Wilson Daily Times
February 24, 1973
No one could say that success has crept up on Bette Midler – it burst upon her like one of those tropical thunderstorms that sometimes hit her native Hawaii. Unknown only a short time ago, she has become one of the most popular young talents in America today.
“She’s the most dynamic person Dwight and I have worked with in several years. In this business, newcomers are always likened to other stars. Bette has the individual qualities of a lot of others but all rolled into one, she’s not like any of them. She’s just one of a special kind” exclaimed Smith.
And Bette Midler laughs through it all. When Bette laughs it’s as though all the floodlights have suddenly been switched on.
“When did I realize I was finally a star?” she echoed a questioner.”I haven’t realized it yet! It all seems like a fairy tale, and mine’s not really a fairy tale life. So it’s hard to believe it’s me people are talking about.”
One of Bette’s particular specialties is her vivid interpretation of the tunes from the 1940s, ” Chattanooga Choo Choo,” one of the numbers she sings in the Bacharach special makes it easy to jump to the conclusion that Bette has seized upon a gimmick.
“What really happened,” she explained,”is that I was brought up in the ’40s and all the records my parents had were, of course, of the ’30s and 40s. I found myself fascinated by the music but even more fascinated by the women singers. Like the Andrew Sisters, whom I imitate in”Chattanooga.”
“The fascination with the 30’s and 40’s lasted, and later I really began to research that era. I spent hours at a time in music libraries listening to old show tunes and pop songs and absorbing the stories of the stars. I became something of an expert, simply out of personal interest, not because I intended to exploit it.
“I wanted to be an actress, really,” continued Bette.”But everyone wanted me to be conventional, to fit a stereotype, which I couldn’t. I’m not a conventional person, it was quite a fight.”