Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Review: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

By Philip Schweier

Recently while trolling Netflix, I stumbled across a handful of movies to watch the next time I had the opportunity. And since Mrs. Wife went out of town for the weekend, it made sense to start with the Billy Wilder classic, The Seven Year Itch, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell. Monroe gets top billing, no doubt because she was the more bankable star, but it’s Ewell’s character who is the focus of the story. Or lack thereof, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The movie begins with the explanation that since the days of the Indians, women would leave the island of Manhattan in summer, journeying upstream to escape the heat and humidity. This leaves the male of species free to indulge in several weeks of bachelor freedom. Richard Sherman (Ewell) sees his wife Helen, and son Ricky, off at Penn Station, committed to respecting the ideals of matrimony, rather than revert to caveman-like behavior, driven by baser instincts like his fellows.

Sherman is a book editor, and that evening, he sits down to work on a manuscript in which a noted psychiatrist claims that a significant proportion of men have extramarital affairs in the seventh year of marriage. Sherman’s imagination proceeds to run wild, as his wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes) appears to him in spectral form and he tells her of missed opportunities in which he was irresistible to women, but she ain’t buying it. Even in her ghostly form, she knows his imagination at work when she hears it.

Enter The Girl, played by Marilyn Monroe. She’s sub-let the apartment above, and while Sherman is clearly charmed by her (it’s Marilyn Monroe, fercrissakes!), he remains steadfast in his resolve. But fueled by the analysis of the manuscript, and the constant temptation of his boss (Donald MacBride), it appears it’s only a matter of time before Sherman succumbs to temptation.

In the original play by George Axelrod, Sherman does give in, but in order to be adapted for the screen, much of the sexual content had to be written out. This leads to a much more innocent relationship between the fumbling, over-imaginative Sherman (channeling his inner MacLean Stevenson) and the clueless Girl. As a result, the plot really doesn’t go anywhere.

Convinced his wife may have taken up with a writer, Tom McKenzie (Sonny Tufts), Sherman almost feels justified in his flirtations with The Girl. But when McKenzie arrives to pick up the kayak paddle little Ricky left behind, Sherman is once more convinced of his wife’s fidelity and rushes off to Maine to join her. The End.

But not before giving McKenzie a punch in the nose, one he deserves. Blame Tuft’s pathetic acting; or Wilder’s directing (unlikely); or perhaps Wilder and Axelrod’s scripting the scene without the sexual innuendos of the original play.

The film has become a classic, but less so for its craftsmanship and more for its iconic imagery. This is the film in which Monroe so famously stood over the subway grate, her dress blowing up over her legs. Marilyn is in full bloom here, with her breathy delivery and naïve charm, blissfully unaware of her sex appeal

The original play on which it is based may have had more meat on its bones, but due to standards of the day, what is left is a paper-thin puritan narrative. It’s worth watching if you’ve never seen it, but despite its pedigree, its entertainment value has fallen victim to the 50+ years since it was originally released.

Perhaps if it were remade today, it might follow its source material more closely. But on second thought, that seems impossible. The character of The Girl would have to be either a complete air-head or a conniving seductress. Either way, it seems unlikely she would end up in bed with whatever stammering but charming doofus she’s paired with.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coming distractions: May 2014 on TCM

Kowabunga, cartooners!  Once again, it’s that time when Thrilling Days of Yesteryear takes a look at what’s in store for the curious on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™.  (You know, Rick Brooks should be able to send his kids to private school by now.  I’m just sayin’.)  There’s a multitude of fine viewing in May on Tee Cee Em—a salute to Aussie cinema, a tribute to Moms and Memorial Day…and the channel’s Star of the Month will spotlight the vast cinematic oeuvre of “the girl next door.”

That’s right, June Allyson devotees—the Bronx gal born Eleanor Geisman in 1917 is getting the Star of the Month accolades for May; every Wednesday night viewers can stuff their faces full of some of the actress-singer’s best-remembered movies (29 in all).  I gotta come clean here—I’m not much of a Junie fan (though Dick Powell seemed to like her all right—so who am I to judge), but I am intrigued to see They Only Kill Their Masters (1972) on the schedule (May 28, 3:45am); I’ll have to DVR it because James Garner.  (Masters was the last MGM film to be lensed on the studio’s backlot before it was sold; because of this, a handful of former MGM stars agreed to be grace the movie in supporting roles.  Allyson plays a lesbian in the film—she accomplished this amazing performance simply by donning a sweatshirt.  Vee-ola!  Acting!)  Here’s a look at what’s in store for her fans:

May 7, Wednesday        
08:00pm The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
10:15pm The Stratton Story (1949)
12:15am The Secret Heart (1946)
02:00am The Three Musketeers (1948)
04:15am Right Cross (1950)
05:45am The Sailor Takes a Wife (1945)
May 8, Thursday
07:30am Girl Crazy (1943)
09:15am Words and Music (1948)

May 14. Wednesday
08:00pm Little Women (1949)
10:15pm The McConnell Story (1955)
12:15am Meet the People (1944)
02:00am The Reformer and the Redhead (1950)
03:45am The Girl in White (1952)
05:30am Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
May 15, Thursday           
07:30am Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)

May 21, Wednesday     
08:00am Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
10:15am Best Foot Forward (1943)
12:00am Good News (1947)
01:45am Too Young to Kiss (1951)
03:30am The Bride Goes Wild (1948)
05:15am High Barbaree (1947)
May 22, Thursday
07:00am Thousands Cheer (1943)

May 28, Wednesday
08:00pm My Man Godfrey (1957)
10:00pm The Opposite Sex (1956)
12:00am Music for Millions (1944)
02:00am Battle Circus (1953)
03:45am They Only Kill Their Masters (1972)
05:30am Executive Suite (1954)
May 29, Thursday
07:30am Two Sisters from Boston (1946)

And for those of you who don’t like June Allyson…there’s sport war.  TCM honors those who sacrificed in service to their country with military-themed films over the course of the Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26:

