Doris Day Birthday Bash 2019!
As I mentioned in my last post on the fabulous Ms. Doris Day, every year, the friendly folks at the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF) and passionate volunteers put together a fun filled weekend celebrating Doris’ birthday. The proceeds from the weekend go to supporting worthy animal rights, care, education, and rehabilitation programs throughout the country.
Fans from ALL OVER THE WORLD flock to Doris’ beloved Carmel-by-the-Sea to participate in the weekend festivities. Andrew and I have been fortunate enough to go the last three years.
Celebrity Guests and My Phone Call with Doris!
In previous years, we have enjoyed performances by the incredibly talented Scott Dreier and Laura Didier. We have watched Doris’ last feature film, With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), on the big screen, and had the amazing opportunity to meet some of Doris’ co-stars and friends, including the elegant Miriam Nelson, the hilarious Bernie Kopell, and the incredibly sweet and welcoming Jackie Joseph. And at last year’s festivities, I actually had the once in a lifetime opportunity to TALK WITH DORIS HERSELF ON THE PHONE. More on that in another post! For now, I will just say I still can’t believe it actually happened!
This year, Doris’ birthday weekend kicked off on Thursday night with a live performance by Karen Oberlin in the lounge of Doris’ Cypress Inn. Wow! What a fun, intimate show! Ms Oberlin sang her rendition of songs that we all love from Doris’ singing career. It was a great way to start the weekend!
Friday night, we watched Pillow Talk (1959) on the big screen! Talk about a dream come true! There is something truly magical about watching a classic film on the big screen. To think that you are experiencing the film the way audiences did when it was released is so so neat. And Pillow Talk? Can you think of a better film to experience this way? I mean, Doris and Rock Hudson??! Who wouldn’t want to watch this gorgeous, charismatic, comedy team larger than life on the big screen?
On Friday night we also met the hilarious impressionist Rich Little, the incredibly personable Peter Marshall, and the sparkling, cuter than cute, Jackie Joseph, who remembered us from last year’s birthday weekend! Jackie is so sweet, she was probably just being nice, but boy did it make me feel like a million bucks to hear this talented woman, who I have watched and admired on The Doris Day Show, say that she remembered us!
Peter Marshall was the M.C. for the evening. And if you were wondering if he still has that majestic voice from his Hollywood Squares days, I can tell you, he surely does! The 93 year-old Marshall sounds exactly the same. Mr. Marshall was THE nicest man, walking around like any other fan, with his sweet canine companion Bongo, following his every move, even on stage! Mr. Marshall was just so approachable all weekend. Peter and his lovely wife Laurie truly made all of us fans feel like we had known them for years.
Before I move on to Saturday night, can you think of the one thing that would make watching Pillow Talk on the big screen an even cooler experience? How about having the film introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz? Well, he did! Yes, Ben Mankiewicz introduced Pillow Talk in his classic, TCM style. And it was awesome! If you think Mr. Mankiewicz shines on TCM, you will be amazed at his charisma live. He truly did an exceptional job.
Onto Saturday! Saturday evening started with a hilarious show by Rick Little. Rich did many of his fabulous impressions. My favorites were Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and Ronald Reagan. Rich also shared with us how he came to master his Johnny Carson impression. Apparently, Johnny Carson was a voice Rich initially couldn’t get the hang of. Finally, he got the inspiration he needed to get a Carson impression down: observing an ostrich at the zoo! With an ostrich’s movements and mannerisms in his mind, Rich perfected his Johnny Carson impression, and it is now one of the voices he is best known for.
Next came the live auction, expertly run by the amazing Scott Dreier. Truly, Doris’ birthday weekend would not be the same without Scottie. He is one of the most talented and kindest people I know! If you live in the LA area, don’t miss Scottie’s exceptional show, Doris and Me, playing at the Sierra Madre Playhouse April 6-7 and 13-14! Buy your tickets here!
Jackie Joseph stole the show with her comments about each auction item! Andrew and I both almost ended up on the floor from laughing so hard as Jackie comically showcased a beautiful Stella McCartney dress.
The evening closed with a stellar performance by legendary “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein. Feinstein’s talent is tremendous! Among others, he sang songs that Doris, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra made popular, as well as classics from George and Ira Gershwin, and a duet of Cole Porter’s “De-Lovely” with Peter Marshall. SIMPLY AMAZING. To say Feinstein deserved the standing ovation he received at the end of the show would be an understatement!
The Sunday Serenade
The final, unofficial event of the weekend was a birthday serenade to the great lady herself. Thanks to Scott Dreier’s efforts and kind soul, us diehard fans had the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Doris from the golf course below her beautiful home. It was the perfect way to close the weekend. Thanks again Scottie, you made so many dreams come true! None of us could have ever imagined we would be so close to the woman we have admired on the screen for so many years.
If any of you are interested in attending Doris’ birthday bash next year, stay tuned to the DDAF website. Birthday weekend dates and plans usually go up in the November or December preceding Doris’ April 3rd birthday. Go!!! You will be so glad you did. (: Hope to see you there next year!