Monday, June 10, 2013

Doris Day(s) #1: “Dinner for Mom” (09/24/68, prod. no #8504)

Welcome to Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s kickoff of our new Monday feature: Doris Day(s)!  The mission is simple: to poke fun at every episode of the apparently forgotten The Doris Day Show, a sitcom ratings winner for the CBS Television Network from 1968 to 1973.

I say “apparently forgotten” because after its network run, the series wasn’t syndicated much.  There’s no doubt a reason for this: personally, it hasn’t held up well at all, with a blandness that rivals our previous blog project, Mayberry R.F.D.  (Let me put it this way—compared to the Day show, R.F.D. is vanilla pudding with a dash of Tabasco.)  As of this writing, I’m a handful of episodes away from completing the second season of the show and while there were a few moments that made me smile, overall the program does Dodo a disservice—there are only occasional flashes of the wit that made her one of the premiere movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s.  (And while I don’t want to keep comparing it to R.F.D., unlike that series there is not a laugh-out-loud moment in every episode.)

So before we start this week’s visit…how about we introduce the dramatis personae?

Doris needs little introduction—the popular film star and singer began making movies in 1948 (with Romance on the High Seas) but twenty years later learned that her particular kind of filmmaking was out of vogue.  So she cast her lot in television (the story goes that her bidness manager hubby, Marty Melcher, contracted her to do the show and that she only learned about it after he snuffed it), playing the role of Doris Martin—a widow who returns to her father’s ranch to live with her two sons in bucolic bliss.

The role of Doris’ father, Buck Webb, is essayed by character great Denver Pyle.  Couch potatoes remember him best as Duke family patriarch Uncle Jesse on CBS’ later country comedy hit The Dukes of Hazzard.  Others might recognize him as Mad Jack from The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams or Grandpa Tarleton on Tammy…and Mayberry devotees know him as mountain man Briscoe Darling, a role he played in several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Fran Ryan is Aggie Thompson, who is employed as a housekeeper at Rancho Webb.  Ryan, who would win a Marjorie Main look-a-like contest in a walk, was just starting to appear on TV (she had a few movie and boob tube credits on her C.V.) at this time…but for reasons that are unknown to me, she was only in the first ten episodes of The Doris Day Show before her character vanished, never to be heard from again.  (Police say it’s a cold case.)  Wikipedia has explained her absence by mentioning that she was replacing Barbara Pepper as Doris Ziffel on Green Acres…but that didn’t happen until the fall of 1969, so I’m not sure I buy that.  (Actress Naomi Stevens will pinch-hit for Fran in the remaining Day Show segments as “Juanita.”)  Fran later played Miss Hannah on Gunsmoke (she took over the Long Branch after Amanda Blake’s Miss Kitty departed) and also had regular roles on such series as No Soap, Radio, The Wizard and The Dave Thomas Comedy Show.  (You remember the matron who climbs into Bill Murray’s cab in Stripes and gets him fired?  That’s Fran.)

Familiar TV face James Hampton plays Leroy B. Semple Simpson, Doris and Buck’s “handyman.”  (There’s a reason why that’s in quotes.)  Before becoming a regular in many of Burt Reynolds’ movies (including The Longest Yard, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination), Jim was a regular on F Troop as the lovably inept bugler Hannibal Dobbs.  He’s also been in such films as The China Syndrome and Sling Blade; recently Me-TV had a promo featuring him and clips from some shows he appeared in, among them Gomer Pyle, USMC (“The Feuding Pyles”), The Rockford Files (“The Aaron Ironwood School of Success”) and Love, American Style.  I’d like to be able to tell you that Hampton’s Leroy is as funny as Hannibal Dobbs…but then again, I’d also like to be dating fashion models on a regular basis.  (For all intents and purposes, Leroy will be our new Goober Pyle.)

