BetteBack: Bette Midler At The Palace

Wisconsin State Journal
Bette Midler Gets Big Money in N.Y.
By Earl Wilson
December 7, 1973

N E W YORK – Bette Midler‘ll haul ‘down about $300,000 for three weeks of doing her “trash with flash” act at the Palace Theater. Las Vegas salaries have come to New York. That’s S100.000 a week. Six shows a week, $26,000 a show. Jimmy Nederlander, the personabie proprietor of the Palace, said as we watched  the unbelievable opening night lobby scene.

Bette Midler is the biggest grosser in the history of the Palace.

“I was here in ’67 when Judy Garland came in and I think t h is is bigger,” I agreed.

We watched the remarkable people shoving in, some normals, some celebrities like Dyan Cannon, Peter Boyle, and Julie Newmar . . . some bearded ladies, men in gowns, a bare-backed man who stood up and waved, one who had to be hauled off stage. But Judy Garland had cultists too, peopie with a revival meeting fervor.

“You paid 15 dollars!” shrieked the fiercely energetic 28-year-old redhead who said she was the only Jewish girl in a Samoan neighborhood in Hawaii and always liked the red light districts to walk in because they were interesting.

“You could have bought three gallons of gas for that kind of money.”

She said she was very tired. “I’ve been standing in line all day trying to get tickets to The Winter Garden to see Liza Minnelli.”

“Went to great expense to get these Hawaiian girls here tonight,” she said “Had to pay their fare all the way from Broadway and 105th St.”

“Listen,” she said once, whose idea was it to play this dump?”

A great one, whoever it was.

She got several standing ovations. Had the greatest stage presence, warmth, and personality of any new performer in years.

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