When the Redford Theatre in Detroit, MI has an actor make an appearance at the theater, you can count on it being a big event. In the past, they’ve pulled out all the stops to welcome Tippi Hedren, Butch Patrick, and Mary Badham and each of those events were very unforgettable. So when I heard Shirley Jones would be appearing at the Redford to introduce The Music Man, I knew it would be an event not to be missed and the Redford, once again, made it an amazing experience.
Shirley was at the theater for three days, Friday and Saturday night and a Sunday matinee, and I attended the Sunday matinee screening. The crowd was wonderful. There was a great turn-out and everyone was very excited to see Shirley. Shirley, now 79 years old, is still as vivacious as ever and looks absolutely beautiful.
When she came out to introduce The Music Man, she was led on to the stage by a marching band playing “76 Trombones.” For her introduction, Shirley talked about her new autobiography and told a few stories about her life. She told us about the time when she was young and pulled a false fire alarm, which threw her entire town into chaos. When Shirley and her friends were confronted about it, her friends were quick to declare, “Shirley did it!” As a punishment, she had to go to the Sheriff’s office every day for three months and apologize. She also talked about how she was offered the part of Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, but turned it down. However, she agreed to do The Partridge Family because she liked the idea of playing the first working mother on television.
Even though Shirley was on hand to introduce the movie on all three days, the theater had a special surprise saved for the Sunday matinee. One of Shirley’s friends from high school now lives in the Detroit area and had gotten in touch with the theater when she heard Shirley was coming to town. So the theater arranged for Shirley’s friend to come out so they could have a This is Your Life moment with her. During intermission, Shirley’s friend stood out of sight and told a story about the time Shirley had a convertible for a weekend so they drove around together with the top down, smoking cigarettes, and trying to pick up football players. Shirley laughed and said, “Yeah, that sounds like something I would have done.” Shirley seemed happy to be reunited with her friend and it was really fun to be there to see that.
This was just a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Not only was it wonderful to see Shirley in person, it was very nice to see The Music Man again. I had only seen it once before and that was a few years ago so I didn’t remember it very well.