29 May 2007 | nneprevilo
Doris Day Ignored, As Usual
When I saw this advertised, I was excited, but then remembered that we were still in the throws of "I hate Doris Day" which started in the late '60s during the sexual revolution.
I had seen other features on Warner Brothers and they showed more Streisand, Minnelli, even Judy Garlalnd (an MGM star), more than they showed Doris Day, who was in fact, after Bette Davis, their biggest female money-maker. For years, WB did not have musical stars on par with the MGM crowd. As a matter of fact, they borrowed leading ladies from Paramount, Fox and MGM to star in their musicals. When Judy couldn't do "Romance on The High Seas," 23 year old Day was tested and got the role. Rave reviews made a star out of her, but more importantly, finally WB had a singing, dancing star that could go toe to toe with anybody at MGM.
So why in these documentaries on WB, does Doris Day get ignored? I'll tell you why. When Doris was #1 at the box office during the 1960s, the sexual revolution swept the nation. Day's husband, Martin Melcher, signed her name to scripts that she didn't want to make, but was forced to or be sued. One of them, "That Touch of Mink" was a huge hit, but an insulting film. It moved Doris to step on the "downerlator" as a result of her character in the film being terrified of sex, but at the same time, accepting expensive gifts and trips from a near total, RICH stranger (Cary Grant). Comics had a field day in clubs and on TV about Day's "virginal" persona. This feeling about her became part of the Hollywood culture, which was drugging it up AND sexing it up -- Day didn't fit in.
When the drugged-out, snot-nosed kids of the Moguls took over Hollywood, the legendary Doris Day's name was mud. Young filmmakers who produced film documentaries, authors who wrote Hollywood books would conveniently omit Doris Day or merely mention her in passing, or build up lesser stars in an attempt to disparage Miss Day. They felt obligated to "not like Doris Day." There are other documentaries, like this one, and books on Hollywood that have chapters on people like Streisand, Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Jody Foster, Sandra Dee, etc. none of whom had Day's popularity or box office power. Doris, to this day, remains the top female box office star of all time. But you'd never know it by the way she's treated. With all the hooplah surrounding Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn, you'd think that THEY were bigger than Doris Day. They were not. Ms. Hepburn never appeared among the top ten box office stars. Being a movie star boils down to how many people you bring into the theatres BECAUSE of your name.