For the first time in a long while I know what I want to do for my upcoming birthday: go to Cinelounge at The Montalban for an incredibly rare screening of one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, Bye Bye Birdie, on January 13, the night before my bday. Then I can just bask in the glow on my actual big day. Even Mr. X is into it, which you know is a really big deal.

The poster for this special showing of Bye Bye Birdie on January 13, 2021.

The poster for this special showing of Bye Bye Birdie on January 13, 2021.

Yes, of course I know that Bye Bye Birdie can occasionally be seen on TV, but even with our giant home televisions, nothing can compare to seeing this film on the big screen, the way it was made to be viewed. It’s one of those big very colorful ’60s film musicals that no TV can really do justice to.

On top of seeing the film in all its glory, two of the stars, Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell, will be appearing in person at this one-time-only showing, and will do a Q&A after the movie. I cannot believe it! Not much excites me these days, but I’ve been giggling like a schoolgirl over the prospect of seeing those two old pals together again.

Bye Bye Birdie has been so important to me for what seems my whole life. I’ve loved this one since I was a little girl. And it always somehow comes up in conversation with Mr. X; we refer to so many different aspects of the scenario. I even searched for pictures of Maureen Stapleton’s character in it for my round-up of potential Jeopardy hosts in this e-zine earlier this year. Of Mayim Bialik I wrote, “Mr. X said that in the outfits she wore with flat orthopedic-looking shoes, she reminded him of Maureen Stapleton’s character in Bye, Bye, Birdie!” We had a good time just looking through all those old photos.

Ann-Margret either opening or closing Bye Bye Birdie.

Ann-Margret either opening or closing Bye Bye Birdie.

Besides that I absolutely adore everything about this film, Ann Margret’s performance made a special impression on me, which I used in my early career. Here’s my little story about that: When I was in the Laugh Factory Ensemble improv troupe back in the day, there was one pre-set “bit” we did each week. (“Pre-set” meaning that that one was not really an improv–we each knew what we were going to do if called upon by the audience.) That piece was one of us auditioning for some musical, but as a famous actor or actress who had already done that number. I could not, and still cannot, sing at all, but there are three songs from musicals that I can get away with when needed. The first two are Adelaide’s numbers from Guys and Dolls, but the other one is Ann-Margret belting out Bye Bye Birdie at the beginning and end of this movie, and that’s the one I did all the time. Of course, I don’t even come close to performing like she did, but if I channel her, and throw my auburn tresses around, I can get away with it in an improv setting. So I used to think of her at least once a week when I was appearing at the Laugh Factory.

Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell then...

Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell then…

I still know just about every word, not to just that number, but to the entire movie soundtrack! So much so that I almost wish this screening was a sing-along! (But trust me—the people who sit near me on January 13 will be thrilled that it is not!)

Speaking of the music, at the January 13th screening, the audience will also be treated to a sneak preview of a few songs from Ann-Margret’s upcoming album on which Bobby Rydell is a guest artist, along with many others. That will be a bonus.

...and now, still looking good together!

…and now, still looking good together!

There are also limited “Meet and Greet” packages with reserved seating, which I seriously hope to be in on. I just missed meeting Ann-Margret at a private event about two years ago, so this will be special to me.

I hope to see you all there. (And please remember to wish me Happy Next-Day Birthday!)

Bye Bye Birdie on January 13, 2022 only at 7:30 p.m.
Cinelounge at The Montalban 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood
For tickets or more information, (though haven’t I just about covered it all?,) please go to www.cineloungehollywood.com



  1. Okay, trivia contest: Who is the girl Bobby Rydell pulls out of the crowd to dance with during “Lot of Living to Do”? She’s now deceased but became something of a name in the 70s and 80s. And no googling.

  2. Bobby Rydell’s dance parter, seen to his left in the screen capture, is none other than Lorene Yarnell one half of Shields and Yarnell. In that same capture, look over AM’s right shoulder and you’ll see a very young Elaine Joyce, who would go on to marry Neil Simon, among others.

    • Thanks! I will look for them at the special screening on Jan. 13.

      And I love your line, “…among others.” Brilliant!

  3. I love BYE BYE BIRDIE, too. I still watch the dance numbers to this day. Curtis, thanks so much for the info on Lorene and Elaine Joyce. I always knew Elaine was in the movie, but could never find her. Now I know where to look!

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