Saturday, February 8, 2014

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: She Went Wrong

Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

Miss Dorothy Lamour may well wonder where exactly she went wrong; I would argue that it was when she agreed to appear in Pajama Party in the first place.

To be fair, though, while it's far from a great number, you can't deny that she gives it her all, and in her sweet befuddlement with Kids These Days, I suppose she was a treat for all the Moms and Dads who were forced into the cinema so that Betsy and Biff could ogle Tommy Kirk and the inevitable Annette Funicello, the picture's nominal headliners.  Lamour (ignominiously billed only as "Head Saleslady") is one of several old hands on deck for this one - she's joined by Buster Keaton and Elsa Lanchester, and Don Rickles makes some kind of appearance (as "Big Bang the Martian").  Of them all, I'm guessing she had the most fun.

Time flies, as they say, and two of those lissome models are now the sorts of performer who show up in films about Kids Today today - look for dear Miss Teri Garr in her "daring and new" playsuit, as well as Miss Toni Basil (whom I sometimes think must have gotten her start in silents) doing The Swim in a two-piece that today seems positively matronly.

As for that evergreen subject, The Youth - I have to admit that, more and more, I'm with Dot.  In relation to the Tommys and Annette's of 2014 - the Cyruses and Biebers and their ilk - where did things go wrong?


  1. Oh, dear lord! What a howler!
    But, I do agree that she's giving it all she's got. Which is a lot.

  2. I loved that! What's hilarious is that just 3-4 years later, any one of those twisting teens would be seen as the epitome of squaresville (Frankie and Annette included).

    Today I guess you'd cast Brooke Shields in the Dorothy Lamour role...and maybe Mylie Cyrus and Justin Bieber as Frankie and Annette?

  3. So much to comment about, the older stars, like a creepy beach going Vincent Price, making cameos in those films and Ethyl Merman showing up on Batman with intentionally campy performances that came with a nice pay check for the retirement fund.

    I must say, Miss Lamour was looking pretty good there holding her own with teenagers. Those old studio trained broads held up well. I might have more easily recognized her if she had worn a turban though...

  4. LOVE this clip more than it has any right to be loved. On viewing, I immediately cast Lamour as Carlotta Campion in Follies. I think she would have been a brilliant replacement for DeCarlo. I know she played Hattie in Long Beach about 25 years ago, but she would have been a perfect Carlotta in the early 70's.

    1. Absolutely - it also makes me think her Dolly must have been a lot fun, even it was mostly at the bus-and-truck level...