Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Doctor Is Out

We admit it: in the original Doctor McDreamy Wars of the early 1960's, we would have picked swarthy, intense Vince "Ben Casey" Edwards over clean-cut, wholesome Richard "Dr. Kildare" Chamberlain. However, Dr. Dick certainly had his well-scrubbed, boyish charm, and we must concede that he carried off an angora sweater exceedingly well:

Both Chamberlain and Edwards parlayed their massive television fame into brief singing careers; on that playing field, we give the edge to Chamberlain. Edwards was an extremely competent, Sinatra-style crooner; Chamberlain's quaky baritone, quite frankly, was more distinctive in its disarming cheesiness.

We also must credit Chamberlain with remarkable longevity; unlike many TV heartthrobs, whose shelf life is exceedingly short, Chamberlain gracefully moved into musical theater (most notably the revival of My Fair Lady) as well as films; and in 1983, he scored a huge triumph with Barbara Stanwyck in the epic mini-series, The Thorn Birds. Most recently, of course, Chamberlain confirmed and fulfilled many a fantasy when he came out in his autobiography, Shattered Love. What's up, Doc, indeed.

March 31, 1934


  1. In that last pic it looks like he wants to give you a little prick.

  2. Disarming cheesiness?
    TJB has obviously never heard Mr Chamberlain's
    contributions to Ben Bageley's Irving Berlin Revisited.
    Or has he?

  3. Toby -- In all fairness, I should have thrown in a sentence or two about his vastly improved vocalese once he began performing in musical theatre. But his early 1960's recordings are...well... disarmingly cheesy!

    Jill -- Some men like soft, pretty things!

  4. And those lips. Those purdy purdy lips!

  5. Yes, those plumpers compensate for the little prick.

  6. I've spent days strolling through your archives and resisted the urge to comment until now. There's a video on youtube of pics of RC and him singing "All I Do is Dream of You"...disarmingly cheesy is so dead on and yet it's great!