Sandra Dee and Bob Denver in Henry Koster's "Take Her, She's Mine," based on the Ephron playJames Stewart took a break from the dark films he made for Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann in the late 1950s to do two family larks for Henry Koster and Twentieth Century-Fox early in the 1960s.
First came, "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" in 1962, a film largely remembered for a very weird turn by the singular John McGiver and the film debut of Lauri Peters, who was fresh off the stage version of "The Sound of Music" and still married to her co-star from that show, Jon Voight.
While "Mr. Hobbs" has been available on DVD for quite some time, its successor, Koster's affable "Take Her, She's Mine" from 1963, remains elusive. The Fox Movie Channel is telecasting it on Wednesday, 28 October at 2 p.m. (est).
Adapted by Nunnally Johnson from the play by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, "Take Her, She's Mine" cast Stewart and Audrey Meadows as the overprotective parents of a teenage daughter who's off to study in Paris. The Ephrons based the play on their experiences with their own daughter, Nora - named Mollie and played by Sandra Dee on film.
On stage, the parts of the parents were played by Art Carney (prior to his doing "The Odd Couple") and Phyllis Thaxter, with then-newcomer Elizabeth Ashley winning a Tony award as the problematic Mollie. The Broadway production, which opened at the Biltmore Theatre on 21 December, 1961 and played there for 404 performances, was produced by Harold Prince and directed by George Abbott.
June Harding, a promising young actress at the time, played the role of Ashley's younger sister, Liz, on stage (a part essayed by Charla Doherty in the Koster film). Harding was beautifully showcased when she was part of the ensemble of "The Richard Boone Show," an omnibus jto-do which presented a series of original playlets during the 1963-1964 TV season. She would make her most pleasing film debut opposite Hayley Mills and Rosalind Russell in Ida Lupino's "The Trouble with Angles" in 1966 and then, inexplicably, disappear. A great loss.
The Fox Movie Channel will rebroadcast "Take Her, She's Mine" on Thanksgiving - Thursday, 26 November at 10 a.m.