Friday, January 12, 2018

The Battle of the Bette Davis Impersonators!

Written by Shane Smith, Editor, Stonewall Gazette

I'd always enjoyed watching female impersonator Charles Pierce perform his Bette Davis routine. Pierce had wit and good comedic timing (see him perform in a video at the end of this post). Imagine my surprise when I came across the entertaining video, The Battle of the Bette Davis Impersonators, from J. D. Doyle, the curator of Queer Music Heritage!

How did this Bette Davis compilation come about? Doyle says: "Over the years, many, MANY female impersonators have done impressions of Bette Davis, and this video slide show just scratches the surface, but with several of the best. I decided to string together several of these clips and make it a Battle of the Bette Davis Impersonators." I'm so glad Doyle put the compilation together.

Enjoy the videos!

The order in which you will hear each impersonator:

Arthur Blake, from "Curtain Time," 1957
TC Jones, from "Himself," 1959
Charles Pierce, from "Live at Bimbos," 1971
Ty Bennett, from "Queen for a Day," circa 1961
Jimmy James, from "The One & Many Voices of Jimmy James," 1999

Who do you think is the winner?

Also, if you've ever wondered why Bette Davis impersonators say the phrase "Peetah, give me the lettah" check out the last video below - it may have the answer to that pop culture mystery!

Visit Queer Music Heritage.

WATCH: The Battle of the Bette Davis Impersonators

WATCH: Bette Davis and the 'Peetah Mystery'

WATCH: Charles Pierce as Bette Davis

Flashback Friday! 

In this YouTube video from Ednay Arkspay we see Bette Davis on tour from the early 1980s, followed by an excerpt of the Skip E. Lowe television show "Looks At Hollywood" (1987) with guest Charles Pierce. Also, we'll see Pierce demonstrate how he applies makeup for his impersonation of Bette Davis. I hope you enjoy the video!

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