the life of zooey who happens to be Bipolar 2
The movie White Christmas is the currently the broken record in my brain. Songs wake me up early in the morning. I find myself singing them to myself all day out loud or just in my head. All the years I’ve watched this classic have finally caught up with me.
This morning, at fracking 3:30 AM, I woke up singing, “Sisters, Reprised.” In this scene from the movie, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye dress in drag and perform what would be a winner lip sync battle to Rosemary Clooney ‘s and Vera-Ellen’s song. It’s easy to see that Crosby and Kaye had a great time filming it. Research says its the only usable take they got. The laughter at the end of the number read’s real after Danny’s feather fan smackdown of Bing.
Then the number, Choreography, was next. In this scene, Vera-Ellen plays showgirl dancer to Danny Kaye’s modern dance farce-tribute to the term. The modern dancers are in awe of Vera’s tapping. Vera and her partner end up dancing circles around them.
This year, the movie was a reality check. As my parents, Stan and I watched the movie, we were talking about the 4 stars, Crosby, Clooney, Kaye and Vera-Ellen. Dad couldn’t remember Vera’s last name, so I whipped out my trusty mobile phone and looked her up. I relayed her name and glanced through the Wikipedia summary of her life. This quote stood out:
Vera-Ellen has been thought to have suffered from anorexia before much was known about the disease. She was celebrated for her lithe figure at the time. Vera-Ellen developed severe arthritis due to her years of dancing, a condition which could have been exacerbated by anorexia.
All these years not realizing her struggle with weight at the other end of the scale. I’ve been fat most of my life. I remember watching her and wishing I could look like her. To be that thin, not realizing her struggles. I looked up from my phone and watched her dance in, Mandy. Not a bit of fat on that body, a rib poking out here and there during dance moves were now apparent. The costume, tiny as it was, still loose on her. It made me sad for her.
On screen, she was darling of musicals in the 50s, reflecting a dancer on screen who had a wonderful life not reflected in the real world. Her obsession with dieting, 2 failed marriages, the loss of a child to SIDS along with terrible arthritis made for a hard life which eventually lead to reclusivity. Vera died after a long bout with cancer at 60. A sad ending for a dancer who brought many joy.
Here is her last film. A very telling scene regarding Vera’s health.
Watching White Christmas from now on will always tug at my heart a little now for her.