Sunday, May 20th: My theater (and television) background is lacking. I’ll celebrate the day anyway, even though I don’t know who she is. Today is ELIZA DOOLITTLE DAY. Eliza Doolittle was “born” in a 1912 play by George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion.
According to Wikipedia, “Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women’s independence.”
In one of the scenes, Eliza, upset with her teacher, fantasizes about the day she’ll have her revenge. She sings: “One day I’ll be famous, I’ll be proper and prim …” She continues, “Next week on the twentieth of May, da-da-da-da-da-da-DA,
I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day!”
The 1912 play was adapted for film in 1935 and 1938. The Broadway musical My Fair Lady was based on the 1938 film, which later became a 1964 film version. (Missed seeing this. How is that possible?) In 1999, a modern, teenage take on Pygmalion was filmed, She’s All That. (Guilty of missing that one too! Thank you Wikipedia for expanding my knowledge.) And somehow throughout all this, I also missed three television productions: a 1963 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Pygmalion, a 1983 adaptation, and a 1985 BBD adaptation.
I shall make amends for my lack of proper movie and television watching by celebrating Eliza Doolittle Day today. Now … where did I place my proper English accent?