Saturday, September 11, 2010

"United We Stand" by Lola Falana and The Muppets

It's a curiously appropriate sentiment for this of all days; whatever political or religious tyranny we might face - now or in the future - we'd do best to face it together. Birthday wishes go out today to Lola Falana, who provided The Muppet Show's Episode 411 with this stirring moment, first aired in November 1979.

Falana got her big break at famed nightspot Small's Paradise in Harlem, where she was mentored by jazz great Dinah Washington; she went on to become the Queen of Las Vegas - at one time she was the highest paid cabaret star in the world - after getting her big break on Broadway from Sammy Davis Jr., who cast her in the 1964 musical Golden Boy.

She was ubiquitous in the Seventies, but through the Eighties and Nineties kept a much lower profile during an ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis beginning in 1987; on September 10th, 2001, she claims to have heard a voice, which told her: 'Today is the last day things will be as they are. Tomorrow nothing will be the same again.'

The following day, of course, the 9-11 Attacks did indeed change everything - and on her 59th birthday*at that! Already a born-again Catholic, she claims the divine revelation motivated her to carry out her charitable works on behalf of the orphaned children of Sub-Saharan Africa via the Lambs of God Ministry she founded.

*Lola Falana was born on this day in 1942.
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