Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Miss Kappelhoffer came a long way

It is fashionable to mock Doris Day. She presently lives on the Carmel Peninsula in California (for which I profoundly envy her) and has latterly devoted her life to animal welfare. It was my impression she'd filled her house with cats but I accept The Crow's correction (see below) that the cats were dogs. As to her singing she’s probably remembered for bouncy inconsequential numbers like The Deadwood Stage, and Ya-Ya Roly Poly Bear. She appeared in a suprisingly wide range of non-singing movies of which intellectuals were wont to complain about the sexual ambiguities implicit in those with Rock Hudson

With the “professional virgin” thesis disposed of, I thought the Day/Hudson movies were quite witty, but that’s another matter. What is criminal is that her voice might be forgotten. A very precise and lovely instrument indeed capable of handling dross (A Bushel and a Peck), trades union negotiations (Seven and a Half Cents), great thirties standards (Bewitched, A Foggy Day, I’m Beginning to See the Light) and much more. It was said she sounded too healthy, too happy to be a great singer but, for goodness sake, she did Hollywood films.

Away from rank commercialism she could move me as much as Ella, Sarah or Peggy and she was just as technically accomplished. Still think I’m a sentimental old twerp? Try Fools Rush In, exquisitely accompanied by the Andre Previn Trio – very slow with beautifully sustained, rock-steady tone control. Forget the anatomical impossibility line (“my heart above my head”) and dwell instead on those aching final words “and let this fool rush in.” Despite the richness of the voice the sentiment is expressed modestly, the gentlest of pleas.

Incidentally she is the subject of an excellent biography by A. E. Hotchner who, at the time, had just done Hemingway and thought he was above movie stars. But she said she’d tell him everything and she did.