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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Television Review: LOVE THAT BOB: "Bob Digs Rock n' Roll" (1958)

LOVE THAT BOB a.k.a. THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW: "Bob Digs Rock n' Roll" (1958 NBC-TV/Laurel-McCadden Productions) Original Air Date: May 27, 1958.  Starring Bob Cummings as Bob Collins, Rosemary deCamp as Margaret MacDonald, Ann B. Davis as Schultzy, Dwayne Hickman as Chuck MacDonald, Olive Sturgess as Carol Henning.  Guest Stars Ingrid Goude as herself, Dan Tobin as Wallace Seawell, Stanley Stenner as himself, El Brendel as Ole Svensen.  Written by Paul Henning, Dick Wesson and Shirl Gordon.  Directed by Bob Cummings.

Introduction to the LOVE THAT BOB/THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW episode guide is at this link.

Trouble in the McDonald/Collins household--Chuck has lost Carol to rock n' roller Stenner.  Wishing to step up his game, Chuck wants $20 down payment on a guitar to compete with the singing sensation.  Bob's reaction?  Well, he explains it better than I can:

"A girl goes for the same thing she went for 2,000 years ago--a man!  And you don't need an overgrown ukulele around your neck to get her!"

Chuck remains unconvinced, and determined to cut a deal at the pawn shop to compete with Stanley on a level playing field.  Even learning that Stenner went to Bob's arch rival Wallace Seawell for his promotional poster doesn't commit our Playboy to his nephew's cause, since Bob has a girl of his own to win: the unattainable Goude.  

"Uncle Bob, you don't know what makes the girls go ape!"

"Are you kiddin'?  I've been monkeyin' around since I was twelve."

Miss Sweden is modeling for the day's bathing suit ad, giving Bob one more opportunity to close the language gap (and the deal) with the nubile beauty.  Having tried almost everything else, Bunko Bob produces a medal proclaiming him Sweden's Greatest Hero.  (Our playboy has made some pawn shop swaps of his own!) It looks like the big bad wolf might finally make some headway with the Scandinavian supermodel until Schultzy switches Bob's medal with janitor Ole's lookalike 'award'.  All the while, Seawell's portrait of Stenner keeps getting redeveloped--to no avail as each new poster eventually receives darts from the rivals of both the singer and his ace shutterbug.

In a show loaded with in-jokes, Bob's unfriendly rivalry with Wally Seawell was explored in a handful of episodes sprinkled throughout the first four seasons.  In real life, Seawell was the show's technical advisor: in reel life, he's played by Dan Tobin, returning to the role after Bob Enters a Photography Contest and Bob Sails for Hawaii.  Collins definitely comes across as the least mature of the shutterbugs here, joining Chuck in throwing darts at his rival's work.  Which is fine, 'cause its a lot funnier that way.  No one wants to see our Playboy lose his youthful edge--something the ratings would prove in 1959 when Tammy Johnson arrived.  The mustachioed Tobin took over the Seawell role in 1957 from John Hubbard (The Petticoat Derby).

The first of a two parter, Bob Digs Rock n' Roll gives seventeen year old Stanley Stenner a push towards rock n' roll stardom.  Who's he, you ask?  The son of Cummings' valet who was also a protege of Mary Martin after being cast as Curly in PETER PAN on Broadway at age 14.   Stenner had a lot of star power behind him, and demonstrates a solid voice, but neither acting nor music worked out as a long term career for him.   This one is an admirable effort to put Stenner over worthy of any wrestling jobber.  To be fair he's a much better candidate for rock n' roll stardom than Hickman ever was, something Hickman would freely admit in FOREVER DOBIE.   

Bob Digs Rock n' Roll is the last of seven episodes for unattainable Ingrid Goude, and Bob gets no further here than before.  It's later than you think, Bob--that rock n' roll that you so casually dismiss appeals to the ladies in your desired age group!  (Once Bob realizes this, he sort of lives up to the episode's title--once he thinks it'll help him score that is.)

But lest you think Bob is just too old for Ingrid, she is dancing with Ole to Stenner's strumming, and in real life Goude was finally landed by apparel mogul Jerome K. Ohrbach in 1962 (54 to her 25 at the time).  So much for that coming youth revolution!  Speaking of, that would be explored much more fully when the story continued the next week (sans Goude) in Colonel Goldbrick.  Chuck's relationship woes continued into that installment as well.


Schultzy took these "honors" more often than anyone, so it isn't surprising that she does it again here by switching the medals.  I'd still say Bob's chances were mighty slim even with the real one, though...


No, but it's a noble stab at glory--secluded beach shoot, war hero story complete with artifact, and even his own attempt at rock n' roll.  Too bad none of it worked in what would prove to be his final attempt with Miss Sweden.


Director Cummings worked his magic with countless inexperienced actors in his two and a half seasons at the helm while also maintaining top notch work from his pros.  Bob Digs Rock n' Roll pokes fun at our hero’s age, but not as pointedly as the better half of this two parter, Colonel Goldbrick.  Part one is still up to the overall high standard from the show's last great season.  (*** out of four)

Don't want to take my word for it?  Want to see Bob Digs Rock n' Roll for yourself?  Here ya go:

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