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Kaye Ballard talks with Studs Terkel

BROADCAST: Aug. 3, 1960 | DURATION: 00:26:35

Synopsis

Musical theater and television actress/comedienne Kaye Ballard discusses her role as Helen in the 1954 American opera The Golden Apple, musician and writer John La Touche, her family, her accompanist Arthur Siegel and their mutual love for the Peanuts comic strip, the parakeet sketch she wrote with Mel Brooks, her background in burlesque and vaudeville, and her comic and musical inspirations.

Transcript

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Studs Terkel The words of John Latouche and the voice of Kaye Ballard, 2 talented people each in his own way. John Latouche one of the most imaginative of lyricists who died a few years ago and yet his his words are remembered and sung and so moving a way by Kaye Ballard whom we know of in Chicago we knew of Kaye Ballard as a very funny girl who now has a few more days left at the at Mr. Kelly's.

Kaye Ballard A week.

Studs Terkel A week [laughter], you have a week left.

Kaye Ballard No you- I've been extended 3 days. Not bec- by popular demand but Mort Sahl couldn't make it in on time.

Studs Terkel Oh so that or so there'll be a chance then for Chicagoans to see you. Those who haven't or those who'd like to see you another time.

Kaye Ballard That's

Studs Terkel Aside from the weekend

Kaye Ballard That's right.

Studs Terkel Monday, Tuesday

Kaye Ballard And Wednesday

Studs Terkel And Wednesday of next week.

Kaye Ballard Dear Studs, you started off the program by mentioning a name that just brought tears to my eyes. I get, when you say John Latouche isn't that funny we thought we were going to be funny here I'm going to cry through the next hour.

Studs Terkel You knew John Latouche.

Kaye Ballard Very very well. As a matter of fact John Latouche was solely responsible for me getting the role of Helen in The Golden Apple. I had to convince; I did 7 auditions for that show. Isn't that interesting?

Studs Terkel This is the musical that won

Kaye Ballard Golden

Studs Terkel The Drama Critics Award too.

Kaye Ballard Oh, it won every award imaginable it really did.

Studs Terkel Back in 50, 53, 54.

Kaye Ballard Fifty-four. And it was so funny. I borrowed mink coats from everybody I knew for the auditions. I wanted them to think I didn't need the job you see [laughter]. The minute I got the job they saw me in a cloth coat for the rest of the run. It was always very confusing to them [laughing]. But a man by the name of Alfred DeLiagre was producing it and he had to be convinced that I could play the role of Helen because he really had Lisa Kirk in mind. So John Latouche solely was responsible for me getting that part.

Studs Terkel You you you mentioned something now that opens avenues for talk. We'll come to Kaye Ballard and we the funny as you're talking we we we we have a more and more of an understanding of Kaye Ballard there's something happened here. You said that the producer had Lisa Kirk who is well let's call her say a stereotype a very glamorous actress and she is indeed see.

Kaye Ballard She certainly is.

Studs Terkel But he had a certain type in mind.

Kaye Ballard That's right.

Studs Terkel Now you spoke of your affection for John Latouche who perhaps we should point out to the audience for those who may not know was the man who wrote the lyrics for "Ballad for Americans" and the "Book for Baby Doe."

Kaye Ballard He wrote "Cabin in the Sky" also.

Studs Terkel And "Cabin in the Sky."

Kaye Ballard Brilliant man.

Studs Terkel Before we went on you spoke of him as a rebel they all loved him as a rebel.

Kaye Ballard Oh, he was such a rebel [shrieks]. He was just a little dickens. He wanted his own way and it had to be his way and that was it. And I'm awfully glad he wanted me as one of his own way

Studs Terkel Isn't this an example of his what might be described as healthy rebellion. The fact that he saw you.

Kaye Ballard Yes.

Studs Terkel A certain talent.

Kaye Ballard He saw a comedienne.

Studs Terkel Who might not

Kaye Ballard And not a conventionally good-looking person in the role of Helen of Troy.

Studs Terkel Well, tell us more, tell us more about this whole approach.

Kaye Ballard Well, well now let's see how can I explain it. You see I can never find the words. I have should get Arthur Siegel my accompanist here who is a writer also to help me explain.

