“Doris, can you come over here?” Barney Rapp asked. She was singing with his band and was still in her teens. Her grandparents on both sides were immigrants from Germany, and her full name was Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff. “We have to do something about your name,” Barney said. He had just heard her sing the song “Day by Day.”
“What do you think of this name: Doris Day?” Doris didn’t like it at all, but it would become the stage name she became world-famous with. Doris made dozens of records, appeared in thirty-nine motion pictures and received several awards. Doris was also an animal rights activist.
It isn’t her best movie, but I saw “Pillow Talk” three times. As a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. What is striking in this film is the smart dialogue between Doris Day and Rock Hudson. She’s an interior designer and he a womanizer, sharing a telephone line. You could see that Rock was getting sick of his role as hero to women. The moment he is having a cup of tea with his pinkie up speaks volumes. With her sparkling voice, Doris sings her song “Pillow Talk”:
Pillow talk, pillow talk / Another night of bein’ alone with pillow talk / When it’s all said and done, two heads together can be better than one / That’s what they say / They always say //
All I do is talk to my pillow / Talk to my pillow, talk to my pillow / All I do is talk to my pillow / Talk about the boy I’m gonna marry someday / Somehow, some way, sometime //
Oh, there must be a pillow-talkin’ boy for me / There must be a boy / There must be a boy / There must!
Talking about pillows reminds me of Edje’s interior. For a while, I was swimming at the Marnixbad. A friend of mine had told me that the Marnixbad had nude swimming for gay men on Tuesday nights. I loved it. It was always busy, a swimming pool for naked men. We were being watched by two husky black women wearing white coats and wooden sandals. When two men were getting to close to each other, they would blow their whistle, pointing out that this wasn’t allowed. Quickly, we started calling them the “Weather Girls.” Afterwards, we went to a bar in the Jordaan with some people for a beer.
At a certain night, the beers were going very fast. We got drunk and I said: “I can’t make it home, guys.” Edje stood next to me and said: “I live around the corner on the Marnixstraat. You can stay at my place.” Edje was exactly my type. Black hair, brown eyes, a little moustache, and a head shorter. Far too late, we went to his place. He lived on the second floor and occupied half of the apartment. There was a bed, a coffee table, and there were pillows everywhere. “I’ll turn you into a little slut,” I said. “And I’ll turn you into a little slut,” was his reply. We undressed, and I threw him on the bed and tasted his hot cock. We were drunk and horny. “Get over here with your lovely ass,” I commanded him while laughing. I licked it and Edje was moaning loudly. I fucked him hard, but then the roles reversed. “Get over here Reijer Breed. Spread those legs,” he ordered. He fucked me hard and nice. I flipped over, and we fell off the bed onto the floor, being wild and drunk. We made a lot of noise.
At the end of her career, Doris Day returned to the television with an animal show, “Doris Day’s Best Friends.” In 1985 and 1986, she made twenty-six episodes. In one of the fist shows, her special guest was her old friend Rock Hudson. Rock was already visibly suffering from AIDS. He walked unbalanced and had lost a lot of weight. Doris hugged him, and those pictures were seen all over the world. They never discussed it, as nothing needed to be said.
The next morning in the Marnixstraat, Edje’s downstairs neighbor rang his doorbell. When he opened the door, I could hear her say: “This is the last time you’re making so much noise, young man. I didn’t sleep a wink. And there’s one other thing I need to say. Only God knows what you have been up to.”
* Rock Hudson died of AIDS on October 2, 1985
* Doris Day celebrated her ninety-first birthday on April 3, 2015