Monday, January 5, 2015

Doris Day(s) #33: “The Chocolate Bar War” (10/20/69, prod. no #0405)

The first time I watched today’s installment of Doris Day(s), “The Chocolate Bar War,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of a sixth season episode of Everybody Loves Raymond—“Cookies” (01/18/02).  In that episode, Ray (Ray Romano) is pitted against a domineering mother (Amy Aquino) as the two of them attempt to outsell boxes of cookies on behalf of their daughters, who are members of some Girl Scout-like faction.  The Raymond episode was quite funny, and Aquino’s performance as “Peggy” was so well-received that she turned up in several additional installments after that.  If you’re familiar with “Cookies,” you might get a chuckle out of “Chocolate Bar War.”  If not…well, it’s the first Doris Day(s) of 2015—so…there’s that.

“War” begins in Doris’ office at Today’s World (the NOW magazine); Doris’ pal Myrna Gibbons (Rose Marie) has had a hectic morning of hanging around Doris’ desk gossiping and is ready for that all-important lunch break.

MYRNA: You ready for lunch?
DORIS (glancing at her watch): It’s only quarter to twelve…
MYRNA: Well, I like to leave early for two reasons: one, to beat the crowd…and two, because I hate to work…

Oh, Myrna—you’re incorrigible.  Doris tells Myrn that perhaps she should start without her because her boss Michael “Nick” Nicholson (McLean Stevenson) is in a meeting with an unidentified individual and she doesn’t know when he’ll be finished.  The phone rings, and on the line is a woman Doris addresses as “Rochelle”—Rochelle needs to speak with Nick, to which Doris replies no can do.  (Doris also makes a series of faces as she chats with Rochelle—which is highly unprofessional, if you ask me.)

MYRNA: Is that his latest?
DORIS (with a breathy voice): “Hello…is Nicky there?  I must speak with him…” (Resuming her normal voice as Myrna giggles) Why does—they’re all so sexy and so breathless…and they all lost an earring in his car…
MYRNA: Oh, that’s the oldest trick in the book…don’t you know that, Doris?

Doris once thought she lost a little gold heart in the back of some drifter’s automobile in the episode “Leroy B. Semple Simpson”…but that’s far as she’s gotten on those matters.

DORIS: Is it?
MYRNA: Oh, sure—you always lose one earring so that he has to see you again to return it…
DORIS: Oh, really?  You know all about that?
MYRNA: Oh, yes…yes, of course…I had a date with a really groovy guy once…

Far out.

MYRNA: …mmm…and I just managed to lose an earring in the car…
DORIS: Oh, yeah—did it work?
MYRNA: No…he turned out to be a hippie and now he’s wearing it

Ah, hippie jokes—they never get old.  Myrna’s gotta mosey, and as she scatters the door to Nicholson’s office opens, introducing us to one of this week’s guest stars…

He’s stage and screen veteran Max Showalter—though some of you may also know him as Casey Adams.  As Adams, he appeared in such films as What Price Glory (1952), Niagara (1953), Vicki (1953), The Naked and the Dead (1958) and Summer and Smoke (1961).  (He also appears in two of Doris Day’s films, It Happened to Jane [1959] and Move Over, Darling [1963].)  If Providence had been on his side, he might have had a lengthy sitcom career as Leave it to Beaver’s Ward Cleaver—he plays the role of the Cleaver patriarch in the pilot episode, “It’s a Small World.”  In the 1960s, Max went back to “Showalter” (he’s uncredited, but you might recognize him as one of the salesmen on the train in The Music Man) and appeared in the likes of How to Murder Your Wife (1965), Lord Love a Duck (1966), The Anderson Tapes (1971) and his cinematic swan song, Sixteen Candles (1984).  World-o-Crap’s own Scott C. inadvertently reminded me about a week ago that Max was also a regular on The Stockard Channing Show, a short-lived and terrible 1980 sitcom that I watched for the simple reason I did not know any better (well, that and I like Stockard Channing).

