‘Eloise at the Museum’
Kay Thompson, the creator of Eloise, “may always, in fact,” writes April Bernard in the NYR Daily, “have envisioned her character, like Fanny Brice’s Baby Snooks, as a kind of slapstick vaudeville turn, or a slightly naughty Shirley Temple. At the museum display, one is invited to pick up an old-fashioned telephone receiver and listen to a recording of Bernadette Peters, from the 2015 audiobook, lisping, ‘Hello, it’s me, Eloise, I am six and I live at the Plaza in New York,’ in a really horrible version of a child’s voice. There’s also a wobbly video from the 1950s, after the Eloise books first became successful, when Kay Thompson was the headline act in the Plaza’s Persian Room. Singing a very conventional, soupy song about ‘the little girl/who lives at the Plaza in New York,’ Thompson croons and mugs while a very fetching child actress parades around and eventually kisses the grownups goodnight before heading off to bed. Eloise kissing the grownups! Please. At most, she might have deigned to allow a waiter she fancied to kiss her hand.”
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