Studs Terkel I think we should, we should point out that Arthur Siegel seems to understand you so well.

Kaye Ballard That's

Studs Terkel When they watch you on the on the stand and

Kaye Ballard They're watching him.

Studs Terkel They watch him too [everyone laughs]. No, it's both because you know why that he? You know why

Kaye Ballard on-? Giggy.

Studs Terkel You know why one eye is on him because of his obvious enjoyment of you as he isn't that so Arty?

Arthur Siegel Yes.

Kaye Ballard Isn't that thrilling? It only cost me 4,000 a week [everyone laughs].

Studs Terkel Well back to Golden Apple.

Kaye Ballard Yes. A great great show. And you know what Studs it was ahead of its time. It really was.

Studs Terkel Why do you

Kaye Ballard say That's so corny to say, "Well, a show was an artistic thing and it was ahead of it's time." But this show was ahead of its time.

Studs Terkel Well why do you say that?

Kaye Ballard Because it was the first kind of American opera wouldn't you say Arthur? It was like the first. I can't explain it. You see why I would. That this is why I regret Studs that I didn't go to college and I didn't learn to speak. I can't find the words.

Studs Terkel You have no regret there.

Kaye Ballard I went to such a cheap school in Cleveland I can't find

Studs Terkel All right start at the beginning and now now beginning you say it was you say was a school in

Kaye Ballard I'll tell you something.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Kaye Ballard If people would read, just read the the libretto to Golden Apple if they would just read the lyrics. It makes the most beautiful beautiful poem practically. The the lyrics and like it's the going home together and and when Ulysses comes back and he says, "Now I've traveled all over and the distance I want to travel is Penelope and your outstretched arms and all the wisdom of the wise I find in your eyes." I mean he said things are like in in lazy afternoon when he said, "If you sit real still and you can hear the grass as it grows." I don't know he said beautiful beautiful things that I can't even explain what I mean.

Studs Terkel

Kaye Ballard

Studs Terkel The words of John Latouche and the voice of Kaye Ballard, 2 talented people each in his own way. John Latouche one of the most imaginative of lyricists who died a few years ago and yet his his words are remembered and sung and so moving a way by Kaye Ballard whom we know of in Chicago we knew of Kaye Ballard as a very funny girl who now has a few more days left at the at Mr. Kelly's. A week. A week [laughter], you have a week left. No you- I've been extended 3 days. Not bec- by popular demand but Mort Sahl couldn't make it in on time. Oh so that or so there'll be a chance then for Chicagoans to see you. Those who haven't or those who'd like to see you another time. That's Aside from the weekend That's right. Monday, Tuesday And Wednesday And Wednesday of next week. Dear Studs, you started off the program by mentioning a name that just brought tears to my eyes. I get, when you say John Latouche isn't that funny we thought we were going to be funny here I'm going to cry through the next hour. You knew John Latouche. Very very well. As a matter of fact John Latouche was solely responsible for me getting the role of Helen in The Golden Apple. I had to convince; I did 7 auditions for that show. Isn't that interesting? This is the musical that won Golden The Drama Critics Award too. Oh, it won every award imaginable it really did. Back in 50, 53, 54. Fifty-four. And it was so funny. I borrowed mink coats from everybody I knew for the auditions. I wanted them to think I didn't need the job you see [laughter]. The minute I got the job they saw me in a cloth coat for the rest of the run. It was always very confusing to them [laughing]. But a man by the name of Alfred DeLiagre was producing it and he had to be convinced that I could play the role of Helen because he really had Lisa Kirk in mind. So John Latouche solely was responsible for me getting that part. You you you mentioned something now that opens avenues for talk. We'll come to Kaye Ballard and we the funny as you're talking we we we we have a more and more of an understanding of Kaye Ballard there's something happened here. You said that the producer had Lisa Kirk who is well let's call her say a stereotype a very glamorous actress and she is indeed see. She certainly is. But he had a certain type in mind. That's right. Now you spoke of your affection for John Latouche who perhaps we should point out to the audience for those who may not know was the man who wrote the lyrics for "Ballad for Americans" and the "Book for Baby Doe." He wrote "Cabin in the Sky" also. And "Cabin in the Sky." Brilliant man. Before we went on you spoke of him as a rebel they all loved him as a rebel. Oh, he was such a rebel [shrieks]. He was just a little dickens. He wanted his own way and it had to be his way and that was it. And I'm awfully glad he wanted me as one of his own way is Isn't this an example of his what might be described as healthy rebellion. The fact that he saw you. Yes. A certain talent. He saw a comedienne. Who might not have And not a conventionally good-looking person in the role of Helen of Troy. Well, tell us more, tell us more about this whole approach. Well, well now let's see how can I explain it. You see I can never find the words. I have should get Arthur Siegel my accompanist here who is a writer also to help me explain. I think we should, we should point out that Arthur Siegel seems to understand you so well. That's When they watch you on the on the stand and those. They're watching him. They watch him too [everyone laughs]. No, it's both because you know why that he? You know why on-? Giggy. You know why one eye is on him because of his obvious enjoyment of you as he isn't that so Arty? Yes. Isn't that thrilling? It only cost me 4,000 a week [everyone laughs]. Well back to Golden Apple. Yes. A great great show. And you know what Studs it was ahead of its time. It really was. Why do you say That's so corny to say, "Well, a show was an artistic thing and it was ahead of it's time." But this show was ahead of its time. Well why do you say that? Because it was the first kind of American opera wouldn't you say Arthur? It was like the first. I can't explain it. You see why I would. That this is why I regret Studs that I didn't go to college and I didn't learn to speak. I can't find the words. You have no regret there. I went to such a cheap school in Cleveland I can't find the All right start at the beginning and now now beginning you say it was you say was a school in Cleveland. I'll tell you something. Yeah. If people would read, just read the the libretto to Golden Apple if they would just read the lyrics. It makes the most beautiful beautiful poem practically. The the lyrics and like it's the going home together and and when Ulysses comes back and he says, "Now I've traveled all over and the distance I want to travel is Penelope and your outstretched arms and all the wisdom of the wise I find in your eyes." I mean he said things are like in in lazy afternoon when he said, "If you sit real still and you can hear the grass as it grows." I don't know he said beautiful beautiful things that I can't even explain what I mean. You That's You

