Friday, 9 September 2011

She who gives an extra polish to the word 'lovely'.

Doris Day was an integral part of the soundtrack of my infant and pre-teen years. How clearly I can recall every one of her dozen or so hit records, even her very first British hit in November 1952  - 'Sugarbush'  (with Frankie Laine). Actually this was at the time of the first ever official British 'pop' chart - Number 1 was 'Here in my Heart' by Vic Damone, which I also recall. 'SugarBush' reached number 8.
    I mention this beautiful lady today because tonight on one of our BBC channels there is a three-hour D.D. splash. A documentary with film clips, a 1992 interview of her talking to Betty White (of 'Golden Girls', of course) which I've never seen, and a 1971 TV show of hers, with guest stars Perry Como - and Rock Hudson!  But, dammit, the Doris-fest starts at 9 p.m., a time when I'm preparing for bed.
I'm an early retirer (this morning getting up at 3.15), so if I can't stay awake tonight I'll have to watch the progs on the computer later. Fine, but it's never as comfy as watching TV. (Being on a digital channel I can't video them.)
    The Divine Doris reaches 90 next April. (Or is it 88? - the sources I look at differ.) When her time is up I know I'm gonna weep buckets. She was - and still is - mine!

Growing up as a devoutly-practicing Catholic boy, it seemed that from about the age of 11 or 12, whenever I went to confession I was owning up to having 'impure thoughts'. I never ever got round to confessing actual acts, except just the once when I got so tongue-tied and stutteringly incoherent I was berated by the priest for not being 'explicit' enough. He wanted to know ALL the details - sitting there behind a wire grille in his little darkened box. (Any further comment is superfluous!) After that humiliation I never dared attempt verbalising any 'impure' actions again. (Oh, the mortal sins that deliberate omission must have brought down on my head, further compounding the 'evil' of those unmentionable acts! And it gets even worse. I was still going up to receive Holy Communion every Sunday - so that my family and school mates wouldn't ask questions about why I didn't go. Horror upon horror! I reckon that when I meet my Maker, being condemned to an ETERNITY in hell still wouldn't be long enough.) Anyway, what I was going to say was that whenever I mentioned these sinful thoughts, my penance, in addition to being instructed to say one or two 'Our Fathers' and a few 'Hail Marys', was always to pray to the Virgin Mary to deliver me from this wicked temptation, which I always did, but which never seemed to work. I can't help feeling that a more efficacious target of my prayers would have been to Saint Doris, who at least she was easier to picture. It certainly couldn't have been any worse. (Sorry to have taken so long to get back to the subject of this blog. I admit the connection is tenuous, to say the least.)).

Btw: I remember when there was talk about the filming of 'The Sound of Music', around 1962/63, they'd narrowed down giving the role of Maria to either Julie A. or Doris Day. If they'd gone with the latter I wonder how it would have looked and worked out. I don't know if their respective ages had anything to do with the final choice (Doris was elder by 13 - or is it 11? - years). I imagine it would have had quite a bearing. But it's an intriguing thought.

And now, my friends, let's have a chorus of a song whose lyrics resonate with a lot of us:-



  1. Hello Ray:
    We have so enjoyed being reminded of Doris Day with whom we had rather lost touch since 'Calamity Jane'!!!

    We are amazed that she is still alive and understand that she remains the highest female box office star.

    As you have inspired us to look her up, we were amused by this Doris Day quotation....."If it is true that men are such beasts, this must account for the fact that most women are animal lovers" [our exclamation marks].

    We leave today for a weekend break by the Balaton in order to catch the last of summer. We shall resume contact on our return.

  2. I have to say that it was only recently when I saw a ad for her 'new' album that I realised that she was still with us. A pleasant surprise I must say. She is a remarkable woman, I loved ‘secret love’ when I was playing her stuff on the oldies station I broadcast on years ago. Move over darling was a lovely song, but also what an actress she was too. Truly remarkable.

    Thanks for the memory, oh and that is a silly time to get up, if you dont mind me saying.

  3. Oh how I love Ms. Day. She is my personal "Diva" of choice (although not a diva in any way, mind you.) I always loved her music and couldn't tell you what my favorite song is (Que Sera Sera? Secret love? Teacher's Pet? Everybody loves a lover?) and I loved her movies (Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane, With 6 You Get Eggroll, Pajama Game - _ confess I have not seen all of her films) but I totally fell in love with her when I found and read a discarded copy of her 1975 Autobiography (I think I was 10 when I read it, so maybe 1981?) I will have to see if I can find this program airing someplace I can watch it. I'm so pleased we have this in common.

  4. I'm really chuffed at getting the above three very positive comments - and so quickly, too. Thanks to the three (or four!) of you.

