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 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 8:34 AM   
 By:   Chickenhearted   (Member)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

"Hurry up !"

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

"Hurry up !"

big grin

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

"Hey, there...."

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 11:29 AM   
 By:   cody1949   (Member)

Tops or bottoms ?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 11:32 AM   
 By:   cody1949   (Member)

Better yet forget those darn -------.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 12:47 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

I've always been a great fan of that great musical but I've always thought it would have been a real outstanding one with a more convincing male cast member.

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 1:21 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

He looks pretty male to me.

I respect the fact that key creative elements of the stage smash were retained for the movie version, but Raitt wasn't in any other movies I can remember, though IMDB shows he had tiny roles in a number of films in the early '40s.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 1:36 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

He looks pretty male to me.

By "a more convincing male cast member" I didn't mean that at all, you naughty boy !

big grin

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

I think the big question is who could have played the role as well as Raitt at that time?

Oh, sure...Howard Keel, I suppose.

I think, because of television exposure of Raitt, they thought casting him opposite Day would be a star-making opportunity.

 
 Posted:   Oct 25, 2013 - 1:46 PM   
 By:   Recordman   (Member)

Sleeptite ...don't let the bedbugs bite.

 
 Posted:   Oct 28, 2013 - 5:59 AM   
 By:   Chickenhearted   (Member)

"Hey, there...."

 
 Posted:   Oct 28, 2013 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

I always thought Gordon MacRae could have done it, although how old was he when they filmed "TPG"? Loved that movie, but have never bought the separate soundtrack -- just the combo with both "Calamity Jane" and "TPG." But there weren't any extra tracks on it, so why bother? Plus the DVD in its pink box.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 29, 2013 - 8:39 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I think the big question is who could have played the role as well as Raitt at that time?

Oh, sure...Howard Keel, I suppose.

I think, because of television exposure of Raitt, they thought casting him opposite Day would be a star-making opportunity.


No one could have played it better IMO -

Thankfully Doris Day was not partnered again with Gordon MacRae - they had already done four or more films - and he already had played the role of Billy Bigelow that Raitt originated on Broadway.

Howard Keel was a great Wild Bill opposite her in CALAMITY JANE but I dont hink that he would have been better than Raitt -- certainly he would have been different - but I am glad Raitt had the opportunity to repeat his role from the original cast ( along with much of the cast) - similar to Gwen Verdon's only star turn in DAMN YANKEES.

 
 Posted:   Oct 29, 2013 - 8:51 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

philliperic: Re: "Howard Keel was a great Wild Bill opposite her in CALAMITY JANE but I dont hink that he would have been better than Raitt -- certainly he would have been different - but I am glad Raitt had the opportunity to repeat his role from the original cast....

I've mentioned elsewhere that I saw Howard Keel in a later production of "Man of La Mancha," and while he wasn't quite as good as the original, Richard Kiley, whom I had seen do it 2 or 3 times shortly after it left Broadway, he was an excellent second. I don't remember how old Keel was when they filmed "Pajama Game," but I just don't think that he would have had the enthusiastic energy that Raitt brought to the role.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2013 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

philliperic: Re: "Howard Keel was a great Wild Bill opposite her in CALAMITY JANE but I dont hink that he would have been better than Raitt -- certainly he would have been different - but I am glad Raitt had the opportunity to repeat his role from the original cast....

I've mentioned elsewhere that I saw Howard Keel in a later production of "Man of La Mancha," and while he wasn't quite as good as the original, Richard Kiley, whom I had seen do it 2 or 3 times shortly after it left Broadway, he was an excellent second. I don't remember how old Keel was when they filmed "Pajama Game," but I just don't think that he would have had the enthusiastic energy that Raitt brought to the role.


John Raitt had great presence in PJ - and he was very energetic in his performance , singing and making love to Doris Day. Im not sure why he did not do more movies but perhaps his passion was live theater . Of course not a lot of movie musicals were being made in the late 50s - early 60s. I wonder if he was considered for the role of Johnny in THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN in '63.

 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2013 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

philiperic: Re: " I wonder if he [John Raitt] was considered for the role of Johnny in THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN in '63."

He probably was. But they chose Harve Presnell instead, who was surprisingly good in that role, and would go on to do quite well in TV even AFTER he lost his hair. And, yes, I think that John Raitt was, at heart, a theatre actor.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2013 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

Here is some interesting information which will factor into everyone's casting discussions:

THE PAJAMA GAME (Released in 1957 and presumably filmed in 1956)

John Raitt was born in 1917.....He would have been about 39 in 1956.
Howard Keel was born in 1919.....He would have been about a younger 37 in 1956.
Gordon MacRae was born in 1921.....He would have been about a still younger 35 in 1956.

