LISTEN TO BOOMTOWN RADIO! “ALL the Music That Matters for the Generation That Created Rock 'n' Roll”

Pillow Talk (1959)

If one comedy personified how Americans saw themselves in the early 1960’s, that comedy would be Pillow Talk. This first teaming of Doris Day and Rock Hudson was instant box office gold, racking up $18 million in ticket sales (back then, that was a blockbuster!) and leading to more on-screen teamings of the two.

Now, the entire premise of Pillow Talk makes it impossible to remake today. It revolves around something we once called a “party line.”

Most people would have trouble remembering a time without cell phones, let alone a time when even the most glamorous of people (like Hudson & Day’s characters in this comedy) had to share their telephone line with total strangers.

The gimmick is a clever twist on the mistaken identity meme quite common in farce. 

High level interior decorator Jan Morrow (Day) and skirt-chasing Broadway composer Brad Allen (Hudson) share a party line in midtown Manhattan. His monopolizing of that line leads to verbal fireworks and an on-going feud.

Until they meet when, of course, they immediately fall in love. However, Hudson quickly realizes who Day really is and invents a phony persona, Texas tycoon Rex Stetson to woo the unsuspecting and always virginal Ms. Day.

Enter an irony that makes watching the film today even more of a hoot. Brad Allen via the party line keeps suggesting to Morrow that “Rex Stetson,” the lover boy he’s pretending to be, may be “a little light in the loafers” as people used to say.

Knowing what we do now about Hudson’s private life, those scenes take on a surreal quality.

And scope out Hudson’s New York “apartment.” It’s a two-story number with a circular staircase between floors. Only slightly smaller than the Taj Mahal, one wonders where in Manhattan one could find such a showplace. And is it rent-controlled?

Anyway, the whole film is a delightful time capsule that shows us not as we really were, but as we would have liked to have been.

Of course, the duo, along with sidekick Tony Randall, would be back in other comedies like Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers, with Doris somehow regaining her virginity. But this first entry is still the best, having earned an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay as well as nominations for Day and female co-star Thelma Ritter.

Pillow Talk is available on disc and streaming services online.

Pop Up Player

Latest Posts–Movies & TV

  • A Late Father's Day Gift from the TV Zone
    The kids of 1960's television went all out for Father's Day as you can see from their imaginative gifts! Now, how many of them can you name? ANSWER: Top Row L to R - Billy…
  • Bill Murray as the Human Torch?
    Yes, it really happened! Bill Murray has portrayed a Marvel super-hero. The year was 1975 and Marvel was trying to expand from Saturday morning TV into the world of radio. So they spent $47,000 on…
  • Remember When: Test Patterns
    Those of us of a certain age can remember when TV didn't broadcast 24 hours a day. After the Blue Angels had gone screaming across the sky as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played in the background,…
  • Hey Everybody, Surf’s Up!
    Remembering the Beach Party Films Who would have ever thought that two Italians from New York City would come to represent the “summer blond” California surfing movement? But that’s what happened when American International Pictures…
  • Pillow Talk (1959)
    If one comedy personified how Americans saw themselves in the early 1960’s, that comedy would be Pillow Talk. This first teaming of Doris Day and Rock Hudson was instant box office gold, racking up $18…
  • The TV That Time Forgot: Bachelor Father
    Shows come and go so fast. For every I Love Lucy or Andy Griffith Show, there are hundreds that have vanished from the pop culture landscape. How many of these do you remember? Bachelor Father…