Bob Deutsch

Streisand filming The Way We Were

Photographer Bob Deutsch began shooting photos of movie stars in the 1960s. As a resident of New York City, he was able to get up close and personal with many stars by hanging around Broadway Theatres and the taping of television shows. He started photographing stars with a Kodak Brownie Starflash camera, and later used 35 millimeter film cameras. Deutsch's photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Life and People magazines.

The text below is written by Bob Deutsch.

I can honestly remember the first time I heard Barbra Streisand on the radio. I was a teenager growing up in Flushing, New York, listening to WNEW-AM radio.

A disc jockey announced an old song by a new singer and there was Barbra singing “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?” I was enchanted by her voice!

Streisand at stage door by Bob Deutsch

(Above photo): This was in 1962, while Barbra was appearing on Broadway in “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” and also appearing in the Village at the Bon Soir. At that time, I was spending all my free time hanging out with my friends at Broadway theatres and TV shows, especially The Garry Moore Show, which was taped on Fridays at Studio 50, now The Ed Sullivan Theatre. After seeing The Garry Moore Show on TV, I fell in love with the antics of Carol Burnett, who at that time was relatively unknown except to a small circle of fans. I soon became one of that circle.

(Photo below): Carol Burnett and me, taken just after I spotted her walking up 5th Avenue. I offered to walk her home to 220 Central Park South and she let me carry her bag! (circa 1963)

Carol Burnette and Bob Deutsch

I can vividly remember being in the audience of The Garry Moore Show in 1962 when Barbra was a guest. I was with a friend and Barbra and Robert Goulet were guests that week. Barbra’s song was set in a bar during the depression and as the music started, I remember thinking that she would probably do something funny, since “Big Bad Wolf” was a comic song. However, “Happy Days Are Here Again” was the song and she was fabulous (of course). I have heard it sung many times by Barbra since then, but never was it done quite like that! So much raw power and emotion! I was hooked. I became a Barbra fanatic on the spot.

(Below: Streisand leaving Sardi's, probably the “Wholesale” first-night cast party, 1962.)

Streisand leaving Sardi's

I soon began hanging around the stage door of “Wholesale” and became a regular fixture there. I would see Barbra and her boyfriend Elliott Gould leave the stage door and I would try to strike up a conversation (shy me!). Mostly just a “hi” and a “hi back” and they would be gone—but the memories are still there after more than 50 years.

Streisand taping Ed Sullivan Show

(Above photo): Taken by me in 1962 outside Studio 50—now the Ed Sullivan Theater.

My next memory and encounter was when Barbra appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. It’s the classic one where she sang “When The Sun Comes Out.”

I was at the stage door when she arrived to rehearse and after saying hi to each other, I was able to snap a few pictures of her. I told her how much I admired her work and asked her what songs she was going to sing on her next album. She asked me what I wanted her to sing (you can imagine?—I was kvelling!!!) I replied “The Man That Got Away” and she replied: ”Too Judy Garland” [Note: Streisand finally sang that song in concert 1994-5]. I then suggested “Stormy Weather” and she said “Too Lena Horne” (I’m still waiting). I then said that anything she sang was all right with me.

Streisand in plaid poncho at airport

(Above photo): Taken at one of my Sundays at American Airlines Terminal at New York International Airport. Barbra just happened to be coming in from one of her concerts. [Probably circa early-1963.]

Funny Girl Winter Garden stage door

(Above photo): Barbra had just come from Colony Record Store after buying some albums (remember albums???). This was after a Funny Girl matinee, returning to the theater for an evening performance. [Note: one of the records Barbra is carrying is the cast album to Anyone Can Whistle.]

While Barbra was performing in Funny Girl, I saw the show at least six times — sometimes paying and sometimes standing in the back of the Winter Garden Theatre for the second act—“crashing” the show. Crashing means that during intermission, I would mingle with the paying audience, and then as the lights flashed, signaling the return to the theatre for the second act, I would nonchalantly (sweating bullets!!!) walk in and stand in a place I thought was vacant. I would watch out of the corner of my eye for any sign of a uniform coming my way. (In those days ushers and usherettes wore uniforms). Only once did I have a problem: an usherette counted one more person in Act Two than in Act One. She got to me as the lights were dimming and asked for my ticket stub. I looked in every pocket and couldn’t find mine (obviously). I was told to leave, but I refused. As the music started, the head usher was called over and I was just about to give up when I was asked what the closing scene of Act One was. What a relief! As anyone who has seen the show knows, Act One ended at the Philadelphia train station (“Don’t Rain On My Parade”). When I told them, they gave up and let me stay. (Memo to fans trying to crash a show today: Don’t try this until you have seen the entire show first).

Streisand at airport with dog by Bob Deutsch

(Above photo): Streisand went to London to star in Funny Girl on the West End.
When she returned to New York, one of the papers announced where and when she would be returning. Of course, I went out to Kennedy Airport to welcome her home. I thought I’d be one of a few people there, but it turned out to be a mob scene. She was escorted through customs and as she exited the building, I pushed my way right up to her and was able to get one shot. Unfortunately, someone had pulled my flash cable out of my camera and I didn’t realize that I’d be taking a picture without a flash. This is the result. Still remains one of my favorite pix, since it brings back that day. She is holding her dog, Sadie.

Night filming for Owl and the Pussycat

My next encounter with Barbra was a few years later (I had to go off to college). She had already made the films Funny Girl, Hello Dolly and On a Clear Day….and now she was a famous movie star. The New York papers announced that she was in town to film The Owl and the Pussycat, so I called Columbia Pictures to ask where and when Barbra would starting filming. I must have spoken to someone with a heart, because the lady said “I can’t tell you, but if you go to 59th Street and First Avenue, you might see them.”

Streisand in fur shooting Owl

So off I went and there they were, filming the opening scene where Doris (Barbra) is in a limousine on a rainy N.Y. evening. There weren’t a lot of people hanging around, so watching and taking pictures was easy. I was even mistaken for an extra and told to walk in the rain in front of the limousine, but I told them I was just watching—blew my big chance to be in a movie with Barbra!

Deutsch photos of Barbra on THE WAY WE WERE set

My next encounter was during the making of The Way We Were. This was in 1972. I called the studio and again I was told that the filming for that day would be in front of the Plaza Hotel (the final scene of the film). This time the crowds were much larger—not only was Barbra there but Robert Redford, live and in-person! However, by this time in my career I was an accredited photo journalist with a New York City Police Press Pass, a must-have in order to be allowed to cross police barricades. When I arrived at the Plaza, the barricades were set up to keep the crowds back, but one look at my press pass and the police gave me free access to the set to shoot photos to my hearts delight. What a day! Many snaps of Barbra, including my favorite one: it shows Barbra looking at me not happily with a look that seems to say “Who are you and what are you doing on the set?” (Sorry, Barbra).


Streisand and Jon Peters

The next time our paths crossed was while I was still a member of the working press. Barbra was to be honored by the ADL, The Anti-Defamation League at the Pierre Hotel. When I heard that Barbra was going to be there, I begged to get the assignment to cover it and I was given it. Barbra was there with Jon Peters and they both couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious. They happily posed for pictures and seemed really glad to be there.


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