Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day's Dream

Did you ever notice how much dreams figured in the career of Doris Day (who recently marked her 90th birthday)?

This isn't a joke. I'm serious.

Her second hit song was "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time."

She had a 10–inch LP called "I'll See You in My Dreams," which was the soundtrack for one of her movies, and she had two 12–inch LPs, "Day Dreams" and "I Have Dreamed" (which had seven songs that included the word dream in the title).

She appeared in two movies that had dream in the title and one TV short from the mid–1960s, "Every Girl's Dream."

Well, to be fair, I guess dreams do figure prominently in the existence of entertainers. In a sense, it is their business to sell dreams. I guess they aren't much different from sales people — except that they have to be entertaining. They're not selling a product; they're selling a mood, a state of mind. That's the key difference.

Most entertainers are not as obvious; they find synonyms (suitable ones for dream, for example, are "imagine/imagination," "fantasy," "thought," "reverie" and so on) to use.

But Doris Day was more direct with her fans, I suppose. And, to be fair, few entertainers have been as entitled to dream — even after it seemed their dreams came true — as Day.

At one time a frequent star of the big screen, Day hasn't been in a movie since the death of her husband/manager in 1968 left her penniless and deep in debt. She re–created herself for the small screen of television.

Initially, her dream was to be a dancer, but after she nearly died in a car crash, she refocused her attention on singing and acting.

In her mid–20s, she made her big–screen debut in a movie with Jack Carson, and a partnership of sorts was born. It may seem as if she made many more movies, but Day was in 39 — some with Carson, and, more widely remembered, some with Rock Hudson.

Her second movie, director Michael Curtiz's "My Dream Is Yours," which premiered 65 years ago today, also co–starred Carson.

Like many of Day's movies, "My Dream Is Yours" was so light and airy it could have floated away on its own.

Carson played theatrical manager for Day, a widowed mom. He took her to Hollywood where she became a star. Her blossoming career, achieved in part at the expense of another performer for whom she has feelings, keeps them apart through most of the film — but not, apparently, off screen.

Suffice to say, the plot was not really the main attraction for the movie — nor is it today.

But, whereas Day was certainly an attraction for audiences in 1949, today the main attraction is to see an early example of a truly Roger Rabbitesque touch.

Day and Carson, dressed in bunny suits, did a live action/animation sequence with Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird (voices supplied by the late Mel Blanc) to "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" by Franz Liszt.

Now that was a dream sequence.