BootLeg Betty

BetteBack December 10, 1973: Bette Midler Worried About First Night Stiffs At The Palace

Middlesboro Daily News
December 10, 1973

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New YorkBette Midler‘ll haul down about $,100,000 for three weeks of doing her “Irash willi flash” act at the Palace Theater.

I^as Vegas salaries have come to New York. Thnt’s $100,000 a week. Six shows a week, $26,000 a show. Jimmy Nedcrlandcr, Ihe personable proprietor of the Palace, said as we wnlclicd the unbelievable opening night lobby stone, “Bette Midler is the biggest grosser in the history of Ihe Palace.”

“I was here in ’67 when Judy Garland came in and 1 think this 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 barebacked 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 fervor.

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

“You 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 “Dirty girl. . I don’t get it . . .Gross. . .very gross.” She went after Nixon; (old the well known “Deep Throat” story to huge applause Got several standing ovations. Had Ihe greatest stage presence, warmth and personality of any new performer in years. She said she was very tired. “I’ve been standing in line all day trying to get tickets to Ihe Winter Garden lo 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 50th St.” “Listen,” she said once, “whose idea was it to play this dump?”

A great one, whomever it was. Slill, Bette Midler, after that madhouse, went over to Improvisation with Peter Boyle and gloomed all over the place that those trussed-up first night stiffs weren’t her people and didn’t appreciate her. I trust the thought of $300,000 for the three weeks will help her accept her fate

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