Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Doris Day & Rock Hudson & Tony Randall

Remarkable about what Arthur Rosenberg, Roy Fitzgerald (the erstwhile Roy Scherer, Jr.), and Doris Kappelhoff share is not that they each adapted to careers in Hollywood with name changes. For they share that phenomenon with just about everybody in Hollywood. Remarkable about Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Fitzgerald, and Ms. Kappelhoff (i.e. Tony Randall, Rock Hudson, and Doris Day, respectively) is the storied team they created in the making of a series of three romantic comedies, starting out with Pillow Talk (1959), followed by Lover Come Back (1961), and culminating with Send Me No Flowers (1964).

The on-screen chemistry between them was very apparent and translated to great success at the box office. That they thoroughly enjoyed each other off the screen, as well as on, was also very apparent. In fact, Rock Hudson and Doris Day reputedly called each other jokingly by pet names during the making of these movies. Mr. Hudson became simply Ernie and, reciprocally, Ms. Day became Eunice. They both agreed that these self-imposed name changes were a welcomed release from the strain and tensions of the job and contributed to the merriment and perhaps explains the success of their collaborations. And, as if to underscore the permanence, the endurance and the endearment of the friendship that evolved while working together, they continued to call each other by these names whenever they happened to meet socially or otherwise.

While the scenarios for each movie differed, the basic premise in each collaboration went unaltered. Doris Day and Rock Hudson managed the romance, fraught with comedic entanglements, conflicts, and ultimately reconciliation, while Tony Randall served as friend, confidant, foil, and, to some extent, referee for the romantic pair. The success of these movies at the box office prompted many to wonder why no other movies in the series came about. Shortly before Rock Hudson became sick and died in 1985 from complications due to AIDS, rumors had it that the three had begun talking about revising their roles for a sequel to Pillow Talk. Supposedly, Jan and Brad (the names of Mr. Hudson and Ms. Day’s characters in the movie) were to have a grown daughter engaged to marry the son of Mr. Randall’s character, Jonathan. With the passing of Rock Hudson, the project never saw the light of day. And, sadly, if not a little ironic, Send Me No Flowers has remained only the third and the very last movie in which these three stars appear with each other.