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Saturday, July 1, 2017

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

Tonight the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable channel is broadcasting a series of movies about people traveling through Europe. I am reviewing a couple of the movies for this blog. The movies' relevance is that the USA's summer resort hotels -- such as Kellman's in Dirty Dancing -- lost much business in the 1960s because Americans increasingly spent their vacation time and money in Europe.

The movie If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium was released in 1969, but it was proceeded by a 1965 television documentary of the same title and concept. The documentary must have been filmed in about 1964 - a year after the Dirty Dancing story.

Young people today would not be able to watch this lousy 1969 movie to its end and would be mystified that it ever was a feature film. Since I myself now am 64 years old, I can appreciate the movie as a period piece that was meaningful in the year 1969.


The main reason why people watched the movie in 1969 was that it starred Suzanne Pleshette, who was a very attractive and popular actress. In 1969, I myself was 17 years old and  had a crush on her. Like millions of other young men, I loved her combination of wholesome looks and sultry voice. I remember watching her in the 1965 television series The Wild, Wild West.

I remember her most from the 1966 Disney movie The Ugly Dachshund., which I saw and enjoyed when I was 14 years old.

Anyway, the main reason why people went to the movie theaters to watch If It's Tuesday, in 1969 was to watch adorable Suzanne Pleshette have an affair while on a European vacation. The lucky guy is the tour guide, an Englishman.

I sure wish I had spent a night in bed with her.


Another reason why people when to the movie in 1969 was that vacationing in Europe still was a novelty for most Americans. Some had vacationed there. Most had not done so, but it was becoming an affordable possibility. The movie depicted a busload of Americans traveling through Europe on an 18-day guided tour. Here is the movie's trailer.

Comment added to this blog article on July 15, 2017

Today I noticed that the movie's trailer has disappeared from YouTube, but the entire move has appeared.


If the Houseman family vacationed in Europe in 1964, then they probably traveled by bus in a similar guided tour.


One of the movie's subplots portrays Shelly, a teenage girl -- about Baby Houseman's age, about 17 years old -- whose parents make her go along on the vacation. While in Europe Shelly meets Bo, a young American man, about 20 years old, who is involved in political activities in Europe. Bo follows Shelly's tour bus on his motorcycle so that he can secretly meet and spend time with her in the various places where the bus stops.

Bo and Shelly in the Roman Colosseum
in the 1969 movie "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" 
In one city, Bo takes Shelly to a youth hostel -- an experience that impresses her somewhat like the bunkhouse dirty-dancing experience impressed Baby Houseman. The hostel is a rough but vibrant place compared to the nice hotels where her tour group has been staying. In the hostel, an itinerant singer plays and sings his own songs. The singer character is played by Donovan, a popular singer-songwriter of that period.

Shelly (in orange blouse) and Bo entering a youth hostel
in the 1969 movie "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"
Donovan singing in a youth hostel
in the 1969 movie "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"
Shelly and Bo listening to Donovan sing in a youth hostel
in the 1969 movie "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"
Donovan was a wonderful singer, but his lame performance in this movie was a disappointment.

What a boring song!


Donovan could do better than that.

The following video shows Donovan singing his 1966 song "Mellow Yellow" on television.

The following video shows Donovan singing his 1966 song "Season of the Witch" in a 1967 concert.

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