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Saying farewell to some great entertainers

My mother had a “Doris Day’s Greatest Hits” album that got a fair amount of play time in the Hout House living room when I was growing up.

This is when classical music wasn’t playing, mind you, or soundtracks from “Camelot” or “West Side Story” or “Oklahoma” weren’t going round and round on the record player, giving the turntable needle a real workout.

I knew all the words to all the songs on this album that came out in November 1958 when I was all of 7 months old because I remember hearing them during my grade school days and beyond.

They were great songs, I realized and really appreciated later on, given many of them had a mature theme beyond my youthful understanding.

“Everybody Loves A Lover,” “Teacher’s Pet,” “It’s Magic,” “Secret Love,” “Bewitched,” “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) and “If I Give My Heart to You.”

I listened and liked what I was hearing. And I confess — I sang along, too, in private, using a hand mirror held upside down as a makeshift microphone.

I sang in my head or in the shower. You know, come to think of it, I’ve always sounded remarkably like many famous singers — at least when the water’s running, anyway.

I gravitated toward the music of Doris Day, given I can’t help but respect performers who can sing well and with such ease, but I liked all her movies, too, because the outcomes were predictably pleasant.

“The Glass Bottom Boat” was a personal favorite of mine.

Her smile, the husky laugh, that she was pretty and sweet and wore classy dresses, these were all qualities I admired.

And all her leading men were these handsome guys — Clark Gable, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Garner, Rod Taylor.

Gee, what a cool chick. Maybe I could grow up to be Doris Day, I sometimes wondered but realized, no, maybe not. I’ll just be content being me.

I felt more than a little sad when word came in recent days that Doris Day, “America’s Sweetheart,” had died. She was 97.

It never really occurred to me until now that she was my mother’s contemporary. Hmm.

It’s very sobering to see this generation of entertainers leave us.

As much as Doris Day made me smile and like certain songs, Tim Conway made me laugh. Really laugh.

The Ohio native was hilarious with his wonderfully funny-not-foul style that many comedians of today don’t embrace.

His death on the heels of Doris Day’s made me sad, too.

The news reminded me how much I loved “The Carol Burnett Show” and all of Conway’s crazy characters, especially as Mr. Tudball talking on the intercom to Mrs. Wiggins, his nail polish-painting secretary.

Or as the “Old Man” who took s-l-o-w to a whole new not-fast-paced level.

And then there was the skit where he’s a new dentist about to work on his patient, fellow funny guy Harvey Korman, but the wrong guy got the novocaine. Oops.

Even Tim Conway and Harvey Korman trying not to crack up during their skits was amusing. Funny stuff.

Que sera, sera.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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