Monday, November 27, 2006

Comden And Green Reunite

Betty Comden -- half of the legendary duo Comden and Green -- is dead at 89. Bizarrely, the New York Times obit only mentions "Singing In The Rain" in passing. I have two modest Comden and Green stories. I was making a phone call at the Public in the days before cell phones were common. The woman at the phone next to me looked very familiar and I thought maybe she was a journalist of some sort and kept glancing at her. Sne waved me over, introduced herself and asked me to help her friend Adolph find his way to the Public. (They were staging a terrific revival of "On The Town" and Adolph Green couldn't figure out how to tell a cabbie the way to get to the Public.) How could Comden and Green not know their way around Manhattan? ("New York, New York, a hellava town. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down. The people ride through a hole in the ground....") Nonetheless, I got to give him directions, tell her "On The Town" was my favorite movie musical and then she asked if I were an actor. "No, " I said immediately," but if I were I'd be comic relief." She laughed and I was happy for days. Years later, I saw Adolph Green crossing a tricky intersection at 71st and Broadway, looking a bit lost and confused, and I discretely walked alongside him to make sure he got to the corner safely without letting him know I was doing so. Soon after, he died.

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