May 24, Saturday
06:00am Journey for Margaret (1942)
07:30am The Shopworn Angel (1938)
09:00am A Guy Named Joe (1943)
11:15am Hell to Eternity (1960)
01:45pm The Steel Helmet (1951)
03:15pm Objective, Burma! (1945)
05:45pm The Hill (1965)
08:00pm The Dirty Dozen (1967)
10:45pm Where Eagles Dare (1969)
01:30am Kelly's Heroes (1970)
04:00am Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)
05:30am The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962)

May 25, Sunday
07:00am Imitation General (1958)
08:30am See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
10:15am What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1945)
12:00pm Mister Roberts (1955)
02:15pm Ensign Pulver (1964)
04:15pm Pillow to Post (1945)
06:00pm The Password is Courage (1962)
08:00pm No Time for Sergeants (1958)
10:15pm Onionhead (1958)
12:15am The Better 'Ole (1926)
02:00am Carnival in Flanders (1935)
04:00am The Dawn Patrol (1938)

May 26, Monday            
06:00am The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
07:30am Sergeant York (1941)
10:00am Friendly Persuasion (1956)
12:30pm The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
03:00pm The Young Lions (1958)
06:00pm The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
08:00pm Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
10:30pm The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
01:30am Pride of the Marines (1945)
03:45am Above and Beyond (1952)

When you think of Australian film directors, several names come to mind: Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Fred Schepsi…and of course, Yahoo Serious.  Friday nights in May—a total of 25 features, though two of those are repeats of that Story of Film: An Odyssey documentary that several of my Facebook chums agreed wasn’t worth anyone’s time—the channel will highlight many outstanding films directed by renowned folk from the land Down Under (and some I’ve been wanting to see for a while now).  (Note to TCM: while it is always nice to represent female directors on the schedule, Jane Campion—director of An Angel at My Table and Sweetie—is from New Zealand.  I realize that technically Campion is based in Australia, but if I’ve learned anything from Death Proof, it’s that you do not call a Kiwi an Aussie.)

May 2, Friday   
08:00pm Breaker Morant (1980)
10:00pm Gallipoli (1981)
12:00am Tim (1979)
02:00am Mad Max (1979)
04:00am Road Games (1981)

May 9, Friday   
08:00pm Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
10:00pm The Last Wave (1977)
12:00am The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)
01:45am Walkabout (1971)
03:45am The Story of Film: An Odyssey: 1969-1979 – Radical Directors in the 70s - Make State of the Nation Movies (2011)

May 16, Friday
08:00pm My Brilliant Career (1979)
10:00pm Starstruck (1982)
12:00am An Angel at My Table (1990)
02:45am Sweetie (1989)
04:30am The Story of Film: An Odyssey: The 1990s – The First Days of Digital - Reality Losing Its Realness in America and Australia (2011)

May 23, Friday
08:00pm The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
10:00pm The Plumber (1979)
11:30pm The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972)
01:30am Don's Party (1976)
03:15am Muriel's Wedding (1994)

May 30, Friday
08:00pm Newsfront (1978)
10:00pm Sunday Too Far Away (1975)
11:45pm The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
02:00am The Devil's Playground (1976)
04:00am Lonely Hearts (1982)

And on May 11—“M is for the million things she gave me…”  That’s right: a salute to the extraordinary women who cooked our meals and wiped our noses and did our laundry and more on an endless list of sacrifices.  (It’s criminal that we only celebrate Mother’s Day once a year.)

May 11, Sunday
06:00am Lady for a Day (1933)
07:45am The Catered Affair (1956)
09:30am Now, Voyager (1942)
11:30am Gypsy (1962)
02:00pm Mildred Pierce (1945)
04:00pm Marty (1955)
05:45pm Imitation of Life (1959)
08:00pm I Remember Mama (1948)
10:30pm The Mating Season (1951)

And if that’s not enough for ya—and by gosh…don’t you think it oughta be?—here’s the remainder of what’s on tap for May:

May 1, Thursday – The channel is doffing its cap to M-O-M on Mother’s Day, ‘tis true…but before that Momaganza, TCM offers up a primer on “Moms in the Movies” in the primetime hours beginning with Imitation of Life (1959—also scheduled for May 11) at 8pm.  White Heat (1949) follows at 10:15pm (not a motion picture I would have gone with to present a positive picture of matriarchs…but then, I don’t work for TCM), then it’s Bachelor Mother (1939; 12:15am), The Catered Affair (1956; 2am—also on May 11) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; 3:45am).

May 2, Friday – The Old Groaner himself would have celebrated his 111th natal anniversary today…and he’d probably still end up stealing Dorothy Lamour from his pal Bob Hope.  Movies featuring Bing Crosby start at 7:45am with Going Hollywood (1933)…followed by Pennies from Heaven (1936; 9:15am), Road to Bali (1953; 10:45am), High Society (1956; 12:30pm) and Man on Fire (1957; 2:30pm).

May 3, Saturday – TCM finishes out the remaining entries from RKO’s Mexican Spitfire series beginning at 10:30am with Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost (1942).  (This movie actually played at the top of motion picture bills—the bottom half was The Magnificent Ambersons.)  Lupe Velez and Leon Errol continue their hijinks the following week (May 10) with Mexican Spitfire’s Elephant (1942) and wrap it up with Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event (1943) on May 17.  The series films don’t start up again until May 31, when the first of the “Doctor” series, Doctor in the House (1954) airs at 10:30am.

On TCM’s The Essentials, the scheduling of Best Picture Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night (1967) at 8pm ushers in works from the oeuvre of director Norman Jewison; The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming (1966) follows Night at 10pm and the night concludes with The Cincinnati Kid (1965) at 12:15am.  On TCM Underground, the 1973 cult classic that many believe to be the inspiration for the hit T&A TV phenom Charlie’s Angels airs at 2:15am: The Doll Squad!

May 5, Monday – TCM scratches the replacement theme scheduled for today and sticks with their initial plan: UFO (1956; 6:15am), The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941; 7:45am), H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941; 9:30am), The V.I.P.s (1963; 11:45am), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945; 2pm), The F.B.I. Story (1959; 4pm) and D.O.A. (1950; 6:30pm).  (All right, that pun was as painful for me as it was for you.  Please don’t trample the flowers in my comments section.)

