Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shirley Jones on the Diane Rhem Show Today

Wow, what a woman, Shirley Jones, a fixture at our house when the kids were growing up, when the main VHS cassette we had was "The Music Man".  "Oklahoma!" was the first screened musical I can remember seeing, and a wide-screen one at that at a Miami top of the line theater.  It even had an intermission.  Mom and I went.  (We were real movie-pals.) I had never seen Shirley Jones before in anything, and I found her simply amazing.

She has a new book out, entitled Shirley Jones: a Memoir, and Diane Rhem interviewed her today on NPR.  That interview is worth a visit.

UPDATE:  I downloaded the book via Kindle and have read the first third or so of it.  I think the interview will do for most people.  The author startles with details of her sexual history (and in the interview, one is forewarned of it).  The story, simply written, provides a window into the entertainment world and that world is as troubled as we bourgeoisie believe it to be.  Miss Jones was an extraordinarily gifted young-woman, in the right place and at the right time.  She appears not really to have been prepared for the fantastic world she entered.  (A Universalist religious upbringing.  No reading of the Great Books or equivalent life-apprentice experience, apparently.)  Approaching 80 years of age, however, she can write purple (and wear it) if she chooses.  She chooses.

And of course I'll finish the book.

SECOND UPDATE:  Finished the book.  It is an entertainment.  Ms. Jones is an entertainer.  The book, easy to read, has substance to it, however, as there clearly is substance to Ms. Jones herself.  Why did she remain devoted to her first husband for so long?  I think the fundamental answer is her devotion to her children, although she writes of him in indearing terms consistently, perhaps too consistently.  Dealing with him was obviously a terribly difficult situation for all of them.  She got their children, his son, and herself through it all with a sort of iron will, independence, and remarkable gifts.   

No comments: