When is Doris Day?

It starts with a recent (January 4th) One Big Happy and will end with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in 1967. In the cartoon, Ruthie and Joe are unfamiliar with Doris Day the person and take Doris Day to refer to a holiday (like Flag Day):


When is Doris Day? Wikipedia tells us that Doris Day’s birthday is April 3rd (while Flag Day is June 14th) and that

Day has participated in interviews and celebrations of her birthday with an annual Doris Day music marathon.

So I have now entered Doris Day as an April 3rd holiday in my calendar.

A prosodic note. Like names of people in general, the name Doris Day has primary accent on its second, surname, element:

Dòris Dáy

On the other hand, names of holidays with second element day are ordinary N + N compounds, with primary accent on the first element:

Flág Dày, and so also Dóris Dày

As a result, the larger expressions Doris Day song ‘song associated with the person Doris Day’ (what the kids’ grandmother said) and Doris Day song ‘song associated with the holiday Doris Day’ (what the kids understand) have different accentual patterns, with primary accent on Day in the first but Doris in the second. This difference is disregarded in the cartoon, where the two expressions are presented orthographically; orthographic Doris Day song is ambiguous.

Doris Day. The pride of Cincinnati OH. From Wikipedia:

Doris Day (born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff; April 3, 1922) is an American actress, singer, and animal welfare activist. After she began her career as a big band singer in 1939, her popularity increased with her first hit recording “Sentimental Journey” (1945). After leaving Les Brown & His Band of Renown to embark on a solo career, she recorded more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967, which made her one of the most popular and acclaimed singers of the 20th century.

Day’s film career began with the 1948 film Romance on the High Seas, and its success sparked her twenty-year career as a motion picture actress. She starred in a series of successful films, including musicals, comedies, and dramas. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953),


and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. Her most successful films were the “pioneering” bedroom comedies she made co-starring Rock Hudson and James Garner, such as Pillow Talk (1959) and Move Over, Darling (1963), respectively.

(#3) Rock Hudson and Doris Day in Pillow Talk

She also co-starred in films with such leading men as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, David Niven, and Rod Taylor. After her final film in 1968, she went on to star in the CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show (1968–73).

She will be 96 on Doris Day this year.

My 10/22/17 posting “Que Seurat, Seurat” has a section on the song “Que Sera, Sera”. (You can listen here to her 1964 recording of the song, introduced in the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.)

DD is a prodigiously hard-working performer with a strong, carefully crafted screen persona: perky, naive, sexy but never salacious, passionate but eternally virginal. Director Michael Curtiz is reported to have said of her that like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard, she played different parts but was always projecting her own strong personality.

John Updike on Doris Day. This is a complex presentation of self, one worthy of critical reflection — which was supplied by American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic John Updike, in a 2/23/76 New Yorker piece (pp. 109-14) “Suzie Creamcheese Speaks” by John Updike, an appreciation of Doris Day’s career.

(Tangentially relevant: on this blog, a 2/15/11 posting “U and I”, on Nicholson Baker, John Updike, and me.)

In the Updike piece, this quotation from A.E. Hotchner’s Doris Day: Her Own Story (1975), from DD about her name:


Why Suzie Creamcheese? From the Urban Dictionary entry for the expression Suzy Creamcheese:

From the Frank Zappa [character], meaning an airheaded or naive girl or woman – nice to look at but without substance or intelligence.

Though the full story is complex, this gets us back to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention performing their 1967 song “Suzy Creamcheese”, which you can watch here.

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