The channel’s schedule seems to be saturated with mothers—Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones is feted with a primetime schedule of her movies; the occasion kicks off at 8 with the movie I was proud to introduce my niece Rachel to over the holidays, The Music Man (1962).  Carousel (1956; 10:45pm) is next, followed by The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963; 1am)…and the evening concludes with Shirl’s Oscar-winning performance in 1960’s Elmer Gantry at 3:15am.

May 6, Tuesday – If you thought the previous day’s “initial” line-up was bad…see if you can guess what today’s movies have in common: The Scarlet Letter (1926; 6am), Scarlet Pages (1930; 8am), Scarlet Dawn (1932; 9:15am), Scarlet River (1933; 10:15am), A Study in Scarlet (1933; 11:15am), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935; 12:30pm), Scarlet Street (1945; 2:15pm), The Scarlet Clue (1945; 4:15pm) and The Scarlet Coat (1955; 5:30pm).  (Frankly, my dear…)

Come nightfall, the channel catches up on “the latest gossip” with like-minded movies in The Children's Hour (1961; 8pm), The Women (1939; 10pm), My Reputation (1946; 12:15am), The Age of Innocence (1993; 2am) and The Gorgeous Hussy (1936; 4:30am).

May 7, Wednesday – Happy 113th birthday, Coop!  Two-time Oscar winner Gary Cooper is the proud recipient of cake and ice cream today and Tee Cee Em pulls out all the stops with A Farewell to Arms (1932; 6:15am), One Sunday Afternoon (1933; 7:45am), Today We Live (1933; 9:15am), The Westerner (1940; 11:15am), Meet John Doe (1941; 1pm), Sergeant York (1941; 3:15pm) and The Pride of the Yankees (1942; 5:45pm).  (Yup.)

May 8, Thursday – TCM gets an early jump on celebrating comedy great Phil Silvers’ birthday (it’s actually May 11) by scheduling one of my favorites of his films, A Thousand and One Nights (1945) at 1pm.  The rest of the line-up includes You’re in the Army Now (1941; 11:30am—Regis Toomey alert!), Lucky Me (1954; 2:45pm), Top Banana (1954; 4:30pm) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966; 6am).  (Hey, Phil’s daughter Cathy “Jenny Piccolo” Silvers and I are Facebook friends now…gladaseeya!)

In primetime, movies adapted from successful stage productions in the 1960s are the order of the day, beginning with the great political drama The Best Man (1964) at 8pm.  A Thousand Clowns (1965; 10pm), The Night of the Iguana (1964; 12:15am) and The Subject Was Roses (1968; 2:30am) follow…but the night is capped off (at 4:30am) by a movie I’ve not seen (and will definitely re-visit) since the early, Duck Dynasty-free days of A&E: Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) (1967).

May 10, Saturday – Child star Anne Shirley is featured as part of a three-film fete that gets underway with The Essentials showing of Stella Dallas (1937) at 8pm (heeeeyyyy Stellllllaaa!!!).  The movie that inspired Anne Shirley to become Anne Shirley (she was originally billed as “Dawn O’Day”), Anne of Green Gables (1934), follows at 10pm…and then Shirley’s final film (and all grown-up, too!), Murder, My Sweet (1944), rings down the curtain at 11:30pm.

May 12, Monday – It’s Katharine Hepburn’s 107th natal anniversary today—the weekend of May 10-12, classic movie bloggers will gush about some of their favorite Kate films during The Katharine Hepburn Blogathon, hosted by Margaret Perry.  TCM will feature Little Women (1933; 6am), Stage Door (1937; 8am), Mary of Scotland (1936; 9:45am), Alice Adams (1935; 12pm), Bringing Up Baby (1938; 2pm), Woman of the Year (1942; 4pm) and Pat and Mike (1952; 6pm)—so if you haven’t seen any of these hold off on reading any essay discussing them until you do so.  (Sorry if I sound like anyone’s mother—I think it’s prolonged exposure to my own.)

The incomparable Mitzi Gaynor (still going strong!) is in the primetime spotlight with several of her movies: The Joker is Wild (1957; 8pm), Les Girls (1957; 10:15pm), The I Don't Care Girl (1953; 12:15am) and Golden Girl (1951; 2:45am).  The odd man out is her 1974 CBS-TV special Mitzi: A Tribute to the American Housewife, which airs at 1:45am.

May 13, Tuesday – Another well-known boob tube Mom gets her moment in the TCM spotlight during the daytime hours; Jane Wyatt (Father Knows Best) will be featured in two films that I reviewed over at ClassicFlix, Pitfall (1948; 11:30am) and Criminal Lawyer (1951; 4:30pm).  Rounding out the schedule are We're Only Human (1936; 7:30am), Kisses for Breakfast (1941; 8:45am), Army Surgeon (1942; 10:15am), Bad Boy (1949; 1pm), Task Force (1949; 2:30pm) and Never Too Late (1965; 6pm).

The actress known by many as “Goldwyn’s Garbo,” Anna Sten, is placed in charge of the primetime schedule—her American film debut in Nana (1934) is at 8pm, followed by We Live Again (1934; 9:45pm), They Came to Blow Up America (1943; 11:15pm) and her feature film swan song, The Nun and the Sergeant (1962) at 12:45am.  (Anna’s the nun.)  If you like Anna, go with it (I thought she was quite good in 1941’s So Ends Our Night) but if your tastes run toward cinema vérité TCM’s showing two Maysles Brothers classics afterward: Grey Gardens (1976; 2am) and Salesman (1968; 3:45am).

May 14, Wednesday – If you’ve been keeping up with the news—you and my father have a lot in common.  Just kidding…but you may have heard that the only governor we’ve got here in the Peach State recently signed into law what we unwashed hippie liberals call the Fellate Your Firearms Fondly Bill—which odiously expands the “Stand Your Ground” doctrine to protect convicted felons who kill using illegal guns.  (Freedom!)  So with that, might I suggest you watch some of the movies in today’s line-up for tips on how to beat a potential murder rap (never turn down free legal advice): The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946; 6am), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946; 8am), Dark Passage (1947; 10am), The Unfaithful (1947; 12noon), Impact (1949; 2pm), A Fever in the Blood (1961; 4pm) and Twilight of Honor (1963; 6pm).

