The Hollywood Reporter and Doris Day

Books and articles about Doris Day.
Post Reply
User avatar
texas gonzalo
Special Contributer
Posts: 278
Joined: 03 Apr 2009, 11:34
Spam Prevention: Yes

The Hollywood Reporter and Doris Day

Unread post by texas gonzalo » 03 Feb 2012, 17:52

The book "The Hollywood Reporter - The Golden Years" contains an article written by Doris Day. The book was published by Arlington House, Inc., New York and copyrighted in 1984 and was compiled by Tichi Wilkerson and Marcia Borie. The article is entitled Doris Day "Your Toes Know" and is prefaced by the following: When Doris Day wrote this piece for the October 30, 1950, issue of The Hollywood Reporter, she revealed that her original ambition was to become a dancer.
Sing and be dance happy! That's your girl. That's my platform for 1950 and, I hope, for all my motion picture years to come. The Dancing Day is here.
Warner Bros.' Tea for Two started me kicking up my heels in front of the camera, in company with the fleet and facile Gene Nelson, and the kid's carrying on the idea in The West Point Story, again with Gene, and with the addition of Jimmy Cagney as a partner. From this point on in my career, given the opportunity in the script, I hope to be tapping out fast and hot rhythms with my feet. All this and singing, too. And acting! Watch out, audiences, I'm going to load you! I hope you'll like it.
While it's new for me to be dancing on screen, It's not new for Doris Day to be a dancer. Actually, that was my original ambition. I never thought of anything else. Back home in Cincinnati, I was sent to dancing school by my mother who earned the tuition money by sewing. Vera-Ellen, incidentally, was one of my classmates.
I started working long before high school age. The future looked promising for me as a dancer. I was ecstatically happy. Then came the crash. A train crash, I mean. I was on tour in the Middle-West with a Franchon and Marco show. We were en route from one city to the next, which was to be Hamilton, Ohio, to be exact. A train hit the car and carried it down the tracks. Fortunately, nobody was killed. But I broke my right leg in two places. I was in the hospital fourteen months. Almost the first day I was out jumping around with the aid of a cane, I slipped and fell and had to go back to bed and a cast for an additional four months.
It was the darkest hour when I realized my career as a dancer had come to a close. During my recuperation, when I was so depressed that all I wanted to do was cry, I turned to singing. I used to go to my singing lessons on crutches.
To be honest, I had never thought on my voice before. Not seriously. It was merely fun to sing and my friends didn't run away screaming from the spot when I obliged with a tune. But I never thought in this world that singing would be my forte.
But look what happened! I found happiness in what seemed tragedy. Singing has brought me everything, not only careerwise but personally, for I have managed to provide a wonderful home for my mother and small son.
How come I'm dancing again?
That's easy to answer. I always promised myself that one day I would try again. Then that day came along in the life of Day.
It wasn't hard for me to pick up what I knew. What I needed most was encouragement. At first, I was shy. But Gene Nelson, with that wonderful enthusiasm of his, kept my spirits soaring. We made a frolic of it, laughed and screamed and kidded. We also worked. For four hours each day, we literally sweated it out on one of the studio sound stages.
I owe Gene a great debt of gratitude. He used to call me "The Dancing Vitamin Tablet."
Another witness to our rehearsals was Smudge Pot, my French poodle. Smudgie tried to get in on the act. I thought it was a swell idea and suggested it to Gene. Gene looked at me gravely and suggested we take a half hour's rest period. Then he talked to me. He told me the story of a dancer who always looked for his great break in a New York show. Finally, he got it. The dancer wanted to wow the public with a novelty. He thought he had found it by dreaming up a routine with a dog. What happened? Well, the show opened and the "dancing dog" got all the notices. Nobody noticed the poor guy. When Gene finished the story, I replied that I had grasped the idea. Smudge Pot did not end up in the act. In fact, he stayed home.
Dancing is the best form of exercise I know. That's how I keep fit and I've never felt better. I can eat like a horse and then work it off. I recommend a half hour at the exercise bar "limbering up." I don't need a gymnasium or a swimming pool or a running rack. Women of America, get on a dancing kick like I have.
Dancing also helps your disposition. Being light on your feet seems to help discipline your thoughts to happy ones exclusively. Have you noticed that dancers, when you meet and mingle with them, are always gay and carefree?
Now that I'm dancing again for the first time since I was sixteen and hospitalized, I realize what I've missed--although singing has brought me hundreds of golden hours of happiness and success.
I even recommend dancing for older people. You're never too old to learn, and remember the idea is not be a great one necessarily but to have the laughter and good times and the blessed fatigue that goes with dancing. It keeps you young in heart and spirit.
No, dancing will never supplant singing as "a first" in my life. But it's an endearing second.
So, pardon me now while I go into my dance.
"Music, Maestro!"

Note: Notice at least one revelation in above article. Miss Day mentions she was on tour with a Franchon and Marco show traveling from one city to the next when the train crash occurred. Before, I had read that Doris and some friends went out for burgers and an ice cream shake when the accident occurred.
Happy Days,
Texas Gonzalo

User avatar
Lauren Benjamin
Honorary Member
Posts: 1089
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 19:19
Spam Prevention: Yes

Re: The Hollywood Reporter and Doris Day

Unread post by Lauren Benjamin » 03 Feb 2012, 19:26

Tex~

I agree with you about Franchon and Margo. It was my understanding that Doris and her dancing partner were able to procure a spot on the F&M dance group. The car with Doris and partner in the back and a young man and another woman in the front were friends. They were going out for something to eat. Doris even mentioned at some point that they were taking her over to her aunt's house at the time of the crash.

Thank you for this interesting article!!

Lauren

User avatar
howard
Special Contributer
Posts: 2114
Joined: 07 Mar 2005, 12:55
Location: north hollywood, California

Re: The Hollywood Reporter and Doris Day

Unread post by howard » 04 Feb 2012, 02:25

I also noticed the discrepancy in the crash tale. Interesting article ... thanks for sharing, Texas.\
Like Irene Dunne done.

User avatar
Lauren Benjamin
Honorary Member
Posts: 1089
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 19:19
Spam Prevention: Yes

Re: The Hollywood Reporter and Doris Day

Unread post by Lauren Benjamin » 04 Feb 2012, 11:21

I'm really thinking that Doris did *not* really write this article. In 1950, she would have been far too busy with a double career and family (namely Terry's well being) to give thought to a rather long diatribe such as the above. She may have been asked to write it and passed it on to someone else, or it was the work of someone at the Reporter. That person may have read Doris' bio and simply put some facts together to make the story more interesting.

At that point, there wasn't much in the public realm about Doris and, of course, no Google and no biographies to verify facts.

Lauren

Post Reply