Teacher’s Pet (1958): Seaton’s Romantic Comedy, Starring Gable and Doris Day

George Seaton’s romantic comedy co-stars Clark Gable in one of his very last films and Doris Day at the height of her popularity as America’s top-grossing actress.  Both players may be too old for their roles, but as written by husband and wife team Fay and Michael Kanin (brother of Grason Kanin), the comedy exudes some charm, even if neither star is particularly good at this kind of comedy.


It all begins, when Jim Gannon (Clark Gable), the arrogant self-taught city editor, is asked to lecture to a University evening-session journalism class.  He not only refuses but reacts strongly in a letter full of criticism and contempt for professionals who “teach “journalism. 


Unfazed, however, his publisher orders him to attend. Gannon arrives in time to hear Professor Erica Stone (Doris Day) denouncing him for the opinions he had expressed in his letter.  Taken with her good look and charm, Gannon enrolls as a student.  Although he successfully eliminates his competition, Dr. Hugo Pine (Gig Young), Gannon is less successful in keeping his true identity under cover.


Already angry, Erica becomes outraged when Gannon demands that she criticize her father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper articles as outmoded, compared with his own more modern and alert ones.  She tries to prove him wrong but can’t.   In the predictable happy ending, teacher and pupil reconcile and reunite, when they discover that one of Gannon’s best reporters is a former student of Erica’s, thus legitimizing her professional status.


At 57, Gable showed his age, lacking the charismatic persona—the macho self-confidence–he had projected on screen for over two decades.  Doris Day is too harsh and business-like, and so the only funny performances is given by Gig Young, who earned an Oscar nod for it.


One of the movie’s gimmicks has several of the nation’s motion-picture reviewers acting as staff members on the paper.  They are outright hams, one and all.


Oscar Nominations: 2


Supporting Actor: Gig Young

Story and Screenplay (Original): Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin


Oscar Context:

In 1958, the winner of the Supporting Actor Oscar was Burl Ives for “The Big Country,” and the Writing Award went to Nedtrick Young (using the pen name of Nathan E. Douglas due to the blacklist) and Harold Jacob Smith for Stanley Kramer’s “The Defiant One.”


Gig Young won the Supporting Actor Oscar in 1969 for Sydney Pollack’s political drama, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t’ They?”



Paramount (Perlberg-Seaton Production)

Produced by William Perlberg.

Directed by George Seaton.

Screenplay by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin.

Cinematography by Haskell Boggs.

Process photography by Farciot Edouart.

Art Directors: Hal Pereira and Earl Hedrick.

Musical score by Roy Webb.

Editor: Alma Macrorie.

Release: April 1, 1958.

Running time: 120 minutes.




Clark Gable

Doris Day

Gig Young

Mamie Van Doren

Nick Adams

Peter Baldwin

Marion Ross

Charles Lane

Jack Albertson

Florenz Ames

Harry Antrim

Vivian Nathan