The New York Journal-American TV Magazine
Week of April 25—May 1, 1965
Barbra Talks: A Streisand With Style
by Frank Judge
BARBRA STREISAND has changed. She's no longer a kook.
Viewers will see for themselves Wednesday night when Barbra stars in her first television special on CBS. She will be the height of fashion, but it won't be just an act.
The clothes she's pictured wearing in this exclusive magazine layout are every bit as stylish as the ones Barbra wears in the TV special. The ones pictured here were taken from her personal wardrobe.
Twenty-three-year-old Barbra will argue with you if you say she ever was a kook, if by kook you mean a zany beatnik type.
Her kooky reputation stemmed from these facts:
- To save room rent, she used to carry a cot around Manhattan and bunk wherever she could—friends' apartments, studio lofts, press agents' offices.
- She dyed her hair a crazy red, put on white makeup and dressed in black tights, feathered boas and hats from the 1920s.
- She wore her hair as though she were leading a boycott against beauty parlors.
- She went on the "Tonight" show when Jack Paar was running it and looked, acted and talked rather kooky.
Confronted with these facts, Barbra said:
"I was a kid in those days, know what I mean? Just a kid. I was growing up. "
A few years ago, this writer interviewed her in a small supper club. It was during her booking there that she took a night off, went on "Tonight" and scored a big hit.
During that interview, Barbra, who seemed a very shy teenager, was asked what she was aiming at.
"I'd like to be a big Broadway star in a musical," she said.
It was not long after that she impressed New York drama critics in 1962's "I Can Get It for You Wholesale."
That success, some hit records, good nightclub bookings, wonderful television exposure and a vague resemblance to Fanny Brice combined to land Barbra her current starring role in "Funny Girl" on Broadway.
And that led to her multi-million-dollar, 10-year contract with CBS.
Financially secure for the first time in her life, Barbra, the girl who used to look over at the lights of Manhattan from the rooftop of her Brooklyn home, now owns Broadway.
Maybe she sometimes wanders off pitch when she sings, but her audiences are too trapped by her bewitching theatrical interpretation of the song to notice. It's a singing style that reveals Barbra's basic wish: to be an actress.
"To me," she explains, "a song is a role to be acted out."
Barbra will do a Broadway drama someday, and the critics will acclaim it, even though she'll not sing a note.
In time, there are bound to be movies. There'll always be records and some nightclub work. And, of course, there will be television.
No longer carting a cot around with her to save rent money, Barbra and her husband, 26-year-old Elliott Gould, who was the leading man in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale," live in a Manhattan penthouse apartment.
Yes, Barbra has changed. The kooky clothes and hairdo are gone. In their place are the style and glamor befitting a star.
"My Name Is Barbra," as the television special is called, is divided into three segments.
The opening one is a surrealistic song-adventure, a kind of Alice in Wonderland excursion.
The second portion of the special shows Barbra in a fun-and-fashion fantasy sequence filmed at the famed Bergdorf Goodman store.
The final portion of the show is a concert.
"There will be no guests on this first special," Barbra said. "It will be a one-woman show. Me."
Page Credits: Scans courtesy of Gustavo.
Related: My Name is Barbra TV Show