Aga Popęda here, wishing a happy 100th birthday to Doris Day!
The beloved actress, singer and Carmel Valley resident Doris Day would have been 100 years old on Sunday, April 3 and many locals (and visitors) consider this weekend her weekend. The outdoor Forest Theater in Carmel will reopen for the occasion and serve as the center of festivities.
Day (born Doris Kappelhoff in 1922; died in 2019) was not only America’s silver screen sweetheart of the 1950s and the 1960s, but also a longtime co-owner of Carmel’s legendary Cypress Inn (established in 1929) and a neighbor to many Carmelites. To commemorate her birthday, her fans gather each year in Carmel, often participating in special screenings of her movies or pet fundraising events (Day loved animals) related to the occasion.
This year, Day’s classic 1954 musical The Pajama Game will be shown at 8pm on both Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 at the Forest Theater. “What better way to celebrate the re-opening of Carmel’s historic Forest Theater than with a cinematic treasure that is, in itself, a music theater favorite?,” asks long-time Forest Theater producer and Pacific Repertory Theatre director Stephen Moorer rather rhetorically. (Opening weekend events are being sponsored by Carmel Gives and Carmel Cares, and the 2022 Forest Theater Season is sponsored by the Arts Council for Monterey County.)
Day loved collies and Ella Fitzgerald, but her first love—before singing and acting—was dancing; she had to say goodbye to that after a car accident at age 15. Her most famous movie is probably the comedy Pillow Talk (1959) and her most famous song is the immortal “Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” (1959) with Frank De Vol. Day was married four times, but despite that managed to keep her image of an all-American girl, perfect wife material—another skill in the plethora of talent this Cincinnati-born performer displayed.
The Pajama Game is a story set in the Sleeptite Pajama Factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a factory superintendent (John Raitt) and a member of the employees union (Doris Day) clash over love and the union’s push for a pay raise. Tickets to the Carmel showing are $10 for children, $20 adults, and can be purchased here. The Forest Theater’s box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm. Proceeds from this event benefit the nonprofit programs of Pacific Repertory Theatre and The Forest Theater Guild, as well as the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Speaking of animals: Acting was one huge aspect of Day’s life, and animals were the other. That’s why De Tierra Vineyards will hold a benefit for Doris Day Animal Foundation on Sunday, April 3 at their Carmel tasting room (Mission and 5th). “We have lots of Doris fans and Lassie lovers stopping by, several collies of course and a very special surprise happening around 4:45pm to help us end a great event and wonderful day,” wrote Kristan Neubecker from De Tierra Vineyards. “It's going to be one heck of a day.”