Taglines: He’s making the world safe for insanity.
Introverted geek Clifford Skridlow (Dan Aykroyd) is a professor of comparative literature at the financially strapped (fictional) Monroe College in Chicago.
Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman), a pimp, owes $80,000 to “Mom” (Kate Murtagh), a gruff Chicago mob boss. Attempting to weasel out of his debt, Smooth invents a fictitious mobster, the flamboyant “Doctor Detroit,” a ruthless chiropractor who allegedly is overrunning Smooth’s turf. Clifford meets Smooth and his girls Monica (Donna Dixon), Jasmine (Lydia Lei), Karen (Fran Drescher), and Thelma (Lynn Whitfield), and has the best night of his life partying with them.
The next morning, during a faculty meeting, Clifford learns about their troubles with Mom, that Smooth has skipped town, and that according to Smooth, they are now Clifford’s girls. Clifford agrees to assume the persona of Doctor Detroit in an effort to help them out of the jam they are in.
Meanwhile, the Monroe College awaits the anticipated corporate endowment from Rousehorn Consolidated Industries, that will be presented by its CEO, Harmon Rousehorn (Andrew Duggan), and will allow the college to remain open. While Clifford is teaching classes, grading papers, catering a faculty party and assisting in hosting the visiting CEO, his Doctor Detroit alter ego has to find a way to get Thelma out of a solicitation charge; hold Mom at bay; and appear at the Players Ball to be proclaimed the new King of the Pimps while simultaneously appearing at Monroe College’s annual Alumni Dinner.
When Mom shows up at the Players Ball, she figures out that Doctor Detroit and Professor Skridlow are one and the same, and duels him with sword-length kebab skewers in front of the assembled academics. Following the defeat of Mom, the two functions combine into one joyous, spectacular party, as the ultimate fates of the characters are learned.
Doctor Detroit is a 1983 American comedy film directed by Michael Pressman with writing by Bruce Jay Friedman, Carl Gottlieb, and Robert Boris. The film stars Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, Lynn Whitfield, Fran Drescher, and Donna Dixon, with a special appearance by James Brown.
James Brown performed the theme song “Get Up Offa That Thing/Dr. Detroit.” Devo performed “Theme from Doctor Detroit” and “Luv-Luv” and released an EP, including “Theme from Doctor Detroit,” “Luv-Luv,” and a remix of the theme song. Devo also produced a music video from the theme song incorporating footage from the film.
Doctor Detroit (1983)
Directed by: Michael Pressman
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, George Furth, James Brown, T. K. Carter, Donna Dixon, Fran Drescher, Lydia Lei, Lynn Whitfield
Screenplay by: Carl Gottlieb
Production Design by: Lawrence G. Paull
Cinematography by: King Baggot
Film Editing by: Christopher Greenbury
Costume Design by: Betsy Cox
Set Decoration by: Hal Gausman
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: May 6, 1983