These are Dorisrugrats charming children.  The oldest, Billy, is played by Philip Brown—who mentions in an interview on MPI’s first season set of The Doris Day Show that he was in the Stacia fave Fitzwilly before landing the Doris gig—the IMDb doesn’t seem to be aware of this credit but it’s also possible they don’t know.  According to that authoritative show business site, he said sarcastically, Philip is the nephew of Scott C. fave Peter Brown (a.k.a. Pierre Lynn de Lappe), star of the TV westerns Lawman and Laredo.  Having viewed young Master Brown in many of these episodes, I can honestly admit he’s not as annoying as your usual kiddie actors.  But I can not extend that courtesy to Tod Starke, who plays the youngest of Doris’ brood, Toby.  Sadly, Starke’s acting gigs outside of the Day Show amount to the Andy Griffith film Angel in My Pocket (1969) and a guest appearance on Adam-12.  I mean no disrespect to the late Mr. Starke (he died in 1983, according to the IMDb), but acting definitely wasn’t his thing.

The final member of the Martin-Webb household—yes, the damn dog actually gets a credit—is Nelson…or “Lord Nelson,” to use his full stage name.  I know Doris is a dedicated animal rights activist and all, but what you don’t know is…she stole this dog from Joan and Jim Nash (Pat Crowley, Mark Miller) of Ridgemont, NY.  That’s right—this is the same mutt from the sitcom Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1965-67), only he answered to Ladadog (or “Lad”) on that show.  (I’m sorry I had to expose this dark chapter of Doris’ life to everyone out there…but I simply couldn’t remain silent any longer.)

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera

Yes, the song that Dodo introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) has been refashioned as her TV theme song…with a chorus of kids singing along after Doris’ first few bars.  (I guess they thought people would think it was her kids on the show…but believe me, those little mooks get an opportunity to warble later on and they are not good.)  You can watch the first season opening via YouTube; I believe it was my friend Matt Hinrichs who once described it as resembling a feminine hygiene commercial:

As our episode begins, it’s Doris’ birthday!  (Yay!)  Aggie has baked our favorite Mom a birthday cake, and she and Buck are hurriedly trying to light all the candles before Doris gets downstairs.  They finish with the cake, and Leroy, who went and got his gi-tar, lets out a “whew!” of relief that ends up extinguishing all the candles.  A frustrated Buck calls him a nincompoop.  (It will not be the last time.)

As Doris makes her sitcom debut entrance at the top of the stairs, the family emerges from the kitchen singing Happy Birthday to You.  They gather around a table just off the living room and sit down so that Doris can cut the cake; she first starts to count the candles but Aggie interrupts her and says “22.”  “Thanks a lot, pal,” responds Doris.  Son Billy then tells her to make a wish before blowing out the candles—she does, and successfully extinguishes the fire that has erupted on her cake.

DORIS: Always was pretty windy, right?
TOBY: What did you wish?
LEROY: Well, she can’t tell you that, Toby…if she does, her wish won’t come true…
TOBY: They never come true anyway…

Buck tells Leroy to go fetch the presents, and while he does that young Billy and Toby ask their mother if she was really surprised.  “I really was,” she replies, giving her youngest a hug.  Leroy then brings several gifties, and Doris opens the first one—a token of Leroy’s esteem.

DORIS: That’s really sweet…boy, is it really heavy… (She opens a box to reveal a rock)
BILLY: What is it?
BUCK: Well, that’s a rock!
DORIS: No, it’s a paperweight!
LEROY: No, it’s a rock…
AGGIE: Well, what’s it for?
LEROY: To keep paper from blowin’ off the desk…
DORIS: Well, that’s what I said—it’s a paperweight…
LEROY: Well…I guess you could call it that…

Young Billy also has an important announcement regarding his mother’s natal anniversary…though it might have been a good idea to wipe the frosting off his mouth first.