Kaye Ballard I can't even explain what I mean. I can't find words.

Studs Terkel But you're doing it

Kaye Ballard No I can't I.

Studs Terkel Kaye.

Kaye Ballard Oh, it's depressing.

Studs Terkel That, there's something

Kaye Ballard But I yet I must have some native kind of feeling because I understood what Mr. Latouche wrote. But yet when I go to express it [pop] I'm dead.

Studs Terkel But you are expressing in your own way and it's a beautiful way on the stage and here and

Kaye Ballard Yeah.

Studs Terkel Let's go back to the beginnings of of of Kaye. You mentioned a school in Cleveland.

Kaye Ballard That's right. I went to high school. You see I come from very Italian down to earth parents that never had any education. And the big problem I had. This is like true confession now. You bring that out and people. They never were educated and they're the greatest most noble. They never owed a penny in their life. They're the greatest people that ever lived really. And I am so proud of them. But at the time that I went to school I had a serious problem because I thought, "Gee my mother and father are not educated. I can't educate myself." I'd go to read a book and then I'd steal someone's book report and copy it because [laughs] I'd say, "Well, gee I can't do this I don't. I haven't no one in my family has education I can't do this." So that's why I didn't learn as much as I sh- could have in school. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Studs Terkel Yeah but I understand something else too.

Kaye Ballard What?

Studs Terkel There are things you've learned that are beyond school.

Kaye Ballard Well now, I've learned that I learned that my family.

Studs Terkel Yeah well perhaps they are important.

Kaye Ballard Oh my family are so noble I- how many people in the world can say they don't owe a penny they've never owed a penny. They're so noble and great. You see I'm the black sheep of the family the minute I got in to show business I owed 1,000 dollars [everyone laughs].

Studs Terkel Well what about what you do on the stage. Isn't this some way connected with perhaps life and child there's something you do about parents? I saw you do

Kaye Ballard Yes. Yes.

Studs Terkel What of what of that. I hate to call it routine because it's it's so

Kaye Ballard Well the reason I like this particular routine is it is based on truth.

