A Different Sort of Angel


It happens every year. At some point, without any obvious prompting from the world around me, I begin whistling a Christmas song. Last year, it was “Let It Snow.” Once, “Good King Wenceslas” came to visit, even before the last of the Halloween candy sales were done.

This year it happened yesterday: a little late, but not too late. Angela Lansbury may not be a prototypical angel, but her Christmas song from the 1966 Broadway musical Mame still brings cheer. I’ll let still shots from the production serve as photos today. Enjoy!


Comments always are welcome.

42 thoughts on “A Different Sort of Angel

    1. Listening to it this time, I heard the line about hanging tinsel on the bayberry bough for the first time. I’m wondering if it might have been changed in other versions. In any event, it’s upbeat cheerfulness is perfect for the season — I hope your Christmas is merry and bright!

    1. If I’ve turned grumpy, it’s impossible for me to stay that way when I hear this one. It always makes me smile, just like the original of “Silver Bells” always makes me a little nostalgic and teary. There’s room for both during the holidays — just like there’s room for the Monkees.

  1. This is one of my favorites. I want it sung at my funeral (which was actually Rick’s idea and I promptly agreed. We have plans to bring in the trees and decorations and then let the guests pick the ornaments off the trees as parting gifts, so to speak. Of course, if I live too long, that could get complicated. But that’s a complication I wouldn’t mind. We did it as our Christmas Theme gift swap one year and it was one of the best! (It’s done so crappy in the movie Mama — Angela is the best!)

    So thanks for this! And merriest of Christmases to you!

    1. You have to know I thought of you when I finally found the version from the original show. You like the expression ‘holly-jolly,’ but this song is you and Christmas, to perfection. I laughed aloud at the thought of it playing at your funeral, but it makes perfect sense to anyone who knows you. I actually did manage to get two trees up this year, so I’m following in your footsteps — at least a little!

      While I was pawing through YouTube for a good version, I found this really interesting Angela vs. Lucille history and analysis. I think you’ll enjoy it — even if you wait until after the Christmas festivities are over to watch it.

    1. She was perfect for the role — I hadn’t realized the musical had a three year run on Broadway, but I certainly remember when it opened, and this song. Mame reminded me of my favorite aunt, so I was especially entertained by the show, and later by the film. Good memories, all the way around.

      Merry Christmas to you, Yvonne. I hope it’s a good one for you and your whole household, two-and-four legged.

  2. This year, it really does feel like “We need a little Christmas,” doesn’t it? So much anger and contention in our world; so many people acting like they have solutions to all our problems. And I don’t know why, but I tend to forget Angela has such a wide range of theatrical expertise (probably, she’s fixed in my mind as Jessica Fletcher!)

    1. I think there are more than a few people who are sick unto death of the anger and contentiousness, and who are determined to have a little respite over the holidays. I’ve noticed some interesting and almost hidden examples of giving and receiving, and they’ve made it “feel” more like Christmas than it sometimes does. It’s been nice.

      Angela Lansbury’s always been a favorite. When I was reading her biography again, I noticed that she received some acclaim for her role in the film The Manchurian Candidate. I don’t remember her role, and might watch the film again to refresh my memory. I suspect most of us identify her most closely with Jessica Fletcher now — that series was terrific, and went on for years.

    1. Given your current situation, and that of your fellow citizens, you need more than just a little Christmas. I’m watching developments through a site here that provides good links, and it truly is terrible. I don’t mean to be flippant at all when I saw I hope Santa brings you rain: plenty of it, without lightning, and slow enough to soak. Some of the best gifts in the world can’t be purchased at the stores; it’s a hard lesson, but a lesson that needs learning.

      Every good wish to you — I see you’ve posted. I’ll be stopping by to see how things are, but it surely is good to see you. Even though you’re mobile, I worry.

    1. Isn’t she, though? Being a ‘nice’ person seems to be increasingly out of fashion, but I’ve always thought of her a nice person, and admired her for it — as well as for her talents. She surely can belt out a song!

