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Doris Day as SOTM March 2021


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Doris never did a film with Leslie. June Allson did (the very poor remake of "The Women" renamed "The Opposite Sex".

Doris had been mentioned in the press for the Allyson part with Howard Keel in the Nielsen part but it didn't happen. Doris made "Julie" instead.

On TCM the other evening they mentioned the often told tale that Judy Garland was the first choice for the film, something I find impossible to believe.

Judy was at her peak, coming off of "The Harvey Girls" success and "The Pirate" had not yet been released and failed, when "Romance" went into production. I do not think Mr. Mayer would have loaned his top female musical star at that particular juncture. Not under any circumstances.

As for Betty, Doris did mention she had heard that but I cannot find anything in the "trades" during that time that specifically says that. Betty, too, was at her peak with films like the excellent "Perils of Pauline" and  don't see Paramount loaning her out. 

Warners sometimes borrowed from other studios (June Haver and Kathryn Grayson come to mind) and might have put out feelers for Hutton, but if so, it didn't go very far.

I like the "Huttonesque" aspects to Doris' character of Georgia. She carries it off well and it is so markedly diferent from most of her Warner Brother's musicals. 

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When my teenaged self first made Doris in June of 1973 (picture below), it was only months after she had modeled a bikini during the 5th season of her series.  IN-person, it was obvious the figure displayed had not been trick photography!!

I am wearing two buttons. One reads "I Love Dogs" and the other reads "I Love cats". Doris had given them to me during our breakfast. They were from Actors and Others for Animals. 

When I sent Doris a copy of this photo she announced that it would thereafter be referred to as "The Headlight Shot". I guessed it was due to the two yellow buttons on my jacket.

However, when I showed the picture to my dad, he exclaimed, "That woman sure has a set of headlights on her..." 

I never asked Doris to clarify but...

paulbrogan_dd outside natenals.jpg

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It was a great motion picture debut for Doris. She couldn't have started with anything better than ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948). I always find it interesting that she was third-billed after Janis Paige, but then later on, Janis was third-billed in PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960)...not to mention Doris performed the role in THE PAJAMA GAME (1957) that Janis did on Broadway. 

One thing I'm curious about is how Doris was selected to replace Marilyn Monroe in MOVE OVER DARLING (which previously had a different title). Did she ever discuss that with you? Also, I am a bit unclear if it was made before or after THE THRILL OF IT ALL which was released the same year, and how James Garner was chosen to be her leading man in both films, even though they were done at different studios. Was this a case of her having enjoyed working with Garner and Marty deciding to team her up again with him in the next picture?

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4 minutes ago, Paulio said:

When my teenaged self first made Doris in June of 1973 (picture below), it was only months after she had modeled a bikini during the 5th season of her series.  IN-person, it was obvious the figure displayed had not been trick photography!!

I am wearing two buttons. One reads "I Love Dogs" and the other reads "I Love cats". Doris had given them to me during our breakfast. They were from Actors and Others for Animals. 

When I sent Doris a copy of this photo she announced that it would thereafter be referred to as "The Headlight Shot". I guessed it was due to the two yellow buttons on my jacket.

However, when I showed the picture to my dad, he exclaimed, "That woman sure has a set of headlights on her..." 

I never asked Doris to clarify but...

paulbrogan_dd outside natenals.jpg

What a great photo. I hope it's included in your forthcoming book!

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"The Thrill of it All" was shot in late 1962 and "Move Over Darling" didn't go before the cameras until early 1963. 

Marty signed a three picture deal with Fox as a co-producer with Aaron Rosenberg, who actually did the producing work for the three Fox films ("Darling", "Disturb" and "Caprice"). 

Richard Zanuck approached him about Doris taking over the role in "Darling" because all the sets had been constructed and so much put into the film and they didn't want to completely write it off as a loss.  Marty agreed although George Cukor who was directing the Monroe film was not available (pre-production on "My Fair Lady") but more importantly, Marty didn't want to pay a Cukor-like fee to a director. He liked to hire less expensive (Ralph Levy, Hy Averback) so that Arwin Productions (his company) would see their profit participation kick in sooner.  That's the reason he would not give in to his wife's request to hire Henry Mancini to do a score and write a title tune. It was less expensive to use Frank Devol or Joe Lubin.