Max plays Greg Fletcher in this episode, which amused me only because I went to school with a Greg Fletcher in those halcyon parochial days of St. Francis of Assisi.  Greg doesn’t have much to say in his opening scenes other than he’s highly complementary of Doris’ ability to make a good cup o’Joe.  “I wish my wife had your touch with a percolator,” he beams.  (Oh, stop it—it only sounds dirty.)  When Fletcher departs, Nick asks to see Doris in his office.

NICK: Doris…I don’t want you to get the wrong impression…but I’d like to ask you a personal favor…
DORIS (as she pours herself a cup of coffee): Yes, sir?
NICK: Well…you see, Mr. Fletcher invited me to a dinner party he’s having tomorrow…and naturally I’m going to be taking someone… (Doris nods) Well, I was wondering if you’d like to go?
DORIS (stunned): Oh!
NICK: Well—is that “oh, yes” or “oh, no”?

In Doris’ case, it’s an “oh, yes”—though I have to say, I don’t think dating the boss is a particularly ethical career move.  Still, if you’ve pretended to be married to him on a previous occasion I suppose it can’t hurt.

NICK: You see, Fletcher’s advertising agency can mean a lot of business for our magazine—and I want, you know, everything to go just right at the party…Fletcher himself is a cool guy…but Mrs. Fletcher is square suburban
DORIS (laughing): I know what you mean…
NICK: Yeah, well—that’s why I want to take you!  You’ll get along just great with her…you see, Doris—most of the girls that I know are a little on the swinging side…and…uh…I don’t think Mrs. Fletcher would approve…you know what I mean?

“Hello, Nick—welcome to our home…oh, is this your new ho?

NICK: But she’s going to take to you right off…I mean, you’re the wholesome type…well, you live on a farm…you have kids…you have a grandpa…

It’s not really knee-slappingly funny—but I’m always amused by the fact that Nick refers to Laird Buckley Webb (Denver Pyle) as Doris’ grandfather when he’s really her dad.  It’s describing her as “wholesome” that really made me chuckle, though—“You’re just good for me, Dor—like three glasses of milk every day!”

NICK: I’ll bet you even bake pies and stick ‘em out on the window ledge to cool…and the little kids come along and stick their fingers in to taste, right?

That’s right—you have had dinner in the Webb household, haven’t you?  “Mr. Nicholson,” Doris explains, “I don’t live in a gingerbread house with candy windowpanes and a plum pudding roof—I really don’t.”

NICK: Well, Doris…now, Doris…I didn’t mean…I…I just meant that…
DORIS: That I’m wholesome
NICK: Yes!
DORIS: And that I don’t lose earrings…?
NICK: Huh?
DORIS: Rochelle called…and said she lost an earring last night…and did you find it?
NICK: Oh…uh…now that’s exactly what I’m talking about…you are not like Rochelle…
DORIS: Oh, no…I’m wholesome
NICK: Look, if that word bothers you—I don’t really mean ‘wholesome’…
DORIS: Square suburban
NICK: No…I really don’t mean that, either…
DORIS: Square wholesome?

Doris decides to let Nick off the hook by telling him that she’s only kidding and that she won’t let him down as far as Mrs. Fletcher is concerned.  Relieved, Nick notices that it’s nearly time for a nosh and so he asks Doris to make reservations for two at Gerard’s.  (Quel classy!)  Then he instructs Doris to “call Rochelle and tell her to meet me there for lunch.”  “Well, I…have to give back the earring—don’t I?” he explains as her face falls in disappointment.  (You might want to hire a coffee taster in the future, Nick—I’m just sayin’.)

The scene shifts to the kitchen in the House of Webb, where the Widder Martin has a conversation with her grandfather father Buck.  Like me, Buck isn’t entirely on board with this whole “dating the boss” scheme.

