You may know Carol Jean Barta -- the local "Queen of All Media" -- as the little old lady rapper on that WeNeedGold.com TV commercial or, if blood and gore are your game, from direct-to-video screamfests like Bloodthirsty Cannibal Demons (where she played Haggis the Witch and invented her own recipe for prop vomit; pistachio pudding was the secret ingredient).
But Miss Barta, the "Garage Sale Queen" on KKFI-FM's Anything Goes Show, was also voted "Miss Cinerama" back in 1957 when the big vaudeville house-turned-movie theater at 14th and Main was turned into a Cinerama house with great fanfare. Carol revealed this tantalizing tidbit from her colorful life story when I took her to lunch at the Marquee Bar & Grill -- this week's featured Cafe review in The Pitch -- and she explained how she was selected to show off her shapely figure in order to promote the wide-screen Cinerama process at the former RKO Missouri Theater -- now the AMC Mainstreet.
The new Marquee Bar & Grill is located in the former lobby of the 1921 theater. Carol remembers it well. She once stood in line in front of the theater for nearly two hours in 1951 to see The Day the Earth Stood Still. "I didn't care that much about a science fiction movie," Carol Jean recalls, "but my boyfriend at the time was extremely attractive."