  3. This was something new to me. I only know her as Jessica Fletcher although I was aware she had done a lot more before Murder She Wrote. I can hear why you’d have this in your head as you approach Christmas. Have wonderful Christmas Day and all the best for 20220, Linda.

    1. I’m not even going to fix your typo, because it made me laugh aloud. The thought of being around in 20220 just cracks me up — maybe our dear planet has a better chance of survival than we realize! But thanks for the good wishes. I think the coming year is going to be a good one, at least personally. Who knows what’s going to happen otherwise? But there’s no sense wasting energy on predictions that may or may not come to pass. Better to take a real holiday break, raise a glass or two, and greet the new year. It’s coming, whether we’re ready or not.

      1. I doubt either one of us wants to be around in that year. I forget how many more years the sun has left but there is a use by date established somewhere. I had two typos but the one you mention is funnier. I learned last year not to get too wrapped up worrying about the future. It’ll get here without our assistance. Each day is to be savored.

  4. Another one I haven’t heard before! I’m a sucker for Christmas carols and songs. I suppose it reminds me of childhood – waking up on Christmas morning the excitement of seeing what ‘Santa’ brought me. There was always a book, a Christmas stocking and some sort of hand-made thing.

    Each item filled me with Joy as we were relatively poor (and grew most of our fruit & vegetables which is now just plain common sense & much more healthy of course). I remember my10th birthday I got a real dress from a real store – my Mother always made our clothes – mostly from her old clothes).

    Since my brother’s birthday is January 9th and mine is January 26th, we usually just got the one main present for Christmas and Birthday.

    1. Our Christmas mornings had some similarities. I always received a book or two, some hand-made doll clothes, and a stocking. It’s odd to remember now that the orange and apple that were stocking treats were so special. In those days, before fruits from every part of the world could be had any time of year, and relatively inexpensively, an orange in winter really was something. I tried to remember the last time I heard the phrase ‘store-bought,’ and couldn’t. But sixty or more years ago, having store-bought anything — clothing, bread, candy — was a treat.

      My father’s birthday was just before Christmas, and we always tried our best to distinguish between the two occasions. There wasn’t any Christmas wrapping paper used on those birthday gifts!

      1. Talking of books….we may have been relatively poor in many ways, but our home was always filled with books and I seem to remember 2 sets of encylopaedias. I remember when I asked my Mother a question, she’d always say “go look it up in the encyclopaedia” . As a teenager, our whole family went to the local library at least once a week and this practice was kept by both my parents right up into their ’80s. I’m always a little surprised (or shocked) when I enter a home and there are no books in sight.

    1. Of course, there are plenty of Americans under the age of 50 who haven’t heard of this musical, either. They might recognize the song from piped-in music at the shopping malls, but even that isn’t certain. I still bump into cultural artifacts of American life from the years I was in Liberia, and am surprised. Time and distance make a difference!

        1. Oh, that’s right. That happens for me sometimes, too. I get notices that “this video is not allowed in your country” or some such. I’ve never figured out how to determine ahead of time which videos are ‘approved’ for worldwide distribution!

  5. Of course, I’m used to Rosalind Russell’s “Mame” because of the film “Auntie Mame” (which is based on the book by Patrick Dennis, not the broadway play), but Angela Landsbury debuted the role in the Broadway play, which was also based on Dennis’ book. Lucille Ball played Mame in the movie based on the Broadway play. Because many people know her from her television work, hearing her sing may be a surprise, but she’s done musical comedy on Broadway, and also in the Disney film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

    Oh, and thanks for the earworm. . . !

    1. I was surprised to read about the scope of Lansbury’s work apart from Mame and Murder She Wrote. She even did voicing for several Disney films, which I imagine was great fun. Lucille Ball as Mame just never clicked for me, probably because I grew up watching Lucy and Desi on tv and she’s that character as surely as Lansbury is Jessica.

      In any event, the song’s great, and a cut above a good bit of Christmas music. Or two cuts, or more, now that I think about it.

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