BILLY: Me and Toby’s got a present, too…
DORIS: Do you really?
TOBY: Uh-huh!
BILLY: We’re gonna take you out to a big fancy dinner in a nightclub!
TOBY: Saturday night!
DORIS (taken aback): Oh…my!
TOBY: And we’re gonna pay for it with our own money!
DORIS: With your own…Grandpa, did you hear that?
BUCK: Sure did!
DORIS: Well, won’t that be expensive?
TOBY: You said it, boy!
BILLY: Toby and me been workin’ three weeks to save up!

“Double shifts at the fertilizer factory!”  Doris is overwhelmed by this gesture, and of course cannot agree to not go.  So a dissolve brings us to Saturday night, as Doris is preparing for her “big date.”

BUCK: You gonna wear something fancy for the big date tonight?
BUCK: The boys are gettin’ all slicked up…
DORIS: Wait till I show you…come on in…

Doris goes over to her chifferobe and pulls out one of those fabulous outfits that TV people like herself and Ann Marie of That Girl miraculously can afford to wear.

DORIS: Think they’ll dig me in this?
BUCK: Oh, groooooovy!

Far out.

BUCK: Those boys are gonna be so proud of their mama when they see you in that…
DORIS: I hope so… (Wistfully) Gee, I wish Steve were here to see his sons on their first date…all dressed up and everything…

“Steve” is Doris’ dear departed husband.  As the old joke goes—he’s not dead; he just departed.  All seriousness aside, the explanation for why Steve is no longer among the living goes unexamined on the show…let’s just take the initiative and fill in a little of the backstory by saying he was killed in a fertilizer factory explosion.

BUCK: Hey—you got any idea where they’re going to take you?
DORIS: No!  It’s a secret!
BUCK: Well…I hope they don’t get in over their heads…you know, maybe I oughta give them a couple of bucks just in case…
DORIS: Oh, Dad—don’t you dare do that!  They have to feel like they’ve done this all by themselves!  That’s the whole point of it, Dad…
BUCK: But how would they feel if they ran out of money?
DORIS (going over to her dresser, where she pulls out a wallet): Now you don’t think I’d go out with them unprepared, do you?  No sir, my dear—I have enough money here to cover all emergencies…
BUCK: Good idea…but if you have to use any of that money, make sure that they don’t know anything about it…
DORIS: Oh, gosh…I wouldn’t spoil that evening for anything

Buck makes Doris promise to tell him all about the occasion by assuring her that he’ll wait up for her…so while she gets herself assembled, she asks him to shut her bedroom door behind him while she hies herself to the bathroom.  Inside the bathroom, Doris can be heard singing Que Sera, Sera as her two sons sneak into her room.  Those little minxes remove her wallet from her purse, setting up the eventual plot conflict of this episode.

TOBY: You sure it’s not stealing?
BILLY: Of course not…we’re not taking a wallet, we’re just moving it…and you know if Mom had any money, she’d want to pay for everything…right?
TOBY: Right…

A dissolve finds Leroy pulling up to the house in a station wagon; he enters the house and yells up at Doris that he’s brought the car around.  He passes by Aggie, who is carrying a girdle with her—she heads up the stairs and into Doris’ room at the same time the Martin boys emerge from their room dressed to the nines (or as well-dressed as kids can be, I suppose).

TOBY: Can we count the money again?
BILLY: We already counted it fifty times!
TOBY: Can we just look at it again?
BILLY: Boy, are you a pest…

Billy shows his brother a change purse stuffed with funds, and that seems to pacify the little scamp.  Then Doris appears on the stairs…

…ah…a vision of loverliness.

TOBY: Wow!
BILLY: You sure look pretty, Mom!
DORIS: Do I?  Thank you…it’s a special night…and…may I say…that I have never seen more handsome escorts in my life…never…now—where are you taking me?
BILLY: We can’t tell you!
TOBY: It’s a secret!
DORIS: Oh…well…that does present a problem, fellas…because since I’m doing the driving, and you’re the only ones who know where we’re going—we may never get there…have you thought about that?

