Awards and autographs, costumes and wigs were recently auctioned off. Even the glamorous red dress from "Hello, Dolly! " found a home.
LOS ANGELES - For men of a certain age - and these are mostly men - Carol Channing was something of an obsession They waited through the Broadway stage doors in Tampa for her to emerge.devoured the "Hello, Dolly! " Cast album as a teenager, I watched her on TV and in movies and sometimes dressed up as a drag to pretend to be her - the red one exaggerated lip, the buzz of a nasal voice, the comedic performance with wide eyes and the shine of puffy hair.
So there was a public ready and on hold when much of Channing's domain was auctioned last month, over two years after she died at the age of 97 in Rancho Mirage, California .
All 400 items were sold in eight hours, of course, and the auction, authorized by Channing's heirs, raised nearly 406,000 $ from 6,000 registered bidders, part of the process going to charity. Fans grabbed the Tony and Golden Globe Awards, the dresses, shawls and shoes, ragged dresses, needlepoint pillows and wigs. Some of these Channingabilia were quite pricey: a 1964 Tony for "Distinguished Achievement in the Theater " went for $ 28,125, while a glamorous red suit she wore parading down a staircase in the title role of "Hello, Dolly! " Attracted $ 23,750. Image Memories of the estate, including a flag from the traveling production of "Sugar Babies ", were on display in a warehouse, however all Auctions were made by phone or online. Credit ... Alex Welsh for Hfrance.fr
"We've had celebrity sales in the past, but it was different," said Joe Baratta, vice president of development at Abell Auction Company, who manages the estate. "There were items that were worn, were used, were touched by her and gifts that were given to honor her career. " (300 more Channing items will be placed in auction in September).
Considering the pandemic, there were no thrills in person - paddles in the air, commissioner - auctioneer with a hammer on a podium. Everything was done online and over the phone, with bidders and lurkers in front of their screens. People who wanted to inspect the merchandise could go to the Abell warehouse in Commerce, a town located just outsidet from downtown Los Angeles. But most of the items were bought on sight.
By whom m? Here's a look at three superfans who brought their checkbooks (or at least Venmo accounts) and walked away with a piece of Carol Channing's six decades in public life.
David Turner: Hang on to the 'zing ' Image Turn into a coat that Channing wore in the London production of the musical "Lorelei ". Credit ... Amy Lombard for Hfrance. en
David Turner is an actor (the most recent Broadway show: "The Boys in the Band "revival) and a pilotprofessional flying for Angel Flight East . As a student, he waited hours for Channing at the door of a theater in Hartford, Connecticut, after a "Hello, Dolly! " Performance. He was a soldier; by the time she got out, Turner and her boyfriend were the only two fans left.
"I didn't say a word ", recalls Turner, 46, the other day. No autograph request either. "I felt it would be predatory. I just watched her move.
That night in Hartford, her good faith in Channing was indisputable. In 1977, he was already playing - and playing and playing - a song from the children's compilation "Free to Be You and Me " on which Channing played (more speaking than singing) " Household work. When he was 15 in New Jersey, he started pretending to be an 18-year-old man who told him that when he had a cold he looked like Carol Channing.
He still does to this day, and is hoping that one of the Channing dresses he now calls his own can be put into service for a drag performance, assuming that he can squeeze in.
"I do " Diamonds are a girl 's best friend " he said about the song from her role as Lorelei Lee in the 1949 musical "Gentlemen prefer blondes.
This was Turner 's first auction, and he found it a little intimidating. But in the end, he had bought 25 items: a sketch of Al Hirschfeld from Channing, the yeux wide open and with an exaggerated grimace; some dresses and costumes; a blouse monogrammed with his initials; a pair of tap dancing; and this Tony from 1964.
Actually, that made him a little nauseous - was it macabre? he wondered - before deciding that this was a good way to preserve the memory of someone who had been so much of his life.
" She had a way to get a zing room, "he said. "For me, being part of the auction was wanting to hang on to that sentiment.
"I l 'liked ", he added. "And Carol is in many ways a very strange person. She was the first person who really took everything weird and tied her cart to it.
Nicky Ciampoli: Almost in family Image Nick Ciampoli with one of the two Bob Mackie dresses that 'he bought at auction. Credit ... Alex Welsh for Hfrance.fr
Nicky Ciampoli lived with Carol Channing during the last years of her life. Don't read too much about it. He was her personal assistant, a job he started while she was still on tour, and he stuck around as age caught up with her and she stepped out of the spotlight.
Channing divided her time between Modesto and Palm Springs, and Ciampoli stayed with her in both places.
For $ 25,000, he grabbed 18 coins to keep his memories: the wedding outfit from his wedding in 2003 withHarry Kullijian (she then reused it for book dedications); two flapper dresses by Bob Mackie; a Ciampoli red tuxedo helped her put on for the performances.
"I would have bought more if I could have", a- he declared. "I didn't buy the stuff because it was Carol Channing, the Broadway actress. I bought it because it was very sentimental in many ways for me. "
Ciampoli met Channing in January 2006 when He was 21 and worked for a theater producer who booked him in Tampa for three performances of his solo show "The first eighty years are the toughest. He was tasked with looking after Channing and Kullijian during their stay. A little while later, back in California, she called to ask if he could become her full-time personal assistant.
DAs part of his job, he passed through a large garage in Modesto filled with artifacts from his life - costumes, wigs, letters from people like Joan Crawford and Barbara Walters. Much of this material was destroyed by water, bugs, and rats, and at one point he hired a 1-800-GOT-JUNK dump truck.
"You wouldn't believe what we threw away ", he said. "Old phone books. Pictures and s. Albums. " But some were saved - "albums that didn't have rat poop " - and were put up for auction.
Ciampoli never got to see Channing in "Hello, Dolly! ", which in several appearances on Broadway and on tour she has performed some 5,000 times . And now ? You guess it. "I started pretending to be Carol," he said. "I'm not just a fan. I had so much personal involvement withthem. "
" My room was right next to them in Palm Springs "he added of Channing and Kullijian, who died in 2011. "They were like grandparents to me. I used to sit in his room watching old TV shows - Andy Griffith. " Image A wig and headdress were also part of Turner's earnings. Credit ... Amy Lombard for Hfrance.fr
Brig Berney: Leaping on a Tony
Brig Berney logged into his computer on the morning of the auction with the eyes on a big object: the 1995 Lifetime AchieveT only that Channing won for bringing "Dolly " back on tour. Berney had been the business leader for this revival, overseeing the day-to-day business affairs of show management, from payroll to travel.
But it was down on the trophy list on the block, and Berney, now the business manager for "Hamilton ", decided it was too risky to wait in an auction sale. also competitive bidding.
Instead, he scooped his special 1968 Tony in a winning bid of $ 14,000.
He is now perched on "a pretty old desk" in the living room of his Manhattan apartment. "If you have a Tony Award, you might as well put it in a place of honor," he said. "No reason to put it in a drawer.
Also in his point of view: embroidery that fans have enviedowed to Channing and a Theater World Award naming h uh a promising personality from the 1948-49 season.
Berney had met Channing years before he was born. starts working on his shows. " Hello, Dolly ! "came to the Morris A. Mechanic Theater in Baltimore in 1978 and Berny, a wide-eyed teenager, made his way through backstage to get her program signed.
She undoubtedly forgot about this encounter twenty years later when they logged in again. But she was, he said, charming and patient as he dotted her with questions from a theater fan: "What was David Merrick like? What was it like opening 'Dolly' in New York?" "
" I havegolden ask questions, ”he added. "She loved to talk and I loved to listen.