Fashion Plate

If you like Texas Jot, please take a look at my other blog, Fashion Plate. It is the home of my handmade retro Barbie clothes and lots of delicious recipes from my cookbooks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A New Look at Doris Day

If this is the Doris Day you remember, you might want to look past some of her more obvious films of the late 1950's and early 60's:  Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, Move Over, Darling and Send Me No Flowers.  These films were my introduction into this perky, freckled-nose blond. With the advent of Turner Classic Movies and VCRs,  a whole new Doris became available to the retro film fan. There are tons of Doris Day biographies and filmographies floating around on the Internet. There is no need for me to provide her life history, but I would like to share with you the talented singer, dancer and actress I've come to know and admire.
Her first film, Romance on the High Seas, features a kitschy, gum-smacking Doris as Georgia Garrett.  Georgia subs for a society woman (Janis Paige) on a cruise to South America, while she remains home and spies on her husband.  Meanwhile, husband Don Defore send his own detective (Jack Carson) on the cruise to keep tabs on his wife.  The best part of this film is that Doris is unsophisticated and almost annoying in her portrayal of the nightclub singer, Georgia.  The uninitiated might guess it was just poor acting, but Doris had years of stage experience as a singer with the big bands.  Although a quirky story, you can't miss the glorious voice behind the hip-wiggling Georgia. 
Doris was paired with Gordon MacRae on several films (Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon), but my favorite is their first, Tea for Two. This 1950's adaption of the musical No, No Nanette, Doris sings and dances her way into your heart.  When viewing this film, it is difficult to believe she suffered a catastrophic leg injury as a teenager.  The weirdest part of this movie is the injection of the musical number Call of the Sea, featuring Gene Nelson and Patrice Wymore. Eve Arden's dry wit is a saving grace.  The plot doesn't involve much thought, but just hang with it for the Doris scenes.
In 1954, Doris starred in Lucky Me, a story of a troupe of performers stranded in Florida.  You may need to take an Advil and resort to strong drink to live through the Phil Silvers performance as Hap Schneider.  Robert Cummings' acting leaves a lot to be desired, but Doris' talent carries the show.  Wait until you see the blond princess in a dark wig and glasses!  I can understand why Doris did not want to make this movie, but I think it shows that she was capable of carrying even a poorly written screenplay. The following year she portrayed Ruth Etting in the stunningly dramatic, Love Me or Leave Me, which verified her acting abilities.
My final pick showcasing Doris is The Glass Bottom Boat (1966). This film, a spoof of spy movies, features Doris as widow, Jennifer Nelson and aerospace scientist, Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor).  Added to the romantic mix is Arthur Godfrey (who hadn't been around since his radio scandal in 1953), Paul Lynde, Dom Deluise and Dick Martin (Laugh-In). Doris sings a few songs, but mostly you are in for 110 minutes of comedy. This film features maybe the most riske scenes with Doris, when her mermaid tail is snagged by fisherman, Bruce.  Never fear, although she states she is bottomless, you can see she is actually wearing pink bikini bottoms. 
In the span of twenty years, she made just less than forty films.  I admit I'm partial to the comedies and musicals, but one cannot think of her without remembering her other talents as a stage singer, recording artist, television star and humanitarian.  I wish she hadn't retired from the limelight, but I can't find fault with wanting to get away from the tabloids.  I recently saw a piece on Turner Classic Movies where Doris talked about her leading men.  That voice that we all grew to love was heard, again, but unfortunately, no glimpse of the present day Doris. 


  1. She did it all and made it look easy.
    That's why I believe she's so under-appreciated.
    Class act all the way.

  2. New author, Michael J DeVita, has just written a book about Doris called "MY 'SECRET LOVE' AFFAIR WITH DORIS DAY. It is currently available on, where the posted reviews will give you some idea of what to expect.