Studs Terkel That's

Kaye Ballard All the in as a matter of fact that's the only kind of comedy I really like.

Studs Terkel Would you mind explaining that just a bit. I don't mean to exploit you now or or

Kaye Ballard But you see you have a dummy in the program who can't find words.

Studs Terkel No no no. I mean this this routine that you do. I mean really

Kaye Ballard Well, you'd I talk about the fact that all mothers say the same thing for situations so there must be somewhere a school for mothers and they give them all the same answers for the same situation. Is that cute Giggy's laughing over there [laughing]. I love

Studs Terkel An old friend of ours in the audience here actor Lou Gilbert who appeared on the Wax Museum was heard a couple of times. You may remember in the Malamud short story The Magic Barrel, he was the matchmaker. But back to back to Kaye.

Kaye Ballard But Giggy, I like his name, Giggy.

Studs Terkel He's from Cleveland too.

Kaye Ballard Cleveland! You got out too eh? Well.

Arthur Siegel He

Kaye Ballard No, I I'm I love

Lou Gilbert Cleveland. Central

Kaye Ballard Where?

Lou Gilbert Central.

Kaye Ballard You Central High School. Well we used to beat you in football it's all right. No.

Studs Terkel This mothers a school for mothers

Kaye Ballard That's right. Like if you say you have a daughter who's a career girl and she wants to move away from home and then all the old stock answers are, "This is the thanks I get." Or, "What do you know about life, 32 years old you're just a baby." Or, "You think I don't know what you want that apartment for." You know they're all things that mothers say [everyone laughs] so I like. I I do appreciate humor that's based

Studs Terkel Well, do you do you find the audience based on truth that it's universal? Do you you find the audience no matter what the nature what the language ancestry the audience might be they all understand this routine,

Kaye Ballard Yes. Yes. And that's thrilling cause I do like that kind of material better than any other. Although I do have some numbers that make absolutely no sense at all. So I like either ridicu- completely ridiculous or the truth.

Studs Terkel You say numbers that don't make any sense at all. Could you explain one?

Kaye Ballard I have a number called "Purple" where I wish everything in the world were purple. Doesn't make any sense at all.

Studs Terkel Maybe it does [everyone laughs].

Kaye Ballard Well then we wouldn't have any problems would we anywhere.

Studs Terkel See, I'm I'm thinking of something you did involving the little parakeet because you you mentioned a moment ago that you like, before we went on, that you like Peanuts the comic strip

Kaye Ballard Well that to me is the greatest comic strip that isn't even a comic strip that is a philosophy of life.

Studs Terkel But why, why do you like Peanuts?

Kaye Ballard Well the man has absolutely a beautiful mind his his whole approach to human nature is just fantastic. His insight in children is you can't even define it it's fantastic. He must be a beautiful man. Well, we know him Arthur Siegel and I know him personally and he is

Studs Terkel You said something about insight into children and Peanuts a lot of people are affected by Peanuts not a it's not a comic stri- cause they're very moved by it you know.

Kaye Ballard Yes.

Studs Terkel Now doesn't this, don't you like Peanuts for the reason that it's close to what you are doing too on the stage cause you have the effect of being a clown. You know what I say when I say clown?

Kaye Ballard Yes, it's a great compliment.

Studs Terkel Yeah. The clown who can make people cry a little perhaps not that, or at least

Kaye Ballard Well, that's what I have in mind. I hope it comes off that way. I really do. I think you have to I mean sometimes it's so funny you could cry from it. Right? [laughter]

Studs Terkel That's right. It's funny and it's true. Now there's a parakeet we know parakeets are not human at least so we're told, right?

Kaye Ballard But they must have thoughts of their own right?

Studs Terkel This

Kaye Ballard Every little animal must have thoughts of their own.

Studs Terkel It's like the dog in in in Peanuts.

Kaye Ballard Oh Snoopy. Oh is he adorable? I'm working on another routine about a a a dog in a pet shop window. I wonder what they think about all the people that go by. You know, they what, they must have thoughts. You know they see a lady with a lot of kids they must go, "Ahhhh." They see a handsome man they must go "[panting] Ruf ruf." You know to try to win them over [laughter]. Try to think of all the different approaches, play sick for some you know [laughter]. And the French poodle comes in they say, "Vouli vou, red hot." You know, [everyone laughs] make fun. They must have thoughts. I think a table or a the microphone must have thoughts. That's why I must be put away any minute [everyone laughs].

