Mattoon Journal Gazette
December 18, 1973
Las Vegas salaries have come to New York. Thatâ€™s $100,000 a week. Six shows a week. $26,000 a show. Jimmy Nederlander, the personableÂ proprietor of the Palace, said as we watched the unbelievable opening night lobby scene, â€œBette Midler is the biggest grosser in the history of the Palace.â€
â€œI was here in â€™67 when Judy Garland came in and I think this is bigger,â€ I agreed.
We watched the remarkable people shoving in. some normals, some celebrities like Dyan Cannon, Peter Boyle and Julie Newmar . . . someÂ 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, people with a revival meeting â€¢ fervor.
â€œYou paid 15 dollars!â€ 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.
â€œYou could have bought 3 gallons of gas for that kind of money!”
She was worried about the first-night stiffs in the front row. She mimicked them, â€œDirty girl . . . I donâ€™t get i t . . . Gross . . . very gross.â€
She went after Nixon: told the well-known â€œDeep Throatâ€ story to huge applause. Got several standing ovations.
Had the greatest stage presence, warmth and personality of any new performer in years. She said she was very tired. â€œIâ€™ve been standing in line all day trying to get tickets to the Winter Garden to see Liza Minnelli.â€
â€œWent to great .expense to get these Hawaiian girls here tonight,â€ she said. â€œ Had to pay their fare all the way from Broadway and 50th St.â€
â€œListen,â€ she said once, â€œwhose idea was it to play this dump?â€
A great one, whosever it was. Still, Bette Midler, after that madhouse, went over to Improvisation with Peter Boyle and gloomed all over the place that those trussedup first-night stiffs werenâ€™t her people and didnâ€™t appreciate her. I trust the thought of $300,000 for the three weeks will help her accept her fate.