This is one of those stories that is repeated in all the books about musical theatre. Mary Martin, who was still a rising figure in the American musical during the early 40s, was cast in her first major lead in One Touch of Venus. The score was by Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash, with a book by S.J. Perelman, involved a barber putting a ring on a statue of Venus, thus bringing her to life and leading to romance. The team hoped to recruit the famed designer Mainbocher to design the costumes for the production. The audition involved Mary Martin turning her chair around, sitting with her arms resting on the back and singing “That’s Him,” directly to the designer. Upon finishing the song, Mainbocher agreed to do it, but under one condition: that Martin never perform that song any other way. The chair stayed in, and the show was a smash hit.
Here is Martin, many years later, recreating this song. Her voice lost quite a bit of its luster as she got older, but she never lost that charm that seduced Mainbocher into designing for her. Enjoy.