Garry McGee talks about what inspired his book “Doris Day: Sentimental Journey” which is now out in paperback!

January 17, 2011 1 Comment

In 2005, the Iowa based author and documentary-maker Garry McGee published his in-depth guide to the work of Doris Day entitled “Doris Day: Sentimental Journey“.

We have just received from the author’s publisher McFarland a new 2010/11 paperback edition. Although it is a straight re-issue of the 2005 edition we would still recommend it to any fans who haven’t yet given it a go as it is a great “reference” book to have to hand about the star’s career. We can also confirm that after lots of production delays the new paperback edition is finally available to order from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. For more information about its content we would suggest you read our original review about the hardback edition.

Below is an exclusive interview that Garry gave to the ‘Discovering Doris’ website:

How did you first discover Doris Day and how did your book about her come about?

As a young child, “The Doris Day Show” was one of the television programs I watched–along with other classics from that era (“The Odd Couple”, “All in the Family”, “Mission: Impossible”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, etc. I knew she was a singer and a movie star, so it was a treat to see her every week.. Of course, that was an age when there was no such thing as home video or DVDs, and there were only the three major networks on television.My book came about when nothing was being done on Doris Day. I proposed a new biography to publishers, but they said there was no interest in Doris.. So I decided to write a reference book since McFarland was interested in that type of format–and it serves as proof of her unprecedented successes in the entertainment industry.

Can you tell us a little about the research process which was involved to compile your extensive read?

Everything from watching all of her films, television appearances and listening to her recordings, as well as print interviews and materials. It took quite some time to acquire the information because not all of her films were released on video, and this was before the TV series’ DVD release as well.. I’d offered Doris to clarify a few things, but her representative was able to help in that area.

What was the highlight from writing your book on Ms. Day?

I believe it was seeing it realized, proving to publishers they were wrong in not feeling there was an audience for Doris Day anymore. Of course there was an onslaught of books after “Sentimental Journey”, which was a bit upsetting since those authors benefitted in many ways that I did not.

What aspect of Ms. Day’s abilities do you most admire?

As a performer, it would be her instinct, whether it was acting or singing. She analyzed everything she did–usually very briefly– but she didn’t overanalyze, much to her credit as an actress and singer. As a person, it would be her optimism. To have gone through the many terrible things she did, and to have worked as hard as she did for decades, and to have survived it all says much about her character. Also, it refreshing how she decided to move on with what she wanted to do in her later years, and doing so on her own terms. That’s not typical of performers of her stature, and I feel it’s great she did what she wanted to do in the past several years. She certainly earned it.

Do you have a favourite Doris Day film or album?

Of her films, “Love Me or Leave Me” because of the great acting and music. “The Man Who Knew Too Much” because of the great acting as well, and I love London and enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s works. “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” because the scenes with the children reminds me of my upbringing–the working father who’s exhausted, the mother who’s juggling many things, and the houseful of boys–I have four brothers, and I can relate. “Latin for Lovers” was terrific and is my favorite Doris Day album, though I recall “With a Smile and a Song” being in the the family album collection and liking “High Hopes” from the LP.

For anyone who hasn’t yet read your Doris Day book how would you say it differs from the many others which have been released about her over the last few years?

“Sentimental Journey” is not only an overview of Doris Day’s life, but careers in film, music and television. It contains information on everything she has done and can be reference book to look up answers to questions like ‘How many US Top 40 hits did she have?’.

Can fans expect any new content from the paperback edition?

I don’t believe there will be new information.

As well as writing a book on Doris Day you have also published books about Jean Seaberg and Paul McCartney & Wings. What inspires you to select each subject? Are there any similarities or connections between these subject which you’d like to share?

I’ve chosen subjects that I’ve been interested in–and like. Some write about subjects they don’t like and we know what kind of works those end up being. And I write them in ways to satisfy the audience it’s intended for: the McCartney & Wings book is an easy read, while Seberg is more detailed, simply because the latter’s audience is smaller.

Many readers out there in cyber space may not be familar with your work. Can you tell them a little about your background and how a respected film-maker like yourself made the switch over to writing.

I haven’t realized as much in film as I’d like to have, but I’d written a few screenplays and that is how the move happened.

And finally, what is next on the cards for Garry McGee?

I’m working on a couple screenplays now, hoping they’ll be optioned. Also am finishing the third Jean Seberg work and awaiting a publisher. With film, I’m producing “Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg” with Fourth Wall Films (www.jeansebergmovie.com) which will be completed next year. I’m also continuing work on my home and just hung up a framed letter from Doris Day to Jean Seberg which her sister gave me years ago. Thank you Stephen and continued success with your wonderful website!

Thanks to Garry McGee for agreeing to do this interview!

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