With the recent passing of Andy Griffith and Celeste Holm, I found myself reminiscing about the first time I became aware of these show business icons.
Andy Griffith first registered on my list of favorite stars when I was a wide-eyed boy sitting in the Lindsay Theater in Lubbock, Texas. Over the top of my bag of popcorn, I laughed myself silly at Andy in No Time for Sergeants. I’ll never forget those toilet seats saluting the sergeant during inspection of Andy’s latrine cleaning duty.
A few years later I laughed until my sides hurt at Andy’s stand-up routine, What It Was, Was Football. Then I lost track of Griffith until he reappeared as Andy Taylor in the Andy Griffith Show. In all my years of watching a TV series I have never been touched the way he moved me as a small town sheriff and an understanding father to little Opie.
My first exposure to Celeste Holm (that I can recall) came in 1955 when she appeared in The Tender Trap. I remember leaving the theater thinking that Frank Sinatra was stupid to reject that classy lady for the bubbly, barely-out-of-her-teens Debbie Reynolds.
After seeing that movie, I became aware of her Academy Award winning performance in Gentleman’s Agreement, and her roles in All About Eve, High Society, among others. Though she was never the lead star of any movie I saw her in, if the name Celeste Holm appeared on the credits, I wanted to see the movie.
I never realized until her death that Celeste was the original Ado Annie in the Broadway debut of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! I’m just a fan “who cain’t say no” to any chance I get to see one of her movies.