Tony Randall: What a Character!

Tony Randall: What a Character!There are not many 100% true statements in this world (movie-wise and otherwise), but this statement is 100% true: All movies are made better by Tony Randall‘s participation. But, you already knew that, didn’t you?

What I really wanted to write about is how much better off Doris Day would have been had she chosen Tony over Rock Hudson. Let’s examine:

Pillow Talk:

Millionaire Jonathan Forbes (Tony) has a major crush on Jan Morrow (Doris). He knows what she does (an interior designer) and who she is (an independent working woman) and not only accepts her for it, but is positively gaga over her. Shameless wolf Brad Allen (Rock) spies Doris, likes her caboose, and plays all sorts of head games on her to get her alone and in a prone position.

 Okay, Brad/Rock is a hunk, but Jonathan/Tony is no slouch. He is as cute as a puppy and he is a millionaire! He is a good dresser and I am sure he would worship the ground Doris/Jan walks on.

Bad call for Doris. The relationship with Brad will be doomed. In Pillow Talk 2, Jan comes to her senses and marries Jonathan, who rubs her feet every night and gazes dreamily into her eyes.

Lover Come Back:

Tony (Pete Ramsey) doesn’t even get a shot at Doris (who never looked lovelier) here. In fact, the only amorous advances made at him come from a moose. But again, Rock’s Jerry is a shady guy who actually knocks up Doris. Tony’s Pete was a gentleman and a gentleman with money. Oh Doris, how successful you could have been as an advertising exec if you only hooked up with Pete!

Send Me No Flowers:

Rock Hudson thinks he is dying and thinks he needs to select a successor husband for Doris. Hello! Best friend Tony is right there – ready, willing and able. Die Rock Die and let Doris be happy at last!

Tony Randall was so much more than the supporting player of the Doris and Rock pictures. He was a capable leading player and, when supporting, could hold up his end mightier than any colossus. As a leading player, he was wonderful as Rocky in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? It’s not surprising movie goddess Jayne Mansfield called him “lover doll.”

But Tony really was the guy who made all things better just by being there. He was joy incarnate and a treasure in both film and TV. I love his Felix Unger on The Odd Couple because he made an essentially annoying character totally lovable. And how happy was I when, in 2003, he made an appearance in the Doris/Rock homage/rip-off called Down with Love? Very happy.

A while back I posted a big gushing love letter to Mr. Randall and, much to my surprise a comment was left by his widow, Heather. Her comment, in part: “Well I actually loved him! I’m his widow and I miss him all the time. Seeing these comments fills me with happiness and I’m so glad our kids will get to see these comments and understand how much he was admired and loved.”

He was brilliant and generous of spirit and he loved his profession. And it is all contagious. He is a light, a feather, a chuckle and a wink.

Marsha Collock has been an avid fan – not scholar – of  classic films since she saw the first flicker of black and white on the TV screen. Her muse is Norma Desmond, to whom she has dedicated her blog, A Person in the Dark, a site designed for all of the wonderful people out there in the dark who have an unabashed passion for silents, early talkies, all stars and all films. Visit her Facebook page here.