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Close-Up goes to France

The Story


It's a glamorous life for the Bluebell Girls, the "long-limbed showgirls" who made Paris's Lido club famous. This 1960 episode of Close-Up goes backstage at the Lido to learn all about the private and public lives of the club's celebrated dancers. The rest of the episode also focuses on France: Blair Fraser interviews France's former premier Pierre Mendès-France, while the chief of the New York Times Paris bureau, Robert C. Doty, discusses controversial French actions in Algeria.

Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: Jan. 28, 1960
Guest(s): Robert C. Doty, Margaret Kelly, Pierre Mendès-France
Host: J. Frank Willis
Interviewer: Blair Fraser, Bernard Braden, Clifton Daniel
Duration: 28:54

Did You know?


• The Lido in Paris has been around since 1946. Located on the Champs-Élysées, the club has long been famous for its elaborate shows featuring dancers in flamboyant, skimpy costumes.
• The Lido dancers are still called Bluebells today.
• Margaret Kelly, also known as "Miss Bluebell," was the boss and mother figure for the Bluebells until the 1980s. When she died in 2004, a New York Times obituary emphasized how Kelly "watched over every aspect of the Bluebells' conduct, on stage and off" to ensure their reputations remained spotless.
• Pierre Mendès-France was premier of France from June 1954 to February 1955. With such a short time in office, his term could be viewed as a failure. But according to the Oxford Dictionary of Political Biography, "The paradox is that, for all this apparent failure, Mendès-France acquired during his lifetime a political stature that was denied to any of his contemporaries." Some of his great achievements included negotiating the end of French involvement in the Indo-China War, and helping Tunisia and Morocco on their path toward autonomy.


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