Mary Costa and Rory Calhoun Sing a Duet! No, Really.
Recently I’ve been organizing the source tapes I’ve used for my live events over the years, and I’ve come across some fun stuff to share here, including this duet from Jack Benny’s Shower of Stars program (The November 11, 1956 episode) featuring Mary Costa and Rory Calhoun. Mary regularly appeared on the program as a commercial spokesperson for sponsor Chrysler, and Rory was a guest on the show that week. I used this particular clip at the first Walt Disney Art Classics convention (click HERE for a complete post on Mary and the event) to surprise Mary, who hadn’t seen it since the day it was performed.
As every classic Disney fan knows, Ms. Costa was the voice of Princess Aurora/Briar Rose in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959) before she went on to a long and honored career in the opera world. Before finding this gem, I had no idea that macho star Mr. Calhoun could carry a tune, but with the exception of one little flub, he nearly holds his own. Of course, this was live television, and Mary and Rory sang their number in front of the curtain, probably while the scenery was changing behind it, which makes the effort even more impressive.
I love this rare example of a transitional period in Mary’s career. She hadn’t completely turned the corner into the opera world yet, and her personality really comes out as she trades quips with Jack and sings and laughs with Rory.