    First, Jane & Lance (what is the nicest way to address you, please? Will J&L do or is that too impersonal?)
    Yes, our Darling Doris is, in my books and that of many others, one of those gifted people who has never put a foot wrong in her very long life. She always knew when to keep her mouth shut, despite some provocations - and she knew how to stop before getting to look ridiculous (though she could have gone on longer if her fans had had their way.)
    I never knew that quote of hers that you give (it did make me grin)- and her embracing of animal rights is a great plus for someone like me who shares a very deep concern for the welfare of ALL animals.
    Btw: I've added a 'btw' to my blog above, which you may or may not have known.
    Oh, and I DID know where Lake Balaton was situated, even without looking at my atlas. Do have a really nice weekend break (will we get any photos in your blog which I'm now following?) and, as you say, we'll 'speak' again on your return. Best wishes.

  5. Jase, I just KNEW you'd like her. (Good guess? Hardly!) If I was DJ-ing on a radio station I'd have, if not an entire Doris 'DAY', at least play one of her songs every, say, 30 minutes. But, alas, I'm not sure that nowadays there are that many around who appreciate her. ("Doris who?"). In those days too, you could hear every single word ALL the singers of that time were enunciating. The lack of clarity has frustrated me since, well, about the 1960s - though even before then I often couldn't catch - and still sometimes can't- what E.P. was on about.

    Btw: I do believe that 'Move Over Darling' was written by her son. But I expect you knew that already.

    My getting up so early this morning was actually exceptional. I've been a lifelong insomniac - not chronically so, but I do wish I could sleep right through the night, every night. Usually I'm up by 5 a.m. However, in the last 10 years if I'm not up early-ish I get a black pussy rubbing up against my face, demanding to be satisfied. As I no longer work, during the day I do have a cat-nap(!) at least once, sometimes even three times.

  6. Sean, (this is my second attempt at this - my first has vanished!) So very pleased that our tastes coincide on this lovely lady. I love all the songs you mentioned - and so I now know what you MUST have playing in the background when I come over and you hand me my first-ever cosmo. (I may be requesting a second, a third....)
    I know those films you've mentioned well - except for 'Calamity Jane' which I've never been to keen to see right through as don't like the thought of seeing her in a 'tomboy' role. But it's about time I got over that by now. I've seen clips from it of all the better known songs.
    I love 'Pillow Talk' too - with the additional fascination of seeing Rock Hudson in a role of pretending to be gay - very poignant in the light of what we learned about him some 20 years later.
    Have you never seen the lovely Ms Day in the thriller 'Midnight Lace', set in London with Rex Harrison? Definitely a worthwhile watch.
    Never (yet) read her autobiography, (presumably updated by now) but you've now set the wheels in motion.
    I do hope you manage to catch the telly programmes from somewhere on the web. I shouldn't think either of us will be disappointed.
    Thanks so much for your comment, S/b. What you say has given me an especial 'glow'!

  7. Ray, you know from my Boris or Doris post recently that I too have a soft spot for the double D.
    I think she has the purest voice and if you couple that with her wonderful looks, champion of social issues and crusader for animal rights, she might just about pip Mother Theresa to the line as the greatest female!
    Well perhaps I'm getting a little carried away but I do love her. Pillow Talk always does it for me.

  8. Que sera sera... (sorry, you knew it was coming). Fun post. I wish I could see that program. Maybe we'll finally have TV someday and it will be re-aired!

  9. Craig: Yes, our wonderful D.D. is, for me, the 'icon of icons' though because she doesn't carry a 'torch song' reputation you rarely hear her mentioned in a list of such. Her voice is indeed pure and totally unmistakeable.
    Her embracing issues that mean a lot to so many of us gives me heart that there are truly 'good' people around who are well-known and fine role models
    As for Doris rubbing shoulders with Mother Theresa as being in the running for the 'greatest female' - well, now I think you are really are getting carried away. For me D.D. is not only streets ahead, but so far out of sight there's no catching her. But let's not spoil it by going there.
    I'm certainly with you on 'Pillow Talk'. One of that small group of non-musical films that can be viewed time and time again - and it still retains its freshness.

  10. Mitch: I watched the first of those programmes yesterday, the documentary, and although there were a lot of familiar facts as well as some I'd forgotten or just not known, I had certainly forgotten what an unfortunate series of tragedies and difficulties she'd been through, largely because of the sequence of unsavoury and exploitative husbands. Also the hardships, as well as the closeness, she went through in dealings with her son, ultimately ending in tragedy too. In spite of all what she went through, which would have crushed many a lesser mortal, she has always managed to land on her feet.
    Two corrections above (which I've inserted or changed). I see the source I looked at gave her age as 89, turning 90 next April, but others make her two years younger.
    Also, the programme which had been listed as 'The Perry Como Show' from 1971 is, in fact, her own TV show with P.C. and Rock Hudson as guests.
    But now I really must watch her giving an interview to Betty White.
    Hope your TV isn't long coming, Mitch - and that you'll be able to receive channels from overseas as well. But as long as you have a radio, that at least helps makes life bearable.

  11. Have you seen this?

    I just came across it and thought of you. How timely!

  12. Thanks, Mitch. I see it looks like she is, in fact, two years younger(!) than I originally said. But still sounding like an angel. I doubt if there was ever a more arresting and, yes, smoochier female singing voice.