Last year at this time, I posted a fond tribute to actress Sherry Jackson on the occasion of her 70th birthday. Back then, I’d heard about Jackson’s performance in director Blake Edwards’ 1967 film, Gunn, a big-screen adaptation of his 1958-1961 TV series, Peter Gunn, in which the polished private eye of the title (played again by Craig Stevens) investigated the assassination of a crime boss. (Mystery*File says the picture’s plot line was expanded from “The Kill,” the TV series’ 1958 pilot, but “with some fine variations--at least one borrowed from Mickey Spillane’s Vengeance Is Mine.”) Having never watched Gunn, though, I had also never enjoyed the lovely Ms. Jackson’s appearance in it as “a beautiful and mysterious kook who shows up naked in Gunn’s bed.”
Well, 12 months later, I still haven’t seen Gunn; sadly, no DVD edition is yet to be had. But recently, I discovered on the Web the scene from that movie--now embedded at the top of this post--in which Jackson introduces her character, Samantha, to Stevens’ gumshoe from the comfort of his very own bedroom pillows, wrapped in barely concealing bedsheets (though she was also wearing pasties--something not obvious to filmgoers). It’s a sweet, lighthearted, and sexy interlude--and apparently not Jackson’s sole half-clad moment during this flick’s 94-minute run. At least part of one such episode was evidently cut from the version made available to prudish American viewers, leading to the story that a nude scene featuring Jackson was found only in foreign prints. In a 2011 interview, Jackson sought to set the record straight:
Doing the notorious foreign market nude scene--which is total nonsense--it doesn’t really exist ... I’m supposed to put my arms around Gunn and my towel drops ... So Blake [Edwards] comes up to me and, very fatherly, says, “I just want to pull the camera back a couple of feet when your towel comes down.” He was very gentle and thoughtful about it and made it easier for me ... I think he was more nervous than I was! That said, the most you saw--and briefly--was the side of my breast. That was it--the scandalous overseas graphic sequence! Another Hollywood urban legend.It’s difficult to believe, watching the motion-picture clip above, that more than 45 years have passed since its shooting, and Sherry Jackson--who was in her mid-20s in Gunn--is 71 years old today. Please join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays!
SEE IT NOW: Two more things you might enjoy watching--the opening title sequence from Gunn and a collection of scenes from that film, both of which can be found here.
READ MORE: “Gunn (1967) -- Blake Edwards,” by John Greco
(Twenty Four Frames).