|two NOT for the road|
|Steve and Eydie hope 'Golden Rainbow' will keep them home for a long while|
|Sunday New York News
March 31, 1968
|The toy poodle dashed madly around, yapping loudly. It stopped its noisy gyrations just long enough to take good-natured nips of the photographer. Meanwhile, a hairdresser, secretary and press agent all milled about, making comments (often at the same time) and adding to the general hilarity.
It might have been mistaken for a colorful scene from "Golden Rainbow," the Broadway musical
|that stars Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Instead, it was simply a photo-interview session of the pair, who arrived with an entourage that included their pooch, Rocky.
The voice heard over the tumult belonged to Eydie. Its insistent, strident tones couldn't be mistaken. Few people can outtalk her. The exuberant, irresistable gal would be tremendous at the United Nations. Not even a Russian veto could silence her. Hubby Steve sums it up nicely: "There really isn't a Steve Lawrence, you know. Eydie's a ventriloquist."
While undeniably a great conversationalist, Eydie's an even greater singer. Mention the top five female vocalists around and Eydie has to be up there some place. Few singers possess her range, power, and emotional depth. She can lift a person clear out of his seat with notes similar to the glass-shattering ones she hit on that famed radio-TV commercial: "Plymouth is out to win you over this ye-e-e-e-e-e-ar--eeeh!"
Eydie's hubby, Steve, boasts impressive credentials, too. He rates in the upper echelon of crooners, and has sold mountains of records. When Steve says: "I'm a millionaire," he's referring only to his own assets and not to Eydie's equally tall stack of greenbacks.
Though each has made it big as a single, it's as a singing duo that they've attracted recent attention. It hasn't mattered whether the pair were headlining The News Harvest Moon Ball shindig or starring on the "Ed Sullivan Show," they've grabbed the audience right from the start. Night club owners classify them among "can't miss" entertainers, an elite category that includes Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and only a few others.
Predictably enough, it's Steve and Eydie's exciting night club tactics that are luring crowds into "Golden Rainbow." The prospect of seeing the pair do a two-hour-plus "act" is reason enough for many people to catch the musical. The pot at the other end of "Rainbow" isn't the pair's sole motivation for doing the show; despite the fact that both have invested in it.
"We want to settle down," says Eydie, "and a long running Broadway play is a wonderful way of doing it. Up to now, we've taken our children (David, 8, and Michael, 6) with us on all our night club tours. But both are currently going to school, and I don't think it's a good idea to take them out of it to travel. Besides, we'd like to stay home for a change."
"Home" for the Lawrences is a sumptuous 10-room apartment in midtown Manhattan. They marked their 10th anniversary on December 29, and probably spent it recalling how far they both had come since first meeting on Steve Allen's "Tonight" show in 1953.
She was a cute kid from the Bronx (E. 168th St.) whose parents were Turkish-born Sephardic Jews. He was the son of a Brooklyn cantor. It wasn't exactly love at first sight when Edith Gormezano gazed at Sidney Liebowitz, but Eydie and Steve gradually warmed toward each other and after four years on the Steve Allen Show, they made it a duet.
It was on Allen's program that the pair met Andy Williams. Steve says of his buddy: "When Andy joined the show, he was little more than a rank amateur. He was unsure of himself, and often talked of quitting the business. Today, I consider him the most improved singer around, and couldn't be happier over his success."
Steve also speaks frankly about Vic Damone. "He's a tremendous singer today. Vic always had great pipes, but had trouble with his personal life and it affected his singing. Now he has things squared away. He couldn't be better."
Eydie is equally forthright when discussing Barbra Streisand, a gal who belts in the same fashion that she does. "Barbra's a wonderful singer, but I think she has to be careful.
"There's beginning to be a sameness to her delivery. In other words, it's starting to wear. For example, Barbra recently recorded 'Stout Hearted Men,' using the style she made famous on 'People' and 'Free Again.' I think it was a mistake. The record doesn't do her justice."
Eydie believes the current scene has produced exceptionally fine singers. She's an admirer of the Fifth Dimension and the Beatles. "There are also many songs around today that I wish I had had the opportunity to record. I especially liked 'Going Out Of My Head' and 'Downtown,' but the big problem is getting those songs first."
And Eydie is extremely eager to come up with winning tunes now that she and Steve have signed a new recording contract with Calendar. Has she given any thought to retiring after 17 years as a professional songbird? "You must be kidding!" Eydie says. But Steve laughingly gets a word in edgewise: "I've thought of it, though" - and then ducks out of range.
Cover photo by Harry Warnecke and Gus Schoenbaechler