May 15, Thursday – “A preachment, dear friend, you are about to receive…on John Barleycorn, nicotine and the temptations of Eve…”  The daylight TCM hours host films about those men call upon to preach—Hallelujah! (1929) kicks the medicine show off at 10:30am, followed by TDOY fave Stars in My Crown (1950; 12:15pm), Count Three and Pray (1955; 2pm), Wise Blood (1979; 4pm—one of sister Kat’s favorites) and The Night of the Hunter (1955; 6pm).

In primetime, the subject turns to “hypochondriacs”—another favorite here at Yesteryear Hospital, Why Worry? (1923) starts the evening at 8pm, then it’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; 9:15pm), Up in Arms (1944; 11:15pm), Send Me No Flowers (1964; 1:15am), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960; 3am) and Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936; 4:15am).

May 16, Friday – Tee Cee Em takes the WABAC machine to 1940 and dots its schedule with films from that year—Always a Bride (6am), Cross Country Romance (7am), I Take This Woman (8:15am), It's a Date (10am), Keeping Company (12noon), Lucky Partners (1:30pm), Married and in Love (3:15pm), My Love Came Back (4:30pm) and 'Til We Meet Again (6pm).

May 17, Saturday – Cue the Theremin!  The Haunting (1963) is on tap on TCM’s Essentials at 8pm, and what follows are pants-wetting trips into the unsettling world of paranormal investigations.  Which is just a fancy way of saying that The Legend of Hell House (1973) and Poltergeist (1983) follow at 10 and 11:45pm, respectively.  Stick around for TCM Underground at 3:30am—a favorite of Castle Yesteryear, Night of the Eagle (1962—a.k.a. Burn, Witch, Burn!), is on the menu.  (Evil laugh.)

May 18, Sunday – The movie that won Oscars for director Elia Kazan and Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck (Best Picture), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), is scheduled at 8pm.  The two men’s attempt to make lightning strike twice with the socially conscious Pinky (1949) follows at 10:15.  (Despite Oscar nominations for stars Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters, however…Pinky came up stinky.)

May 19, Monday – Bring on the empty horses!  Oscar-winning actor David Niven is in this morning’s spotlight with The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) at 6:15am, followed by The Dawn Patrol (1938; 8:15am), The First of the Few (1942—a.k.a. Spitfire; 10am), A Kiss for Corliss (1949; 12pm), The Moon Is Blue (1953; 1:30pm), Tonight's the Night (1954; 3:15pm), The Little Hut (1957; 5pm) and The Extraordinary Seaman (1969; 6:30pm).

When evening shadows fall today and on May 20, TCM tips its hat to films produced by Mel Brooks’ production company, Brooksfilms (catchy title!).  On Monday, it’s Fatso (1980; 8pm), 84 Charing Cross Road (1987; 10pm) and The Doctor and the Devils (1985; 12mid); Tuesday features The Elephant Man (1980; 8pm), My Favorite Year (1982; 10:15pm) and To Be or Not to Be (1983; 12mid).

May 21, Wednesday – Here’s as keen an idea for a film festival as I’ve seen in a long time: a salute to character great Victor Moore (or as Fred Allen joshingly refers to him in It’s in the Bag!—“Grandma’s glamour boy!”).  The first four features—Meet the Missus (1937; 6am), We're on the Jury (1937; 7:15am), Radio City Revels (1938; 8:30am) and She's Got Everything (1938; 10:15am)—all team Vic up with frequent onscreen sparring partner Helen Broderick.  After that, it’s This Marriage Business (1938; 11:30am), The Heat's On (1943; 12:45pm), It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947; 2:15pm) and A Kiss in the Dark (1949; 4:15pm).

May 22, Thursday – While I often find it hard to choose between Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and The General (1926) as to which is Buster Keaton’s masterpiece…my favorite Keaton feature (simply on the amount of sheer pleasure it gives me) is Seven Chances (1925; 9:15am).  Maybe it’s because one of my favorite actresses, Jean Arthur, has a tiny role in it.  Well, who cares—it’ll give me a reason to watch it for the umpteenth time, plus I can enjoy The Silver Horde (1930; 10:15am), Danger Lights (1931; 11:45am), Public Hero No. 1 (1935; 1pm), The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936; 2:30pm), History is Made at Night (1937; 4pm)…and what may be my favorite Jean film of them all, The Talk of the Town (1942; 5:45pm).

He’s back from the TCM Classic Film Festival—where he made lame movie buffs walk and blind flicker aficionados see!  Yes, good ol’ Bobby Osbo sets up his projector at 8pm with a few “picks”—beginning with The House on 92nd Street (1945) at 8pm…then he moves up the block to The House on 56th Street (1933) at 9:45.  Hobson’s Choice (1954) is next at 11pm (sure, I kid R.O. but he’s got great taste in movies) followed by The Belle of New York (1952) at 1am to round out the evening.

May 23, Friday – Noir icon and The Restless Gun star John Payne is the focus of today’s film line-up…though disappointingly, only one Payne noir is featured—1949’s The Crooked Way at 3:45am.  But TCM will show Dodsworth (1936) at 6am (yes, that was his feature film debut!), followed by Garden of the Moon (1938; 7:45am), Indianapolis Speedway (1939; 9:30am), Kid Nightingale (1939; 11am), Wings of the Navy (1939; 12noon), King of the Lumberjacks (1940; 1:45pm) and Tear Gas Squad (1940; 2:45pm).

DVR-TiVo-Or whatever recording device strikes your fancy-alert!  At 5:15am, TCM will show one of the funniest of the Our Gang silent comedies—the 1926 two-reel classic Thundering Fleas.  Not only is “the Gang all here” (Mickey Daniels, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Joe Cobb) but there are contribution from stars and supporting players from the “Lot of Fun”—chiefly Oliver Hardy, Jimmy Finlayson and Charley Chase.  Tape this if you get a chance.

May 27, Tuesday – Actress Merle Oberon has the daytime schedule baton passed to her, and the proceedings get underway at 6am with The Divorce of Lady X (1938).  The Lion Has Wings (1939) is on deck at 7:45am, then it’s Over the Moon (1940; 9:15am), Affectionately Yours (1941; 10:45am), Lydia (1941; 12:15pm), That Uncertain Feeling (1941; 2pm), A Night in Paradise (1946; 3:30pm) and Deep in My Heart (1954; 5pm).

