The Glass Bottom Boat

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This article is about the 1966 movie. For the actual type of boat, see Glass bottom boat.
The Glass Bottom Boat
Glass bottom boat dvd.jpg
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Everett Freeman
Martin Melcher
Written by Everett Freeman
Starring Doris Day
Rod Taylor
Arthur Godfrey
Dom DeLuise
Music by Frank De Vol
Edited by John McSweeney, Jr.
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • June 9, 1966 (1966-06-09)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9.2 million (Per Variety, May 4, 1983)

The Glass Bottom Boat is an 1966 American romantic comedy movie directed by Frank Tashlin, starring Doris Day and Rod Taylor, with Arthur Godfrey, Dick Martin, Dom DeLuise and Paul Lynde. It is also known as The Spy in Lace Panties.[1]


Axel Nordstrom manages a glass-bottom boat tourist operation in the waters of Santa Catalina Island, California. His widowed daughter, Jennifer Nelson, occasionally helps by donning a mermaid's costume and swimming underneath his boat for the passengers' amusement.

One day, Jennifer accidentally meets Bruce Templeton when his fishing hook snags her costume. He reels in the bottom half of her mermaid costume, leaving the irate Jennifer floating in the water without pants. Jennifer later discovers that Templeton is a top executive at her new place of employment, a NASA aerospace research laboratory in Long Beach, where she works in public relations.

Templeton later sees Jennifer again at work and recognizes her, and with a hidden purpose, he hires her for a new full-time assignment: to be his "biographer" and to write his life story. His hidden purpose is to make an attempt to win Jennifer's affections. There is a problem. The laboratory's security chief, Homer Cripps, concludes that Jennifer is a Soviet spy after observing her mysterious behavior and curious, code-like phone calls. To prove his suspicions, he has Jennifer put under surveillance by everyone at the lab. When she learns of the notion, Jennifer sets out to turn the tables on the bumbling Cripps by pretending that she is a spy ... a charade that eventually exposes the real spy.


*Pearce and Tobias play an inquisitive wife and her disinterested husband, in roles not unlike the ones they played at the time on the television series Bewitched.

Robert Vaughn, famous at the time for playing "Napoleon Solo" on the TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., makes a very brief appearance as a sight gag in a non-speaking role; the theme from his TV series is also heard when he is seen onscreen.


Shooting partly took place on Catalina Island. It was Rod Taylor's second film with Doris Day following Do Not Disturb.[2]

The Nautilus boat used in the film sank in the Catalina harbor in 2008. it is currently drydocked in a private part of the island.

The mermaid costume worn by Doris Day in the opening scene is now on display at the Catalina Casino and can be viewed on the Casino tour.


The film's score was composed by Frank DeVol, and includes selections from Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5 in C minor," Mendelssohn's "Wedding March in C major," "Aloha 'Oe" (written by Queen Liliuokalani) and Goldsmith's "Theme From The Man From U.N.C.L.E."

Day sings the a shortened version of "Soft as the Starlight" (written by Joe Lubin and Jerome Howard), which she previously sang in its entirety on the 1957 album Day by Night. The song "The Glass Bottom Boat" is a re-arrangement of "Soft as the Starlight" with completely different lyrics and is heard twice in the film: Over the opening credits, sung by Day; and again as source music sung by Day, Taylor, Godfrey and Fraser. Day also sings a single verse from her signature song, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" (written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans). Dick Martin sings a brief a cappella rendition of "Be My Love" (written by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky)


The movie was an attempt to appeal to both Day's traditional fans and a younger audience. It was a success financially, earning $4,320,000 in North American rentals by the end of 1966.[3][4]

It earned admissions in France of 21,752.[5]

She followed it with the 1967 movie Caprice with the same director and a similar scenario but it was a critical and commercial failure.


The DVD of The Glass Bottom Boat (released in 2005) includes three vintage featurettes (Catalina Island, Every Girl's Dream, and NASA), as well as the Oscar-Winning cartoon The Dot and the Line.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p119-120
  3. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  4. ^ Slifkin p.43
  5. ^ French box office for 1967 at Box Office Story


  • Slifkin, Irv. VideoHound's groovy movies: far-out films of the psychedelic era. Visible Ink Press, 2004.

External links[edit]