Teacher’s Pet (1958)
Release date: April 1, 1958
Directed by: George Seaton
Mamie Van Doren
Available on DVD here
DearMrGable.com’s Movie of the Month, September 2010
Gable is Jim Gannon, a hard-nosed editor of a New York newspaper. When Professor Erica Stone (Day) requests that Jim speak to her journalism class, he rebuffs her with a sarcastic and mean-spirited letter, saying that people can only learn the newspaper business by working in the newspaper business and classes are a waste of time. When Jim, forced by his boss, goes down to Erica’s class to apologize, she reads the letter aloud to the class before he has the chance to explain himself. Embarrassed but charmed by Erica, he signs up for her class and calls himself Jim Gallagher. He quickly becomes her star pupil and he makes his romantic intentions known. He is, however, involved with a sultry nightclub singer (Van Doren) and she is involved with a know-it-all psychology professor (Young). As their romance is blossoming, Erica goes to Jim’s boss to see if he can arrange a job for her star pupil. It is there that she is faced with the real Jim and learns he has deceived her all along.
Doris Day singing the hit theme song “Teacher’s Pet”
Mamie Van Doren singing “The Girl Who Invented Rock and Roll”
Screenland magazine, May 1958
Comedies like this starring Clark Gable and Doris Day are about as rare as a happy headline. Big City newspaper editor Gable has a thriving batch of healthy opinions about people who study journalism in schools. Since he had to fight every inch of the way, never even graduated from high school, you can well imagine what these ripe opinions are. On the other hand, take journalism instructor Doris. The daughter of a Pulitzer Prize winning editor, she holds that newspaper reporting is no longer just telling the facts, it’s an editor’s responsibility to make the readers think. Of course, these two strong-headed individuals have got to meet, while psychologist Gig Young, Doris’ tepid suitor, hovers over like a guardian angel. Nestled in laughs, every now and then some common sense talk comes through and even that looks good in this very enjoyable, sophisticated battle between the city room and the class room.
“I don’t care what his brother thinks of him–that won’t sell a paper! Get me a quote with lace on it!” first lines
“I don’t like eggheads. I don’t like colleges. I can’t even stand the smell of chalk!”
“Where do you think you’re working–Harper’s Bazaar?”
“Those night schools, there’s a nice little racket. Some dame standing up there, never been closer to a paper than putting in a want ad, telling them how to be journalists, stealing their money. Amateurs teaching amateurs how to be amateurs!”
“When did he win the Nobel Prize?”
“So he’s got more degrees than a thermometer. So he speaks seven languages. So he’s read every book. So what. The important thing is he’s had no experience. he didn’t start at the bottom and work up–that’s the only way you can learn!”
“I’ve never sobered up so fast in my life! Seeing him in the gutter was better than a Turkish bath!”
“I feel like a would-be inventor going through Edison’s workshop.”
“Experience is the jockey. Education is the horse.”
“When they hang in your arms like an old laundry bag, it’s all over.”
“This morning she called me stupid. Well, two weeks ago I’d have belted her. But this morning I say to myself: ‘Why did she call me stupid?’ And the answer came to me like that: Because I am stupid!”
“I know chimpanzees who have a better education than I have! I had to cut cards with the teacher to see if I got through eighth grade!”
“I may look like a scholar on the outside but inside I am still an idiot. An experienced idiot, but still an idiot.”
“Joe Barlow Stone, I’m sorry, but you stink!”
“To me anything over five hundred words is a novel.”
“What are you waiting for? You want me to write it for you? …Ready?” last lines
Behind the Scenes:
Day jumped at the chance to work with Gable and was at the time trying to branch out from strictly musical parts. She did sing the theme song to the film; it was released on Columbia Records and was a smash hit.
Originally to be filmed in color, the producers decided to film in black and white upon Gable’s request (he was self conscious about his weight and aged appearance after criticism of Band of Angels).
Both Cary Grant and James Stewart turned down the lead role.
Gable was coached by Norton Mockride, editor of the New York World Telegram and Sun. He taught him certain mannerisms and how to type with two fingers, “newspaperman style”.
Gable got along with both of his female costars–Day respected him and Van Doren admitted to having a slight crush on him. The ladies did not, however, get along with each other. Day was apparently quite cold to Van Doren, which she didn’t understand. After Van Doren spoke to the press about Day’s cold treatment of her (while promoting her autobiography), Day refused to spend to speak about Van Doren in interviews from then on.
Gig Young was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar for his role. The film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Released the same time as Run Silent, Run Deep and did far better box office.