The only nun who has voting privileges as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes over primetime—it’s none other than The Reverend Mother Dolores Hart…though back in her movie days, she was plain ol’ Dolores.  She’s the TCM Guest Programmer this month, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see that the first movie on the schedule is one of her own: 1962’s Lisa (at 8pm).  (Yes, I was so hoping it would be Loving You [1957].  I would have even settled for Where the Boys Are [1960].)  The other films to be hosted by The Reverend Mother (I sound like I wandered into a Flying Nun rerun) are Laura (1944; 10pm), The Song of Bernadette (1943; 11:45pm—there’s a stunner!) and The Rose Tattoo (1955; 2:30am).  (Fellow CMBA member A Trip Down Memory Lane has some interesting background on the Mother Prioress in this 2012 post.)

May 28, Wednesday – “San Francisco/Open your golden gate/You’ll let nobody wait…”  Yes, the “City by the Bay” is feted today with the movie being sung about in those lyrics—San Francisco (1936) airs at 9:30am.  Other Frisco-based films on the schedule are Welcome Danger (1929; 6am), Frisco Jenny (1932; 8am), Gold Is Where You Find It (1938; 11:30am), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941; 1:15pm), Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1942; 3pm), Night Song (1947; 4:15pm) and Hit the Deck (1955; 6pm).

May 29, Thursday – Johnny Mercer alert!  The two feature films featuring Savannah’s favorite native son Johnny Mercer as an actor (well, that’s certainly debatable) will air today—Old Man Rhythm (1935) at 9:30am and To Beat the Band (1935) at 2:30pm.

One of the most talked-about classic movie books in the blogosphere last year was My Lunches with Orson—a series of transcribed conversations between the great actor-director and his devoted minion, Henry Jaglom…also in the acting and directing profession.  Edited by Peter Biskind (author of one of my favorite film books, Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties), I glommed onto a promotional copy of Lunches…and while I still consider Welles to be an amazing talent (not only in movies but in radio as well), some of the revelations in the book put a little tarnish on his legend (though you can argue that it always was there; I was just too Jaglom-like to notice it).  TCM will toast these two conversationalists with airings of the Welles films Citizen Kane (1941; 8pm) and F for Fake (1973; 10:15pm)…followed by two Jaglom joints, Someone to Love (1987; 12mid—Welles’s last feature film appearance) and Eating (1990; 2am).  The channel wraps up the evening with My Dinner with Andre (1981) at 4am—I guess they want folks to compare it to Lunches.

May 30, Friday – Hold my calls…TCM fetes one of my favorite film directors, Fritz Lang, with a daylong scheduling of his films.  My mother will be happy that The Blue Gardenia (1953) is on the schedule (3pm); she saw the second half of it the last time it was on the channel and expressed an interest in seeing the whole enchilada.  The other movies scheduled are Metropolis (1926; 6am), M (1931; 7:30am), Fury (1936; 9:15am), Scarlet Street (1945; 11am), Clash by Night (1952; 1pm), Moonfleet (1955; 4:45pm) and While the City Sleeps (1956; 6:15pm)

May 31, Saturday – To close out the merry month of May, TCM’s Essentials will offer up the start of “Pygmalion stories” with the musical version of George Bernard Shaw’s classic, My Fair Lady (1964), at 8pm.  The Josephine Baker rarity Princesse Tam-Tam (1935) follows at 11pm, and then it’s Judy Holiday as the world’s most beloved “dumb blonde” in Born Yesterday (1950) at 12:30am.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Doris Day(s) #16: “The Clock” (01/28/69, prod. no #8531)

To use an expression that has become popular in describing TV shows of today—this week’s edition is a “very special Doris Day(s).”  The reason for this is that “The Clock” is actually a sporadically funny installment, with a number of laugh-out loud moments (it made me nostalgic for Mayberry Mondays) and appearances from two character greats reprising their roles from past episodes.

As our show opens, it’s established that the Widow Martin (Doris) is wore to a frazzle—wore to a fraz…zle!  We don’t witness the birth, but apparently Alma the family cow was great with calf, and Dor has been up for the past two nights assisting with Alma’s labor.  (Why no one else in the household is dead tired goes unexplained—Doris must have been the only one assisting the vet.)  “Mother and daughter are doing just fine,” Doris assures her loyal housekeeper Juanita (Naomi Stevens) as she wearily drags her ass to the table located in the kitchen nook.

Oh my.  It appears this episode suddenly got interesting (and the blog’s pageview count has increased exponentially).  Sorry to disappoint you—this isn’t what it looks like, despite Doris’ “I think we should have a celebration—don’t you, Juanita?”  Nor is this, in which Juanita appears to be assisting Doris because the boss lady threw back too many tequila slammers:

Doris’ trip upstairs to catch up on her Z’s is interrupted by the arrival of the woman in the screen capture below, whom Doris Day(s) fans might remember (provided they refrained from drinking heavily after reading the write-up) from “The Friend.”  The role of Grace Henley is played by actress Peggy Rea, whom you’ve seen on The Waltons and Grace Under Fire; she would later work with Doris Day Show co-star Denver Pyle on The Dukes of Hazzard (Peggy played Lulu Hogg in several episodes).  Grace must have roaming privileges in the Webb household (“Yoo-hoo!  Doris!”)—she kind of just barges right in without so much as a door knock or bell ring.

GRACE: Oh, boy—what have you been up to?
DORIS: Well…
GRACE: Look…I just came to drop this off and check on your report…

Sometimes Doris’ reactions are the only things that keep me going.

DORIS: Oh, no…
GRACE: Don’t tell me you forgot
DORIS: Yes…oh, shoot…

Doris!  You watch your phraseology!

DORIS: You don’t have to have it until tomorrow, do you?
GRACE: Well, three o’clock the committee meets…and we can’t proceed with our other plans until we have the financial report…
DORIS: You got it…
GRACE: Promise?

Oh, Dor…you saucy minx!  Seeing Grace’s face fall, Doris reassures her she’s just kidding, so Grace takes her leave after telling her tired pal she’ll see her tomorrow at three.  “There goes my nap,” Doris tells Juanita sadly, and she orders her domestic to fix her a strong pot of joe.

