Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pioneer




Lady Godiva was a freedom rider –
She didn't care if the whole world looked.
Joan of Arc, with the Lord to guide her –
She was a sister who really cooked!

And Isadora was the first bra burner,
Ain't ya glad she showed up?
Mmmm hmmm, and when the country was fallin' apart,
Betsy Ross got it all sewed up!

And then there's Maude (and then there's Maude),
And then there's Maude (and then there's Maude),
And then there's Maude (and then there's Maude),
And there there's...
That uncompromisin', enterprisin, anything-but-tranquilizin'
Right-on Maude!


From the moment I first saw her in the episode of All in the Family as out-of-town cousin Maude from Tuckahoe, who promptly put the bullying Archie in his well-deserved place, I loved Beatrice Arthur. Maude made her a household name, and she played the part brilliantly, but she was so much more than her saucy, sassy character. And as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, she continued to deliver her raw, acerbic wit with grace and style.

I grew up in a very, very conservative household where topics of women's lib, abortion, premarital sex, menopause and bralessness were rarely brought up, let alone discussed. While my dad liked All in the Family, my mother didn't like it, so it was not watched if she was in the house. He didn't really like Maude much (she was too liberated for his tastes), and my mother would never allow that show to be watched in her presence, so I had to sneak my watching in when I could. Fortunately, we moved into a new house about eight months after the show launched, and the TV was "banished" from the living room to the basement. I liked that because I could then watch whatever I wanted as long as I kept the volume low enough.

About four years ago, Jess and I saw Ms. Arthur in a one-woman Broadway show and I came away with an entirely new appreciation for her because the show really let you see Bea and not just her characters. She was truly a pioneer of stage and screen. Bea, may you rest in sweet peace.

1 Comments:

At 4:38 PM, April 27, 2009, Blogger Dantallion said...

You read about celebrity passings all the time. But this one made me particularly sad. RIP, Bea.

 

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