BUCK: …I figured that’d happen sooner or later…but I didn’t think it would be sooner
DORIS: It’s strictly business, dear—don’t get any ideas…
BUCK: I don’t have any ideas—it appears he has, though…
DORIS: Are you kidding?  He has more girlfriends than we have chickens

Now I can’t get that Perdue joke out of my head.  Doris explains to her father that Nicholson chose her to be his escort because “I’m the typical American housewife,” as she hands him several items she pulled out of the freezer.  “And you are,” responds Buck.  “Everything defrosted.”  This makes Doris cackle long and hard—well, long enough for her two idiot sons, Billy (Philip Brown) and Toby (Tod Starke), to come sauntering into the kitchen from the back door.

DORIS: How’s the chocolate bar business?  (She gives them both a kiss)
BUCK: You’re on your way to winning first prize—how many did you sell?
TOBY: And I bought it…
BILLY: And I had to lend him the money…

Young William explains to his mother that while he set up his chocolate bar stand at Genson’s Market like she suggested, he and Tobias were run off by a formidable harridan and her son.  Despite the boys having staked out a claim at Genson’s first, the virago explained to the two cheese-eaters that Genson’s was their spot last year and so they should move along with all deliberate speed (or else she’ll break their kneecaps, one hopes).

DORIS: Oh, well—that’s ridiculous!  You have just as much right to be there as her boy has…
BILLY: I couldn’t argue with her—I’m just a kid!
TOBY: And I’m even smaller!

Sometimes those “respect your elders” lectures come back to bite you in the ass, Dodo.  Mother Martin asks her sons who this woman was, but the only identification they can provide was that she drove up in a station wagon “and just took over.”  This aggression will not stand, man—Doris will accompany her brood to Genson’s tomorrow morning…and in her wholesome fashion remarks: “Oh, boy—am I waiting to meet this charmer!”

A quick cut finds Doris carrying a card table to the spot that will later be immortalized in the annals of Scout history as “Genson’s Siege.”  Informed by Billy that the mean old shrew is not there, Doris gloats “Good—we beat her to it!”  Doris suggests that Billy sell the chocolate while she makes change…and of course, li’l Toby wants to get in on the act as well.  “Just turn on that old personality and give ‘em the big smiles, come on!”

The poster boys for The Society to Prevent Herp and Derp.
Doris cackles: “You guys are gonna be the Ralph Williams of the candy world”—a pop culture reference so obscure even I couldn’t figure it out.  Still, they must be doing something right because the first woman (Jane Aull) that emerges from Genson’s is approached by Billy with a box of candy bars, and she agrees to buy one.  She hands him a buck, and he marches over to Doris to get the lady her fifty cents in change.  Ah, capitalism at its finest!

Truth be told, I was more interested in this gentleman who is approached by young Toby—because he was instantly recognizable as TDOY fave Howard Culver.  You’ve seen Howie everywhere—in fact, one of his most durable TV roles was playing a man named “Howie”; he was the desk clerk (Howie Uzzell) at the Dodge House on the seminal boob tube oater Gunsmoke for practically its entire run.  Culver was one of the first actors to play Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke on radio…and might have become famous in the role were it not for the fact that he was also playing Steve Adams—the secret identity of the Indian known as Straight Arrow—on the popular Mutual radio adventure that ran from 1948 to 1951.  Culver’s contract stipulated that he couldn’t do any other western while performing on Straight Arrow…and so he missed out on the opportunity to be “the first man they look for, and the last they want to meet.”  Culver’s other radio gigs included The Adventures of Ellery Queen (he was the last radio thesp to play Ellery) and Defense Attorney, and as one of Jack Webb’s Dragnet stock players he turns up in quite a few installments of the 1967-70 TV version.

TOBY: Good morning, sir!
HOWARD: Yes, son?

