Letters: In Character

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Many listeners responded to Wednesday's installment of the In Character series about Auntie Mame.


Now, your comments. We got a lot about yesterday's story about "Auntie Mame," a flamboyant personality of fiction, film and stage. Our film critic, Bob Mondello, remembered his first encounter.

BOB MONDELLO: There I was at my first musical on Broadway with my aunt sitting beside me, watching a seriously cool aunt telling a nephew just a few years younger than me how to live life to the fullest.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Open a new window, open a new door.


Well, many of you wrote to share your "Mame" memories. Sara Jones of Brandon, Mississippi sent this: Coincidentally, the movie played on Turner Classic Movies last night, and I watched it again for probably the 20th time. The Mame in my life was my grandmother, who brought as much culture and excitement and adventure into my life as was available to us in small town Mississippi in the 1960s. Thanks for sparking my memory.

And "Auntie Mame" also created some new memories yesterday. We got this from Sean Murtha(ph) of Norwalk, Connecticut. He's a painter, and he sent us this story of what happened after he set up his easel outdoors. Yesterday, I stopped at a favorite locale of mine in Darien, Connecticut. Twenty minutes into my painting, I was told that I was trespassing and asked to leave. I demurred, but fumed and fantasized alternate responses all the way home. While attempting to complete the painting from memory in my studio, I listened to NPR. I'd never heard of "Auntie Mame," but as Bob Mondello sketched out her character, I recognized the exclusive society she spoke out against with a vividness enhanced by my experience. And then came the aha moment, when she derided the town of Darien where I had been snubbed.

(Soundbite of movie, "Auntie Mame")

Ms. ROSALIND RUSSELL (Actor): (as Mame Dennis) Patrick won't allow you to settle him down in some dry-veined, restricted community, make him an Aryan from Darien and marry him off to a girl with braces on her brains.

BLOCK: When Mr. Murtha heard that, he writes, my anger instantly evaporated and gave way to laughter, and I was able to successfully finish the painting. Well, we are always glad to help. Write to us at npr.org, click on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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