For years there have been many versions of what went on concerning Dorothy Lamour’s participation in The Road to Hong Kong.

After years of costarring with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in this run of immensely successful comedy hits, Lamour was initially odd woman out when it came to the casting of 1962 Hong Kong installment, the last in The Road To… series. (It is all about about mistaken identities, exotic potions and locales, secret organizations — you know, the usual entertaining nonsense.)

Lamour and much of Hollywood at the time were taken aback that she apparently was regarded as a tad “too old” for the female lead.  That, at least, is one interpretation.

Regular contributor Jeff Woodman writes: “The by-then 48-year-old Lamour was incensed by what she regarded as a casting affront, and took her case to Hollywood columnist, Louella Parsons. To placate the public and because she was still a great friend of Hope’s, the studio carved out a cameo in ‘Hong Kong,’ in which Dorothy played herself, and sang a song in a nightclub setting.”

I seem to recall from Lamour’s book (which I read and then passed along, so I’m unable to check) that she later learned that the money men who were backing the film insisted that she be included, and that they issued an edict (unknown to Lamour during negotiations) that without Hope, Crosby AND Lamour there would be no financing, and therefore no picture.

Do I have this all balled up? Thanks!

Well Jeff, as we’ve learned through many years of reporting about show business there is no one definitive version of ANY story. Only people’s recollections.

Joe interviewed Lamour extensively many years ago, and indeed she said that her being in the film was in discussion from the onset.

How could it NOT be?

She did go to Parsons who did help her cause. They both, of course, thought she should play the leading lady. Yes, she was old but remember, Hope and Crosby were still eleven years older than she. Of course there was no way anyone would agree to that.

Crosby wanted  Brigitte Bardot, or Gina Lollobridgida, or at least Sophia Loren. None of them would consider it, and they finally settled on Joan Collins.

Dorothy had to settle for a small specialty number and a cameo, but she still has the best line in the film. After the obligatory plot review mid film Lamour says: “If that’s the plot so far I’d better hide you — from the critics.”

Did you like this? Share it: