Chapter 16. Barbra Streisand + ‘Funny Lady’: Streisand’s Greatest Fans


‘Funny Lady’: Streisand’s Greatest Fans

In March of 1975 John and I  (along with Jason Barrett – another childhood friend who came along for the ride) jumped on the subway and went downtown to wait outside the ‘Funny Lady’ premiere.  We did this right after school let out so we were the very first ones there, even before they put up the barricades.  John had made a sign out of a bed sheet, I brought the poster from the “Live at the Forum” album and we got on television and everything.  WABC-TV Eyewitness News put these words under our clip: “Streisand’s Greatest Fans”.  That’s because that is who we told them we were.

I know every fan is Barbra’s greatest fan.  I get it.  There is always somebody who knew somebody who knew Peter Matz’s mother and has the lead sheets to some unreleased song or whatnot.  I don’t know what day she recorded what song or in what studio or what the temperature was in Central Park when she was filming the last scenes of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’.   Everyone knows something that someone else doesn’t know, everyone owns something that someone else doesn’t have so it all evens out.  I’m just saying that Eyewitness News said John and I were “Streisand’s Greatest Fans” so you can take it up with them.  Do you know that years later I tried to get a copy of that from their news department but it was already in a sub-vault and I would need a subpoena to get it out.  Are you kidding me?  I’d love to see the clip again but I’m not about to be hauled off in a paddy wagon for the privilege.

Where was I?

My very own clipping.  I'm not much for exact edging.

My very own clipping. I’m not much for exact edging.

Oh, yeah – my mother was in Ireland tending to her parents so I was on the loose and had a great afternoon.  The premiere was a $250 benefit for the Hospital of Special Surgery but we were having just as much fun on the sidewalk.  Until the situation got out of control.

That night convinced me that I don’t like these “fan” things.  People were so pushy and rude and mean once it got close to Barbra’s arrival.  No wonder she is scared.  When her car pulled up I thought we would be crushed to death.  We were right up front and everyone from behind just started jumping over us.  I remember looking at the limo and seeing what looked like brown velvet curtains over the windows.  James Caan got out of the car, the door closed again and stayed shut for a few moments.

I had wanted to see Barbra’s face but at that moment I had this sick feeling that I didn’t want her to see my face as part of this pushing crowd.  I don’t know how, because there was no room to maneuver but somehow I ended up on the other side of the car, I think I actually rolled over or pushed over the hood.

Funny Lady

The limo door opened again and out popped Barbra.  I saw her back, and part of her face as she looked briefly to the right and then she was whisked into the theater and was gone.  It was a crazy scene and one that never should have happened and I actually felt terrible that I was part of it.

‘Funny Lady’ is my favorite Barbra Streisand movie.  I know, I know…but hear me out.  I get into so many arguments about this, I know the editing and continuity is shambles but she is so beautiful in that movie I could watch it forever.  I think the most beautiful moments ever capture on film is the sequence where she pulls up at the polo grounds and sees Nick.  Her dress matched the color of the car, which matched the color of her eye shadow.  She looks gorgeous.

Not to mention her phone conversation with Billy and singing with just the piano ‘If I Love Again’.

I’m dead even thinking about it.  That is the album I am waiting for: ‘Barbra and Piano’.  Her voice sounds so beautiful and so clear.  And, wait, there is more.  She goes back to the polo grounds in that big white hat and she’s sitting, applauding the match and turns her head…rent it tonight.  Barbra Streisand is the most beautiful woman in the world.  I am not saying it’s the best Barbra movie, I am just saying watch it.  She is stunning.

And you can take my word for it.  One of “Streisand’s Greatest Fans”.

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