My heart kind of skipped a beat in the next scene—not necessarily because inept handyman Leroy B. Semple Simpson (James Hampton) has returned to the show, but because this vehicle pulls up while Leroy is chopping a few cords of wood…

Yes, I thought for a moment I might have wandered into an episode of Green Acres by mistake, since that chug-a-bug looks similar to the truck driven by Hooterville’s resident con man Eustace Haney (Pat Buttram).  But as is so often our mantra here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: we simply aren’t that lucky.  We’ll have to settle for second best—or Haney-Lite—in the form of Tyrone Lovey, played by the incomparable Strother Martin, last seen in “Love a Duck.”  It is indeed a tragedy that Martin’s Lovey only appears in two Doris Day Show episodes; sure, you can make a strong argument that with the show’s gradual shift to action in the big city in future seasons it would have been hard to work him in…but many of the second season shows still take place at Rancho Webb, so it wouldn’t have been too challenging.  As Lovey brings his jitney to a stop, Leroy alerts the Laird and Master (Pyle) of Webb Farms as to his arrival.

LEROY: Tyrone Lovey’s here, Mr. Webb…
BUCK: So he is…now watch him…he’s liable to steal the barn…

I laughed out loud at Pyle’s delivery of that.  Leroy assures his employer he’ll “watch him like a hawk”—but to ease everyone’s fears, Lovey is not here to purloin a few more of the Webb Family’s feathered fowl…he’s here to talk bidness.

BUCK: What you got there, Lovey?
LOVEY: What have I got here?  (He climbs up on the truck) What have I…got here…? (Giggling) A sight to gladden the heart of your little girl…you’re gonna thank ol’ Lovey for this…

Tyrone removes the tarp with a flourish, revealing an antique highboy underneath.  As if scripted, Doris wanders out to the yard in time to see the furniture on Lovey’s truck.  “Just look at the gleam in that little girl’s eyes,” beams Tyrone…and this elicited a giggle, since that “gleam” is due mostly to Doris’ lack of sleep.

LOVEY: Like the eyes of a child on a Christmas morning!
BUCK: How much?
LOVEY: Buck Webb…you ought to be ashamed talkin’ money at a time like this…
BUCK: How much, Lovey?
LOVEY (to Doris): Missy…would I let money stand between you and your heart’s desire?
BUCK (under his breath): Oh, boy…
LOVEY: I’ll tell you what we will do…we will take this beautiful piece of furniture inside…and set it up where it’s gonna be…
LOVEY: It may be…that you won’t like it once you see how it looks…
BUCK: No you don’t!  We deal for this right here and…

Doris interrupts her pop—telling him that Lovey is right; it may not fit and if it doesn’t, they won’t want to buy it.  So Buck resignedly climbs into Tyrone’s truck and prepares to do the heavy lifting required to tote the highboy upstairs.  “Well, now…I’d like to help you,” explains Lovey, “I really would…but my back has been actin’ up somethin’ fierce lately.”

“I had a feeling you was gonna say something like that,” grumbles Buck.  Buck orders Leroy to give him a hand, and Doris…

…well, I don’t think we’re going to be able to count on Dor.  Buck wakes her up by stomping a couple of times on the truck bed, and Doris wakes up in a funny fashion.  “I’ll clear a place in my room,” she answers groggily.

A few minutes of amusing physical comedy follow: Buck and Leroy are trying to haul the highboy up the stairs but the drawers are sliding out (“Buck!  Leroy!  You’re losin’ your drawers!” warns Lovey).  As the two movers negotiate that tricky turn on the stairway Leroy loses his grip, pinning Buck to the wall with the furniture.  “You are crushing Buck,” admonishes Lovey.

Lovey, Buck and Leroy manage to bring the highboy into Doris’ room…where our heroine is sacked out on the bed.  Buck wakes her up with a “Doris!” and she sleepily walks over to the opposite wall, while trying to move a loveseat out of the way.  (Tyrone can’t help her, because bad back.)  Leroy finally sets the highboy down (and staggers over to a chair, out of breath) so that the four of them can admire their handiwork.

LOVEY: It fits in this room…like it was meant to be…
DORIS: Oh, it’s beautiful
BUCK (muttering to Doris): When he starts talkin’ about price…remember the big table in the kitchen… (To Tyrone) Uh…how much are you askin’ for this thing?
LOVEY: Well…uh…Buck…seein’ as how we’re neighbors…and because it does my heart good the way your little gal took to it…I am going to let you have this beautiful highboy…
BUCK: How much?
LOVEY: …for practically what it cost me
BUCK (angrier): How much, Lovey?
LOVEY: Eighty-five dollars…
BUCK: Eighty-five dollars?

“That’s not bad,” observes Doris.  “Well, in San Francisco it would cost twice that much…I know that.”  (A little bit of sitcom foreshadowing for Season Tres.)

LOVEY: That’s right, Missy…in San Francisco…that’s right…
BUCK: You haven’t been ten miles outside of Cotina…what do you know about San Francisco?
LOVEY: Well, they got the fire out—I know that

Laughed out loud at that, too.

BUCK: I’ll give you half
LOVEY: Buck…I couldn’t do that…
BUCK: All right—no sale!

Since Buck has made his mind up, Doris sleepily tells him “you better take it down then.”  “I’ll chip in, Mr. Webb,” chimes Leroy in a please-don’t-make-me-lug-this-back-downstairs voice, which was good for a giggle.  So Buck reluctantly opens his wallet and starts counting out the eighty-five.

“You just said…” starts Doris, but Buck interrupts.  “It’s either him or the chiropractor,” he says with finality.

But Tyrone isn’t quite finished.  “Missy,” he continues, “this here highboy…it needs somethin’ on it.  And I know just the thing…a nice, beautiful, chimin’ clock.”  Doris opens her mouth wide in amazement, which is Buck’s cue to give Tyrone a fast trip out of the bedroom.

DORIS (to Leroy): You know something…he’s right…he’s got an eye…a chiming clock would look just…perfect on it…
LEROY: Yeah…it would kinda fill up that hole, wouldn’t it?