Marty was frugal????  (Norman Jewison was a contract director at Universal and not getting the salary he would later receive)

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It was during that early 70's time period when feelers were put out for Doris to do "Forty Carats" - the film. She would have been brilliant and she had done an episode on her series where she was involved with a younger man.

From what I know, she never did another film after "Eggroll" because Marty was not there to iron out the details and take care of any problems. I think she also lost her confidence to make movies. The closest she came was "Mother". She met with Albert Brooks in Carmel and they talked at length but ultimately she declined him.  Both "Carats" and "Mother" would have been prime opportunities for her to show herself in a different style. 

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16 minutes ago, Paulio said:

It was during that early 70's time period when feelers were put out for Doris to do "Forty Carats" - the film. She would have been brilliant and she had done an episode on her series where she was involved with a younger man.

From what I know, she never did another film after "Eggroll" because Marty was not there to iron out the details and take care of any problems. I think she also lost her confidence to make movies. The closest she came was "Mother". She met with Albert Brooks in Carmel and they talked at length but ultimately she declined him.  Both "Carats" and "Mother" would have been prime opportunities for her to show herself in a different style. 

And to introduce her to newer generations of moviegoers. I was surprised that after the sitcom ended, she didn't at least try a TV movie. When Lucille Ball's sitcom Here's Lucy ended, she signed a deal to do a series of specials and TV movies (not all were comedic). If Marty had lived, that's the direction Doris' career could have gone.

I don't think Doris even did any guest-starring work on episodic television series...did she..? There were no trips on The Love Boat for her, no visits to Fantasy Island, no helping Angela Lansbury nab a culprit on Murder She Wrote.

A few nights ago I saw a 1977 TV movie called "Ants!" on YouTube. Dreadful script (people dying because they've been bitten by ants). But right there smack dab in the middle of this disaster was Myrna Loy with special billing! Some of them wanted to keep working, I guess. Doris at least avoided that sort of "decline."

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Aaron Spelling was anxious to work with her and offered "Hotel" and "Love Boat", which she declined.  He also spoke with her about doing a recurring role on "Dynasty" for a season or story arc. She enjoyed watching "Dynasty" when living in Carmel, but again said no.

"Murder She Wrote" was offered to her prior to Angela and after Jean Stapleton said no, shortly after leaving "All in the Family" (well being killed off).  Liz Smith reported in 1983 that they'd offered Doris $ 500,000 to do a two hour television movie as a pilot and $ 100,000 per episode for the series. She said no and it was then offered to Angela as a series - no television movie.

Ross Hunter wanted her for his 1970's mini-series "The Moneychangers" Ross escorted her to Rock's stage opening in "I Do I Do" in 1973 and made it clear he wanted to work with her again. 

She did do the 1975 CBS Special with John Denver, Rich Little and Tim Conway and it scored huge in the ratings. (George Schlatter produced it). He even announced she'd do a second special in 1976 but all she did that year was promote her book on Carson, Griffin, Douglas, Today Show and Phil Donahue. 

She also guested on John Denver's 1974 special in exchange for him doing her special.  

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9 hours ago, Paulio said:

Aaron Spelling was anxious to work with her and offered "Hotel" and "Love Boat", which she declined.  He also spoke with her about doing a recurring role on "Dynasty" for a season or story arc. She enjoyed watching "Dynasty" when living in Carmel, but again said no.

"Murder She Wrote" was offered to her prior to Angela and after Jean Stapleton said no, shortly after leaving "All in the Family" (well being killed off).  Liz Smith reported in 1983 that they'd offered Doris $ 500,000 to do a two hour television movie as a pilot and $ 100,000 per episode for the series. She said no and it was then offered to Angela as a series - no television movie.

Ross Hunter wanted her for his 1970's mini-series "The Moneychangers" Ross escorted her to Rock's stage opening in "I Do I Do" in 1973 and made it clear he wanted to work with her again. 

She did do the 1975 CBS Special with John Denver, Rich Little and Tim Conway and it scored huge in the ratings. (George Schlatter produced it). He even announced she'd do a second special in 1976 but all she did that year was promote her book on Carson, Griffin, Douglas, Today Show and Phil Donahue. 

She also guested on John Denver's 1974 special in exchange for him doing her special.  

