Date with the Angels
New bride Vickie and her insurance salesman husband Gus involve their friends and neighbors in a variety of comic episodes.
The irrepressible Betty White stars in this charming show from the fifties, which features humor that is never out of date. Betty stars as Vickie Angel, along with her husband Gus (Bill Williams). In the opening segment, Betty speaks to the audience about the show, stating that, quite often, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Indeed.
Vickie and Gus visit the Brown Derby, well known for celebrities frequenting the restaurant for classy meals. We see several celebrity caricatures displayed on the wall and when Gus says, “There’s Clark Gable,” Vickie asks, excitedly, “Where? Where?!” Gus informs her he was speaking of the caricature of Clark! Other caricatures include those of Lana Turner, William Frawley, Alan Ladd, and Tallulah Bankhead. Not long after they’re seated, Liberace leaves the restaurant and says a casual “Hello” to Vickie as he passes her table. Gus misses the moment and thinks Vickie is making it up when she tells him about it. “If he said hello to you, I’m Donald Duck,” is Gus’s reply.
The show includes several comedic moments. For example, Gus and Vickie’s friends, George and Wilma, join the two at their table. George tells Vickie and Gus that Wilma once claimed that Clark Gable waved at her at a benefit. “She forgets that Clark Gable was on the stage, and she was in the last row at the Hollywood Bowl”. Gus laughs at George’s remark.
But if everyone has a difficult time believing Vickie saw Liberace, they will really have a difficult time believing that singer/actor and nightclub performer Dennis Day runs out of gas in front of Vickie and Gus’s home. He knocks on the door, asking if he can use her phone. To say Vickie is starstruck is putting it mildly. Gus is at work and doesn’t witness it. Vickie offers Dennis a cup of coffee and he thanks her but asks for a simple glass of ice water. She gets that for him and then offers him a sandwich too. But Dennis just wants to call for someone to bring gas to him so he can get back on the road.
Vickie tells him she’s afraid to be near him because she’s a fan. “Oh, don’t be afraid of that!” he cracks. She tells him that she knows about his wife Peggy and his five kids. “Peggy will be glad to hear about the five children because she thinks we have six!” he jokes.
While he’s waiting on the man to bring the gasoline for the car, Dennis performs for Vickie, doing an Elvis impression for her, singing and dancing as Elvis did, and she loves it. Then he sings a song for her that will be the single from his latest album. It’s titled Smile for me and he sings it as smooth as silk. He’s obviously a talented singer/actor. In jest he asks her to pretend she’s at a sidewalk café and not a married woman, because “My wife wouldn’t’ want me to sing to a married woman!” She laughs at his innocent jest, and Vickie winds up singing a duet with Dennis. She has a nice voice too.
When Vickie tells Dennis she loves the song, he replies, “Well, that’s at least one record I’ll sell.” Soon the man arrives with the gas and Dennis bids Vickie farewell and thanks her again for the iced tea. When Gus arrives home later, he doesn’t believe that Dennis Day was in their home. Vickie becomes upset and Gus finally says that okay, he believes her, but not to tell anyone else!
Dennis sends Vickie a thank you letter and a copy of his record. She tells Gus, “Sabu stopped by to use the telephone. His elephant blew a trunk.” “That I believe!” declares Gus. However, once Vickie shows him the letter from Dennis, Gus finally believes her. Now, if Vickie can only convince George and Wilma.
The show does indeed illustrate how real life can be stranger than fiction, and that sometimes dreams do come true. It also makes the point that sometimes people confuse an actor with the character he plays. When Vickie and Gus are back at the Brown Derby, Hugh O’Brien (Western TV star of The Legend of Wyatt Earp) accidentally knocks Vickie’s change purse and another item off her table when he walks by. He says he’s terribly sorry, to which Vickie replies, “Oh, that’s all right, Mr Earp, Wyatt, Mr. O’Brien!” “Just call me Hugh,” he replies.
This wholesome show incorporates some singing and dancing and fine comedy in just under a half an hour. It has merited our Dove seal for All Ages, although the very young wouldn’t enjoy it as much as older children and their parents.
The Dove Take:
Date with the Angels could be titled Date with Comedy, and this humorous show delivers entertainment and the lesson that the truth can sometimes be difficult to believe.