"I'm sorry, son...I give to the Herp/Derp people at the office..."
TOBY: Oh…would you like to buy a bar of scout candy?  It’s only fifty cents…
HOWARD: Well…okay…

I’m beginning to think that if Doris were to let Toby sell all the candy they’d be out of there in no time—because it would be the largest number of “pity purchases” in sales history.  (By the way, I can make out an upside down “Lindt” in that picture with Toby above—Jeebus, my mother would have all those boxes of candy bars in the car faster than you can say “Willy Wonka.”)  Well, it looks as if the Family Martin have got a sweet racket going (sorry about that)—but there are storm clouds looming on the horizon in the form of a station wagon that’s just pulled up in the parking lot.

Oh, my.  That’s Mr. Fletcher, of course—and unless he’s got a thing for mistresses of advanced age, we can assume the woman with him carrying the folding chair is Mrs. Fletcher (she doesn’t get a first name in the episode).  As such, we can see the eventual catastrophe coming a mile away.  The actress playing Mrs. F is character fave Amzie Strickland, who was also an OTR veteran—playing the girlfriend of Brad Runyon (J. Scott Smart), the corpulent sleuth known as The Fat Man, as well as appearing on such shows as The Adventures of the Falcon, Barrie Craig, Private Investigator, Gangbusters, Inner Sanctum and The Shadow.  Because Amzie’s birthday is January 10, I did a write-up on her over at the Radio Spirits blog in 2014 that you’re welcome to check out provided you come right back and finish this (don’t think I haven’t been keeping track of those faithful TDOY readers who have been sneaking out before the start of Act Two).

Mr. Fletcher asks his wife if she needs any help in setting up the operation (i.e. crushing any competition under her heel) and she tells him no…but she will need him to return by 4pm so that she’ll have adequate disco nap time to prepare for their party that evening.  “My, it looks like a good crowd,” she beams.  “We should do even better than yesterday!”  While Billy sells candy to a amply proportioned female grocery customer (having only a sawbuck, she takes her change in candy bars because fat people are funny, haha), Mrs. Fletcher and her son Jonathan (Tim Weldon) arrive to find Doris and her snot-nosed brats muscling in on their territory when Toby approaches her with an offer to buy some “scout candy.”  Awkward!

MRS. FLETCHER: I’m sure you’re not aware of it…but you set up in our location…
DORIS (looking around): Oh, really?
MRS. FLETCHER: We sell here every year
DORIS: Oh, you do!
MRS. FLETCHER: Yes…so if you would just move to some other place
DORIS: Well…maybe I don’t understand the ground rules…but…um…do you have a reservation for this spot?
DORIS: Oh, you don’t…oh, well—do you own the supermarket?
DORIS: You don’t?  Well, then—why is this your spot?
MRS. FLETCHER: Well…now, look…I didn’t come here to argue…
DORIS (sweetly): Oh, and neither did I…oh, I mean—I’m just here to help out, just as you are…you know, the scouts…and I’m sure there are enough customers for all the children—don’t you?
MRS. FLETCHER: So that’s the way it’s going to be, huh…?

“You got a real nice card table here, girlie girl…be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”  The “mean lady” of yesterday has met her match in wholesome Doris, and she marches back to her card table as Doris calls out “Good luck!” and flashes her one of these:

Peace out, baby.  I know, this competition all sounds kind of silly in light of a good cause—but there is a prize involved for selling the most candy bars, and as Richard Conte says so memorably in The Big Combo: “First is first and second is nobody.”

“Mom, maybe if we tried in front of the drugstore,” whines Jonathan.  “We are going to stay right here,” prompts his mother.  Now go sell!”

Because Billy’s Confectionery was able to snag the prime bit o’real estate in Cotina, Fletcher’s Sweets is having difficulty securing a toehold in the competitive candy bar market—this is why Billy is able to sell two Scout Candy bars to a couple entering the supermarket before Jonathan can even come up with a coherent sales pitch.  (Doris unsubtly rubs the sale in Mrs. F’s face.)  What’s more, as Billy is returning to Doris’ card table with the gitas, he’s able to tag-team Toby to grab the next customer—something to which Mrs. Fletcher cries “Foul!”

