The mesmerizing and tragic true story of the iconic Mary Small, a child prodigy, radio singer and Broadway star whose moxie and resilience made her a defining symbol of the Greatest Generation. Despite her success as one of the most recognizable performers of the Golden Age and a fifty year career in show business, she disappeared into obscurity, died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave.
As we get ready to share the story of Mary Small with the world via iTunes and Amazon, I wanted to share a fictionalized story about my late discovery adoption that led to this production. Here is the story in its entirety. Enjoy!
The naiveté of the roaring twenties was fresh in the minds of most Americans in the first years of the Great Depression. That’s why the sudden slip into economic calamity following the stock market crash became such a transformational event in the evolution of our national character. It is juxtapositions like these on a grand scale that can force entire societies into circumspection, to question what is important in life and that journey has the power to define entire generations. This is the true story of how the character of one little girl was shaped by these uncertain times, how she matured into one of America’s biggest stars and ow time somehow forgot her… until a few years ago when I discovered that I was adopted and that she was my grandmother!
The secret of my adoption blew wide open one morning while my wife and I were at a prenatal center for an ultrasound and genetic testing. My parents had come along and as I sat between them, filling out family history paperwork I could sense something was bothering them. They realized that for the health of my unborn child they had to be honest about my birth and confessed that I was adopted. It came as a complete surprise. At 32, as I was just beginning to start a new family, I suddenly had to come to grips the revelation that I had never known my biological ancestors.
My research led me to Manhattan where I continued to hunt for the truth. Unfortunately, every road was a dead end. My biological mother had died and my father was a retired undercover officer in what amounted to witness protection. I was close to giving up. The one clue I had left was an address in midtown copied from an old phonebook in the public library. With my flight back to Los Angeles departing in a few hours, I had just enough time to check it out. After a few knocks, a nonagenarian once known as “the little girl with the big voice” answered her door and asked my name. I hesitated for some reason and said I was reporter. She kindly invited me in for a ginger ale and told me this story. Continue reading The Little Girl With The Big Voice
NYC Independent Film Festival Premiere Date Announced! For those of us who can join us for our New York Premiere, the film will screen on Thursday, October 15th at the Producer’s Club @ 358 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.nycindieff.com/session/romy-i-am-shy-the-little-girl-with-the-big-voice
On this day in #history in 1921 singer Mary Small was born. She would entertain audiences for over 70+ years yet die penniless and a ward of the court. Her incredible life story is being told for the first time in a new documentary… The Little Girl with the Big Voice.
Vic Mizzy, Mary Small and other entertainers comfort a soldier injured on the battlefield in WWII. When we were putting this documentary together we had the chance to speak with Joe Frankin who gave me this quote: Eddie Cantor used to say you know, you go to a grocery store you gotta pay for the milk, you go to a meat market you gotta pay for the liver, but entertainers, they don’t get paid, they get asked all the time to do benefits…and anybody who called Eddie Cantor or Mary Small for a benefit… they were there!
Making this documentary has given me the great opportunity to know H. Kevin Miserocchi, who is the Executive Director of the Tee and charles addams foundation in New York. Kevin was instrumental in helping me develop this story and guide it to the place where it is now and we are eternally grateful to him, not just for his friendship and help with this project, but for his commitment to the legacy of charles addams. Thanks, Kevin! Be sure to check out the foundation at http://www.charlesaddams.com/
Many thanks to Stephanie for sharing this picture of Mary Small taken from a family picnic sometime in the early 2000′s. There are not many pictures like this of Mary Small and so we’re lucky to have it.