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Jewish World Review
April 27, 2007
/ 9 Iyar 5767
A Birthday Present from Doris Day
Sometimes the best presents come to us in the most unexpected and unusual ways.
A couple of weeks ago in a local community paper in Toluca Lake called "The Tolucan Times," actress Jackie Joseph's column was dedicated to wishing Doris Day a happy birthday. Several years ago I wrote a column about Doris in which I talked about her many talents and accomplishments in the entertainment industry. I wrote of how she started as a big band singer and went on to become a popular recording artist, an accomplished actress, movie star, television star, and America's sweetheart. I mentioned that what makes Doris and her body of work truly special is that she did it all with so much class. And as we all know, class is a commodity which is sorely lacking in show business today.
When I wrote that column back in 2001 I had no idea that Miss Day would ever know about it let alone read it, but last week in "The Tolucan Times" I found out that she had. Not only did she read the piece, but evidently she loved it and was moved by it. Wow! Well, that makes us even, Miss Day - since I have loved you and have been moved by your work for so many years.
So it happened that on the occasion of Doris Day's birthday, she sent a sweet present to me via Jackie Joseph. Thank you Doris for that, and for all the wonderful songs and movie memories. You are still an A number one class act - and still cute as a button to boot. Happy belated birthday to you! Give those puppies a hug for me. Be well.
(For those who may have not seen the column, it is reprinted below)
A Beautiful Day
So much going on in show biz so little talent. Ugly television, bad taste toilet-humor movies, and recording artists who can't sing. Thank goodness we have classic recordings and films. The good news is that the golden age of entertainment in the 20th Century is all alive and well and available on video and DVD's and on records, tape and CD's. Lucky for me otherwise I'd have nothing to listen to or watch.
Next time you get fed up with today's junk, I recommend you pause for a breath of fresh air. In two words: Doris Day. A truly underestimated talent. Doris Day did it all and did it with class. Big band singer, actress, recording star, movie star and television star. And cute as a button to boot.
She sang with the Bob Crosby and Les Brown bands before making her way into movies. Her hit recording of "Sentimental Journey" is perhaps the definitive version of that tune. Later she recorded such hits as, "It's Magic," "Secret Love," "Everybody Loves A Lover," "Love Me Or Leave Me," and what would become her theme song, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)." She had a wonderfully sweet quality to her voice that made listening to her a pleasure.
At Warner Bros. she began in light-weight musical/comedies starring opposite Burbank's answer to Hope and Crosby, Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson. These were fluffy, fun little pictures that gave Miss Day an opportunity to showcase her singing and hone her acting. If you've never seen "It's A Great Feeling" (1949) check it out. It's a real hoot.
She quickly graduated to more serious "A" material and was teamed with the likes of Gordon MacRae, Kirk Douglas and James Cagney. She was at her bouncy, belting best giving Howard Keel a hard time in "Calamity Jane," one of my favorite Doris Day pictures. In "Love Me Or Leave Me" she delivered a strong performance as nightclub singer, Ruth Etting and was wonderful playing opposite James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much."
In the late fifties and early sixties she starred in a series of successful screwball comedies with romantic leading men like Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, and James Gardner and was nominated for an Oscar for one of them, "Pillow Talk" (1959).
"The Doris Day Show" was a hit on television in the late sixties and early seventies. Miss Day returned to television in the mid-eighties as host of a cable show called "Doris Day and Friends."
What a varied performer she is! If you haven't had a date with Doris for awhile, do yourself a favor and renew the acquaintance. Pick up a CD of her songs or rent "Calamity Jane" or any one of her movies. I guarantee you'll fall in love with her all over again. Talent and beauty and class. What a concept!
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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