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“Without Ethel, I might have been straight.”
“What is it about Ethel Merman? She can’t act, she can’t sing, she stands on the stage and YELLS at people … but wow! can that girl eat blini!”
Ethel Merman (January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was an American actress and singer. Known as a major star of stage and screen, Merman’s life was fraught with disasters, misery and several alien abductions.
Born in 1846, and again five years later, Ethel Josephine Neomuck Dugong was destined for greatness. Her grandmother, professional vaudeville ice-skater and psychic, Doreen Tunk, is said to have stated, when seeing baby Ethel for the first time, “Oi! This kid’s gonna make it big! Somebody call the friggin' freak show!”
After being abandoned by her mother and raised by alligators in Bethesda Fountain in New York’s Central Park, Ethel started her career by snapping at the ankles of prominent theatrical producers on 42nd Street.
Her first big break was playing the role of ‘The Cheezburger’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit show “Lolcats – da Mucousal”. Producer Archibald Arselton changed Ethel’s surname from Dugong to Krapp because, as he said, “Dungong was a butt-ugly name”. Ethel stayed with the show for 47 years, never missing a matinee, doing all her own make-up and even baking gingerbread men for the backstage crew every Christmas. The only time she took a vacation was to tour in the show to such places as New Zealand, Tibet, Andorra and Finland. It was during the tour of Finland that she met floor tile salesman and part-time gynacologist Murray Merman. The two fell in love and, after a time – or a few times anyway, were married. To each other.
Five days after the marriage, Ethel left “Lolcats – da Mucousal” in order to give birth to her first child, a telemarketer from Mumbai. Ethel, however was eager to get back on the stage so, after stabbing her husband with a kebab skewer stolen from Julia Childs, she landed the role of ‘Carol Channing’ in Stephen Sondheim’s “Hello, Rose!”, a role that she subsequently revived for the Hollywood film “Annie Get Your Blini”. This show introduced such Merman standards as “I Get a Cake Out of You” and “Before the Fondue Passes By”.
Between the close of “Hello, Rose!” on Broadway (after a record 38 minutes) and the filming of “Annie Get Your Blini”, Merman starred in no less than 57 Oprah programs and made 14 pornographic movies with her good friend Judy Garland and a budgerigar named Harold. She was also abducted by aliens a few times.
After winning the Oscar for Best Malapropism in 1963, Ethel retired to the Falkland Islands where she started the ‘Ethel Merman Tap-dancing Academy for Orphaned Mongooses’. The venture was not successful, however, and she was soon sent to a Dickensian debtors prison where she eventually died after choking to death on a blini sandwich.
Caring and Giving
On her death it was discovered that Ethel Merman had contributed several million dollars to the “Save Ethel Merman Trust”. The recipient of this charity, Ethel Merman, was quoted as saying, “Gee, what a swell old dame.”