|An Hour of Beautiful Music|
|by Raymond P. Hart|
| Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme are show business professionals of the first order.
Whether it's performing in nightclubs or theaters, or on television, they put their best foot forward - and it has paid off handsomely.
Television is their current concern, with "Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme From This Moment On...Cole Porter" to be beamed Thursday night at 10 on ABC and Channels 5 and 23.
| "We want to win two or three Emmy Awards, if possible," Miss Gorme said in a phone interview from the couple's home in Beverly Hills.
"It's important to go after awards. That means we do the show right and it brings pleasure to the viewing audience. We really kill ourselves trying to put on a good performance."
Joining the husband-and-wife singing team are Bob Hope, Ethel Merman, ballerina Natalia Makarova and the Swingle Singers II. As the title suggests, the show spotlights music from the genius of Cole Porter. Most of the special was taped in London, with the remainder done in Hollywood.
"It's a quality show," Miss Gorme said. "We spare no expense on shows. We really lose money - but we feel the show is worth it.
"Yes, we really go after the awards."
A previous special, "Steve and Eydie: Our Love Is Here to Stay," highlighting the music of George Gershwin, won a comedy-variety direction Emmy for Dwight Hemion. Coincidentally, of course, Hemion directed aqnd co-produced Thursday night's special.
The tribute to one of America's most noted composers spans the full spectrum of Porter's compositions - ranging from songs he wrote for his alma mater's (Yale) glee club to hits from the Broadway stage, such as "It's De-Lovely," "I Love Paris," "Night and Day" and "From This Moment On."
Hope and Miss Merman team on songs they performed together in the Porter Broadway show "Red, Hot and Blue." "And Hope doesn't do jokes on our show," Miss Gorme said. "That has to be a first."
Miss Makarova performs to music from "Can Can," which was inspired by Porter's experiences while living in Paris, and the Swingle Singers II join Steve and Eydie for a medley of Porter songs.
Lawrence, not to be outdone by his lovely wife of 19 years, got on the line and it was difficult to tell who was higher on the show.
"We think it will be considered a great moment in television," he said. "People say they don't hear good music on the radio and television anymore. Well, here's the chance.
"It's an hour of the most beautiful music you'll hear in a long time. There are no skits or sketches. It's a music show, period.
"It's not biographical, but there is some sequence to things as they happened in the late Porter's life," Lawrence said. "I portay Porter's roomate at Yale - but no one plays Porter.
"And all of the singing was done live - there is no lip-synching. It was taped in an empty theater and there are no interruptions by applause or laughter.
"To quote Flip Wilson, 'What you see is what you get.'"
Will Miss Gorme watch the show Thursday night?
"Are you kidding?" she fairly shrieked, her voice easily going up two octaves.
That must mean that Lawrence will tune in, too.