Rod Taylor plays Bruce Templeton, a space-age genius, in this Doris Day
It has a catchy title tune, some slapstick humor, a dash of mistaken
identity and some genuinely laugh-out-loud scenes.
But first -- a hearty helping of beefcake.
For many Rod Taylor fans, the payoff comes immediately, before the opening
credits. There's Rod, on a boat, fishing in the waters off Catalina Island,
wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks. Muscles ripple as Rod reels in
the bottom of Doris Day's mermaid suit.
Then it's on to the rest of the (fully clothed) movie. Sigh.
ON THE SCREEN
Doris Day plays Jennifer Nelson, a widow who works in publicity at a
NASA research lab. On weekends, she dons a mermaid suit to entertain the
customers on her father's glass bottom boat. She encounters Bruce Templeton
(Rod) when he hooks the zipper on her mermaid suit and reels it onto his
boat. Templeton not only hooks her, though, he needles her, and the two
exchange verbal barbs.
Their next encounter starts with Jennifer hooked again, this time stuck
in a grate at the NASA lab. He comes to her rescue, but it's not until later
that she finds out he's the famous hot-shot physicist who has invented a
top-secret gizmo called GISMO.
Thinking that Jennifer might really make a good catch, Bruce sets out
to woo her and hires her to be his biographer. Along the way, some of the
dimmer bulbs at the office decide that Jennifer is a spy (after overhearing
her make phone calls to her dog, Vladimir). It's a real hoot as Jennifer
eventually outwits them all.
There are some truly side-splitting scenes, including Paul Lynde (a security
guard) in a blue satin dress, looking appalled finding Dick Martin (Rod's
business partner) and Edward Andrews (a general) in bed together. Dom DeLuise
produces laughs as an inept spy, and Robert Vaughn's split-second cameo
is a hoot.
The only real tiresome -- and tired -- parts of the movie are the gadgets
that were the 1960s idea of high tech. Such things apparently were a trademark
of director Frank Tashlin, and they may have been clever then, but viewed
today many of the gee-whiz scenes just slow down the action.
I must admit that I have a soft spot for the sing-along scene when Bruce
and Jennifer visit her dad (Arthur Godfrey). They bounce along through the
delightful "Glass Bottom Boat" theme, then Doris drifts into "Que
Sera, Sera." The whole scene seems natural and feels like the players
were having a whole lot of fun.
Of Rod, Variety magazine commented in a 1966 review:
Taylor lends his usual masculine presence effectively,
both as the inventor and romantic.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The location filming on Catalina Island took place Sept. 13-19, 1965.
Marco Lopez, Rod's friend
and assistant, described the activities on Catalina in the October 1965 edition of the Rod-Lore
fan newsletter. Apparently, there was more than just a movie being shot
(animal lovers beware):
The island has areas that have not been touched by man
and are inhabited by wild boar, pigs, mountain goats, buffalo, you name
it. ... Rod along with Fred Hakim [Rod's stunt coordinator] went on a "safari"
jaunt ... with one of the rangers from the island. ... Rod got himself
an enormous trophy -- a 275-pound wild boar. ... [Later], on his days off
during shooting schedules, he and Fred take off to the island an manage
to bring back with them fat little pink pigs ready for a barbecue feast!
Every Girl's Dream (1966)
Rod Taylor appears briefly in this short promotional feature for "The
Glass Bottom Boat," produced in cooperation with the National Cotton
Council. (View it on
Nancy Bernard, the 1966 Maid of Cotton, is shown walking through sets
and sound stages at MGM Studios as her cotton outfits are described by a
She also attends a "screen test" displaying the costumes designed
by Ray Aghayan for "The Glass Bottom Boat." Doris Day models most
of the fashions, but co-star Rod Taylor drops by to show off a sport coat. The
promo is filmed in black and white, so you'll have to take their word for it
that Rod's blue blazer has a scarlet lining!
Taylor also appears in scenes from "The Glass Bottom Boat"
in two other promotional short films that give a nod to locations used in
the movie (links lead to videos on the Turner Classic Movies Web site):
write-up about the movie nicely notes that
Rod Taylor "is perfectly cast as the romantic lead and straight man
amid [the movie's] mayhem and is convincing, as usual, as the smart and
debonair recipient of Day's ire and affection."