Jaded eyes on 60s lies: Lover Come Back

AMC‘s playing Lover Come Back (1961) with Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

The IMDB summarizes the plot

Jerry Webster and Carol Templeton are both in the advertising business, but for different agencies. Annoyed by Jerry’s methods of using alcohol and women to ensure contracts for his agency, Carol tries to get him thrown out of his profession. To avoid this Jerry bribes the girl who’d testify against him, by starring her in a TV commercial for a product named VIP that he’s just made up. By accident these commercials are broadcasted and to keep his job, Jerry has to come up with VIP for which he enlists the help of Doctor Linus Tyler. Carol goes to see the Doctor to try and get the VIP account, but because she and Jerry have never met, she mistakes Jerry for the Doctor. Jerry then takes advantage of this situation to win her. Written by Leon Wolters {wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl}

The plot is rife with gay innuendo: Even when the early 1960s audience didn’t know for sure (there had been lots of rumors which the studio managed to suppress for a long time) that Rock Hudson was gay in real life, the script writers had a field day. Rock Hudson and Tony Randall at one point look like they’re about to break into singing “I”m a lumberjack” when they went moose hunting out in the woods.

Monty Python had nothing to do with the movie, of course, but I can’t resist inserting it here,

Tony Randall actually wore the full lumberjack outfit.

Tony Randall played the confirmed bachelor to Rock Hudson’s stud in the Doris Day movies. Someone actually put together a YouTube of scenes from Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. They did have chemistry:

Carol, played by Doris Day, is a spinster dedicated to her carreer in advertising and wears ridiculous hats throughout the movie, the most ridiculous of which is this one:

I guess in 1961 hats were to Doris Day what shoes later became to the Sex and the City crowd.

Rock Hudson plays Jerry, a corrupt and corrupting liar whose entire carreer is predicated on his telling people what he thinks they want to hear. His client from Virginia was the great grandson of a Confederate general, so Jerry also pretends to be the grandson of a Confederate general and takes him to the Bunny Club (the Playboy Club, of course) for a show where the final nightclub number plays Dixieland and the star bunny rips her bodice to show a Confederate flag to the client. An orgy at the client’s penthouse followed. The movie shows only the morning-after debris, including a hungover bunny in a bass case.

Later on Jerry pretends to be Dr. Linus (obviously named after Linus Paulding who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954), a brilliant chemist but a shy and repressed guy (who she woke up early one morning at Jerry’s apartment!). Jerry as Linus makes up a remarkable family: his father who he idolizes is a philosopher, this brother a heroic surgeon who died in Africa, and on and on. Jerry/Linus pretends that all he needs is the right girl to bring out the real man in him. To get himself invited overnight to Carol’s apartment he says lines like, “You deserve a man, not a mass of neurotic doubts!”

Carol, after pondering whether to give in while a Doris Day song plays in the background, realizes he’s The Big Phony, drives him out to the beach and dumps him there.

In real life, Jerry would had gone on with his corrupt and dissipated existence and Carol would have gone on being a spinster.

But the movie goes on: the real Linus the chemist actually produces the vips, a candy that started as a bogus advertising campaign for an imaginary product. More innuendo follows:

It’s a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie, so you know they will get together. Indeed, the morning after consuming the vips they wake up in bed, much to Jerry’s horrific expression. She’s wearing his pajama top, he’s wearing the bottoms. They’re in a motel in Maryland where, when she wakes up and screams, the housekeepers say, “Some girls are just not ready for marriage.”

Not Viagra, just vips. That’s all it took.

It’s a very funny movie, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


A lovely short film, via Urban Grounds,


Today’s WSJ’s Five Best books on the history of medicine, selected by Stephanie Snow:

The fifth book is The History of Medicine by W.F. Bynum, which I couldn’t locate at Amazon.


Today’s shoes, Sofft’s Gaby in burgundy suede. An elegant retro style that you can wear all day long


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