Rhoda is an extremely sexy young woman living with womanizing Air Force shrink Bob McDonald. What Bob knows and the rest of the world does not is that Rhoda's real name is AF 709, and she ...
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Rhoda is an extremely sexy young woman living with womanizing Air Force shrink Bob McDonald. What Bob knows and the rest of the world does not is that Rhoda's real name is AF 709, and she is actually a sophisticated (yet naive) robot. Bob's job is to teach Rhoda how to be a "perfect" woman, and keep her identity secret from the world -- especially lecherous neighbor Peter. When actor Bob Cummings left the series in early 1965, his character was written out of the series, and Peter was given the duty of taking care of Rhoda.Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"My Living Doll" marked Bob Cummings' return to series television after a short-lived adventure-comedy series, "The New Bob Cummings Show", flopped in 1961. The veteran actor/light comedian, who had enjoyed a memorable film career (IT STARTED WITH EVE, KING'S ROW, SABOTEUR, DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER) without ever quite achieving 'superstar' status, had found, in television, the ideal medium for his likable persona. His second, best-known series, "The Bob Cummings Show" (later called "Love That Bob") offered a crew-cut, energetic Cummings as a fashion photographer with a roving eye and a family and friends who were always interfering with his love life. The success of the long-running comedy extended Cummings' career far beyond many of his contemporaries, and he hoped "My Living Doll" would achieve the same kind of magic.
In "My Living Doll", Cummings played Dr. Bob McDonald, a military psychiatrist assigned to 'train' a human-like robot (portrayed by the astonishingly sexy Julie Newmar, before her 'breakthrough' role as 'Catwoman' on "Batman"), for future space missions. Attempting to keep his 'project' a secret, as he teaches her how to be 'human', he develops an affection for her, although her literal compliance to his orders creates often embarrassing moments. Meanwhile, his hormonally-charged neighbor, Dr. Peter Robinson (played by Jack Mullaney, who made a career out of such roles) becomes smitten with Newmar, and her apparent willingness to do whatever he commands. Episodes would frequently involve Robinson's attempts to get McDonald 'out of the way' so he could share a romantic tryst with her.
While Cummings liked the initial premise of the series, he was not pleased with the one-dimensional direction the series was taking, and wanted to return the focus back to the doctor/'human' relationship between his character and Newmar. Producer Jack Chertok, who had achieved a major success with "My Favorite Martian", a year earlier, disagreed, however, believing the chemistry between Mullaney and Newmar had greater ratings potential than the 56-year old Cummings could provide (even if the actor's strict health regimen helped him maintain a youthful appearance). The series that was supposed to provide Cummings' 'comeback' role had moved his character into a decidedly 'supporting' part, and he quit the show.
With Mullaney now 'in charge' of the robot, however, the lecherous nature of his character had to be changed (maybe it would have worked on French television, but NEVER in America!), and the series quickly disappeared off the air.
The strange thing is, looking back on the short-lived series from a forty-year perspective, what remains in mind is neither Cummings nor Mullaney, but Julie Newmar, who was so devastatingly beautiful as the robot. Long after the silly plotlines were forgotten, her presence, sexy yet innocent, would linger on!
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