Monday, July 31, 2006

Dorothy Provine....Who!!

This is the first photo I received from Dorothy Provine after I
had written to her in 1961, when I first saw her in the new TV
show called "The Roaring 20's"

You may note that I am a bit of a movie buff. It was 1961 and one
of the 1st programmes on our television (TV was new to our
household and had only been on air in Brisbane since 1959) was
"The Roaring 20's". The show was set during Prohibition.
One of the stars was Dorothy Provine.
I was 17 and she was the prettiest woman I had ever seen.
I was smitten with her. She looked great and to me had a lovely
singing voice. Even then I wasa movie goer (my mother had
introduced me to movies when I was quite young). You could
show her a photo of a movie star (well known or not) and she
could tell you their name. This was something I also picked up
from her. I would buy any movie magazines that had stories
about Dorothy Provine, cut out the articles and paste into a book.
I still have the books and it is from these books where I have
scanned and then posted these pictures. If you search google
with Dorothy's name you will only find three photos.
The bio on her is very sparse.
I will attempt to add more information about DOROTHY PROVINE.

Michele Dorothy Provine was was born on 20th January 1937
in Deadwood,South Dakota and graduated from the University
of Washington with a degree in Theater Arts. Hollywood
folklore has it that Dorothy landed the role of the
notorious femme bank robber in the low budget "B" film
"The Bonnie Parker Story" (1958) just three days after
arriving in Hollywood. As you may recall this also made
many years later as "Bonnie and Clyde" with Warren Beatty
and Faye Dunaway. Her next role was in the lead role as
"The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959) opposite Lou Costello
in his last screen role. I saw this film and it was a silly
and unfunny role for Lou Costello (he of the Bud Abbott and
Lou Costello comedian team) to end his career with.

This was the first album that came out with songs from
the "The Roaring 20's". A volume 11 was released then
another called "Oh You Kid". I used to have them all,
but after 10,000 plays (maybe a little over stated)
they all became unplayable.

The Roaring Twenties featured a Prohibition
Era setting and concerned the adventures
of two newspaper reporters Pat Garrison
(Donald May) and Scott Norris (Rex Reason)
in searching out various kinds of corruption
that existed during that period. Pat and Scott
were aided by nightclub singer Pinky
Pinkham (Dorothy Provine). Dorothy played
the part of a flapper and was well received by
the critics for her singing and acting. It was
hoped that this show would be as successful
as "The Untouchables" but this was not to
be so as "The Roaring Twenties" never caught fire with the viewing
public and was canceled midway through the 1961-62 season after airing only 45 episodes.

"The Roaring Twenties" was actually aired on American TV in
October, 1960. Before that Dorothy co-starred in "The Alaskans"
which aired in October, 1959, but for some strange reason
"The Roaring 20"s" aired on Australian television before
"The Alaskans", so even though Dorothy was no longer on TV,
suddendly she re-appeared in "The Alaskans".
"The Alaskans" was set in the 1890s Alaska featuring Roger Moore
as "Silky Harris" and Jeff York as "Reno McKee," a pair of
adventurers dealing with the Yukon gold miners. Dorothy Provine
as Rocky Shaw played yet another saloon girl.
This show only lasted one series.

During the course of the show I wrote to Dorothy twice
and the top photo is the autographed photo I received
and the letter and photo I received from my 2nd letter.

In 1961 after "The Roaring 20's" finished filming Dorothy was
invited by Mike and Gloria Romanoff (he of the famous Hollywood
Romanoff Restaurant) to come along on a tour of the Pacific.
Included in the group was Frank Sinatra. When they arrived in
Sydney the reporters assumed Dorothy and Frank were here on
a romantic interlude. It was rumoured that they were a "couple"
for a time but this soon became apparent was not the case when
Sinatra began dating Juliet Prowse.

After the TV series finished Dorothy didn't want to do anymore
TV shows as the days were too long and demanding. She wanted
to start doing movies. She guest appeared on shows like "Sugarfoot";
"Wagon Train"; "Colt 45": Dr. Kildare and "Hawaiian Eye".
Her next role was in a two part episode of "The Man From Uncle".
This two parter was edited into one show and was released in
Australia at the cinemas as "One Spy Too Many". This was so
successful that another two parter was put together and also
shown in cinemas as "The Spy In The Green Hat".

After she had finished guest starring in various TV
shows Dorothy was offered a job doing a night club
act with George Burns. They named the act
"The Roaring Sixties". In the act they danced
together in the "old soft shoe", sang together in
close harmony ballards of World War 1 era, and
exchanged quips and jokes similiar to the type of
act that George with Gracie did in "The Burns and Allen" show.

Once the night club act finished, Dorothy then went after movie roles
and in quick succession she appeared in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World"
with a huge cast of world renown comedian in 1963. This was followed
by "Good Neighbour Sam" with Jack Lemmon in 1964. In 1965 she
appeared in "That Darn Cat" with Dean Jones (from which this next
set of 4 photos were "staged" as promotional material for the film.

Dorothy next appeared in "The Great Race" also in 1965. She appeared
with a great class of actors including Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis,
Natalie Wood, Peter Falk (before his Columbo role and he played such
a fantastic funny role) and Keenan Wynn. Dorothy had a great musical
number whereshe danced and sang a strange song called
"He Should't-a, Hadn't-a, Oughtn't-a Swang On Me".

