Episode 153: The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

From white people playing Chicanos, we wind our way back to white people playing Asian people here in our penultimate “Whitewashing” episode with Tony Randall as the inscrutable, many-faced, many-accented Dr. Lao.  Yes, THAT Tony Randall, of “Odd Couple” fame.  Just the guy to play an aged Chinese gentleman, wouldn’t you say? This movie is a bit of a strange case, a cross-genre film that starts out looking like a Western and ends up as a fantasy/morality play.  The small town of Abalone (where they’ve probably never seen a shellfish) is languishing while an Evil Rich Guy wants to buy out the town, because he secretly knows that the railroad is coming through and he’s itching to tie all the women of the town to the newly-installed railroad tracks while twirling his moustache.  When suddenly who should show up, riding on a yellow donkey, but the mysterious Dr. Lao, who alternates between some attrocious “Me so solly” pidgin English and sounding like, well, Tony Randall (he also does a terrible French accent and a possibly worse Scottish accent).  Will the wonders of his circus make the townsfolk realize what’s really important in life? Will the one Native American character in this movie get any actual lines? Give a listen and find out!

Poll question: who is the most famous movie actor that you, personally, have ever met? Not just seen across a room or in an elevator but someone you actually spoke to (even if it was just “Hey, that’s my wallet!!”)

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5 thoughts on “Episode 153: The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)”

  1. I tried for years to see this when it played at my local cinema to mostly see the stop motion scenes and was sorely disappointed in the entire thing. I loved other George Pal films so I had high expectations.

    Does apologizing to Lenard Nimoy after walking into him and knocking him flat on his ass as a Boston sci-fi/car show in the 70s count? (I have been so embarrassed about this that I would not have said it even now if he was still alive.)

    1. Yes, it totally counts! You will earn many Bux for sharing this. I also agree about Pal and the disappointment. Ah well. Thanks, Vince!

      1. You sent me down a rabbit hole now. I suddenly started remembering all sorts famous people I have met or known, not all actors though. I occasionally ran into Divine and John Waters but I often run into “Quebec Famous” actors because most of the TV shows are filmed near me and a good friend’s sister and her husband are super famous here so I’ve had supper and hung with them on occasion.

        1. Oh, you just rub noses with all the famous people, don’t you! And you didn’t even mention shopping with Aimee Mann!

          1. She doesn’t count, she is a singer not an actress. 🙂 She wasn’t famous by any means at the time. Elton John yelled at me from his plane phone when I charged him for a video he didn’t return when he was performing in Boston! Actually Alice Cooper was a friend of friend and came into the Picnic a few times to see if I could find some comics he was in and wanted for his collection.

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