Studs Terkel Well the parakeet. I want to get back to that because I remember this so so vividly. How did this, the idea of the parakeet

Kaye Ballard Well, I've always thought kind of off the beaten track like that [laughing]. I don't know with Mel Brooks You know Mel Brooks is a very talented writer and one night we had to write a piece of material to do on a show that was coming up in 2 days. And I said, "Why not the thoughts of a parakeet?" And he said "Why not." And then between the 2 of us we wrote it. We just spoke it out spoke it out what would a parakeet say wouldn't they be annoyed with the master always coming in saying, "Good morning birdie, good morning birdie." Trying to get the bird to talk and finally the bird says all right I'll give it to him, "Good morning birdie." Loo- and then the master jumps up and down like a nut. You know he thinks it's fantastic. And then the parakeet breaks into a rock n roll song really you know upsets him anything to throw you know let him be the master for a change.

Studs Terkel Let him see how how the human being looks.

Kaye Ballard Yeah.

Studs Terkel We, let us see how the human being looks to

Kaye Ballard Doesn't it fascinate you that they found out that the dolphin has a brilliant IQ?

Arthur Siegel Dolphin.

Kaye Ballard Isn't it?

Studs Terkel I didn't know the dolphin does, I wasn't aware of this yeah.

Kaye Ballard You weren't aware of it? Oh well they had stories in the paper. They found out the dolphin was really talking back but on a higher speed.

Studs Terkel On a higher speed?

Kaye Ballard Yeah it was on 70 what on a 33 but was it was, wasn't it?

Studs Terkel The fastest speed would be 78. Would be

Kaye Ballard That's right. And then

Arthur Siegel Seventy-eight playing at 33

Kaye Ballard And then they played it in 33 and he was answering! How does that grab

Studs Terkel And the answers made sense.

Kaye Ballard [laughing] He was repeating what they were saying they were saying 3 2 4 5 6 code 3 2 4 and when they slowed down the dolphin go [dolphin noise] he was saying 3 2 4 5 6 it was the same thing and they figured out that the dolphins brain power is maybe even more than the man.

Arthur Siegel He was just mimicking.

Kaye Ballard He was mimicking but they also said that the brain.

Studs Terkel He might even be able to write underwater too

Kaye Ballard Well they must have a world down there that's fantastic.

Studs Terkel Well is this will this be the basis of a of a Kaye Ballard performance perhaps.

Kaye Ballard No, it's just a thought that I was passing off [laughter].

Studs Terkel Well something since you said Studs

Kaye Ballard you Studs am I making any sense at all?

Studs Terkel You're making very good sense.

Kaye Ballard I I seem like I'm jumping from one subject to anoth- see I get insecure with my brain well, it is what it is.

Studs Terkel You know we're talking about this matter of improvisation. Just that which you're doing now is feeling, it's something you do on the stage too I remember you. There was the cord the extension cord of the microphone. You know?

Kaye Ballard Yeah.

Studs Terkel Remember that and you were talking about something and earlier you were talking about maybe a go back to a

Kaye Ballard My old job, yeah.

Studs Terkel Your old job?

Kaye Ballard You say you want 2 yards?

Studs Terkel That's it.

Kaye Ballard That's an old standard gag.

Studs Terkel Oh

Kaye Ballard Oh, Studs.

Studs Terkel You make it seem so fresh.

Kaye Ballard Oh, thank you. That's I guess that's a secret of doing

Studs Terkel Well how, were there were there influences in your life? In in in the beginning?

Kaye Ballard Of course.

Studs Terkel Of of of, among clowns,

Kaye Ballard Of course, there's always influences in everybody's life. In mine, well there was Beatrice Lillie and Martha Raye and Judy Garland and Charlie Chaplin. How could you miss, right? Charlie Chaplin is the greatest of them all. And, well I love so many comedians. I love Jack Benny. I love him because he thinks funny. It's so funny you don't laugh at what Jack Benny does. You laugh at what he thinks. Isn't it fabulous to get in that position.

