“Danny Kaye A One-Man Double Bill”

He Plays a Couple Of People in His Next Musical Movie For Sam Goldwyn

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Jul. 22, 1944

By: Virginia MacPherson

(Pinch-Hitting for Frederick C. Othmas, United Press Hollywood Correspondent)

HOLLYWOOD, July 21—Usually all Danny Kaye has to do to make audiences laugh is to stand up in a business suit and wiggle his face around. But now he’s a Sam Goldwyn boy. So he stands up in gold lame pants with bells on and wiggles his face. Goldwyn says that will roll ‘em in the aisles.

Kaye says he hopes so. Today he was limping around the set of Goldwyn’s “The Wonder Man” with a sprained knee.

“Fine wonder man I am,” muttered the golden-thatched comedian. “All I have to do is leap through a drum. So what happens? I leap too far. How can a guy be wonder man on crutches?”

“The Wonder Man” is Kaye’s follow-up to his first screen appearance in “Up in Arms.”

“If I was truly funny in that one I guess I’ll have to be twice as funny in this,” he said, “They’ve rigged up something they call a split screen that turns me into two people in the same scene. Don’t ask me how they do it. Vaudeville was never like this.”

Kaye plays a dual role in “The Wonder Man.” Half the time he’s Buzzy, a hare-brained entertainer of café society. The other half he’s Mr. Dingle, a milquetoast scholar. In between times he’s both.

Meet “Buzzy”

“Today I’m Buzzy,” explained Mr. Kaye. “That’s why this get-up.”

He was wearing tight gold-sprinkled pants over his bandages and shoes with curved-up toes. His shoulder piece sparkled with diamonds and rubies and tinkling bells. The Kaye midriff was bare.

The set was a swank New York night club where Buzzy danced the “Bali Bali Boogie.” Like it was never danced in Bali.

“This bare midriff is so the audience will look at me once in a while,” he explained. “Look at the competition I got behind me.”

Everybody looked. And forgot all about Kaye’s midriff. Lined up behind him were 10 or 12 dancing girls guaranteed to uphold the travel folder illustrations of the Bali girls. And with just a few inches more clothes.

“I’ll have to wiggle my face awful fast to make anybody look at me with all that beauty behind me,” he groaned. “And when they start to wiggle what they’ve got what chance does my pan have?”

So far Kaye’s greatest problem is changing clothes. On days when Buzzy talks to Mr. Dingle, the comedian keeps scrambling from his gold pants into a business suit. Ten minutes for a take. Then back into the pants and bells again.

Quick Change Artist

“Yesterday I changed clothes 21 times,” he declared. “And we shot something like two and a half minutes worth of film. If I don’t learn to skin outa these pants faster we’ll be here till Christmas. On second thought—considering this darned knee—make it Easter!”

Kaye’s dancing partner in the café scene is a curvesome younger miss who says her name is Vera-Ellen. That’s all. Just Vera-Ellen. But that name is signed on one of the best-paying contracts Goldwyn ever handed to an unknown.

“I’d had lots of film offers when I was dancing in ‘The Connecticut Yankee’ in New York,” she explained. “But none of them wanted to sign me without giving me a screen test.

“I thought that indicated a lack of confidence in me. So I turned them down.”

Then, she said, Mr. Goldwyn came along and offered her $1,000 a week.

“Without a test?” asked Vera-Ellen. Mr. Goldwyn gulped and then nodded. So Vera-Ellen signed.

“I figured if I photographed badly after that there wasn’t much he could do about it,” she explained.

She’s only 21 now, but in a few more years she should make quite a businesswoman.

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