We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
How’s this for disconnect: The liner notes to this album of standards quote a Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” mention of the long-retired syndicated afternoon talk-show host and conclude, “Even then, Mike Douglas was hip.” Not quite. Let’s look at a more famous, more typical SNL routine, first created by twisted genius Michael O’Donoghue for the National Lampoon Radio Hour, shall we? Pretending to be an impressionist, O’Donoghue smarmily describes Douglas as “the nicest guy in show business,” and proceeds with a screaming pantomime involving Douglas having steel spikes “with real sharp points” plunged into his eyes. Cruelly funny, in part because Douglas apparently was a very nice guy, in a very unhip way. I bought this record after learning that it included a remake of his 1966 hit “The Men in My Little Girl’s Life.” A precursor to the more earnest “Butterfly Kisses,” Douglas’ tune was delightfully out of date even upon release (sample lyric: “There’s a boy outside, his name is Lee. He wants to carry my books for me. Can he, Dad?”). I played the original on WHFS in the early ’80s and the then-station owner stormed into the booth, apoplectic that his station was turning into WMAL. I was hoping for a misbegotten modernization, along the lines of “There’s a boy outside, his name is Ray. Something-something-somethinghe’s gay!” No such luck. Instead, it’s the same song, now even more clueless, with synthesizers taking the place of string sections and backup singers. Throughout the disc, Douglas sounds as if he’s simultaneously struggling to remember the lyrics and retain his dentures. That’s cruel. I’m sorry. I like Mike, really I do. But this is neither rare, memorable, nor a treasure.