Did you see… 1956 

22 April 2023 tbs.pm/78457

Did you see…

Sunday 22 April 1956




Libby Morris


Libby faces the music


Libby Morris

A young Canadian girl, Libby Morris, appeared on the JACK JACKSON Show a few months ago singing a number she recorded in her homeland, WHEN LIBERACE WINKED AT ME.

The skit on the popular American star was a huge success. So, too, was Libby. Jack Jackson liked her so much he asked her to appear regularly on his programme.

And that’s where she can be seen every Sunday evening. She partners Glen Mason in the comedy spots. They mime portions of records; parody the top hits.

But Libby, the girl with the so-expressive face, is also a performer in her own right. And a girl with a bubbling sense of fun

WE were halfway through a cup of coffee when Libby Morris disappeared and Billy Eckstine took her place.

“Everything I have is yours, you’re part of me” came the words of the song he has made famous. There are no vowels and no consonants. Just a slur of words and a flash of teeth.

Three more sips down the coffee cup and Eckstine vanished. Ethel Merman had arrived.

There’s No Business Like Show Business is the next song for murdering.

“… One day they are telling you, you’ll not go far, next day you open, and … they’re right” comes the shrill of the Merman voice.

Three-quarters of the coffee gone now and Miss Merman has moved over for Billy Daniels.

Arms and legs are thrown round to the rhythm of That Old Black Magic, a head jerks back and forward with a violence that threatens to tear it from the sloping shoulders.

A last sip of the coffee and, meanwhile, Daniels has gone and Johnnie Ray has arrived.

‘I-i-i-f-y-y-o-o-u-‘r-e-e s-s-s-w-w-e-e-t-t- h-he-ear-at-rt-art,” sobs the figure with St. Vitus Dance, with a pounding of hand on head, a trickling of tears down cheek, and a fog-horn vocal approach, that moves all the 24th birthday cards on the mantelpiece up one place.

Exit Ray.

“I also do impressions,” says Libby Morris. “Do” is the operative word.

Libby has short-cropped auburn-tinged hair which tends to over-emphasise the length of her face. The face is not glamorously beautiful. Call it attractive.

Some faces don’t have to be No. 1 in the beauty parade to make the men turn for a second look. Libby’s is like that.

It’s expressive, as full of life and energy and personality as the girl herself.

It is never still. As she talks a thick eyebrow dashes up and down; one eyelid folds closed; her mouth, with its full lips, varies between one inch in length and six; the nose seems to have muscles of its own which enable it to tilt or droop at will.

“I hadn’t been in show business three minutes before I knew my face was my forte,” she says.

Libby Morris

Yet, when she started, grand opera was her target.

“For six years I studied,” she recalls, then my teacher said, ‘Well, kid, I’ve done everything I can. Sorry.’ He was sorry!

“I moped for minutes on end.”

A few years later she started singing with a band, doubling singing with deputy drummer.

“A funny thing happened to me,” she began. The four-piece band was playing on a six-foot high rostrum in a Canadian club. The drummer was singing. Libby was drumming.

The tune was drawing to its end. As the boy reached for his high note Libby reached for the “hammers,” to give a roll on the drum She fell back… and back… and then vanished, head first over the back of the rostrum.

In the face of waves of audience laughter the singer stopped dead. The lyric suddenly went… “Auf Wiedersehen… hey, Libby, where are you?”

She was sitting on top of a tray of drinks that a passing waiter had been carrying before she descended.

After the mess had been cleared up there was a tap on her dressing-room door. Swaying outside was a patron, clutching a half-full glass.

“I’ll give you ten dollars to do that again,” he offered.

For a gag she limped back to the stage, her arm in a sling.

“For an encore…” she gagged.

She’s an Ethel Merman fan, would love to play musical comedy here… “any part that the Merman has played.” She has to demonstrate.
” any part She has to

“Ethel comes out on the stage. There are 45,000 in the cast. There are 40,000 in the pit orchestra all playing like crazy.”

She fiddles energetically on an imaginary instrument.

There are 80,000 people in the audience, all cracking pea-nuts.”

She goes cross-eyed, imitating a monkey eating nuts.

“And what do you hear? What do you hear? Dear old leatherlungs and…”

There it goes again. A full powered assault, in typical Merman style, on There’s No Business Like Show Business.

Her husband, actor Murray Kash, walks in to catch the last few bars. He’s just back from a day’s filming on The Count of Monte Cristo series.

“What a day, had Nick Cravat kicking me in the stomach.”

“Gee, poor man.”

Murray preens himself, waits for the wifely sympathy. But what does he get?

“He might have broken his foot.”

They’ve been married two years and Murray, Libby says, “is a dead loss for experimenting with faces.”

Pulling a new face, she asks: “How’s this?”

Murray doubles up, shaking with laughter he has given up trying to control. Libby tries variations of the new face. The laughter changes to near-hysterics.

“He laughs at everything.” complains Libby.

She was christened Libby after her grandmother. It leads to gags like…

Do you admire Libby-rachie? Are you an ad-libby girl?

Not that she worries what they call her. As Libby said: “They can call me anything they like, as long as they keep calling me to face the music.”

Eric Linden

Libby Morris

Libby Morris


You Say

1 response to this article

Alan George Keeling 22 April 2023 at 8:16 pm

I first saw Libby Morris`s name on `voice cast credits` of Roberta Leigh`s Space Patrol puppet series.

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