So Billy pulls a piece of paper out of his suit pocket and hands it to his mother.  She doesn’t recognize the restaurant and so she asks him where he found the place—he responds: “It’s real fancy…had a neat ad in the phone book!”  The three of them are then off for an evening of fine dining, as Aggie watches from the top of the stairs and Buck & Leroy look on from the kitchen.

LEROY: They sure make a lovely couple…
BUCK: You nincompoop—there’s three of them…

Presenting the fancy nightclub!  La Ptomaine!

Yes, Doris’ boys have brought her to a road house that is painted in three broad strokes: a waiter maliciously snuffs out the life of a fly with a swatter; a man in close-up loads his food with catsup; and another patron gobbles down a pickled egg while licking his fingers.  Doris reacts with revulsion.  (C’est magic, cherie!)

TOBY: You like it, Mom?
BILLY: We were sure lucky to find this place…huh, Tobe?

Lucky to get to it before the Board of Health, anyway.  A man who I could facetiously describe as the maitre d’ approaches Doris and asks if he can help her—the boys respond by telling him they have a “reservation.”  So the man takes them over to a table where a man is asleep with his head on the table; the maitre d’ pulls him away from the table, then straightens it and invites the Martin family to be seated.

The actor playing their gracious host is character veteran Norman Alden, who despite his lengthy resume of film and TV roles is perhaps best remembered for playing a mechanic named Lou in a series of popular AC Delco commercials.  He did quite a bit of voice work—he was Aquaman on the Super Friends series—and had regular gigs on a variety of TV series including Not for Hire, Hennesey, Rango, My Three Sons and Fay.  Personally, I remember Norm for two roles—he was the guy (Coach Fedders) who drowned in a bowl of chicken soup prepared by Mary Hartman Mary Hartman…and he was Frank Heflin, the Alexander Waverly-ish advisor to Electro Woman and Dyna Girl.

MANAGER: Well, lady…you want a cocktail or beer or somethin’ before you order your dinner?
TOBY: That’s a good idea!
BILLY: We’ll have two Hopalong Cassidys…
(The manager stares at Doris)
DORIS: Make that three
MANAGER: You…you want a…
DORIS: On the rocks…
MANAGER: On the rocks…

The manager gets the attention of a waiter—who is also a familiar face to TV brethren and sistren.  Leonard Stone’s best-known role is undoubtedly that of Sam Beauregard, the used car salesman whose daughter Violet (Denise Nickerson) is magically transformed into a blueberry in the 1971 cult kids’ classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  He turns up in a lot of the 1967-70 Dragnet episodes (though not as many as I previously thought) and played Doc Joslyn on the 1965-66 summer camp sitcom Camp Runamuck.  (He also played a judge in several episodes of L.A. Law.)

WAITER: Do you wanna order now?
BILLY: Can we have the menus?
WAITER: Don’t need no menu…all we got are steaks
DORIS: That’ll be just fine…
BILLY: Well, we’ll have three of those…
WAITER: Top, New York or filet?
TOBY: Yeah!
WAITER: Yeah, what?
BILLY: Dummy…you’re supposed to pick one
TOBY: I don’t even know what he’s talking about!
BILLY (to the waiter): What’s the best, sir?
WAITER: The filet!
BILLY: Okay…we’ll have three of those, please…
(The waiter looks at Doris)
DORIS: Whatever my dates say…

So the waiter writes down “3 filets” on his pad…which comes to a total of fifteen dollars.  (You yourself may want to write that down…there may be a test on this material later.)

WAITER: Lady…would you like the little fellow up a little higher at the table?
DORIS: Yes, that would be nice…thank you…
WAITER: Lamond!  Bring me a couple of six packs!

So the helpful Lamond brings over the proper amount of canned brew in order for young Master Toby to be at the right height.

DORIS: Is that okay?
TOBY: Yeah…I guess so…
BILLY: Ain’t that cold?
TOBY: Yeah, it’s crazy!

I can dig it.

DORIS: You know something…you boys did a fine job of ordering dinner…I’m really proud of you!  Hope you can afford it…
BILLY: Heck—we’re loaded, Mom!

