Know Which Blonde Bombshell Could Have Had a Solid Gold Cadillac?

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“Judy Holliday is Solid Gold” shouted the poster for Columbia’s Solid Gold Cadillac, and they weren’t wrong. Critics adored the new comedy about an earnest, wide-eyed woman who plays David to a crooked corporation’s Goliath. The movie was also recognized by the Academy, winning an Oscar for Best Costume design for Jean Louis.

1. Marilyn Monroe could have been the lead!

Because the play had been such a success, several studios wanted the chance to bring it to the screen. The lead role of “Laura” was originated by Josephine Hull, perhaps best known for playing a kooky aunt in Arsenic and Old Lace. Paramount wanted the property for Shirley Booth. 20th Century-Fox took a different approach though and envisioned Marilyn Monroe as a younger take on Laura. In the end, Paramount got the rights but chose instead to sell them to Columbia, which cast Judy Holliday as a younger Laura, perhaps taking that cue from 20th Century-Fox.

2. It was a reunion.

While Rod Steiger auditioned for the male lead, Columbia decided Paul Douglas would get the part. Douglas and Holliday previously worked together on Broadway when they both acted in Born Yesterday in 1946. When Born Yesterday was adapted for the screen, only Holliday reprised her role, though director George Cukor had the “unknown” prove she could handle it by showcasing her talent in Adam’s Rib (read about that here).

3. Pearl Bailey helped promote the film.

According to Billboard’s August 1956 magazine, Pearl Bailey’s “Solid Gold Cadillac,” a song written by William Bowers and Russ Black, was the theme song from the film. However, the song never actually plays during the black-and-white movie, which features only one color sequence when the car is shown. The tongue-in-cheek song features Bailey singing about her need for a solid gold Cadillac, despite all her other riches, including oil wells, hotels, and a chauffeur. She ends by saying, “While I'm thinking about it, honey, I wish the President of General Motors would personally see to it that my cigarette lighter is working.”