I want to Talk about a charmed weekend in Carmel by the Sea…the envelope in time that celebrates Doris Day’s birthday, like Brigadoon or Oz, opens up to happy people with joyful memories.
I was tickled and grateful, along with the brilliant and hysterically funny actor Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat and so much more), to hitch a ride up to Carmel with singers Kurtis Simmons and Scott Dreier. Scott was the star of the weekend and fronted all the events, besides doing his show, and Kurtis was the wizardly man behind the curtain, making it happen. They made a live Facebook video with Bernie (funny stories!) and I on the road and I’m still hearing about it.
Fans flock from all over the country and beyond to share all things Doris, who turned 96 on April 3. Their shared adoration and gratitude for Doris has bonded these wonderful people. They come to play, visit and donate. It’s impossible not to become friends with all of them.
The festivities kicked off at Doris’s dog-friendly Cypress Inn hotel with a casual evening of Doris Day-themed trivia bingo.
The next evening, award-winning singer Scott Dreier performed an ensemble of Doris Day favorites based on his latest album The Doris Day Project. That was followed by a 50th anniversary tribute to her television series with actor Phillip Brown, Bernie Kopell and me, each of us playing in different times of the very flexible Doris Day Show series. One of Phillip’s fondest memories is of a sweet kiss each morning and each goodbye…an innocent time. And Bernie confessed he asked Doris out on a date, and she said yes, but it never came to be.
On the last evening, a 50th anniversary screening of her final film With Six You Get Eggroll took place accompanied by a Q&A with actors John Findlater and Jim Bracken (each played a son in the film), myself, again due to a role in the film, and another co-star, the infamous Kopell. A live auction and raffle featured rare signed memorabilia, and three precious pups needing homes were adopted on the spot! Proceeds from the events went to her charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
“I’m always floored and so touched that fans from all over the world come to celebrate my birthday,” Doris said in a written statement. She also noted her appreciation for her former co-stars who would be attending: “I’m forever grateful to them and to everyone who comes to help us raise money for the precious animals.” Well, how forever grateful are we! Imagine the opportunity of working with such an iconic performer and being a slice of her pie.
Jim Pierson of Toluca Lake, and his dog Bongo, drove us home. Jim is responsible for so much of the Doris Day experience…and is quite an experience himself! He is worth another column.
Jackie Joseph is a writer and actress best known for her TV roles as Alan Brady’s niece Jackie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” the voice of Melody in the animated “Josie and the Pussycats” and as Jackie Parker on “The Doris Day Show.”