MRS. FLETCHER: Madam!  He cannot sell chocolates!  He is not a scout!
DORIS: Oh, really?
MRS. FLETCHER: Yes, really
DORIS: Oh…well, I mean…it’s for such a good cause…does it matter?
MRS. FLETCHER: He has to be a scout to sell…those are the rules

“Under Section Thirty-Seven B, Paragraph Six, Line 2!”  So Doris calls Toby aside and tells him to ixnay with the andycay.

DORIS: Honey, I’m afraid this is gonna have to be your last sale…
TOBY: How come?
DORIS: Well…according to the rules… (Smiling at Mrs. Fletcher) Uh, you’re not allowed to sell anything because you’re a civilian…but you can stay with me and help me make change…

“If only you could count.”  Doris snidely asks Mrs. Fletcher if Toby’s assistance in making change is against the rules, and the old crone heads back to her son’s table.  Another problem soon arises when a man leaving Genson’s is approached by both Billy and Jonathan at the same time…and he can only buy a candy bar from one of them.  So he looks over at the smiling Doris…

…and then at Mrs. Fletcher…

“Okay, pal—I’ll do business with you,” the man tells Billy after getting a gander at his hawt mom.  “I’ll catch you next time,” he tells Jonathan.  (“Go on back to your great-Gran, sonny.”)  Look—people don’t go to McDonald’s because the food’s better…they go because of the trappings (clown, play area, etc.).  With that, we ring down the curtain on Act One.

“The Chocolate Bar War,” Part the Second.  Doris and the kids pull up in front of a house that, you will observe, is radically different from that of the one they resided in Season Numero Uno.  And yet—the inside of the house remains unchanged.  Continuity?  Pfft—continuity is for fops and poppinjays!

BILLY: Grandpa, Grandpa—we sold out!  We sold everything!
BUCK: Well, good for you!  Congratulations, buddy boy!
TOBY: Bet you Billy is gonna win first prize!
BUCK: I’ll bet he is, too!

Buck then asks Doris if that woman from yesterday showed up, and Doris replies in the affirmative: “With all guns blazing…”

DORIS: But we fought her fair and square and we won, didn’t we?
BILLY: She got so mad after a while she left
DORIS: Oh, I tell you—she was something else…really…it was like a personal vendetta with that woman—you know what else she did?  She wouldn’t let Toby do any selling
BUCK: How come?
TOBY: Because I’m a civilian

From Doris’ telling, Buck pictures her as “a mean, tempered old…like an old sow who’s lost her favorite mud hole.”  Always with the farm similes, eh, Buckaroo?  “Well, I just hope I never meet up again with that woman,” Doris returns.

You know, it’s been a long time (over four years, as a matter of fact) since we had an irony alert here on the blog.  You’ve also been previewed to what it’s about—but in case you just joined us, Mrs. Fletcher is in the next scene residing horizontally on a couch with a cold compress on her forehead…and bitching about our wholesome heroine.

MRS. FLETCHER: …if I never see that awful woman again it will be too soon!
FLETCHER: Calm down, honey—you know your blood pressure…
MRS. FLETCHER: The way she sat there with that (Mockingly) sweet smile, pretending to be nice
FLETCHER: Well, maybe you should have tried smiling back…
MRS. FLETCHER: Don’t tell me what I should have done!  You have no idea how pushy that woman was…oh, she is the kind of person who comes in…

Mr. Fletcher cuts her off, apparently no stranger to his wife’s outbursts, and reminds her that she needs to chill in time for the party—“You want to be at your best, don’t you?”

“I am always at my best,” she tells him coldly.  We then cut to a tray of drinks, signaling that the party is in full sway.  Fletcher greets Nick and Doris at the door and invites them in for a libation.  “Mill Valley gets a little dry this time of day,” he jokes.  Doris orders a sherry and it’s tall bourbon and water for her boss.