And so is everyone else in that joint.  But I digress.

TOBY: Heck yeah!
BILLY: We have $7.36!
DORIS: Boy!  Well, that should certainly cov…

Guess who’s just discovered her wallet is missing?  Cue the sad trombone!

Back from the Ralston-Purina break—and just so you know, the episodes from these MPI sets appear to either have been edited or time compressed (or perhaps both) because this one clocks in at twenty-four minutes, which is about two minutes less than it should be—Doris is starting to get a little panicky because her big-spending sons aren’t going to be able to cover the check.  Toby and Billy are devouring their meal with relish (hey—you can’t tell me that didn’t come with the steaks) while Doris attempts to keep her portion down.  She spies a gentleman who’s just finished using the pay phone, and decides a phone call to the House of Webb is in order.

All Doris gets is a busy signal…and that’s because Aggie the housekeeper is on the line, talking to someone named “Paul” about the finer points of Gone with the Wind.  (I swear I am not making that up.)  Doris slams the phone down in frustration…and then discovers to even more frustration that the phone has swallowed her nickel…the only one she was able to dig out of her purse.

DORIS: Excuse me…
MANAGER: What can I do for ya, lady?
DORIS: Well…you’re never going to believe this…
MANAGER: Well, I’ve heard ‘em all so why don’t you try me?
DORIS: Well…tonight before we left the house…my two boys played a joke on me…
MANAGER: Mm-hmm…
DORIS: They hid my wallet…
MANAGER: That’s funny!
DORIS: So…I was just wondering if maybe I could write a check?
MANAGER: You have any identification?
DORIS: No…it’s…it’s in my wallet…
MANAGER: What about credit cards?

I didn’t know La Ptomaine took Diners’ Club!  When Doris tells him sadly that she has no credit cards he sarcastically returns: “They’re at home with the joke, huh?”

DORIS: Oh, I have an idea—uh… could I maybe mail you a check!
MANAGER: I have a better idea—why don’t you just come up with the money before you leave?
DORIS: Look, mister…I’m just trying to…
MANAGER: No…you look, lady—I have problems here of my own…what you have is two kids who like to steal wallets
DORIS: Obviously you aren’t listening to me…my sons did not steal my wallet…they hid it…
MANAGER: Hid it…stole it…what difference does it make?

It makes a great deal of difference to Dodo, who resents the implication that her kids are petty thieves.  Norm the manager offers to go over and impart to them the lesson that it is important to make certain you can pay for what you ordered but she threatens to cut his balls off if he does.  Okay, I exaggerated that last bit—she appeals to his tender side, pleading with him that Billy and Toby are “ten feet tall” because they’re treating their mom to the finest cuisine in the area and she won’t have a guy who’s just “tryin’ to run a business” going over there and spoiling things.  “…if I have to go over there to that table and ruin their evening,” she warns him, “then I want you to see it.”

Doris returns to the table where the waiter is finishing making out the bill.  She interrupts him by sharply telling him they haven’t had dessert yet; the boys will have chocolate sundaes and she’ll have black coffee with an aspirin.  And then…

Doris glances over at a table where a patron has just left a tip with his change.  Oh, Doris.  You wouldn’t.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am right now, Dor.  She pleads with the cigar-chomping Norm that she wasn’t stealing; she just wanted some change to make a phone call and to go ahead and put it on her bill.  She goes back over to the pay phone and calls the house…but Aggie is into Hour 2 of her Gone with the Wind dissertation.  (I’m beginning to see why Aggie only lasted ten episodes.  Either that or she was stealing from her employer.)  Hanging up, the one-armed bandit takes Doris’ ill-gotten nickel, and she punches the phone in rage.

