Great Moments in Don Lockwood's Totally Made-Up History
Don starts narrating his life story. He's known Cosmo since they were little kids. Oh, and he's had one motto that he's always lived by: "Dignity. Always dignity."
While he narrates in voice-over, we see flashbacks to great moments in Don Lockwood history.
He says his parents sent him to the finest schools, and he regularly performed for their society friends, and—what's this? Hold up. Don's full of it. While his narration suggests a very distinguished upbringing, the flashbacks tell a totally different tale. Those society friends? A bunch of dudes in a smoky pool hall.
He continues: Mom and Dad frequently took him to the theater and raised him on classics like those by Shaw and Molière, he says. Meanwhile, we see him and Cosmo sneaking into a movie called The Dangers of Drucilla. Pretty sure that's not a Molière joint.
Don received "rigorous musical training at the conservatory of fine arts," he says. Meanwhile, we see him playing the fiddle, and Cosmo playing the piano, in a band in a noisy bar.
They "rounded out" their apprenticeship at "the most exclusive dramatics academy," Don says. We next see him and Cosmo performing a boisterous, hammy, vaudeville routine at Amateur Night. "Dignity. Always dignity," Don reminds us. What a liar.
Then they went on a "dance concert" tour, playing the finest symphony halls, Don says. We see that they toured vaudeville halls in sophisticated towns like Dead Man's Fang, Arizona; Oatmeal, Nebraska; and Coyoteville, New Mexico (Population: 36).
The montage of mistruths slows down for a moment, and we see Don and Cosmo perform "Fit as a Fiddle" in full, and in some seriously tacky suits. It's an upbeat, funny, fast-paced number where they dance and play—you guessed it—fiddles. It's also more than a little bit hammy. So, in other words, some seriously decent vaudeville.
"Audiences everywhere adored us," Don says, as we see "Fit as a Fiddle" get thoroughly booed.
("Fit as a Fiddle" is one of only two songs that were written originally for the movie. The rest are all recycled tunes from other MGM musicals that were written by Singin' in the Rain's producer, Arthur Freed (source). We guess that's one way to put out a greatest hits record.)
We resume Don's fabricated life story. He explains that it was finally time to go to sunny California, where the offers started pouring in. Meanwhile, we see Don and Cosmo grimacing in front of an employment office in the pouring rain.
Don tells us they decided to take Monumental Pictures' offer, making it sound like they had a bunch of competing offers. They didn't. We see Don and Cosmo playing background music on the set of a western starring Lina.
They're shooting an old-timey bar fight. When the stuntman gets knocked out trying to take a punch, Don volunteers to take his place.
Don takes the punch, and goes flying head over heels over the bar. Dexter, the director, absolutely loves it, and thus begins Don's illustrious career as a stuntman: We see him crash a plane, ride a motorcycle off a cliff, and run into a building that promptly explodes. He was like a human crash test dummy.
Meanwhile, he tells Dora his roles in these films were "urbane, sophisticated, suave." Sure, buddy.
Don explains that Lina was always there, too. She was warm, helpful, a real lady. Yeah, right. We see Don introducing himself to Lina on set. She doesn't speak to him and basically looks at him like he has tentacles.
She changes her tune pretty quickly, though, when Dexter introduces Don to the film's producer, R.F. Simpson. Turns out R.F. is a big fan of Don's work. In fact, he was amazed to find that all of those stunts were done by just one guy.
Suddenly, Lina's interested. Don's not having it, though, and he blows her off. She kicks him in the butt. Obviously. Because that's a grown-up response.
Meanwhile, we hear Don suggest to Dora that this was the start of their wonderful working relationship.
Don repeats his made-up motto a third and final time—say it with him now—"Dignity. Always dignity."
Dora wishes Don and Lina well, and the pair heads into the premiere with Cosmo.