DORIS: Your house is so lovely, Mr. Fletcher…
FLETCHER: Oh, thank you—my wife did all the decorating herself…
DORIS: She did?  Oh, what wonderful taste!  I’m really anxious to meet her…
FLETCHER: Oh, I’m sure she’ll love meeting you!  She’ll be down soon—she’s upstairs, trying to fight off a slight headache…

She should come downstairs, where she can fight off an even larger headache.  Fletcher leaves Nick and Doris to mingle, and as Nick is boasting about picking the right escort to the party, Doris catches sight of her candy nemesis greeting another party guest:

DORIS: I don’t believe it…no!
NICK: Something wrong?
DORIS: The woman who just came in…in the brown dress…who is she?
NICK: Oh, that’s Mrs. Fletcher…I’ll introduce you…

As Doris spits out her drink—and by the way, she should have paid more attention to Danny Thomas’ technique when she worked with him on I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951)—Nick is approached by a man (Don Ross) who identifies himself as “Charley Isaacs.”  This is a bit of an in-joke; Isaacs was the one-time partner of Jack Elinson, who co-wrote this episode (Elinson was also co-producing Dodo’s show with Norman Paul)—the two men (Charley and Jack) wrote for Jimmy Durante’s radio and TV shows, among many other projects.  Isaacs was married to TDOY character fave Doris Singleton from 1942 until his death in 2002.  The only reason the “Isaacs” character is here is so when Nick turns around to introduce him to Doris he finds the stool she was sitting on vacant and rotating from side to side as if she left in a hurry.

Which she did—Doris has to get out of that house before she meets face-to-face with the vindictive Mrs. Fletcher.  She tries to conceal herself in several groupings of guests—the funniest being a woman (Lynn Wood) who’s holding forth on the state of motion pictures: “I don’t mind an occasional adult movie—but you’d think that somehow there’d be a place for the family picture.”  She asks Doris as she joins the group “Don’t you agree?”

“Uh…yes…I think that family pictures belong right on the mantle,” Dor stammers.  Finally, Doris does what any rational woman trapped inside a sitcom would do—she ducks into a closet.

NICK: Doris?
DORIS: Mr. Nicholson?
NICK: Yes…
DORIS: Is anybody with you?
DORIS: Oh, thank heavens…
NICK: Doris…I’d like to ask you something…
DORIS: Yes, sir?
NICK: What are you doing in the closet?!!

Doris tells her boss that it’s a long story (we’ll certainly vouch for that) but that she’s got to get out of the house (perhaps she mistook the closet for an emergency exit?); Nick tells her through the door that she is embarrassing him as a perplexed Fletcher comes up behind him.  The two men continue to discuss the Doris situation through the closet…and then Mrs. Fletcher decides to check out why her husband and guest are talking to a closet door.

MRS. FLETCHER: It’s her!  It’s that woman!  The one from the supermarket!
DORIS (as she emerges from the closet): Mrs. Fletcher, I’m terribly sorry…I had no idea you were Mrs. Fletcher
MRS. FLETCHER: I’ll thank you to leave immediately!
FLETCHER: Now, just a minute, dear…
MRS. FLETCHER: I won’t have her in my house!
DORIS: Mr. Nicholson…I’d better leave…
NICK: Doris… (To the Fletchers) I don’t know what this is all about…but I think we’d better go…
FLETCHER: Now, hold it please—both of you…dear, Mrs. Martin and Mr. Nicholson are our guests
MRS. FLETCHER: But she probably kept Jonathan from winning first prize!
FLETCHER: Maybe he’s won too many first prizes…

It sounds like the Fletcher union has a darker side to which we were not previously privy (though there were certainly ominous signs of discourse, to be certain).  Doris certainly doesn’t help matters any when she reveals that Mrs. F chased Billy away from the supermarket the day before, and an enraged Fletcher drags his wife into the closet “for a little talk.”  (Disturbing implications, to be certain—particularly since Nicholson grins and “toasts” his glass at Mrs. Fletcher’s predicament as the door slams shut.)

