Doris Day's first musical special for CBS...twice as nice on DVD
Her eponymously-titled TV sitcom a hit for CBS, Doris Day filmed this musical special in April 1970 for the network because, as executive producer Don Genson remembers it, she didn't have anything else planned for the summer (Day-historians have been led to believe it was part of the television contract her ailing husband had signed her to without her knowledge). Opening with an outdoor segment featuring Doris on her bicycle (cruising the neighborhood and doing figure eights around motorcycle cops driving in Busby Berkeley-styled unison), we are treated with Day singing a medley of then-current tunes such as "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)"--a welcome idea of her son's, Terry Melcher, also a producer. Once inside the studio, designed like an outdoor park filled with flowers, Day alternately lip-syncs to prerecorded tracks or wings it live, and she rarely hits an off note. Still--and she admits this--her collection of outfits were a big priority; Doris is alternately fashioned like an amusement park tour guide, a lady of leisure, and an up-to-date gal about town. There's even a fashion slide show with Doris narrating auctioneer-style (accented with canned laughter from a non-existent audience). Her guest is Perry Como, who is low-keyed and charming, as well as her collection of dogs and a cameo by Rock Hudson. The special is great fun to watch on DVD, as almost the entire hour is repeated but with extras and outtakes (including a waltz to "Que Sera, Sera" and Doris in lovely pink chiffon that was inexplicably left on the cutting-room floor). The joshing with Como aside, Doris tends to comically rely on her patented funny faces for effect, and the dancing is so good one wants more of it. But when our star croons the standards ("It's Magic", "Sentimental Journey"), the years that have intervened simply melt away.
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