After she passed away in 2019, I was feeling a bit of melancholy and nostalgia. So I spent a weekend watching any clips I could find of her that may have been posted on YouTube. This was an interesting mini-project and I felt like it helped me understand her life and career more. You also get to see the aging process, because these clips cover a span of many years. Typically these were clips from the talk show appearances you mention above. In one of them she does an impromptu rendition of 'Sentimental Journey' which is just great.

I do have to say that the most interesting talk show appearance, in my view, was a 1993 episode of Vicki! hosted by Vicki Lawrence. Vicki and her crew went up to Carmel and followed her around. We get to see the hotel and how Doris interacted with some of the guests; we get to see some sort of benefit/luncheon she is hosting for her charity; and there is a lengthy sit-down interview with her and Vicki.

Apparently Vicki's husband was a cameraman or had some technical type job on Doris' sitcom, so this is how Vicki was able to finagle an invitation up to Carmel for this special episode taped entirely outside the studio and on location. Vicki starts behaving a bit 'bratty' during the interview, cracking jokes that I don't think Doris really appreciated (or maybe it's just that Vicki's energy is a bit manic), and you can see Doris reigning her in and getting things back on track. It's an amusing piece and as I said, I watched it on YouTube.

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19 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Thanks Paul. Interesting tidbits. I think Dale Evans went through some of this when she was contracted by 20th Century Fox in 1942 at the age of 30. She was on her third marriage (the first two marriages ended in divorce and the third one was heading for divorce). Dale had given birth at age 15. The studio said her 14 and a half year old son was her teen brother!

I can see why Marty objected to the Time Magazine cover story on Doris. It would look like she had been deceiving her fans all those years.

On another note, I read that Doris' first film at Warners was actually intended for Betty Hutton. But Betty had to bow out of ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948) due to pregnancy, and Doris was then placed into the role. True? I wasn't sure if this story had any merit since Betty Hutton was a Paramount contractee and her boss/mentor Buddy DeSylva was not in the habit of loaning her out to other studios. If the story is true, then it may explain why the character of Georgia Garrett is a bit loopier than some of Doris subsequent roles at WB...because the script had been developed with Betty in mind..?

Georgia Garrett has Betty Hutton written all over her.  (some of the songs too: I'm In Love; Put 'Em in a Box)) Yet, too. it seems odd that Paramount would loan out Betty to WB. But I read this many years ago and so far no one has refuted it. Maybe Paramount was going to trade Betty for some WB star in their picture. Studios sometimes did that.

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Regarding Doris' age I read somewhere (I think in the recent Doris bio a few years back) that Terry had a hard time of it getting Doris to apply for S. S. at age 65, because she didnt want to admit to being 65! This seems to contradict the friends and family explanation. Maybe she just didnt want to admit it to the public?

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10 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Georgia Garrett has Betty Hutton written all over her.  (some of the songs too: I'm In Love; Put 'Em in a Box)) Yet, too. it seems odd that Paramount would loan out Betty to WB. But I read this many years ago and so far no one has refuted it. Maybe Paramount was going to trade Betty for some WB star in their picture. Studios sometimes did that.

That's a distinct possibility. Later on Betty was loaned to MGM for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.

Not sure what Paul knows about it, but I read that when Judy was fired by MGM, there was talk of getting Doris to play Annie, and even Betty Grable. But Warners would not loan Doris, and 20th Century Fox would not loan Betty Grable. (Doris later did CALAMITY JANE for Warners).

Meanwhile freelancer Ginger Rogers wanted the part but Mayer said no, thinking she was too glamorous to play a rambunctious character. So Betty Hutton was brought over from Paramount.

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16 hours ago, Paulio said:

It was during that early 70's time period when feelers were put out for Doris to do "Forty Carats" - the film. She would have been brilliant and she had done an episode on her series where she was involved with a younger man.

From what I know, she never did another film after "Eggroll" because Marty was not there to iron out the details and take care of any problems. I think she also lost her confidence to make movies. The closest she came was "Mother". She met with Albert Brooks in Carmel and they talked at length but ultimately she declined him.  Both "Carats" and "Mother" would have been prime opportunities for her to show herself in a different style. 

Yes, its too bad. I never seriously believed she'd come out of retirement to do Mother.  From what I've read Marty had something to do with Doris losing out on South Pacific. (unsure of the details) That would've been a great role for her. Sound of Music too. But she was really too old for the part by then.. It's too bad Doris signed with WB and not MGM. She would've had great projects at MGM. Not so at WB.

