Doctor… WHOOP, WHOOP… Detroit
Theme from Doctor Detroit by Devo from the Soundtrack, Doctor Detroit
First week of June, 1983
I’d seen this film when I was about 10 years old. To my pre-pubescent dismay, there wasn’t nearly the gratuitous nudity you’d expect from a movie about a goofy college professor turned flamboyant pimp. The aforementioned pimp, played by Dan Akroyd, had an absurdly strong pimp hand, I believe it was metal in fact. Pimp hand aside though, the most memorable part of the movie is Dan Akroyd speedwalking in short shorts and rearview mirrors on his eyeglasses – this was of course, before he was pimpified. The theme song, performed by DEVO is fun and bouncy but not the sound bite I remember most from the film which is “DOC-TOR… whoo, whoo, DE-TROIT”. That little chorus from I can’t remember where in the movie is burned mercilessly into my mind’s soundtrack.
So it seemed reasonable to me that when I met my wife’s family for the first time, that this was on repeat in my subconscious. I was after all in a suburb of Detroit. I didn’t quite shake my future father-in-law’s hand and say “oh sir, I really love your city, the work you’ve done with the auto industry and oh, that Doctor Detroit, now that’s cinema” but it was close. In the course of the weekend, I managed to bring up Doctor Detroit to every member of her family under the age of 40. Every single time I got an uncomfortable stare that read, ‘who the hell is this weird Armenian kid and why is he here?’ Then of course, they’d make me sing it and I’d oblige. It was an initiation of sorts except they didn’t laugh or join in the fun. I’d simply sing the song, do a little dance and then wait for a glimmer of recognition which never came. Somehow, I think they admired my ability to make a complete maroon out of myself in any situation. Either that or they felt bad because they weren’t quite sure if I was a ward of the state.
Meanwhile, you want to talk about real maroons, check out a svelte Dan Akroyd speedwalking in the Doctor Detroit video.
Best Part: The happiest song ever made about Detroit.
- Nick Jezarian