DORIS: Uh-huh…
LEROY: Are they expensive?
DORIS: Oh, yeah…it’s not in my budget right now anyway…

But it just might be in Mr. Simpson’s budget—particularly since he has precious little outlets to spend the mere pittance that Buck and Doris pay him for working the Webb estate.

A dissolve finds Doris’ spawn, Billy (Philip Brown) and Toby (Tod Starke) running to the front door, calling out Leroy’s name.  Doris walks in from the kitchen just as Leroy enters with a package—it’s clear she’s not been to bed yet, but she tells him goodnight.  As Leroy brings the package in, the kids are curious as to what’s inside; he tells Billy and Toby “You’ll never guess in a million years!”

Unfortunately for Leroy, there’s a rather audible ticking emanating from the package…and while Toby may be slow, he’s not that slow.  “I know—it’s a clock!” he exclaims.

“Well, if it’s not,” jokes Buck, “we all better start running.”  Doris melts at Leroy’s thoughtfulness, and she opens the clock at the foot of the stairs.  “Oh, look,” she wails.  “Just what I’ve always wanted…look, boys!”  The kids respond with the enthusiasm usually reserved for the news that they’re getting a vaccination during this visit to the doctor.

DORIS: Hey…let’s go up and see how it looks, huh?
BUCK: Why don’t we do that tomorrow?  If you’re gonna get that report out, you better get crackin’…
DORIS: Oh…yeah…you know something?  I’m…I’m so tired I think that I’m just going to do it in the morning, you know?  Anyway…oh, I just love it…

Doris needs Leroy to pull her up off the stairs so she can give him a thank-you kiss, and in the next scene we find Dodo sleeping peacefully, dreaming her dreamy dreams.  (As Warner Brothers fans know—she’ll see you in her dreams.)

But enough of these obscure movie references.  The camera pans over to the clock in the highboy, as it begins to chime ten times because it’s 10pm.  However, the chimes resemble the sound of someone standing in Doris’ room, furious clanging two pans together.

A half-asleep Doris takes the clock into her bathroom, and gingerly places it in the tub, covering it with a bathmat.  She resists the urge to drown it, and instead heads back to her bed for some badly needed rest.

But, no!  An hour later, the clock strikes eleven and chimes again—so loudly that Doris falls out of bed!  You kook!

Naturally, with that racket going on all night…Doris is in no shape to attend the committee meeting that afternoon.  She’s asleep in a chair, looking as if she burnt the candle at both ends the night previous.  After Grace finishes her presentation, she calls upon Doris for her report.

Doris!  Wakey wakey!  Eggs and bakey!

Doris gets to her feet, and with pointer in hand, informs the committee that at the beginning of the year they started out with six thousand dollars in the treasury.  Grace gently corrects Doris—they actually had a balance of sixty dollars.  (Hey—just a little sloppy accounting, nothing to get too worked up about.)

Doris!  Up and at ‘em, sunshine!  Well, our heroine valiantly struggles to remain awake…but if you’ve got any money on The Sandman in this bout, prepare to collect your winnings from Monty the Gonif.  Doris performs some amusing physical comedy, running her pointer through the chart (“There goes March,” she chirps).  Finally, Buck emerges from the kitchen and informs the other committee members that “this isn’t what it looks like.”

I love this bit, where Pyle carries Doris off like she was a sack of grass seed.  He calls out for Juanita, and as he takes Doris upstairs the other women can be heard in sympathy (“This report can wait, can’t it, girls,” says Grace sadly).  A dissolve finds Juanita tucking Doris into bed, and then she turns to Buck.

BUCK: Well, that tears it…there’s only one thing to do—get rid of that clock…
JUANITA: She won’t let you…that was a present from Leroy
BUCK: Well, present or no present…she can’t go on with no sleep like this…it’ll ruin her health!

The two of them tiptoe out of Doris’ room…but another dissolve finds Buck sneaking back in later that evening.  He removes the clock from where Doris had it in the bathroom, and then starts downstairs—the only problem is that Nelson (Lord Nelson), the faithful family mutt, is whining and growling at him for invading His Mistress’ boudoir.  Lifting up the phone receiver, Buck dials a few digits…

BUCK (whispering): Hello…Lovey?  Buck Webb… (Pause) No, I haven’t got a cold!  Well, never mind why I’m talkin’ this way—listen…how would you like to have a genuine antique clock…free?!!

After the Ralston-Purina break, Tyrone Lovey noisily pulls up in his teakettle Town and Country…and Buck yells at him to “turn that motor off!”  “What are you trying to do, wake everybody up?” he asks.

“Is the family sleepin’?” Lovey asks him.  “Well, what do you suppose at 3:00 in the mornin’ they’d be doin’?” responds Buck sarcastically.  (“Hey…I’ve heard stories around Cotina, Buck…that’s all I’m willin’ to say.”)

LOVEY: Hey…hey…that is a nice lookin’ clock…I bet that would look real good on Miss Doris’ highboy, huh?
BUCK (handing him the clock): Now this is what you come for…you got it, now get movin’…
LOVEY: Uh-uh…not too fast…I bet you got this insured pretty good, ain’tcha?
BUCK (yelling): What are you…? (Tyrone places a finger to his lips, and Buck starts to whisper) Talkin’ about?
LOVEY: Shoot, Buck…you don’t have to play cozy with ol’ Tyrone…I expect you’re gonna get a pretty penny back from the insurance company
BUCK (glaring): Lovey…you wanted a clock…you got a clock…now get out of here…

It’s not that Tyrone isn’t willing to help his pal out.  It’s just that at the time he agreed to take the clock off of Buck’s hands, he didn’t realize it was a chiming clock.  “Everybody knows it’s bad luck to travel at night with a chimin’ clock in your truck,” he explains.  He got that “straight from a gypsy fortuneteller.”

LOVEY: It’s ten years of nasty bad luck
BUCK: And just what would it take to ward off that…uh…ten years of nasty bad luck?
LOVEY: Well…I don’t think that a dollar a year would be too much…do you?

Buck gazes up at the second floor where Doris’ bedroom is located…then reluctantly fishes a sawbuck out of his wallet to give to Lovey as we dissolve to the family kitchen.  It is morning, and while Buck and Leroy are finishing off a hearty breakfast of baklava smothered with sticky buns, Doris conveys the news to all assembled that her clock…is gone!

