Monday, April 18, 2011

Una Merkel's Roadside Tribute


This is a roadside marker from Covington, Kentucky.  Una Merkel, screen comedienne we might remember as the wisecracking best friend from "42nd Street" (1933), or the wisecracking housekeeper from "The Parent Trap" (1961), or a number of wiseacre roles in between in movies and on TV, was born here.

Nominated for an Oscar for "Summer and Smoke" (1961), she also had a handful of Broadway credits, and won a Tony Award in 1956 for "The Ponder Heart".   I have to wonder, though, if this simple sign, as earnestly detailed as possible in what space it allows, is a more glorious tribute than even the Tony.  That your hometown would care to remember you long after you'd left it, and hitched it's civic pride to your humble existence in an entertainment industry where you represent little more than a footnote, is something special indeed.

Who says historical markers are just for famous pioneers, generals, and presidents?  Get out of the car and take a picture of the family by Una Merkel's roadside marker, and take your hats off a good ol' sassy peroxide blonde.

9 comments:

Caftan Woman said...

Charming. If only there had been space for a picture of Una in her prime. Preferably not after the saloon brawl in "Destry Rides Again".

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Funny how they mention Dietrich on the marker. It's been about 4,000 years since I saw "Destry Rides Again". One of these days I'll have to have another look.

Grand Old Movies said...

Hooray for Una Merkel! She may not have had leading roles, but she was always memorable, especially in her comic relief. Loved her in 42nd Street & The Bank Dick.

DorianTB said...

What a wonderful tribute to Una Merkel from her hometown! I agree -- that's as big an honor as her awards and nominations for her acting. Luckily, Google has oodles of photos of Una in her prime! :-)

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for stopping by, Una fans. So nice to hear from you.

VP81955 said...

In 1986, there was a classified ad in the old Hollywood Studio Magazine that read, "Una Merkel Has No Headstone!" and requested contributions to provide one. I sent $5, she got a headstone, and now she has this honor, too. Great news for the actress who played the best friend of just about every leading lady (Carole Lombard, Loretta Young, etc.).

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks so much for this bit of info, I had no idea. Good on you for helping out. Una's got friends.

Matthew Coniam said...

I see the name Una Merkel, I come running - even when I only get a few seconds here and there at work to use the internet...
How wonderful that they were that proud of her. And quite right too. She's brilliant and adorable, as the heroine's best friend pre-Code, the shrewish battleaxe in the forties, and everything between and beyond. Lovely!

Matthew Coniam said...

Oh, and never mind 'one of these days': Rewatch Destry Rides Again NOW! It's fabulous.