Studs Terkel

Kaye Ballard There That the whole world, the whole world knows you so well that they're laughing at what you're thinking. That's what they laugh at with Jack Benny. Is that not true?

Studs Terkel They'll laugh at what he thinks.

Kaye Ballard What he thinks.

Studs Terkel Now

Kaye Ballard When he's giving you the take.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Kaye Ballard You know exactly what he's thinking and that's what gets you hysterical.

Studs Terkel He's become a national institution.

Kaye Ballard That's right.

Studs Terkel And

Kaye Ballard For being cheap and 39 years old.

Studs Terkel We we're we're so acquainted with him.

Kaye Ballard That's

Studs Terkel That we're aware of his. But isn't this aren't you able to do this to some extent in some of your? Even though you're not an institution that is you are not we- as well. You are well known

Kaye Ballard No no.

Studs Terkel But I mean you are not nationally known.

Kaye Ballard Well maybe I don't.

Studs Terkel Isn't this the work of a of a good artist?

Kaye Ballard Yes Studs but what in my position the terrible thing is it takes me so long for people to get to know me. See that's why Jack Benny is so marvelous you know when he walks on that stage exactly what he is. And therefore I don't even work the way I want to work yet because people don't know me. I may have to push a little harder. I may have to do things I don't want to do because they don't know me yet. I hope someday. And you see that's why I think a series can be fabulous.

Studs Terkel Let's let's delve into this a little further maybe. You say you're not working now the way you would like to

Kaye Ballard Not quite.

Studs Terkel What is the way you would like to work?

Kaye Ballard I would like to work with the greatest ease and having people know me so well that they know what I'm thinking. Or you know you can give someone like Beatrice Lillie the first time I saw her. She came on the stage and she paused for about 3 minutes. It was the longest pause I've ever seen. Remember in Inside USA Arthur? And she just looked at the audience as if to say, "You little dickens what are you doing here." And you knew exactly what she was thinking and you just adored her. She was so pixie like that she was mushy you wanted to grab her. She was adorable.

Studs Terkel But.

Kaye Ballard And that's the kind of feeling that I would like to get. I would, in other words when I do a routine I would like to not do it as broad as I'm doing it now. I would like to underplay a lot more than I am doing but I can't do that until people know me.

Studs Terkel See I'm not sure. I'm not sure that you're right. I'm I'm su- I'm not sure that you

Kaye Ballard I could be wrong. I been wrong so many times it's

Studs Terkel See I think. I I don't think for instance you are over again, I'm not seeking to soft soap you here. I don't think you are overplaying. I think there's an exuberance in what you're doing. The approach of Benny is a wholly different one entirely than yours.

Kaye Ballard Oh yes,

Kaye Ballard And people do know no, people do know what I think Beatrice Lillie would have made the audience laugh even had they not known her. Possibly. You see and the same thing I think happens with you and in a in a wholly different vein.

Kaye Ballard Well that's nice.

Studs Terkel Now

Kaye Ballard Then maybe I'm

Studs Terkel And I'm wondering about having having. You have to wait till you are fully known you know 'til your face is on the cover of Life. I just wonder if that's

Kaye Ballard I've had the cover of Life [loud everyone laughs].

Studs Terkel Oh you

Kaye Ballard No story inside but the cover of Life. That's the story of my life [everyone still laughing]. I had the cover of Life from Golden Apple. No story inside. I've been in show business 18 years I performed in burlesque for a year and a half as a straight woman. I did vaudeville and played every single vaudeville

Studs Terkel I think this is good if you may tell us about this as a straight woman in burlesque see we

Kaye Ballard That's

Studs Terkel I think we should make clear the burlesque as one of the seeds [unintelligible] one of the seeds of some of our best comedians the best clowns the straight woman. You mind playing the role of straight woman. This is a good.

Kaye Ballard That's right for the comics. Flugel Street and all the.

Studs Terkel Did you know

Kaye Ballard Oh, of course my.

Studs Terkel I still wish we could do I wish we could remember [laughter]. Flugel Street.

