Conrad Birdie, arguably the biggest rock and roll superstar in the world, has just been drafted, which brings his legion of teen-aged female fans marching in the streets in protest. One other person not happy about Birdie being drafted is struggling songwriter Albert F. Peterson, a mama's boy of a man who was finally going to hit the big time when one of his songs was to be featured in a Birdie movie. Rosie DeLeon, Albert's long suffering secretary and fiancée of six years, pitches an idea to Ed Sullivan: have Birdie appear on his television program, The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) kissing one of his fans as a symbolic goodbye to all his fans, while he sings a yet to be written song by Albert to be called "One Last Kiss". Sullivan buys the idea. Rosie is hoping that this move will bring financial security to Albert, who will then be able to support his mama, ex-vaudevillian Mae Peterson who wanted Albert to go into show business instead of his want to become a bio-chemist, and marry her (of course if Mama allows the marriage, she who doesn't even know they're engaged). The fan chosen is Kim McAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio. Up until being chosen as the recipient of Birdie's kiss, Kim's sole focus in life was being pinned by her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody. Birdie's presence in Sweet Apple brings up many issues which may thwart Rosie and Albert's plans, including a jealous Hugo, an exasperated Harry McAfee (Kim's father), and a ballooning line-up on the show, all these problems which Rosie and Albert try to manage. The ultimate problem may be outside of Rosie and Albert's control, except for a little assistance of some bio-chemistry hopefully to solve the problem. Regardless, Rosie, in the end, may only be able to take so much of Albert siding with Mama instead of her.
Did you know?
Conrad Birdie was a parody of Elvis Presley and the play was based upon the furor that arose from Presley being drafted in 1958. The character's name, however, was the result of composers Charles Strouse and Lee Adams finding the name of real-life singer Conway Twitty far more humorous and safer to parody than Elvis. Interestingly, Conway Twitty was in the US Army first, before starting his singing career. Ironically, the show's producers originally wanted Presley for the role of Conrad Birdie. Presley was interested, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, refused to let Presley play a role spoofing himself. Read More