Here in The Underworld, we periodically revisit certain revealing photographic subjects including today's: Actors taking a bath. We've gone down the drain on this before here and here, but there is always room for some more bubbles, right? Our cover boy today is Rock Hudson, enjoying a chat with an unseen Doris Day in Pillow Talk (1959.)
We go way back in time for our first shot (and it's not particularly scintillating, but we tend to be completests here!) This is James Finlayson in a 1927 short called Do Detectives Think? The bather, a judge, is being stalked by Noah Young, who'd been sentenced to prison and the bumbling detectives of the title were portrayed by none other than Laurel & Hardy.
We dart forward to 1943 for In Old Oklahoma and find a pair of gents taking baths in a setup not unlike the famous Rock & Doris motif from Pillow Talk! Here, it is John Wayne and Albert Dekker (who, in the film, are vying for the affection of Martha Scott.) Dekker, who I have discovered was quite a dynamic actor, is probably best remembered for the mysterious and lewd way in which he died!
1946's Night in Paradise is a lavish period spectacle and has King Croesus (Thomas Gomez) partaking in a splendidly-appointed bath.
Check out the pointy device he's exfoliating with! No wonder the man seems cranky...
Another western, 1949's Massacre River, finds hunky Rory Calhoun enjoying a bath in a barrel. This obscure film we've yet to see is surely worth the 78-minute run-time since it also stars Guy Madison! (If you believe the gossip, these two Henry Willson clients even had a sexual relationship, which might make sitting through the movie more engrossing.)
In 1950's Guilty of Treason, the story of an imprisoned Hungarian Cardinal was seen through the eyes of reporter Paul Kelly, seen here taking an interrupted bath.
On a lighter note is this shot of handsome Dale Robertson washing up for Betty Grable in The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953.)
The Robert Taylor period film Quentin Durward (1955) had him soaking in a tub and getting his back scrubbed by a pal in between palace intrigue.
Dale Robertson was found in the tub again in 1956's Dakota Incident, though this time it was a horse trough! Movie baths are frequently interrupted by visitors which, in this case, are played by Regis Toomey and Linda Darnell.
Don Murray appears to take a very splish-splashy bath in 1956's Bus Stop, though this still is understandably sedate in comparison to the actual scene. (Note the puddle of water on the floor, though!)
As we see here, he was actually sitting in the tub with the shower on!
He's having fun, but he isn't the one who has to clean up the mess...
...as seen here, he's ready to kick up his heels for a night on the town (with Marilyn Monroe no less!)
1957 brought the western Joe Dakota with Jock Mahoney taking one of the ever-popular horse trough baths. (Pity the horses who tried to take a drink afterwards!)
Don Taylor has it rough in 1957's Love Slaves of the Amazons... Who knew that the fabled Amazonians were this haggy looking?!
Underworld fave Clint Walker of Cheyenne (1955-1963) takes advantage of a hotel bath.
Though released in 1958, The Big Money, starring Ian Carmichael, was filmed several years prior. He played a thief trying to live high off some stolen counterfeit money.
The unsuccessful film did at least offer this moment of the star enjoying a very luxurious bath.
A 1958 episode of Wagon Train finds gambler Cesar Romero overseen in his bath by Virginia Grey, who is in love with him. (In the story, he is instead smitten by Diane Brewster, but for plot reasons pretends to be married to Grey.)
Here we have Alan Hale Jr. (Skipper of Gilligan's Island) trying out a new type of water heating apparatus.
And this is 1950s leading man Victor Mature scrunched into a rather tiny claw-foot tub for his bath in a publicity photo.
A lathered-up Glenn Ford has his pistol drawn in 1958's Cowboy, which costarred Jack Lemmon.
In 1959's The Mating Game (which starred Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall), Philip Ober recovers from an exasperating run-in with Reynolds by taking a bath.
He doesn't relax at all, however, but constantly vents to his attorney and friend about how best to resolve a dispute with Reynolds' family.
1960's The 3rd Voice stars Edmond O'Brien as a man impersonating a wealthy business tycoon in order to siphon funds for himself and Laraine Day.
Marines, Let's Go (1961) focused on a group of soldiers on leave in Japan just prior to the start of The Korean War. Here, Tom Reese takes a bath and is attended to by a pretty helpmate.
Now this next star is hung like a horse! How do I know? Because it's Mr. Ed, of course! Ha! In the 1964 episode of Mr. Ed, the title beast visited Mae West and was given a good scrubbing by a couple of her ever-present musclemen.
The VERY obscure 1965 exploitation drama All Men Are Apes! featured this hirsute gentleman taking a bath, though he isn't necessarily the ape of the title. The leading lady, so to speak, is a stripper who winds up working in an act with a real ape as her sidekick.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965) found Steve McQueen in the bathtub, overseen by one of his love interests, Tuesday Weld.
Cary Grant's final film, Walk Don't Run (1966) had him staying in Japan for the 1964 Summer Olympics and being washed off by an attractive friend!
In 1967's Poor Cow, ne-er do well Terence Stamp has his back washed by Carol White, who has the misfortune of being heavily involved with him.
