Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963): George Marshall’s Comedy, Starring Jackie Gleason

Comedian Jackie Gleason stars as Jack Griffith, the amiable, alcoholic head of an eccentric family at the turn of the century.

Directed in a broad style by George Marshall, this 1963 comedy, which was very popular at the box-office, is based on the memoirs of Corinne Griffith, the silent movie star.

The movie was initially planned for Fred Astaire, and composer Sammy Cah had written a song especially for Astaire.  But due to other projects, Astaire could not do it and the porject was delayed by a few years,

Recast with Jackie Gleason, the plot was changed and the script was reworked to suite Gleason’s specific talents.

In this household, everybody gets his/her wishes fulfilled. If Jack Griffith’s wife doesn’t like the color of a neighbor’s house, he’ll change the color for her.

If the owner of the ice cream parlor doesn’t believe in selling triple banana splits for a penny, Jack will buy the establishment. And

If Jack’s girl wants the pony in the circus parade, why not buy the entire circus! This last prank sends Amberlyn Griffith back to Texarkana around 1900, where her father is running for mayor—for the third time! Jack follows, bringing the entire circus.

The supporting cast, headed by Glynis Johns, Charles Ruggles, Juanita Moore, and Elosh Cook Jr., is excellent.

The movie benfited from the popularity of its Oscar-winning tune, the fourth Oscar for the reliable team of Van Heusen and Cahn.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Song: “Call Me Irresponsible,” music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

Oscar Awards: 1



Oscar Context:

The other nominees in the Best Song category were Charade, from the movie “Charade” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad World,” from the movie of the same title by Ernest Gold and Mack David, More from “Mondo Cane,” by Riz Ortolani, Nino Oliviero, and Norman Newell, and So Little Time from “55 Days at Peking,” by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster.