Papa's Delicate Condition is a 1963 comedy film starring Jackie Gleason and Glynis Johns. It was an adaptation of the Corinne Griffith memoir of the same name, about her father and growing up in Texarkana, Texas. Jimmy Van Heusen (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics) won an Academy Award for Best Song for "Call Me Irresponsible".
Another Cahn/Van Heusen song, "Walking Happy," was used in a scene with Gleason and his on-screen daughter Linda Bruhl walking down a street while he sings about the people they meet along the way, but the scene was cut before the film's release. The song was later used in a Broadway musical of the same name.
Jack Griffith, known as "Papa" to all, is a family man in a Texas town, but an irresponsible one. To impress his six-year-old daughter Corinne, he spends the family's savings to buy his own circus, simply so the little girl can have her own pony.
His elder daughter Augusta becomes distraught as her father makes some questionable business deals under the influence of alcohol and, without consulting the rest of the family, causing strife within the household and making her beau's dad, who happens to be the local bank owner, forbid his offspring from associating with the Griffith family.
After his squandering leaves the Griffiths in debt, wife Ambolyn packs up Augusta and Corinne and moves to Texarkana, Texas, where her father, Anthony Ghio, is the mayor. Griffith attempts to use his circus to help Ghio's bid for reelection, but accidentally causes Ambolyn to end up with a broken hand.
Despondent, he leaves for Louisiana and is little seen or heard from by the family. Talked into an attempt at reconciliation, Papa is reluctant, believing the Griffiths want nothing more to do with him, but he is welcomed back with open arms.Jackie Gleason as Jack Griffith, Corinne's father
Glynis Johns as Ambolyn Griffith, Corinne's mother
Linda Bruhl as Corinne Griffith
Charles Ruggles as Mayor Ghio
Laurel Goodwin as Augusta
Ned Glass as Mr. Sparrow
Murray Hamilton as Mr. Harvey
Elisha Cook, Jr. as Mr. Keith
Charles Lane as Mr. Cosgrove
Claude Johnson as Norman
Don Beddoe as Mayor Ghio's assistant
Juanita Moore as Ellie
Trevor Bardette as Stanley Henderson II
The novel was published in 1952. Paramount Pictures bought the film rights and assigned Henry and Phoebe Ephron to adapt it. In 1955, it was announced Fred Astaire would star and the film done as a musical. However, filming was postponed so Astaire could make Silk Stockings.
Filming ended up being delayed until 1962, with Jack Rose now the writer and Jackie Gleason the star. Two songs written for the proposed Astaire film by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen were used, along with a new song, "Bill Bailey."
"This picture is just vanilla," said Gleason. "but I needed something like it after Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Hustler and Gigot."
The part of the young girl was played by Linda Bruhl, whose experience had mostly been in TV commercials.