Kaye Ballard We'd be cut off the air if you do

Studs Terkel No no Flugel Street was one of the. No we're looking for a

Kaye Ballard And I'll tell you something

Studs Terkel It's the man with the hats a man whose hats his straw hats are all gone

Kaye Ballard That's right.

Studs Terkel Looking for a street.

Kaye Ballard That's right. But I'll tell you something else that's interesting and not to change any subject. Now people have a conception of burlesque that is all wrong. The moral standards I found in burlesque and I was 17 and 16 and 18 were much higher than anywhere in any other form of show business. It was the weirdest thing, onstage that would go crazy. Offstage they treated you like a lady and would never use. Well it was marvelous. So you see the world is destroyed. How dare the world anyway. Let's forget it's a dog-eat-dog world.

Studs Terkel What about the dog-eat-dog world since you mention. Here again we come to the opinions of Kaye Ballard. How closely connected it is with what she does on the platform, on the stage.

Kaye Ballard Yeah.

Studs Terkel It's a dog-eat-dog world.

Kaye Ballard Yeah.

Studs Terkel Is one of your acts.

Kaye Ballard I feel we should laugh it up because we there are hate do-. I don't know what's gonna happ-. I'm so concerned about the world that I could cry from it [laughs]. I really am.

Studs Terkel So you'll laugh

Kaye Ballard I just think it's yeah I think you better laugh. That's all you have left. You better laugh.

Studs Terkel Well you have hope don't you? I mean you what you do as affirmative on stage.

Kaye Ballard I pray that we have hope. I I I really sincerely do. But gee it looks very sad to

Studs Terkel But you find everything you do on the stage though see- seems to be directly antithetical to what you're saying. I mean you say you were you have little hope and yet you have so much hope in what you do. There's a joy the joy of living is in what you do.

Kaye Ballard Well I feel that yes I have ba-. If I didn't have that balance they'd put me away [laughing]. That's all I can tell you Studs, they'd put me away.

Studs Terkel You know what we haven't? Outside of having heard "Lazy Afternoon" in the beginning we we haven't mentioned the fact that you're an excellent singer.

Kaye Ballard Oh, thank

Studs Terkel You sing, what of singing itself did you have a specific voice training?

Kaye Ballard No not until I went to New York 12 years ago. Then I studied voice and I've been studying ever since. I think you have to study as long as you live because you forget.

Studs Terkel You've name Fanny Brice as one of the influences of when she's before your time but you heard her on on recording and this there's a recording you

Kaye Ballard The lyrics the lyrics of Fanny Brice. What marvelous selection of material what a marvelous woman she must be.

Studs Terkel You'd call her a good clown.

Kaye Ballard Oh great. And the songs she sang and she obviously must've picked 'em. So that must be her taste must have been her taste "Second-Hand Rose." That is so beautiful that well gets me every time I sing it [laughing]

Studs Terkel We'll hear "Second-Hand Rose." Now you're singing and you're remembering Fanny Brice.

Kaye Ballard We just listen to the lyrics now they're marvelous.

Studs Terkel Here "Second-Hand Rose" that Kaye Ballard has sung a Fannie Brice classic. This is another example of the good clown of of a song that has that gulp to it

Kaye Ballard Eh, you know another one on that record that very few people mention is a "Song of the Sewing Machine." Now this at that particular time was so fantastic and so right. My grandmother you know like sometimes even Jewish people are offended they don't want to remember that era that is wrong. That was a beautiful era that was that made what we have today or if anything good came out of it it came out of that era. My grandmother who is Italian. Worked in a factory where she sewed and so I understand this. It doesn't apply just to Jewish people. That's the thing it was the era.

Studs Terkel It applies to a certain time of people who had recently come over from the old world.

Kaye Ballard That's

Studs Terkel And working very long hours in dark lofts.

Kaye Ballard That's right and thought this was the greatest place in the world to be to build and to give their children something they could never

Studs Terkel Do you remember your grandmother?

Kaye Ballard She certainly she's still living. She's my pride and joy. Nana.

Studs Terkel Did she become the

Kaye Ballard She's so funny. Here it in I'll give you example of her her humor. She was so cute, in Golden Apple she came to see it and she saw me go away with Paris in the balloon. You know Helen was a little monster in Golden Apple left her husband she didn't think of that. She said, "You looked like an angel when you went up up up." [everyone laughs] She only saw beautiful things. I love her.