Forty Carats would have also been a good role for her. But maybe for the best she didnt do it, considering how it turned out. (not good). At one point William Wyler was set to direct and Audrey Hepburn would come out of retirement to do it (more age appropriate for the role than Liv Ullmann). But Wyler dropped out due to health reasons and when he dropped out Audrey did too. Maybe it would've turned out better with Wyler (and a different script).

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8 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

That's a distinct possibility. Later on Betty was loaned to MGM for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.

True!

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5 minutes ago, David Guercio said:


I actually forgot the S when I asked.  Did she also do some movies with Leslie Nielsen and she didn’t.  Right?

Correct. She did not make any movies with Leslie Nielsen.

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As noted here  with respect to 1977's "The Turning Point": 

"A number of actresses were offered the roles of Emma and DeeDee, including Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Doris Day."

The offer was made around the time that Doris was busy with promoting her autobiography. In addition, she was newly married (for the fourth time) and in the process of establishing her own animal foundation. 

"Forty Carats" was not something that went far.

With Ross Hunter was being lured to Columbia after severing his longtime ties with Universal, he was mainly interested in doing a musical version of "Lost Horizon". However, briefly, "Forty Carats" was suggested to him and he went to dinner with Doris to talk about it. 

Mike Frankovich, a big name at Columbia, had his eye on the property because it contained a juicy, supporting character part for his wife, Binnie Barnes.  He had no interest in Doris or any of the other suggested ladies.  "Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Joanne Woodward, Doris Day, Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, and Sophia Loren were all considered for the role of Ann Stanley before the original director (William Wyler) bowed out of the production."

Furthermore, Doris was still tied to her CBS sitcom and had little or no interest in shooting a movie during the show's hiatus. She had been scheduled to shoot "The Panda Affair", written by Sol Saks during the first season hiatus (early 1969), but Marty's death in April, 1968, made her renegotiate the contract with CBS which was for the series AND feature films for Cinema Center Films. 

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37 minutes ago, Paulio said:

As noted here  with respect to 1977's "The Turning Point": 

"A number of actresses were offered the roles of Emma and DeeDee, including Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Doris Day."

The offer was made around the time that Doris was busy with promoting her autobiography. In addition, she was newly married (for the fourth time) and in the process of establishing her own animal foundation. 

"Forty Carats" was not something that went far.

With Ross Hunter was being lured to Columbia after severing his longtime ties with Universal, he was mainly interested in doing a musical version of "Lost Horizon". However, briefly, "Forty Carats" was suggested to him and he went to dinner with Doris to talk about it. 

Mike Frankovich, a big name at Columbia, had his eye on the property because it contained a juicy, supporting character part for his wife, Binnie Barnes.  He had no interest in Doris or any of the other suggested ladies.  "Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Joanne Woodward, Doris Day, Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, and Sophia Loren were all considered for the role of Ann Stanley before the original director (William Wyler) bowed out of the production."

Furthermore, Doris was still tied to her CBS sitcom and had little or no interest in shooting a movie during the show's hiatus. She had been scheduled to shoot "The Panda Affair", written by Sol Saks during the first season hiatus (early 1969), but Marty's death in April, 1968, made her renegotiate the contract with CBS which was for the series AND feature films for Cinema Center Films. 

Cinema Center Films (along with Arwin) produced her last feature, EGG ROLL. 

CCF seems to have gone out of business in 1972. But then there is a division called CBS Theatrical Films that began in the early 1980s. And in 2010, CBS Films.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_produced_by_CBS

Of all the projects she was offered and turned down, I would say that Aaron Spelling's 'Hotel' is probably the one she was most suited for, since she knew about the hotel business.

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I remember reading Doris came close to guest starring on Murder, She Wrote, but they couldnt agree to terms. Her salary demands were high (and they agreed to them) but she wanted a co-producing credit for Terry (why he needed one for one episode, I don't understand) which they wouldn't agree to.

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8 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I remember reading Doris came close to guest starring on Murder, She Wrote, but they couldnt agree to terms. Her salary demands were high (and they agreed to them) but she wanted a co-producing credit for Terry (why he needed one for one episode, I don't understand) which they wouldn't agree to.

Never heard about any of this before. Where did you read that?

Terry was a producer on her sitcom, and also served as executive producer of her cable TV show that ran for a season in the mid-80s.

