American singing sensation Bobby Denver ‘the crying crooner’ (whose tearful singing technique has a traumatic effect on females, schoolgirls and little old ladies alike) arrives on the Queen Elizabeth to sing in London for the first time.
He stays at 35 Acacia Avenue, Wimbledon, London, SW19, the home of stockbroker John Bentley.
His arrival has an amazing effect on all females in the household, including his wife Stella (a former actress), the maid Linda (who has the habit of fainting at the sight of Bobby), and especially his three daughters: Patricia (a vivacious redhead, who with her husband Peter, has adopted a bohemian lifestyle in Paris before she returned to London – and who frequently adopts yoga type postures), Corinne (who returns to London from Texas with cowboy husband Barnaby, complete with horse and full cowboy gear), and sixteen-year-old Gwen, who is infatuated with Bobby, and declares that she is in love with him.
The house is thrown into chaos, and John, who likes an orderly existence, seeks the help of a crazy psychiatrist, Dr Schneider, who labels crooners as ‘cardboard lovers for frustrated wives’.
As a cure, he invents a water cistern which he calls ‘The Bobby Denver’ to cure the girls of their obsession. By the end of the film, Bobby Denver manages to reunite John and Stella and he also causes Patricia and Peter to give up their bohemian lifestyle.
Bobby also reveals to Gwen the secret of his crying crooner technique (a hidden onion) together with the fact that he is married. Gwen, tearful, exposes this to the newspapers, but it does Bobby no harm at all, for there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Jerry Wayne, a star of the 1950’s West End production of Guys and Dolls with a strong attractive voice, plays Bobby Denver.
The Bobby Denver character is, of course, a direct satire on the early 1950’s cult of real-life American sobbing crooner Johnnie Ray, and the film even features one of his greatest hits Cry.
Many fondly remembered 1950’s faces make brief appearances in cameo roles: Richard Wattis (backstage at the theatre), Dora Bryan (as the girl in a lift who wants to swap Billy Daniels bow tie for Frankie Laine‘s trouser buttons), Joan Hickson (as a barmaid), Athene Syler (as the neighbour), Nigel Green (nicely playing Peter – a very 1950’s bearded bohemian type who arrives at the Bentley house demanding “Where’s my Woman?”), Diana Dors as ‘actress’ (or ‘brazen hussy’ as Stella calls her) Pearl Delaney, is at her most voluptuous, as she performs Come Do the Hokey-Pokey Polka, and 1950’s BBC television personality Gilbert Harding also appears.
Other future Carry On stars appearing include Joan Sims (as Linda, the fainting maid) and Hattie Jacques (in the party scene).
Brenda De Banzie
J. Lee Thompson