Studs Terkel She only saw beautiful things you

Kaye Ballard Yes she's a gorgeous gorgeous woman. Never had any prejudice. Never had. It's fantastic. I come from a family that I don't know where they got it. It's just marvelous. They never had any kind of prejudice or anything. It's unbelievable.

Studs Terkel Did you?

Kaye Ballard That's what I mean. Great great great people. Just think of what could have happened had they been educated they never had the opportunity they had to come right over here and go to work in that factory that I sing about. That's why I have such empathy for Jewish people and Jewish humor and because it's very parallel to Italians and I'm sure it's parallel to every other nationality.

Studs Terkel All the people have come from

Kaye Ballard That's right. The people who won't admit it and I oh well

Studs Terkel The "Song of the

Kaye Ballard The "Song of the Sewing Machine," listen to those words.

Studs Terkel [Pause the recording] You you you work hard. You work hard on your at Mr. Kelly's the 2 programs you do.

Kaye Ballard Yes.

Studs Terkel And I'm and you probably haven't had any lunch even though it's afternoon you probably haven't had lunch yet.

Kaye Ballard No I'm trying to lose weight.

Studs Terkel And

Kaye Ballard I have the Italian battle ahead of me [everyone laughs]. You know it's true.

Studs Terkel The battle of the bulge you mean, yes.

Kaye Ballard Oh well I love spaghetti that's my life I adore it. Maybe it's a throwback to being at home I don't know.

Studs Terkel Some people say, "Eat what you like."

Kaye Ballard That's not true.

Studs Terkel It isn'true.

Kaye Ballard It's a lie. I don't believe that. Think thin the only way you can think thin is to push away and not swallow.

Studs Terkel Kaye Ballard now the realist she's the fantasist on the stage and now she's the realist.

Kaye Ballard Dear Studs, tell me something.

Studs Terkel Yes,

Kaye Ballard And and Giggy you've been listening to this. I when I recount everything I said it sounds like I just didn't make any sense at all. I went from one subject to another never followed through with anything. Did it make sense?

Studs Terkel Do you wanna know something? This makes very definite sense, it's part of a pattern that seems crazy but when you add it all up there's a picture there's a portrait painted of a very warm and very talented human being. Kaye Ballard.

Kaye Ballard Is that nice?

Studs Terkel Kaye Ballard at Mr. Kelly's for about 6 more days and perhaps Mort Sahl excellent and very perceptive humorist that he is must have known something. He must have known that there are many Chicagoans like would like to see more than half thus far. And want a few more days. And so

Kaye Ballard Isn't that nice?

Studs Terkel So from now till next Wednesday here in Chicago,

Kaye Ballard Thank you dear Studs. Oh listen should I mention all the people that I really do like like Elaine and Mike and Alice Ghostley and Shelley Berman and a host of others. I mean all these young people I think are just great and they're.

Arthur Siegel Aaron Ruben.

Kaye Ballard Who?

Arthur Siegel Aaron Ruben.

Kaye Ballard Aaron Ruben. Have never seen Aaron Ruben.

Lou Gilbert He's a writer?

Arthur Siegel Yeah.

Lou Gilbert Yeah.

Kaye Ballard Oh well writers? I could give you a list that, whoa! We could be here for

Studs Terkel We opened with "Lazy Afternoon" that sounds like a good one. I mean to to go off on "Lazy Afternoon" as well perhaps.

Kaye Ballard I just wish they could have seen it in the show. Maybe they'll revive the show I don't

Studs Terkel Yo- you don't you don't sing it out of context even though there're requests for it.

Kaye Ballard No, it was so right and beautiful in the show that my aesthetic sense if there is any won't allow me to do that.

Studs Terkel Perhaps someday they'll revive Golden Apple.

Kaye Ballard Maybe.

Studs Terkel Kaye Ballard, Helen of Troy who caused all the trouble.

Kaye Ballard Thank you.

Studs Terkel Thank you

Kaye Ballard Thank you Studs.

Studs Terkel You generally [unintelligible]

Unknown female And God Bless you all and God bless you. I love you.

Studs Terkel Thank