Doris Day was born in 1924.....She would have been about 32 in 1956.
Janis Paige, who had costarred with Raitt in the Broadway show in 1954, was born in 1922, so she would have been 34 if she had appeared in the film version in 1956.


THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN (Released in 1964 and presumably filmed in 1963)

Debbie Reynolds was born in 1932.....She would have been about 31 in 1963.
Harve Presnell was born in 1933.....He would have been about 30 in 1963.

(By the time of filming of UMB in 1963, Raitt would have been about 46, opposite Reynolds' 31.)

Johnny "Leadville" Brown was born in 1854. Molly Brown was born around 1867.
At the time of their wedding in 1886, Johnny was about 31 and Molly, 19.

Sooo......for everyone listed in this post, EVERYONE except Harve Presnell was of the wrong age for the UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN film. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2013 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

As for THE PAJAMA GAME and DAMN YANKEES, I remember seeing them in the mid-50s and being very, VERY disappointed. I loved musicals and I always liked Stanley Donen-directed films, but I thought these pictures were far from his best. Since they were co-directed with George Abbott, it always felt to me that there were conflicts in how the films were to be presented.

In later years I've seen various reports that seemed to indicate:

1- Jack Warner desperately wanted these hit stage plays for Warner Bros.

2- In exchange for granting the rights to WB, the demand was that George Abbott direct them.

3- Warner's counter-demand was that they would each feature a popular WBros star, Day and Hunter, as boxoffice protection, and Warner could include the now-freelancing Stanley Donen for production protection, understanding that he had varied experience in the MGM musical production mill, and could bring a youthful aspect to the films.

4- I once shot an interview with Donen, and, off-the-record, he expressed great reservations about the idea that he agree to direct with Abbott, and, that in the end, he was NOT happy with how things turned out. I don't know whether Donen has ever gone "on-the-record" about his reservations. The two movies seem all over the map to me. There are wonderful light and imaginative moments (probably Donen), and other moments which positively lumber along.

5- Much as I respect the talents of Verdon and Raitt, I am sorry to say that neither is a movie star in my opinion, and neither, in my estimation, have pop-off-the-screen charisma. This must certainly be reflected in the lack of any future or real acting career for either one of them in movies. If they'd been fabulous onscreen they'd have been hired for big bucks.

A number of my friends in the industry who have seen Raitt on stage also feel that while he had a tremendously effective voice in that medium, he showed very poor acting chops. I feel now, when I see the film, and I felt then, when I saw the film, that Raitt was not evincing any believably strong acting skills onscreen and his movements seem very stiff for a musical. I also felt that Day often looked uncomfortable alongside him on the screen; was this the great romantic onscreen coupling the story calls for? By this time Day had worked with some of the best.

6- I recently came across an interview on the internet in which Mitzi Gaynor claims she was the primary casting choice for DAMN YANKEES but, in the end couldn't do it because she was tied up on LES GIRLS. This may be star imaginings about an old career, but I think she might have been terrific under Donen's direction, if true. I'd even have bought Ann Miller in the role in 1958! (I loved Day in PJ, but I'd also have loved to see what Janis Paige would have done with it. The raucous boisterousness of Paige suits the role better, I think, but may not be quite so romantic, I guess.)

Sorry for complaining about these two musicals which all of you seem to love. But when I was a young moviegoer interested and looking forward to these two films, they turned out to be a major disappointment to me. Each does have some wonderful moments in them, however (moreso in PJ), and for that reason I still watch them occasionally.

(My partner has just read this and has reminded me that I actually saw John Raitt onstage in a production of MOST HAPPY FELLA, quite some years ago. I'm shocked to realize he's correct. But it apparently made no lingering impression on me, which is sad to say in reference to a major theatrical stage star. Still, I like his voice.)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2013 - 9:32 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Sorry, I still think that PAJAMA GAME on film is a highly entertaining and underrated musical .

Thanks for all the research , Manderley.

I think that Harve Presnell was excellent in his film debut but like Raitt, he never had a comparable musical role on film(PAINT YOUR WAGON, not withstanding). I sure in ageist Hollywood, Raitt was considered past his prime by 1962.

 
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