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32 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Never heard about any of this before. Where did you read that?

Terry was a producer on her sitcom, and also served as executive producer of her cable TV show that ran for a season in the mid-80s.

I cant remember now. Oddly, I think Doris was one of those approached to star in that show before Lansbury was offered the part, but turned them down, not wanting to be tied down to a series anymore.

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"Eggroll" was one of the few CCF to show a profit and "Panda" which would have been released in late 1969 was the second of three titles Doris had agreed to do.

Beyond Doris being asked to star in "Murder She Wrote" in 1983, which she declined, she was, like every actress over 50, offered a guest role but she didn't know any specifics with respect to it.

It was mentioned in one of the columns in the 90's that producers were after Doris to guest, but it clearly never got beyond Terry. She did admit enjoying watching the show from time to time and "...seeing so many of my old pals that I don't see anymore..."

In the fall of 1990 she signed that deal with ABC to do a series of television movies for the network. This appeared in the NY Times in October, 1990:

DORIS DAY is making a comeback, 23 years after her last film and 17 years after her last television series. The 66-year-old actress will star in the first of a series of television movies for ABC-TV, which will be broadcast in the 1991-1992 season.

A spokeswoman for the network said that the character Miss Day will play is still being created, but that the first film will be shot in Carmel, Calif., the picture-postcard town where the actress lives. Miss Day is expected to be in three movies in the series. The supervising producer is TERRY MELCHER, her son.

Doris had script approval and as Army Archerd regularly reported in Variety, she was never happy with the scripts submitted. She exercised her option to back out and did.  

 

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13 minutes ago, Paulio said:

"Eggroll" was one of the few CCF to show a profit and "Panda" which would have been released in late 1969 was the second of three titles Doris had agreed to do.

Beyond Doris being asked to star in "Murder She Wrote" in 1983, which she declined, she was, like every actress over 50, offered a guest role but she didn't know any specifics with respect to it.

It was mentioned in one of the columns in the 90's that producers were after Doris to guest, but it clearly never got beyond Terry. She did admit enjoying watching the show from time to time and "...seeing so many of my old pals that I don't see anymore..."

In the fall of 1990 she signed that deal with ABC to do a series of television movies for the network. This appeared in the NY Times in October, 1990:

DORIS DAY is making a comeback, 23 years after her last film and 17 years after her last television series. The 66-year-old actress will star in the first of a series of television movies for ABC-TV, which will be broadcast in the 1991-1992 season.

A spokeswoman for the network said that the character Miss Day will play is still being created, but that the first film will be shot in Carmel, Calif., the picture-postcard town where the actress lives. Miss Day is expected to be in three movies in the series. The supervising producer is TERRY MELCHER, her son.

Doris had script approval and as Army Archerd regularly reported in Variety, she was never happy with the scripts submitted. She exercised her option to back out and did.  

I appreciate your sharing this information. It proves she was still in demand, at least on television at that time. She was not 66 though! She would have been 68. 

Not long ago I watched Loretta Young's last TV movie, which she did with Brian Keith in 1989. It's called Lady in a Corner. The script was above average, not perfect. But I did like seeing Loretta act again at that stage of her life even if the material wasn't exactly up to her usual level of excellence.

Doris was probably right to maintain higher standards. 

As with the example of the Myrna Loy telefilm I mentioned previously, I think some of these performers wanted to remain useful and wanted to stay connected with fans. Of course, Doris had other ways of being useful and productive, which her fans admired.

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This is from the Washington Post on October 2, 1990 and has a little more detail to it, including a quote from Brandon Stoddard:

 

THE TV COLUMN

 
 
 
By John Carmody
October 2, 1990

ABC announced yesterday that Doris Day will return to television in a series of made-for-TV movies for the network starting next fall ...

The last time Doris was a TV regular was when "The Doris Day Show" aired on CBS between 1968 and 1973 ...

Brandon Stoddard, president of ABC Productions, said, "Doris Day is an American original who endeared herself to countless millions both in motion pictures and on television and who has been away from movies far too long. We're really delighted with this new association between Doris and ABC Productions and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership" ...

Thank you, Brandon ...

The films will be shot on location in Carmel, Calif. Among the executive producers for the films will be Juanita Bartlett, whose credits include "The Rockford Files," "Spenser: For Hire" and "In the Heat of the Night" ...

 

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