Bye Bye Birdie (1963) starring Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Paul Lynde, Bobby Rydell
Bye Bye Birdie is a musical, with the songs held together by a fairly funny story — actually, two or three stories that are interwoven together. It stars Dick Van Dyke as Albert, an unsuccessful songwriter who wants to be a successful chemist, but who is pressured into staying in the job by his controlling mother (Maureen Stapleton) — much to the chagrin of his girlfriend Rosie (Janet Leigh). Rosie gets the idea of saving the song business by having them write a song that’s guaranteed to be a hit.
Having it sung on the Ed Sullivan show by Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson), an expy of Elvis Presley, who’s being inducted into the Army. The final farewell show is being promoted with a nationwide contest, where a single teenage girl (Ann-Margret) will say a tearful farewell to Birdie on the show, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend Hugo (Bobby Rydell) and father (played hilariously by Paul Lynde) — until the father decides to use the “free” advertising on the Ed Sullivan Show.
From this flows confusion, conflict, Albert’s “Speed-Up” pill, the Russian Ballet (seriously) and an eventual happy ending, complete with lots of musical numbers along the way:
Songs in Bye Bye Birdie
- Bye Bye Birdie (Ann-Margret)
- We Love You, Conrad (aka. We Hate You, Conrad — sung by the teenage boys)
- The Telephone Song (Bobby Rydell, Trudi Ames and the Sweet Apple Teenagers)
- How Lovely To Be a Woman (Ann-Margret)
- Honestly Sincere
- Battle Hymn of the Republic
- Hymn for a Sunday Evening
- One Boy (Ann-Margret & Janet Leigh)
- Put On a Happy Face (Dick Van Dyke & Janet Leigh)
- Kids (Maureen Stapleton, Paul Lynde, Dick Van Dyke & Bryan Russell)
- One Last Kiss
- A Lot of Living to Do (Jesse Pearson, Ann-Margret, Bobby Rydell, Lorene Yarnell Jansson and Sweet Apple Teenagers)
- The Shriner’s Ballet (Janet Leigh, along with the Shriners)
- Rose Adagio
- (Everything Is) Rosie/(Everything Is) Hugo (Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret & Bobby Rydell)
Editorial review of Bye Bye Birdie courtesy of Amazon.com
Lots of laughs and great songs have made this all-time favorite based on the hit Broadway show one of the most memorable musicals of all time. When rock star and teenage heart-throb Conrad Birdie gets drafted, the nation’s teenagers go haywire and Conrad’s manager, Albert (Dick Van Dyke), faces unemployment. So Albert and his girlfriend (Janet Leigh) organize a nationwide contest in which one lucky girl wins a farewell kiss from Conrad on the Ed Sullivan Show. Kim McAfee (Ann-Margret) turns out to be the lucky teenager and Conrad’s whole entourage moves into her quiet, Midwestern home much to the chagrin of her ever irritable father (Paul Lynde) and her jealous boyfriend (Bobby Rydell). The result is chaos and a series of hilarious romantic complications.
Funny movie quotes from Bye Bye Birdie
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): The next time I have a daughter, I hope it’s a boy!
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): I must be the prized dope of all-time … thinking I could pry you away from your mama’s ever-lovin’ tentacles.
Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke): [singing] Oh one last kiss … there never was such bliss … I love your dentifrice!
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): Well we could sure use the money. Any day now we’ll have another mouth to feed.
Ed Sullivan: Rosie, you’re not even married.
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): His mother!
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): Goodbye, Rosie.
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): Goodbye, Mae.
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): Call me Mrs. Peterson.
[Birdie opens a can of beer, which sprays on Mr. McAfee]
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): That’s my favorite brand.
Ballet manager: Save your life? Me? My friend, if you are sick, see a doctor.
Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke): “If you are sick, see a doctor.” You speak English?
Ballet manager: Saves time.
[after Kim has dyed her hair]
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): You dare defy your mother?
Kim McAfee (Ann-Margaret): Well, it’s my hair.
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): Not till you’re 21!
