Saturday, February 10, 2018
The Secret Behind That Sultry, Simmering Song
It's one of the most famous moments in pop culture history.
Indeed, it's probably also one of the most memorable moments in the history of the American presidency.
Marilyn Monroe. JFK. Madison Square Garden. May 19, 1962.
At a big 45th birthday bash and fundraiser for the President, Marylyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" -- or, to be more exact: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President."
Much was made about Monroe being late. But then again, she was always late -- notoriously late. And of course she was sensuously breathless -- or at least must people thought the breathlessness was part of a deliberate sensuality that Monroe produced just for this occasion; part of the act.
But now, the secret behind the breathless performance has been revealed.
Monroe was out of breath because she got lost on the way to the Garden's makeshift stage.
And she couldn't find the right door to make her grand entrance.
So, as she ran around trying to find the door she ran out of breath. Finally arriving on stage, she was unable to sing properly.
This is the way the story was told by actress Joan Copeland, who was there that night. Copeland says Marilyn was in a rushed state as she had missed her cue. She was anxious as well.
So, that's what produced the iconic moment. That and a flesh-colored, strapless, backless gown with 2,500 strategically placed rhinestones.
There was only one Marilyn. Only one JFK. And only one night like that.