Oh, Eartha

How I loved you, Eartha Kitt.

Original “The Joke’s On Catwoman” in three parts after the jump.

One:

Two:

Three:

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  • In the mid 1980s I was working with a video production company that produced videos with Reverend Andrew Brown in Indianapolis. Reverend Brown was not only well known in the civil rights movement but was a heck of a preacher and gospel singer. When he was younger one of the folks he worked with was Earhta Kitt and if I remember right they both sang back up for Dinah Washington. Dinah Washington would never sing gospel always jazz r&B etc. so I have to assume they never performed gospel as backup singers.
    One Easter Sunday there was a commotion in the church I came out of the production truck and there she was, Eartha Kitt in the audience to say hello to her old friend. It was my honor to tape the two singing gospel. Hopefully the tapes survive somewhere as it shows another side to Ms. Kitt that not many people ever witnessed.

  • Ken

    Not only was Eartha Kitt genuinely hot, but she was basically blacklisted after making some pretty strong anti-war comments during a visit to the White House during the Johnson administration.

    After months of investigation, the CIA and FBI were unable to pin anything on her, but they did say she was “foul-mouthed and promiscuous” – which is a badge of honor and an epitaph I think we all should aspire to.

  • ChicagoMolly

    OK, Catwoman was silly, the cabaret songs were fun, but if you want to see what Eartha Kitt could do with a good adult script you should check out an unlikely source; the DVD boxed set for Season 1 of I SPY. Yeah, Bill Cosby and Bob Culp. Funny spy show from 1965. Yeah, that one. You need to watch episode 6, “The Loser”. Eartha Kitt plays Angel, a burnt out, heroin hungry bar singer scraping the bottom at a dive in Hong Kong. When we first see her, she’s trying to do her set and blowing it. You can hear that she used to have a voice but it’s failing her. Her timing is off, she’s losing her place in the song. Her boss at the club is her supplier (the needle is basically her pay packet). When Kelly and Scotty get involved in all this, Scott (Cosby) thinks he can rescue her. But, well, he can’t. By the end of the story you know that Angel is going to be in that rat hole until she dies, however long that takes. And from beginning to end Miss Kitt never loses that character. She doesn’t wink at us with her upstage eye, never drops a hint that she’ll be all right. Angel is doomed. She knows it. And she doesn’t give a shit. Scary. As. Hell. It amazes me that a performance like this got on network tv in 1965.

    Anyway, if you were ever a fan of I SPY the set is well worth buying at $20 for 39 episodes (the good old days!), but for me “The Loser” is worth the price all by itself.