Monday, June 11, 2007


DOCTOR, YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! (1967) with Sandra Dee, George Hamilton, Dwayne Hickman, Bill Bixby, Dick Kallmann, Celeste Holm, Mort Sahl

This a 1960s sex comedy about a girl with no talent pushed by Mama (Celeste Holm) to make it as a pop singer. She has three guys who are crazy about her: the next-door childhood buddy and ladies’ man (Bill Bixby); a shoe salesman and sometime-actor (Dwayne Hickman); a musician (Dick Kallman). The three take turns coming on to her every five minutes but she doesn’t reciprocate. Her office day job boss (George Hamilton) is the one she’s nuts over. He’s a Vulcan, think Bill Gates with a tan and a suit that fits, except he’s crazy about Sandra like everyone else.

The general theme is WIZARD OF OZ meets THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. The movie is told in flashback and under the opening credits we see a madcap race to the hospital. Sandra is pregnant and the three fellows all propose marriage so the child will have a father. Each one knows he’s not the father so it’s pure altruism, although you can tell they would gladly raise another man’s child for a future with Miss Dee.

For some reason I expected an explanation for her pregnancy, such as the unseen night she spends with George Hamilton was actually a secret wedding in Tijuana that they somehow never talked about. But no, the last scene reveals that she’s unmarried and that they had engaged in premarital sex. I was shocked and wondered if this was the first major release where an unmarried pregnancy was played for laughs. It’s like trying to remember when phones had wires.

Random memories:

Dick Kallmann was the star of one my favorite shows in 1965, HANK, the story of a lunchwagon man who becomes a college drop-in by using disguises to sneak into class. Get it? A knock at college dropouts to have the main character want to drop in, the show was canceled but they gave him a last episode whereby he was finally able to enroll for real.

Bill Bixby: In the 1980s Bix became so frustrated at the failure of his quality efforts on TV, such as GOODNIGHT BEANTOWN, that he turned to hosting the cheap dramatic anthology TRUE CONFESSIONS, but he bounced back to become one of the tube’s best directors. He died way too young of prostate cancer.

Mort Sahl plays the nightclub owner and he speaks for the squares in the audience. He hates the music, which means the kids will dig it. He hasn’t made many movies but he was good in this playing a cynical Mort Sahl-type. He turned 80 this year.

Sandra Dee: If Sue Storm was based on Doris Day, then Sandra could have played the Invisible Girl in 1967. Early in the picture it looked like DOCTOR could have been an Ann-Margret vehicle, but when George tells her she’s the kind of girl you want to marry, not a girl of whom you’d like to rip her clothes off, you know they cast the right gal. Plus, Ann-Margret could sing a little and a running gag in the pic is that this gal doesn’t have any much singing talent. I don’t know if she was a good enough actress to play a terrible singer who improves imperceptibly.

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