There Was a Crooked Man (1970) gave us side-by-side barrel baths with veteran stars Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. Douglas even appeared momentarily nude from behind in the film.
Also taking a barrel bath in the movie was young actor Michael Blodgett, who you might recall from that same year's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
Billy Wilder directed the heavily tampered-with 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which had the title character (played by Robert Stephens) bathing in a rather diminutive tub as Colin Blakely looks on.
Bloody Mama (1970) was a wild and woolly account of fabled criminal mastermind Ma Barker (played by Shelley Winters) who may have actually been perfectly harmless in real life. In the movie, she takes pleasure in personally bathing each of her four boys. If your TV is large enough and clear enough, you can see frontal nudity by Robert DeNiro and Clint Kimbrough in some frames.
You may not recognize this sudsy fellow, who is best known for his work as a child.
That's Butch Patrick, who played little Eddie Munster on The Munsters (1964-1966) and later Lidsville (1971.)
One of our loyal readers suggested the need for some Leonard Nimoy from the 1971 Yul Brynner film Catlow.
Having checked this out ourselves, we couldn't agree more, so here he is!
In an uncharacteristically skin-revealing moment for the show, we see Richard “John-Boy” Thomas taking a bath in this installment of The Waltons.
Football hero-turned-action star Fred Williamson, like several men in this post, has some help in his bath, this time in Hong Kong, during That Man Bolt (1973.)
James Caan, always good for some hairy chest action, takes a bath in The Gambler (1974), about a literature professor who has an addiction to any type of bet or game.
Also in 1974 came the outrageous smash Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles. In it, Harvey Korman (as Hedley, not Hedy, Lamarr) took a bubble bath with the assistance of cowhand Slim Pickens. When Korman's toy frog went missing, Pickens made a grab for the wrong reptile under the suds!
1975's Bite the Bullet found Gene Hackman and James Coburn in side-by-side tubs.
A color still from the same scene reveals the skimpy brown briefs that each gent was wearing under the surface of the cloudy water.
Also in 1975 was the sci-fi flick A Boy and His Dog, starring Don Johnson. He is given a rough-and-ready bath by a group of strange underground citizens.
He's lucky to escape with his life during the violent scrub down he receives.
They want him nice and clean since he's been procured for the express purpose of impregnating the young ladies of this otherwise sterile civilization.
I Will... I Will... For Now (1976) observed estranged married couple Diane Keaton and Elliott Gould attempting to reinvigorate their relationship at a sex clinic! Presumably part of the therapy is bathing together.
Marlon Brando has his bubble bath interrupted by an angry Jack Nicholson in the 1976 western The Missouri Breaks.
The oddball performance that Brando delivered (his first in four years) made many a critic and fan scratch his head.
This is actor Alex Cord (of Stagecoach, 1966, and The Brotherhood, 1968, as well as Airwolf, 1984-1986) enjoying a soak at a mineral springs spa.
In 1980 and '81, David Bowie portrayed the title figure in Broadway's “The Elephant Man.”
(Later this year, Bradley Cooper has plans to perform the role on Broadway in a limited run as well.)
Certainly one memorable cinema bathtub came courtesy of Al Pacino's Scarface (1983.) You'd have to decide pretty far in advance that you wanted this tub filled up!
It even comes with a statuary water feature, as shown here. Probably only the evil Francis from Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985) possessed a bigger tub!
Lord help save us from Lorenzo Lamas' headband in this publicity shot that could only have happened in the 1980s.
Brad Pitt shares a bath with Catherine Keener and his own towering hairdo in 1991's Johnny Suede, about a Ricky Nelson-obsessed musician.
Mullet-haired songster Michael Bolton (whose holiday Honda commercials drove many of my friends to the brink of insanity) enjoys a candlelit bath in this promotional photo.
1992's Mr. Baseball had New York Yankees player Tom Selleck traded to a Japanese team where he experiences culture shock. (I have no idea why so many of today's photos feature Asian women giving baths. It certainly wasn't intentional!)
Rick Schroder isn't in a bathtub in this shot from the TV-movie Texas (1994), but he is soaping up nonetheless.
Here we find a young Russell Crowe (in an unidentified movie) multitasking a phone call, a beer, a cigar and a bath all at once!
The 1999 comedy Lost & Found had non-threatening dognapper David Spade taking a bath with his captive.
The straight-to-video chiller Voodoo Academy (2000) has a variety of young men either bathing or clad only in towels.
Perhaps their looks help some hapless viewers get through the cheaply-made piece of schlock?
Also released in 2000 was Shanghai Noon with Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan as heroes of the old west. In one scene, they take side-by-side baths and partake in a drinking game.
Before the game has concluded, they've somehow wound up in the same tub, discovered by Kate Luyben!
Current heartthrob (to someone out there) Robert Pattinson took a bath in The Haunted Airman (2006), about a WWII pilot who suffers spinal injuries and recovers at a clinic run by Julian Sands.
And with that we pull the plug on this subject for now... Neil Patrick Harris, Colin Firth and I bid you cheers and adieu!