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Desk Set (1957) Poster

(1957)

Trivia

Improvised Scene: Sumner is leaving Bunny's apartment, shortly after Mike leaves and Peg arrives, when Bunny and Sumner are recapping the afternoon's events for Peg. Tracy goes "offstage" and returns with his hat pulled down over his ears, his shirt dangling out of his pants, staggering as though drunk and talking crazy. This moment, including the women's hysterical laughter and Hepburn's literally falling out of her chair, is not in the script.
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The script called for a philodendron, but a rhododendron was placed on the set. Katharine Hepburn brought in her own philodendron, the one which almost encircled her office.
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This is the first film that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn did in color and the eighth of the nine films they starred in together. Their next, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), came ten years later.
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The acronym for "electronic brain" EMARAC is the Electromagnetic Memory and Research Arithmetical Calculator.
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The Company's ENIAC machine that EMARAC was based on had the slogan "Making Machines Do More, So That Man Can Do Less".
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William Marchant based Bunny Watson on Agnes E. Law, the librarian who built up the CBS network's research library.
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The sound effects created for EMARAC were re-used in numerous movies and TV series, notably Fantastic Voyage (1966).
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Adapted from a Broadway play "The Desk Set" that originally starred Shirley Booth, Byron Sanders and Frank Milan. The stage production opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York on Oct. 24, 1955 and ran for 296 performances. "Hollywood Reporter" reported that Booth would repeat her role in the film, which ultimately did not happen (though Harry Ellerbe reprised office gossip Smithers).
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Katharine Hepburn was very impressed with the performance of young Lee Remick in "A Face in the Crowd" and invited her to her home with Tracy to discuss appearing in "Desk Set." Tracy did not feel that the role was good enough for the young actress, Remick declined the role, and it was played by Dina Merrill. Tracy's advice proved correct as Merrill received little attention in the role.
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The setting for the film is the Federal Broadcasting Company.
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