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Rock-a-Bye Baby

Rock-a-Bye Baby(1958)

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Frank Tashlin's screen story and screenplay were inspired by Paramount's 1944 comedy classic, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, which starred Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton under the direction of Preston Sturges, who also wrote that film's original screenplay (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50) and is given an onscreen story creit on Rock-a-Bye Baby. In March 1951, Hollywood Reporter reported that George Cukor had been signed to direct a Twentieth Century-Fox production entitled Rock-a-Bye Baby, from an original screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. Later, in December 1952, Los Angeles Times reported that producer Hal Wallis had purchased an unproduced play by the same title and planned to adapt it into a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis vehicle. Neither of these aborted productions, however, is related to this film.
       Although the opening credits indicate that the picture marked Connie Stevens' film debut, she had appeared in two features the previous year. In numerous cases, contemporary reviews list character names that do not match those used in the film. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the song "Me and My Baby," with music by Sammy Cahn and lyrics by Harry Warren, was submitted by Paramount for use in Rock-a-Bye Baby, but was not included in the released film. The image of noted comedian Jack Benny appears briefly in the film, as a photograph of "Carlos," the deceased Mexican bullfighter secretly married to "Carla Naples" and the biological father of her children. Rock-a-Bye Baby features Jerry Lewis' son Gary in a small role, that of Lewis' character "Clayton Poole" as a young boy in a musical fantasy sequence. Although Lewis' father Danny is credited in the CBCS as playing a furniture store owner, his part, as well as that of George Sanders as a master of ceremonies, was cut from the released film. Hollywood Reporter news items include Jim Maloney in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       According to March 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items, Paramount had to have the film's musical score recorded in Mexico City due to a months-long strike by Hollywood musicians. On March 19, 1958, Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column claimed that Lewis himself conducted the 100-piece Mexican orchestra. According to a June 3, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, a Los Angeles preview of the film was picketed by the still-striking musicians.
       In an interview published by modern sources, writer-director Don McGuire claimed he had written a script called The Baby Doctor for Lewis soon after the two finished working together on the 1957 Paramount picture The Delicate Delinquent. After Lewis had a minor hit with his recording of the Schwartz-Young-Lewis standard "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," he insisted that the song be included in their planned production. McGuire refused, and later claimed that Lewis abandoned their project and went to work instead with Tashlin on Rock-a-Bye Baby. In a modern interview, Lewis stated that The Baby Doctor was merely a ten-page treatment authored by him and was registered under his name alone with the WGA. Modern sources indicate that production on the film began on November 18, 1957 and ended on January 8, 1958, and include Snub Pollard, Chester Conklin and Franklyn Farnum in the cast.
       In 1963, Paramount re-released Rock-a-Bye Baby on a double bill with another Lewis vehicle, 1959's Don't Give Up the Ship.