Baby it’s bad out there

There is a charming scene in the 1949 MGM movie Neptune’s Daughter in which Betty Garrett’s character wants Red Skelton’s character to stay over, and he makes a show of resisting, before happily agreeing in the end to stay. It’s a delightfully playful exchange between two characters who clearly adore each other, and it’s all done to the now classic Frank Loesser song Baby It’s Cold Outside, which had its cinematic premiere in this film.

There’s one moment where Red Skelton, trying to find a graceful excuse to say yes, looks at his glass and says “Say, what’s in this drink?” In recent cultural discussions, some people have used that line of dialog to claim a connection between this scene of mutual seduction and Bill Cosby’s infamous use of date rape drugs.

This leads to all sorts of interesting questions. If Betty Garrett’s character had succeeded in knocking out Red Skelton’s character with drugs, would that then have allowed her to have her sexual way with him? It seems to me that a man passed out unconscious on her bed wouldn’t have been much fun at all.

So how could a suggestion of date rape possibly have been the filmmakers’ intention here? Am I missing something?

One Response to “Baby it’s bad out there”

  1. sharon says:

    Interesting! I didn’t know that history of the song (and I’ve never seen that movie). I just looked it up on Wikipedia, which says:

    In the film Neptune’s Daughter the song is first performed by Ricardo Montalb├ín and Esther Williams, then by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton but with a comic parody twist: this time the man wants to leave and the woman is the host and wants him to stay.

    So perhaps it wasn’t really meant to make complete sense in the Betty Garrett/Red Skelton version. Just the idea of the role reversal would have been amusing, I imagine.

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