Sunday, May 09, 2010

DOROTHY PROVINE: "Pinky" Has Left the Planet

For baby boomers of a certain vintage, saying the name "Dorothy Provine" sounds like a breath of fresh air. And not because in later years she did a TV commercial for a feminine hygiene spray. It's because, circa 1960 (and in re-runs thereafter) she was "Pinky Pinkham," the sweet, comfy and sexy "flapper" and bar owner who offered cheerful and cheeky tunes on "The Roaring Twenties" TV series.

An eyeful for Dad, but definitely cute enough to stir the tween boys watching, tuneful "Pinky" (January 20, 1935 – April 25, 2010) was pretty much the only reason to tune into the show, which co-starred Rex Reason. Rugged Mr. Reason handled the derring, but Dorothy did the do's, with her blonde hair-do and her adorable costumes. The South Dakota sweetie was clearly the star of the show, having ascended very quickly via the film "The Bonnie Parker Story" in 1958, a co-starring gig as the lead in the one and only Lou Costello solo film "The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock" in 1959, and her previous series, "The Alaskans" co-starring Roger Moore (1959-1960).

"The Roaring Twenties" flamed out fast (1960-1962) but in those few years, Dorothy issued two solo albums of old-time music medleys. Her show was apparently more popular in Great Britain than in America; she never made the Top 40 Billboard charts stateside, but in the U.K. she scored hit singles with"Don't Bring Lulu" (1961) and the original vo-dee-oh-do song "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune" (1962).

The sweet blonde with the luscious red lips seemed for a while to take mild comedy roles that Doris Day may have rejected. Her movies included "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World," (who could believe she was Ethel Merman's daughter!) "Good Neighbor Sam," "The Great Race" (another chance for her to sing) and "Who's Minding the Mint." She retired from acting when she married (her surviving husband) Robert Day in 1968. She lived to be 75, and could've survived to see the "roaring 20's of the 21st century, but a thing called emphysema prevented it. She leaves behind Mr. Day, lots of friends, and piles of unanswered fan-mail from those who loved her and those TV re-runs and 60's films she made…and yes, the albums, too.

She signed a photo for me. For you, here's delicious Dorothy singing a medley that starts off with "I Don't Care," which was originally a hit for the tangy Eva Tanguay, and was memorably covered on the last episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" by Mary Tyler Moore. Listen to the underrated perky Provine; she had a unique voice…sweet and sassy at the same time.

DOROTHY PROVINE No pop-ups, pop-unders, porn-ads or wait time.

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