Remembering Doris Day with a little “Pillow Talk”

With the recent passing of Cincinnati Ohio-native Doris Mary Kappelhoff (Doris Day), I thought it might be fun to take a look at Friday, October 9, 1959 when the Hippodrome Theater at 720 Euclid Ave. in downtown Cleveland played host to the Midwest premiere of “Pillow Talk,’ with guest appearances that night by cast members Rock Hudson, Thelma Ritter, and producer Ross Hunter, a Cleveland, Ohio native.

That night, WJW-AM morning personality Bill Gordon, star of WEWS-TV5’s “One O’Clock Club,” with host Dorothy Fuldheim, served as Master of Ceremonies as the stars were introduced at 10 p.m., before the 10:30 p.m. show. A third cast member, Tony Randall, was apparently too ill to attend the event.

Unfortunately, another cast member missing at Premiere night was co-star Doris Day who was compelled to stay in Hollywood where she was filming ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.” (See her interview from Hollywood with Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter W. Ward Marsh HERE!) (See additional coverage HERE! – 10/4 movie promo / 10/5 the Stars / 10/9 Pillow Talk Ad / 10/9 Marsh REVIEW).

Doris Day would be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress in a Leading Role for her Pillow Talk role as Jan Morrow, the only Oscar nomination received during her celebrated career.


Though Doris missed the Pillow Talk premiere, three years earlier, while Blues diva Billie Holiday played the Cotton Club, Doris appeared in person at both shows on Friday, October 12, 1956 as Loew’s State in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square hosted the World Premiere of “Julie,” a suspense thriller starring Day and Louis Jourdan. (See the newspaper Ad HERE!)

Down the street, “War and Peace,” starring Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, & Mel Ferrar was in its “3rd Big Week” at the Hippodrome Theater.

The next day, as W. Ward Marsh’s movie REVIEW appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bill Haley & the Comets were set to rock Cleveland Arena on the 23rd as part of an all-star lineup which included Chuck Berry, the Platters, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, and Clyde McPhatter ($2-$2.50-$3).

Eleven days later, on October 31st, the first 500 patrons received a James Dean photo as “Giant” opened at the Allen Theater in Playhouse Square starring the late James Dean, Liz Taylor, and Rock Hudson. (See Ad HERE!)

Years later, Billie Holiday, Bill Haley & the Comets, Chuck Berry

A LITTLE “PILLOW TALK” WITH ROCK HUDSON AT HALLE’S DEPT. STORE / October 9, 1956 (From Memories of a Lifetime Vol. 1)

Though Doris never made it to Cleveland for the Pillow Talk premiere, Halle’s downtown Cleveland department store on Euclid Avenue offered an autograph session on the 9th with actor Rock Hudson in its Tea Room from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. In the panel above (p. D38), you’ll find Rock overwhelmed by fans at Halle’s while he signed his Decca record “Pillow Talk-Rolly Poly,” from the hit film. See Rock’s Halle’s Ad HERE! (And yes, that’s Lucille Ball at Halle’s Dept. Store in January of 1956!)

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