briefly one time before at the late Stan Freeman's one man show about Oscar Levant.

Brief story: That night, our "dates" were (Dear) Abby Van Buren and Lucille Ball. Lucy kept asking us, in her husky voice, "Which one IS she??" Afterwards, we went out to dinner and Jim totally set Abby up. He told her that Stan loves to get comments about his performance. So, she said to him, "You know, Shtan," (she had this lateral lisp, so all her "s"'s were like "sh"), "I have an idea for your show."

Immediately, Jim jumped in and said, "Well, who are YOU to give advice?"
So, Anne sang. Then Carl sang a couple of songs, jokingly. And then Mel got up and did a few numbers. It was really cool. Very warm and sweet. They even took video of the crowd saying hello to Estelle, so she could "join" us.

Steve Schalchlin, Mel BrooksMel and Steve.

Jim told Mel about "Zero Hour" and the story about how he had auditioned for the musical of "The Producers" and before he even got in to see the main casting director, he was told that he "wasn't right for the part."

Carl Reiner, Charlotte Rae, Jim Brochu, Mel BrooksCarl Reiner, Jim Brochu, Mel Brooks & Charlotte Rae.


Anonymous said...

Wow, it's so rare nowadays to hear (and or read) of evenings like this.

Thanks, Steve. Nice change of pace in lieu of all the ex-gay crap from this week.

Steve Schalchlin said...

NG, I usually try to avoid making too many posts about politics or religion, though I know they are important to many of my readers. There are too many other blogs that handle "issues" so much better than I do.

I do comment on exgay abuses because I've studied them somewhat and I know many of the leading characters.

But this blog is a personal blog, not a political or "gay" blog. It's just a diary about my life, good or bad. Happy or sad. And when a rare night like this comes along, when you get to peel back the layers and see "celebrities" who really love their families, it's my favorite kind of event.

It demonstrates that we are all human after all. Carl's love for his wife was really touching and real.

Anonymous said...

Between you and me, you do a better job addressing the ex-gays and anti-gays than the people who make their living addressing the ex-gays and anti-gays.

eba said...

Steve -- what an incredibly charmed life you live. In addition to these improbable and fabulous stories --grin-- I'd love to hear how your health is -- we haven't had an update in a while. Big snowy hugs from Massachusetts -- liz

Jackie said...

Steve, what a wonderful night. Mel Brooks, Charlotte Rae and Carl Reiner, just saying their names make me smile. You and Jim are lucky dudes.

Anonymous said...


i am charlotte rae's newphew and this past year my wife and i went to this same little place to hear estelle (she was great btw).

we got seated in-between mel brooks and dom delouise and his wife and son. carl reiner was there of course with his wife estelle.

it was a blast! real warm people. very fun for a couple from dallas to schmooze with the stars for an evening.

dennis guten