This week it’s Danny Kaye’s turn to feature in a meet cute Monday. I have only ever seen a handful of Danny Kaye movies but there was always such a joy and warmth to him that I always loved him. I think my first memory of seeing Danny Kaye is from the early 1980’s when he directed the New York Philharmonic, despite him reportedly not being able to read music (I believe it was for Unicef, correct me if I’m wrong as I don’t really have time to research this now). My parents loved this and so did we kids. We must have watched this at every repeat on TV at the time.
Anyway, one of the Danny Kaye films that really touched me was his 1959 film The Five Pennies, about jazz cornet player and bandleader Loring “Red” Nichols. The movie follows Red through his career as a great jazz musician who gives up music for his family as his daughter faces medical challenges. In this clip he meets singer Willa Stutsman, a.k.a. “Bobbie Meredith” (Barbara Bel Geddes, later well known as Miss Ellie from the TV series Dallas).
Those two really play such a beautifully loving couple and parents to their daughter Dorothy (Susan Gordon as little Dorothy and Tuesday Weld as the teenage Dorothy). Danny Kaye is always so good with kids too.
Kaye also plays with Louis Armstrong in this, and those scenes are just magic. Here’s one, where he even imitates Satchmo’s singing style at one point…
This movie is well worth a watch, should you ever come across it.