Doctor Detroit

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Doctor Detroit
Doctor detroit.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Pressman
Produced by Robert K. Weiss
Written by
Music by
Cinematography King Baggot
Edited by Christopher Greenbury
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
May 6, 1983 (1983-05-06)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million[citation needed]
Box office $10,375,893[1]

Doctor Detroit is a 1983 American comedy film directed by Michael Pressman with writing by Bruce Jay Friedman, Carl Gottlieb, and Robert Boris. The film stars Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, Lynn Whitfield, Fran Drescher, and Donna Dixon, with a special appearance by James Brown.

James Brown performed the theme song "Get Up Offa That Thing/Dr. Detroit." Devo performed "Theme from Doctor Detroit" and "Luv-Luv" and released an EP, including "Theme from Doctor Detroit," "Luv-Luv," and a remix of the theme song. Devo also produced a music video from the theme song incorporating footage from the film.


An introverted geek, Clifford Skridlow (Dan Aykroyd), is a professor of comparative literature at the financially strapped (fictional) Monroe College in Chicago.

Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman), a pimp, owes $80,000 to "Mom" (Kate Murtagh), a gruff Chicago mob boss. Attempting to weasel out of his debt, Smooth invents a fictitious mobster, the flamboyant "Doctor Detroit," who purportedly is overrunning his turf. Aykroyd meets Smooth and his girls (Donna Dixon, Lydia Lei, Fran Drescher, and Lynn Whitfield) and has the best night of his life partying with them. After finding out about their troubles with Mom, Skridlow agrees to assume the role of Doctor Detroit in an effort to help them.

Meanwhile, Monroe College awaits its anticipated corporate endowment, a check to be delivered by one of the executives, Harmon Rousehorn (Andrew Duggan). The film alternates between Skridlow's straight life and his life as the Doctor: Skridlow teaches literature and helps his nervous father (George Furth) secure money for the destitute college, while Dr. Detroit battles Mom, boogies with James Brown, and helps out four prostitutes previously subject to Smooth.

The film was shot on location in Chicago during the summer of 1982.



Doctor Detroit
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 1983
Length 35:53
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars link

A soundtrack album for the film was released on the labels Backstreet, MCA, and WEA.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Theme from Doctor Detroit"   Devo 3:10
2. "Hold Him"   3:22
3. "King of Soul"   Newborn James Brown 2:40
4. "Yo Skridlow"  
5. "Working Girls"  
  • Newborn
  • Brooks
  • Pattie Brooks
  • Dan Aykroyd
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
6. "Get Up Offa That Thing/Doctor Detroit"   James Brown James Brown 3:23
7. "Luv-Luv"  
  • Mothersbaugh
  • Casale
Devo 3:36
8. "You Are the One"   Pattie Brooks 4:05
9. "Get It on and Have a Party"  
  • Newborn
  • Brooks
Pattie Brooks 6:09
Total length:

Reaction and sequel[edit]

In her autobiography, Enter Whining, Fran Drescher commented that this film was expected to be a major hit for the summer of 1983, but that it fell short of that expectation; by the time the film ended its run in theaters, it had only managed to make US$10.8 million, on a budget of US$8 million.

The end titles promised the release of Doctor Detroit II: The Wrath of Mom, meant as a gag based on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, released eleven months previously. Aykroyd was said to have been writing the script; however, the project went unfulfilled due to poor box office results.[2][better source needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]