December 29, 2017

Baby Rose Marie — The Child Wonder.





That's Rose Marie, who you probably, like me, think of as Sally Rodgers from “The Dick Van Dyke Show."* But she was in show business since the age of 3 — she was born in 1923 — in vaudeville and and on the radio. From the NYT obituary (she died yesterday):
Her initial success was met with some skepticism: Baby Rose Marie belted her songs (some of them with very grown-up lyrics) in a mature, bluesy voice, and many listeners did not believe she was a child. To prove that she was indeed a young girl and not a petite adult, NBC organized a national tour for her. She sang at RKO movie theaters across the country, trying to dodge child labor laws as she went. In her memoir, she said her father was arrested more than 100 times for breaking such laws. In 1929 she performed three songs in an early sound film, the eight-minute Vitaphone short “Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder.” 
As for those "very grown-up lyrics" — from the second clip above ("Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia"): "When it comes to lovin' he's a real professor, yessir! Just a Mason Dixon Valentine... Hey hey, no doubt/You were about/The sweetest man in Dixieland! I'll say he's hot/He's got just what/It takes to make a lady smile!... Sentimental gentleman from Georgia, yowzah yowzah!/Georgia Georgia, yowzah yowzah, Georgia...."
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*

And here she is, as Sally Swing, alongside Betty Boop:

26 comments:

donald said...

RIP Rose!

robother said...

Old Weird America, the Roaring 20s version. Vaudeville kids were the last holdouts of the pre-industrial age, where kids went from babies to small adults pitching in in the family business. Victorian concepts of extended innocent childhood and adolescence, enforced by child labor laws and truant officers, were for the locals.

Kansas City said...

Shocking because I recently started following her entertaining twitter page. She (or someone) was posting yesterday. She had recently went on twitter and already had 125k followers. Folks should take a look:

https://twitter.com/RoseMarie4Real

She was funny and had quite a life. RIP

Rob said...

Another child actor from the period was Baby LeRoy, who appeared in three W.C. Fields films. One time Fields gave Baby LeRoy a drink of liquor. Baby LeRoy went stiff as a carp, and Fields said, "Aw, the kid's no trouper."

Wilbur said...

If you're interested, she also can be found appearing on several old radio shows from the 30s to the 50s. Old Time Radio is a good starting place.

I remember as a child watching her sing the occasional song on the Dick Van Dyke Show and wondering why they let her sing. I found it rather unpleasant. But she was a good comic actor, and played the Sally Rogers role very well.

That show went for 5 years and had very few clinkers in shows or scenes.

David said...

RIP. She always seemed to he having fun and enjoying the work.

Breezy said...

Was she the one who would never say why she always wore a ribbon in her hair? There was special significance to that, I believe.

Ann Althouse said...

" Through her father she met Al Capone, who took an interest in her career, often driving her to and from shows. She referred to him as “Uncle Al” in her memoir and quoted him saying, “If you ever need me for anything, tell your father to call me.”"

Curious George said...

Her connection to the evil Trump? I'm sure Chuckles will be by to inform us.

MadisonMan said...

A favorite entertainer of mine. Worked hard. Made me laugh.

George M. Spencer said...

The Wall St. J. ran a feature on her on Nov. 21...here.

Her husband died in 1964 when he was 48. She never remarried.

I read somewhere else that she was originally going to be the female lead on The Dick Van Dyke Show, but she ended up playing second banana to Mary Tyler Moore.

I recently watched some old episodes on Netflix. Moore and Van Dyke still come across as incredibly gifted, natural together, and still hip and modern seeming. By comparison, she and Morey Amsterdam are from planet Borscht.

tcrosse said...

I remember seeing Rose Marie and Vic Damone speaking Street Italian to each other on The Mike Douglas Show. The Philly audience was hip to it.

EDH said...

Not that her child prodigy origins weren't nevertheless hardscrabble, I always thought of Rose Marie as having come up the hard way just by her gravelly voice and look.

People talk about Mary Tyler Moore in her show portraying the first career woman, but didn't Rose Marie beat her by a decade, interestingly on a show they co-starred on?

Yep, here Rose Marie discusses.

May she rest in peace.


eddie willers said...

That show went for 5 years and had very few clinkers in shows or scenes.

I read an autobiography of Dick Van Dyke and he and Reiner agreed to end the show on top. No slow rot for them.

One joke I have remembered all my life (and cannot find anything about) was a story where their neighbor, Jerry the Dentist, got a small part (I guess on the Alan Brady show) where his one line was "I have arrived from Rome", but kept saying, "I have arromed from Rive!"

Didn't really make me laugh, but my father bust such a gut at that that I couldn't quit laughing with him.

tcrosse said...

The Sally Rogers character was supposedly based on Selma Diamond, who was one of Sid Caesar's writers. She went on to be a regular on Night Court. You could look her up.

EDH said...

Rose Marie, who was with Hollywood Squares during its first 14 years, remembers Paul Lynde.

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Doe_Tabor

rcocean said...

Wow, they should have filmed that when "Buddy" was out sick. Even Van Dyke sounds a little flat.

rcocean said...

Everyone in the show lived a good, long time. Van Dyke and Reiner are still alive.

By Comparison: See the cast of "Good Times"

LYNNDH said...

In the Betty Boop segment, I think the piano player is modeled on Jimmy Durante.

indiana118 said...

"Fields gave Baby LeRoy a drink of liquor. Baby LeRoy went stiff as a carp, and Fields said, "Aw, the kid's no trouper."",/i>

Was reading a bio of Buster Keaton, who *was* a trouper. His dad literally threw him around the stage. They spent a lot of time dodging the sort of New York authorities who would someday evolve into Child Protective Services.

It sounded to me like Keaton would have had a breakdown if he'd ever really admitted that what his dad did was not normal, excusable, or just part of what a vaudeville act "is".


BTW apologies if this was said and I missed it, but isn't Rose Marie the girl star the musical is based on?

jaydub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Ford said...

https://www.newsfromme.com/2017/12/28/rose-marie-r-p/

uffda said...

The scenes where Rose and Morey played off of Dick the straight man were great in a Marx brothers vein. Add Richard Deacon to the mix as the cluless Margaret Dumont type character and it was falbulous.

Bad Lieutenant said...

This is the kind of thing where the clickbait hype makes a good fit, e.g., "Baby Rose Marie's talent makes no sense!" How is this possible? Are you sure that's not a robot or a CGI doing the Georgia Professor bit? That's just crazy. She's 3 years old? How does she even have that vocabulary? I certainly - can she possibly have understood the meaning of what she was saying?

Bad Lieutenant said...

I don't know who any of those adults were except I think the one guy was somebody named Dick Van Dyke. I think he had a show once. Diagnosis Murder or something. This was apparently rather earlier in his career. Was he married to a witch?