Her next film roll was in 1967 called "Who's Minding The Mint"
with Jim Hutton, Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, Bob Denver (Gilligan's
Island), Walter Brennan and Jamie Farr (Klinger from "Mash")
It wasn't a great movie but it had a bloody good cast).
The final film she appeared in was "Never A Dull Moment" with
Dick Van Dyke". Unfortunately it was a dull moment.

Dorothy abruptly left the business in 1969 after marrying director
Robert Day. They had one child. Robert Day was a very successful TV
and movie director and he directed a huge volume of shows.
To this day Dorothy Provine and Robert Day live a happy retired life in Southern California.


Peter said...

15 bloody photos and a soppy letter, no wonder you had trouble posting this.
Did Samantha Sang know of your fixation on Dorothy?
Who else were you fixated on by the way?

wazza said...

Peter, do the words "get fumigated" mean antthing to you????

Marcus said...

I'm impressed Greenie. Not that I've ever heard of Dorothy, but a signed photo and fan letter, that's cool.

Crazedmomof4 said...

I have heard of her & you have taught me something again! Though, I liked "Never a Dull Moment," It wasn't the best movie, but it was ok.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I've seen her many times in movies and the Disney films. You have quite a collection of her pictures and articles...You are a big fan no doubt and even possess signed photos of her. I'm impressed.

Sandy :)

Jim said...

Well, now I know that I've seen Dorothy Provine and didn't even know who she was, until now. Thanks for this really nice post about her.
BTW, that letter; it was written by a writing machine, even signed by one.
We had those machines for the NASA astronauts back in the 60s, they had to be widely used. Unless this was another first for NASA.
We did use FAX back in the late 50s, way before it became commercially available.

Raggedy said...

Jim you probably just broke his heart.
I have never known anyone so fixated on movie people...
Is this a hobby?

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) huge huggles
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

The Heir said...

good stuff greenie, ive never heard of her but im impressed with how much you know, were you stalking her??
saw pirates of the carribean last nite, GREAT film, ignore bad reviews, it is fantastic, just forget about analysing it and enjoy it.

Merle said...

Excellent post Warren, so full of info and great photos Dorothy certainly was
a beautiful actress, and it is nice to know that she and her husband are still happily together. Congratulations on the
post. I have seen her in several films,
and loved "That Darned Cat". Thanks
Warren, Have a nice weekend with my little brother. Take care, Merle.

Hale McKay said...

Not only have I heard of her, I remember her very well. "THe Roaring Twenties" was one of my favorite TVs show back then.
...Thanks for the tour down Memory Lane.

Eileen said...

Not only had I heard of her, I remember watching "The Roaring Twenties." It's nice to know the memories are shared. Unfortunately for me, the words of the show's theme song continue to run through my head. The tune was the music to the dance "The Charleston," to which the producers of the show put lyrics: "How dya do (or Howdy do), I'm taking you to, The Roaring Twenties, For a true, bird's eye view, of the Roaring Twenties. Come with me to the melody, of the Charleston and jazz. Yessiree, I'll have you dancing with flappers, finger snappers." etc. It's not really a memory worth keeping, but unfortunately I can't seem to excise it.

mike provine said...

My name is Provine, and I feel a bit of a special connection considering she's the only famous Provine I've ever heard of. Certainly the prettiest Provine I've ever seen. I don't think I'm related though, maybe very distantly somehow. Thanks for posting!

johnnyo said...

Hey Wazza. I just watched Dorothy in Lou Costello's The 30 Foot Bride. Close to the worse movie I've ever seen. So, of course, I loved every minute of it. The first poster was too rough on you. I like the work you have done getting the pictures, etc. together.


Anonymous said...

Hy Wazza I'm Lars from Munich/Germany,25 years ago I bought this Warner Bros. Record called 'The Roaring 20's' in London,without a clue what that Record is about. With all the Information about Dorothy Provine you gave me i like it even more. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

This past weekend I discovered my big brother enjoyed the tune to the old tv show, THE ROARING TWENTIES. Being 7 years his junior, I think I amazed him as well as myself, when he played a cd and I sang along - remembering most of the lyrics. When I googled the title I found your posting. Way to go. Great collection of photos and trivia. Count me a lifelong fan, too. - - #7 Enchelmayer

Chris said...

Bumped into Dorothy's name on a list elsewhere. Realized I had forgotten her completely. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Others may disparage you, but I am grateful for your having improved my day. Provine was a beautiful woman I now recall from my youth. It is nice to hear she is well and happy. All the best to you and her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories-- best source of info on Dorothy Provine I have ever found.

I was a big fan of the Roaring Twenties TV show, and would buy the collection today if it were available on DVD. I suppose that the attraction was mainly Dorothy-- as a young teenager, I thought she was hot! Well, she was . . . .

The show made me a big fan of the music of the 20S, and I still am. (Still have 2 of her TV-series
soundtrack releases on Warner Records).

I had read somewhere (I think a Los Angeles newspaper, many years ago) that she had a rare skin disease that made her allergic somehow to sunlight, but apparently she has enjoyed a long and
comfortable life after her retirement. Good for her!