Back at the counter:

BILLY: Excuse me, sir…
MANAGER: Whaddya want, kid?
BILLY: I was wondering if you could do me a favor?
MANAGER: Like what?
BILLY: Well…tonight’s my Mom’s birthday…and me and my brother are taking her to dinner with our own money…
MANAGER: And you hid her wallet before you left the house…
BILLY: How did you know that?
MANAGER: Forget it, kid…what’s the favor?
BILLY: Well…I was wondering if you could bring a little birthday cake with a candle to our table and sing ‘Happy Birthday’?
MANAGER: You’re puttin’ me on…

Billy tells him they can pay, and mentions the $7.36 largesse he and Toby earned sweeping out cisterns…and the tough manager’s crusty façade starts to crack. Billy returns to the table, and while Doris tells her two boys that it’s not only the best dinner she’s ever had but the best present she’s ever received…there is a problem.

WAITER: Check, lady…
DORIS: That’s the problem…
BILLY (grabbing the check): We’re paying… (He looks at it) $19.48?!!
(Both kids’ eyes get wide as saucers, then the manager arrives)
MANAGER: All right…what’s the trouble here?
DORIS: I think you know what the trouble is…
BILLY: We can’t pay the check!
MANAGER: You can’t, huh…?  Lemme see the check… (He takes it from Billy) Oh…this is the wrong check, stupid… (To the waiter) This is for table 12!
WAITER: Whaddya talkin’ about?  You know you haven’t…
(He grunts as the manager kicks him in the shins)
MANAGER: Table 12…
WAITER: Table 12…

The manager hands Billy a tab…that totals $7.36.  (He even adjusts it so the kids can leave a tip.)  A grateful Doris thanks him, and he mutters “Well, I’m not through with you yet, lady…”  He puts his fingers in his mouth to whistle loudly, and the wait staff and “chefs” bring out an apple pie with a candle in it to sing Happy Birthday to You.

DORIS (as she tears up): Thanks very much…I don’t…I don’t know what to say…
MANAGER: Lady…uh…don’t say anything…just…do me a favor, will ya?  Next year on your birthday…don’t come here…I can’t afford ya…

Doris, still very much verklempt, makes a wish before blowing out the candle…and then ladles out slices of pie to the two kids who have already had chocolate sundaes, insuring they’ll be up for all hours of the night on a sugar high.

Coda time!

BUCK: Steak, salad and a baked potato…
TOBY: And a chocolate sundae!
BUCK: Sounds good!
DORIS: And it was…we want to take you there sometime, Grandpa…

“Bring your brass knuckles…I’ll bring the penicillin.”

BUCK: Bet it’s a real fancy place, huh?
BILLY: The best part about it, Grandpa…the whole thing came to $7.36…
TOBY: With a tip!
BILLY: That’s exactly what we had!
BUCK: Say…wasn’t that a coincidence!
BILLY: No…we planned it that way…

Well…it would be more accurate to say that Dick Bensfield and Perry Grant—the two men most responsible for the drek that was Mayberry R.F.D.—planned it that way, since they wrote this dumb script.  There’s more gooey sentiment with Doris burbling about how nice the evening was, and then hugs and kisses are exchanged as the kids are trundled off to bed.

DORIS: Oh, say…I’d have that phone fixed if I were you…I think it’s out of order…
BUCK: Well, it was all right this afternoon…
DORIS: Well, I tried a couple of times tonight and got nowhere

Buck lifts up the receiver…and Aggie is on the extension, still waxing nostalgic about GWTW.  She tells “Paul” about how Clark Gable fell off the jumping horse and got killed.  Buck interrupts her to scold her about talking for two and a half hours…and to remind her that it was Thomas Mitchell that drew his rations.  “And you’re next,” Doris says into the phone…which to my mind is as good as a confession any day of the week.

Next week on Doris Day(s): young Toby tells a whopping big fib to his Mom and Grandfather, and learns to his horror that she is not quite as forgiving as she appears to be.  (Well, I have to tease people into returning some way, don’t I?)


Anonymous said...