Well, the coda on this episode seems fairly simple: don’t be a bitch unless you’re absolutely certain the person you’re being unpleasant to isn’t the snotty wife of a potential client.  Okay, I’m just kidding—Doris and Nick arrive back at Rancho Webb, and both are admiring the revelation that l’affaire chocolate has inspired Fletcher to grow a pair.  “Did you see Mrs. Fletcher right after she came out of that closet?” Nick asks Doris.

“Yeah—I tell you, he must have had a whip and a chair in there with him,” Doris replies.  “She went in like a lion and came out like a pussycat.”  (Women—they’re such felines!)  Doris goes on to bloviate about how Mrs. F has “a lot to learn about raising children.”  “You know, I always tell my children—that you have to lose graciously…you know, somebody has to lose…you can’t win all the time,” she explains.

Let’s put this into practice, shall we?  Enter young Billy.

BILLY: Robbie Sizemore called…boy, was he crowing…he won the contest…
DORIS: Robbie Siz…Robbie Sizemore won the contest?!!  I thought you were a shoo-in…
BILLY: He sold a 120 more than I did…
DORIS: A 120 more chocolate bars than you?  How could he do that?  It’s impossible
BILLY: He has two older sisters that are real good looking…and they were giving away kisses with each candy bar…they sold outside the Marine base

I’m telling you—it’s all about selling the sizzle and not the steak.  This information enrages Doris, who goes on a tear about it being unethical and unfair and she’ll have someone’s merit badge for this…until Nick reminds her of that high-minded “somebody has to lose” bullsh*t she was going on about earlier.  Doris calms down, but tells Billy “we’ll get ‘em next year—I know an Air Force base that’s bigger than the Marines!”  And on that sassy note…

Apologies for not having this up sooner today (and I also regret not getting a Serial Saturdays done this weekend); it’s been one of those days around Rancho Yesteryear, but I think I’ve been able to steer the ship of state back to normal.  Next time on Doris Day(s): an episode entitled “The Health King” that I honestly don’t remember a thing about…and that doesn’t bode well at all.  Join us next time, won’t you?


rnigma said...

Howard Culver was on the second audition episode of the radio Gunsmoke (the first starred Rye Billsbury aka Michael Rye), as Marshal "Mark Dillon" - not yet Matt.

And you may recall the the original title of Channing's sitcom was "Stockard Channing in Just Friends" - which ranks along with "Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers" as the most awkward way to shoehorn the star's name in a TV-show title.

Stacia said...

Gasp! Max Showalter! I love him! Poor guy is from Kansas, by the way.

Those boys are really bringing the herp and the derp this episode. Dang.

I’m always amused by the fact that Nick refers to Laird Buckley Webb (Denver Pyle) as Doris’ grandfather when he’s really her dad.

LOL and poor Denver is only two years older than Doris, too.

As for Ralph Williams, do you think she's referring to that California used car salesman with the wacky commercials? He was apparently a proto-Cal Worthington.

Stacia said...

Also, a 15-year-old thread on Straight Dope claims Ralph Williams was the inspiration for a Firesign Theater character called "Ralph Spoilsport."

I can't believe how much time I've spent reading about Ralph Williams.

Mike Doran said...

In listing Max Showalter's credits, you omitted possibly his supreme screen triumph:
The songwriting minister in Blake Edwards's "10".
At the start he's marrying Bo Derek to Whatshis Face, doing the holy diligence and all, but his triumph comes later, when Dudley Moore tracks him down, and he sings his composition, "I Have An Ear For Love".
The way Showalter belts out lines like " ... Turning my heart/ Into a thumping thing ..." - I've read that Moore was supposed to keep a straight face, but he couldn't ... and his breakup was kept in the movie.
One more point: Max Showalter sang only a part of the song in the movie proper; when Henry Mancini issued the soundtrack album, Showalter was called in to do a full-length version, even more stirring (truly, it's right up there with Whit Bissell's "Toot-Toot" song from Crime Doctor's Diary" ...).