Doris McAfee (Mary LaRoche): Randolph, your father’s warned you. If you make another bomb, you’ll get spanked.
Doris McAfee (Mary LaRoche): You know these adolescents! Kim’ll lose face!
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): And if I don’t get him out that’s not all she’ll …
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): [singing] Kids! Never once appreciate how I sacrificed. Working, slaving, scrimping, saving pennies … and livin’ with your father!
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): Now, don’t try to pay me back, son. I forgive you. So what if you’re an ingrate? So long as you’re happy.
Ballet manager: This ballet has historic significance. It was performed the same day as the funeral of the Tzar. Lenin himself made the arrangement.
Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke): Lenin arranged music?
Ballet manager: No, funerals.
Hugo Peabody (Bobby Rydell): [singing] You don’t know how to live? You’d get pinned if you could!
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): No matter how many millions I make selling Speed-Up, I’ll still be the same humble, lovable guy I always was. And if any of those hicks try to push me around, I’ll break ’em.
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): Nice? Heh HEH! I know that show business crowd — probably living in sin.
Randolph MacAfee: I respect ya, Papa!
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): I don’t want your respect! Who wants respect from a ten-year-old kid?
Kim McAfee (Ann-Margaret): Harry, do you have a cigarette? I’ve run out.
Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde): So have I, how ’bout my pipe?
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): [singing] Everything is Rosie … cha-cha-cha! … Cause my name is Rosie … si si si!
Borov: And for you, I will not go too fast.
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): We shall see!
Ballet manager: Who sent you here, Senator Goldwater?
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): I got maybe one tenth a normal heart
Doris McAfee (Mary LaRoche): Tell me, Mrs. Peterson, what does your husband do?
Mae Peterson (Maureen Stapleton): I don’t know, he’s dead.
Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh): [after Albert hears his mother calling him] Boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy gets mother. Yeesh!
Trivia for Bye Bye Birdie
- Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde, both veterans of the 1960 Broadway hit, were displeased with the film version. Van Dyke especially felt it had become too much of a vehicle for Ann-Margret. In the Broadway version of the show, Van Dyke’s role of Albert was much more prominent than that of Kim, who Ann-Margret played in the film version. In his autobiography, Van Dyke said he knew Ann-Margret’s role was going to be expanded when he once came on the set and found her sitting in the lap of George Sidney, the director.
- Despite portraying the mother of Dick Van Dyke’s character in the film, Maureen Stapleton is just six months older than Van Dyke.
The throng of uncredited teenagers included future actresses and celebrities Melinda Marx (daughter of Groucho Marx), Kim Darby (co-star of True Grit (1969)), Linda Henning (Betty Jo Bradley in Petticoat Junction (1963)), Elaine Joyce (actress, game show guest star and wife to Bobby Van and Neil Simon) and Melody Patterson(Wrangler Jane on F Troop (1965)).
Ed Sullivan, who played himself in this film, would later reprise the “One Last Kiss” segment — for real — on his weekly variety show The Ed Sullivan Show (1948). In 1967 Gary Lewis (American musician, son of comedian Jerry Lewis and member of the band Gary Lewis & The Playboys) performed the song, on The Ed Sullivan Show: Episode #20.13 (1966), shortly before Gary’s actual induction into the US Army.
- Feature-film debut of Dick Van Dyke.
Director George Sidney was a co-founder and part-owner of cartoon studio Hanna-Barbera Productions. As such, Hanna-Barbera cartoon merchandise is prominently displayed throughout the film: 1) In “The Telephone Hour” musical number, Alice has a The Yogi Bear Show record prominently displayed among her records. 2) In Kim’s bedroom, she has dolls of The Flintstones — Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble on top of her radio, on a chair is a plush toy of Huckleberry Hound, and on yet another chair is a plush toy of Yogi Bear. 3) Randolph is wearing The Huckleberry Hound Show pajamas during the “Kids” musical number. Ann-Margret appeared shortly afterward on The Flintstones: Ann-Margrock Presents.