Each year around Christmas I like to revisit a heartwarming story about Mel Tormé as told by screenwriter Mark Evanier. Evanier is a Los Angeles native who has been in the television, animation, and comics industries since the early 1970s. His blog has become known as a reliable souce for a heartfelt obituary/eulogy column for many famous folks when they pass away, often with a personal anecdote about working with them.
He wrote this piece when actor/singer/songwriter Mel Tormé died in 1999. Here’s a snippet:
“That’s Mel Tormé down there. Do you know who he is?”
The singer was about 25 so it didn’t horrify me that he said, “No.”
I asked, “Do you know ‘The Christmas Song?'”
Again, a “No.”
I said, “That’s the one that starts, ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…'”
“Oh, yes,” the caroler chirped. “Is that what it’s called? ‘The Christmas Song?'”
“That’s the name,” I explained. “And that man wrote it.” The singer thanked me, returned to his group for a brief huddle…and then they strolled down towards Mel Tormé. I ditched the rest of my sandwich and followed, a few steps behind. As they reached their quarry, they began singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” directly to him.
Okay, it keeps going and gets better, so jump on over to Evanier’s site to enjoy it. And if you lilke that one, you might also enjoy his behind-the-scenes encounters with Larry Hagman at the pinnacle of his Dallas stardom.