On Moonlight Bay (Warner 1951, Doris Day, Gordon MacRae)

Musical On Moonlight Bay, set in 1917 in a small Indiana town, stars Doris Day as Majorie Winfield, the tomboy daughter of banker George Winfield (Leon Ames).

When Majorie falls for college student William Sherman (Gordon MacRae), she decides to become more feminine and begins to take dancing lessons instead of baseball. Her father, initially delighted with Day’s romance, falls out with her beau after an argument about banking and encourages a pompous, solemn young man to court his daughter.

The gentle story is enlivened by Day’s younger brother Wesley (Billy Gray) who, in order to escape punishment at school, tells his teacher that his father has taken to drink. The story spreads and the town is thrown into an uproar with William rushing to save Majorie from her father’s “drunken” wrath…

Director Roy Del Ruth’s handling of both actors and storyline was gentle and assured and, noted Variety, “Casting is nigh perfect. Day and MacRae blend well in the romantic leads, both performance and song-wise.”

On Moonlight Bay

The tuneful score included one new number, Love Ya: the remainder of the songs, among them the title number, Till We Meet Again, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles and Cuddle Up a Little Closer, were taken from various contemporary (to the story) sources. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon was a companion piece to this movie.

USA / Warner / 95 minutes / 1951 Filmed in Technicolor

Writers: Jack Rose, Melville Shavelson, from the Penrod stories by Booth Tarkington / Musical Director: Ray Heindorf / Cinematography: Ernest Haller / Producer: William Jacobs / Director: Roy Del Ruth

Cast: Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Jack Smith, Leon Ames, Rosemary de Camp, Mary Wickes, Ellen Corby, Billy Gray, Jeffrey Stevens

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