DORIS: Hey…did one of you take the clock from my room?
DORIS: Well, it’s gone!
LEROY: You mean somebody stole it?
DORIS: Well, if none of you here took it…well, then…I don’t know…

The first rule in the Shreve household when I was growing up was that anytime something was broken or missing, the interrogation of the children commenced immediately.  (This was to prevent my sisters and me from “lawyering up,” to use the vernacular of Law & Order and its various franchises.)  How Billy and Toby escaped this questioning I attribute to writer Joe Bonaduce’s desperate need to wrap this episode up.

DORIS: All I know is when I woke up…it was gone… (Buck has difficulty concealing his guilt) Leroy…I’m just…if it’s true…I’m just sick about it!
LEROY (getting up from the table): I’m gonna call the sheriff…
BUCK (stammering): Well, what…what…what good will that do?
LEROY: I’ll offer a reward!
DORIS: Oh, I just feel terrible
BUCK: I…I can’t tell you how that makes me feel…

We hear that familiar “ding” on the soundtrack…followed by another…and no, it’s not the bell on a typewriter.  Doris is using her special tingly mom sense to discern that something is not quite kosher.  A dissolve then brings us to the Webb family living room, where Doris, Leroy and Buck have congregated—Leroy asks if Doris has heard from the sheriff yet.  “Not a word,” she says firmly.

BUCK: Doris, will you quit frettin’ over that dang clock?
DORIS: I like to know who did it!
BUCK: Well, if I thought it was that important to you I’d have… (He stops suddenly)


DORIS: You’d have what?
BUCK: Forget it…
LEROY: You know what I think?  I think that there’s a gang of clock thieves loose in this neighborhood…

“I’m warning you, Dobbs!”  Buck presses upon Leroy to shut up about the freakin’ clock, but his handyman reminds him about the reward he’s offering.  And speaking of “reward,” outside we hear the “toot-toot” of the Loveymobile…and as Tyrone is welcomed inside, he carries with him…the clock.

DORIS: Where did you find it?
LOVEY: Well…I…it is the strangest thing…
DORIS: Well, it sure is! (Soundtrack ding)
LOVEY: Now simply there I was…drivin’ along the road on my way to prayer meetin’…when I saw this light in the brush…well…I’m not a suspicious man by nature—and never have been—but something told me I oughta take a look-see…and what do you think I saw?
BUCK (resignedly): A…clock…
LOVEY: No!  I saw a gang of clock thieves…and…and they was makin’ their escape in this truck just loaded with clocks…
DORIS (noticing that Buck is slinking upstairs): Where are you going?
BUCK: Well…I thought I’d get my pipe…or…
DORIS: Don’t you want to hear the rest of the story?

There’s really not much left to tell—which is good, since that means we’ll get out of here early for a change.  Lovey continues embellishing his story—the “thieves” lost one of the clocks in their escape, and Tyrone brought it over to the Webb farm to see if it belonged to Doris.  Which it does.  (Quel surprise!)  As Buck tries to give Tyrone the bum’s rush, Tyrone brings up the small matter of the reward…and Leroy, a man of his word, rushes out to his room in the barn to get the money.

DORIS: …now I don’t think Leroy should have to pay this…
BUCK: Well…if he was fool enough to offer…

Major emphasis on “fool.”

DORIS: Now, wait a minute…the clock was stolen from our house…don’t you think you should pay for it?
BUCK: Well…
(Doris gives him The Look, so he pulls his wallet from the back of his pants and opens it up…then hands some bills to Lovey)
TYRONE: That’s ten…and twenty…thanks…

“Evenin’, Missy,” Tyrone tells Doris as Buck hustles him out the door.  “I’m glad I was lucky enough to find the clock…”  What a swell guy.

DORIS: It kind of backfired, didn’t it?
BUCK: Now…no third degree…I confess…but I just couldn’t stand to see you walking around here like a zombie…

The Doris Day Show…cross-pollenated with The Walking Dead.  Oddly enough, I’d watch that.

DORIS: Look…I appreciate your kind thoughts…but did you have to do it this way?  I mean, we could have thought of something
BUCK: Uh-huh…well, you got your clock back…you may never sleep again—but Leroy’s feelings won’t be hurt…

Oh, Buckley…you foolish mortal, wearing the manure-stained footwear.  There’s a reason why we’re always hearing so many “dings” on the soundtrack of this show—never misunderestimate Doris’ motherhood powers.

DORIS: Maybe not!
BUCK (as he stops on the stairs): What do you mean?
DORIS: You know—something happened to my clock when it fell off the truck… (As she plays with the clock hands) It sure is running fast…do you think Leroy could fix it?
BUCK: Leroy?!!
DORIS: Uh-huh…
BUCK: That boy has trouble tyin’ his own shoelaces!
DORIS: Yeah…
BUCK: He couldn’t fix that clock in a million years without wreckin’ it!
DORIS: Right

Then the penny drops for Buck.  “Right!” he agrees conspiratorially.

Let’s put this one to bed only because the coda is fairly anti-climactic—Leroy is in the living room, working on Doris’ “broken clock”; there’s a towel nearby him with various clock parts and tools, and he’s being assisted in the “repair” by Doris’ cheese-loving sons.  Doris and Buck are seated in a chair and on the sofa, respectively, getting ready to high-five one another over the brilliance of their plan.

Leroy grabs what he believes to be an essential cog in the clock’s works, then Toby informs him “That’s from my tiddlywinks set.”  Finally, he finishes attending to the clock and he closes the cover (he’s got a few spare parts left over, too).  The clock’s internal ticking mechanism can be heard loudly as Doris and Buck stare at one another in disbelief.  When Leroy moves the hands to 3:00 to check out the chime, the clock rings out noisily…one…two…three…four…five…six… (Leroy, you’re incorrigible!)

Next time on Doris Day(s): a dismal little outing entitled “The Buddy,” which features appearances from two character greats.  One of them is an old-time radio veteran (Let George Do It, Wild Bill Hickok, Dragnet) who’s best remembered for the movie line: “Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!”  The other…well, I’ll let my Twitter compadre Stephen Bowie tell you all about her here.  Be sure to join me!