I know I watched this series since my dad loved DD and controlled our only TV, but outside of Que Sera, Sera (hey, if it's good enough for Sly Stone...), the only strong memory I have of the show is of Billy DeWolfe, and he's not around this early.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

I know I watched this series since my dad loved DD and controlled our only TV

I feel your pain, by the way.

the only strong memory I have of the show is of Billy DeWolfe, and he's not around this early

Yeah, he turns up in Season 2 as an officious electric company knob--I just happened to watch this one Sunday. Before I dug into the MPI sets, the only memory I had of the show were the John Dehner-Jackie Joseph years. (Jackie was, of course, married to Ken Berry at one time...proving everything comes back to R.F.D.)

Stacia said...

I only barely remember this show in reruns and even then, my primary memory is the credit for Lord Nelson. That's because I had a poster in my room as a little girl of a dog of that exact breed (like I know what it is) surrounded by grass and some wildflowers just like in the opening. In retrospect, I wouldn't be surprised if it WAS Lord Nelson.

Philip Brown must have been one of the Platypi in Fitzwilly. Neat. According to online sources, Starke was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was only 21 in 1983.

Still, it's hilarious that his first (and only) real gig starts with him giving a rock as a present.


Ivan G Shreve Jr said...


I suppose when I stop and think about it...stealing the tip money isn't such a big deal for a woman who's a certified dognapper.

MIKEY'55 THS said...

You gave it up much too early. START with Season 3 and go on to Season 4. THEY WERE THE BEST!!!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

You gave it up much too early. START with Season 3 and go on to Season 4. THEY WERE THE BEST!!!

All in good time, my friend. It's all about pacing.

Mark Murphy said...

I remember seeing this episode the first time it aired. I especially remember the quick zoom to the ketchup and the french fries in the diner scene.

This was as adventurous as the cinematography got. I can't help thinking that they would have tried more New Wave-ish stuff, but the camera operator gave himself whiplash and a hernia during the french fries shot, so they decided to leave well enough alone.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

This was as adventurous as the cinematography got. I can't help thinking that they would have tried more New Wave-ish stuff, but the camera operator gave himself whiplash and a hernia during the french fries shot, so they decided to leave well enough alone.

There's a rumor that the original cinematographer on this was Michael Snow, who attempted to duplicate what he did with Wavelength (1967). I think Dodo fired him.

(Okay, I may have made that up.)

DorianTB said...

Ivan, darling though Doris Day always is, watching this one episode of THE DORIS DAY show was enough. Oy, I bet "Dodo" wished she was in Hitchcock's version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH instead! But you can't be too irked with that with that swell supporting cast in this episode. Heck, you had me as "Brisco Darling," always one of Team Bartilucci's favorite recurring TV characters, and Norman Alden is always fun to see and hear (Team B first liked him in the animated AQUAMAN. I must also applaud Stacia's great taste in movies, since you mentioned FITZWILLY, one of Team B's favorite Christmas movies; who doesn't love a little larceny in one's movie holiday? :-D

Seeing the ketchup at the greasy spoon where Doris and Family ate, Carly Simon's "Anticipation" became an earworm (albeit an enjoyable one) in my head! This was a hoot! Swell job, pal!

Jon said...

I just read your review again after finding & watching this episode on the MeTV website. This series was carried on Nashville's WTVF starting around 1977, and this, being the premiere episode, is the first I ever remember watching in full at my friends' house. I was confused, though, as I only remembered the opening credits from the San Francisco years, so I didn't know why she was on a farm here. WTVF carried the show through at least 1 full cycle, as I remember seeing what I thought was a hilarious episode that involved her final boss, Cy, falling off a stool, I think while appearing on some tv show. I saw a few of the DVD extras while visiting a friend in NYC, who had the full 5-season set, and I was impressed with the audio quality of some tv or radio announcements that Doris recorded.

Jon said...

I just noticed an unusual connection here. Doris Martin was married to a guy named Steve. Did that make him a "Wild & Crazy Guy"? Steve Martin was by this time already working on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR.