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.


RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN
March 31, 1934

7 comments:

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

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

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  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!

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  4. And those lips. Those purdy purdy lips!

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

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  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!

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