Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey (1945)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) Doris sings that she has her bag packed. Tell us about your luggage. Is your bag easy to spot on the luggage carousel? I haven’t traveled with it yet, but probably not. It’s a nice, deep red color, but I can’t imagine it’s very unique.
2) The release of this song coincided with VE Day, and so it meant a great deal to troops returning home from Europe. What song has sentimental value for you? Why? “Heroes” by David Bowie. I always loved it anyway, but it was also our first dance at our wedding.
3) As a young girl, Doris was passionate about dance. Concentrating in the studio and performing on stage helped distract her from heartache and embarrassment over her parents’ divorce. When you want to escape from what’s troubling you, what do you do? I don’t do much different from what I normally do, which I guess is kind of weird, but I think I find comfort in my routines. So I read, watch Netflix, screw around on the Internet, and write. Sometimes I write about what’s going on, but that’s not much of an escape, really. It helps get things out of my system, though, for sure.
4) Her dancing days came to an end when, at age 15, she was in a car accident and damaged her leg. During her recovery, she discovered how much she enjoyed singing with the radio, and was delighted to find others enjoyed hearing her. Tell us about a time you unexpectedly found happiness or success. Does my husband count? Because he was just kind of the older brother of one of my own brother’s friends and I expected this to go nowhere, but here we are.
5) She moved from singer to actress in the late 1940s and was a major movie star for 25 years. She was paired with the most popular leading men of her time — everyone from Clark Gable to Frank Sinatra to Rock Hudson. If you could share a kiss with any actor or actress, who would you choose? Man, I don’t know. There’s not, like, one in particular that stands above the rest. Although I guess I wouldn’t turn down Idris Elba, and my husband probably would be happy for me.
6) 1968 was a terrible year for Doris. First, she suddenly became a widow. Then she discovered that her late husband and his business partner had squandered her money and she had to file for bankruptcy. Oh, wait! There’s more! She also found that, in his role as her manager, her late husband had, without her knowledge, committed her to a weekly TV series. Do you have a 1968? What year you can point to and say, “Wow, I’m glad that’s over”? I believe it was when I was 23. My friends were pretty shitty to me, my mother-in-law was pretty shitty to me either at the same time or very shortly afterwards, and I was 110% done with all of that. I removed myself from those equations as much as possible and benefitted from doing so, honestly.
7) After retiring from show business, she became an advocate for animal welfare. She has said we should be more sensitive to the loneliness, sadness and guilt people feel when they lose a pet. Think of a time you were grieving. What words or gestures helped you through? Conversely, what’s something no one should ever say to someone who is hurting? I prefer to be left alone but know that people are close by, especially if I need a moment to vent and blow off steam. As for what not to say, there’s nothing specific that I personally hate hearing, except maybe suggestions that it was God’s will or meant to be, but I think all the general advice on what not to say is good. There’s a lot that’s well-intentioned but can just be not at all what someone wants to hear then.
8) Doris’ only child was her son, record producer Terry Melcher. Terry had a successful, years-long collaboration with The Beach Boys. Do you have a favorite Beach Boys song? Ooh, I’m gonna give you two, both from Pet Sounds. First, “I’m Waiting for the Day” because I love the drums, and the whole thing just gets better as it goes, especially when the vocals start to get a little more angry and intense. The last like 30 seconds of the song are the best. The second is “Sloop John B,” originally a Bahamian folk song, because I love the melody. Pet Sounds is one of those very highly regarded albums with a lot of famous songs, and although I like some of the more well-known ones like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows,” it was these two that made me really get the hype around Pet Sounds and appreciate what The Beach Boys were doing with instrumentation and layering. They both have these little touches that enhance them.
9) Random question: What’s one thing you’ve never done, but have always wanted to try? I don’t know. I’m not very daring, so thrill-seeking things like skydiving are out, and I’ve done a lot of the small-scale things I’m interested in. I guess the only thing that comes close is just that I’d like to do more traveling.