With the shocking passing of societies beloved Princess Leia, better known as actress, writer, humorist, Carrie Fisher, and her mother, star of the silver screen when the silver screen was silver, Debbie Reynolds, it is difficult for us, as writers, to ignore this and not pay tribute. Each of these lovely actresses had musical moments that are unforgettable and we would like to share some of our favorites with you today.
1. Princess Leia, and the Star Wars Cast, celebrate the holidays.
In a holiday special that screamed promotion, the Star Wars cast got together to celebrate the season, in a galaxy far far away. It was released in 1978 and features all our favorite Star Wars characters including Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and of course, Princess Leia. In a final scene, R2D2 and C3PO are amongst a crowd all wishing each other a Happy Life Day with Chewbacca as Luke, Han, and Leia all run on, happy to celebrate with their friends.
Carrie Fisher, or Leia, speaks to everyone about the importance Life Day and peace while continuing to fight the “powers of evil and darkness.” She then begins to sing a song, we can only assume, was written especially for this movie. But it might as well be a Christmas song, the lyrics, which are about life and love and appreciation in everything we have. Of course, she kills it, and that’s why she is the princess.
2. Kathy Selden sings with Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown in the morning.
“Good mornin’, god mornin’, we’ve talked the whole night through, good mornin’, good mornin’, to you!” Who can listen to those words and not hear Debbie Reynolds add a load of femininity to this number and hold her own with two of the greatest entertainers of her time. Reynolds not only commands attention with her strong feminine vocals while singing alongside Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly, she also shines in the dancing sequence as well.
It’s hard for us to think of Debbie Reynolds and not think of this scene in Singing in the Rain. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll find many references to the movie, and Reynolds’ performance, in other posts. So, it is especially sad to write this homage of one of our favorite musical numbers of all time, knowing that a key player in the show, has left us for good.
3. Carrie Fisher sings on Laverne & Shirley.
If you are the same age as we are you will remember one of television’s most celebrated spinoffs. Laverne & Shirley was a popular sitcom that starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, two friends who share an apartment in Milwaukee, WI.
In one episode titled “The Playboy Show” Laverne, played by Marshall, becomes friends with a gal named Cathy, played by Fisher, who is training with her to become a waitress at the Playboy club. Laverne overhears Cathy singing and compliments her. She learns singing is Cathy’s dream.
Later, they both find out that there is only one slot as a Playboy Bunny left open and it was between the two. While they both want it badly, each is willing to give it up for the other. In a final attempt to get the job for Cathy, Laverne corners her into singing “My Guy” to Hugh Hefner. Of course, Fisher does a great job and Cathy gets to be the next Bunny. As a consolation prize, Laverne gets to have dinner with Hefner.
4. “Abba Dabba Honeymoon” alongside Carleton Carpenter.
In one of her earlier films, Debbie Reynolds played one of the Robinson daughters in movie musical Two Weeks with Love. Falling under the genre of romance, this story follows a family with daughters who love performing and sons who epitomize the term, “boys will be boys.” They decide to spend some time away from New York City and head upstate not knowing that both girls would find love.
This number is especially cute and a great watch for folks with small children. The concept of the song is innocent and childlike, telling the story of and monkey and a chimp who fall in love. While performing this number, Reynolds is tomboyish in her dancing only indicating her very young age. Yet, just as in Singing in the Rain, Reynolds draws your eyes with her girl next door smile and her amazing talent.
5. When they sang together on Oprah.
This moment isn’t from a movie or a musical. This moment was on the very stage where many celebrities and regular people like us have bared their sole to one of the richest people on the face of the Earth; on The Oprah Show. It was an episode that aired in 2011 and, with the blustery relationship the two have openly, and publicly, shared at times, this is an especially nice clip if you are fans of the mother and daughter, which we are.
They sing together on Oprah’s stage, accompanied by a pianist, and start with “You Made Me Love You”, with Debbie leading the way, which shows there dynamic on and off the stage. Of course, Carrie won’t sit back and not let her voice be heard, which is one of the things we love about her, comes in with her own song, “Happy Days.” When watching this clip, it’s easy to see the who they are to each other.
6. When Princess Leia sings along with the Star Wars theme.
If you are a Star Wars fan, this tune and it’s “bum bum BUM” beginning can send your memory back to when these movies first came out and all the fascination they brought with them. In this musical moment, the cast of the latest Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, join Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and some other beloved Star Wars characters all come together alla Brady Bunch and sing the theme song, and other signature melodies, acapella.
Of course, Carrie Fisher shows up and is as enthusiastic as the rest of the crew to make this tune, created only by their voices, soar as high as a version played by a full orchestra. Of course, a great deal of the success of this musical moment goes to Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, who have an ongoing series of musical productions that never fail to delight.
7. When Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor team up again.
The year after Singing in the Rain was released a new movie starring the trio, minus Gene Kelly, released another romantic musical I Love Melvin. This movie tells the tale of Melvin, played by O’Connor, who is an assistant to a photographer that works for Look magazine. He meets Judy, played by Reynolds, and falls for her.
In an attempt to win Judy’s heart, Melvin lies about how important he is at the magazine and promises to get her on the cover. As we have learned with so many movies and stories before and after this one, he learns that lying to the one you love never comes out well. This clip is when he sets up a phony photo shoot just so he can be with her.