ESG once famously complained, “sample credits don’t pay our bills”, but every now and then, there’s an film/tv/adverstising enterprise so devoted to cost-cutting, they find it cheaper to commission original (albeit highly generic) music than pay for the real thing. So perhaps that’s why Mellow Mel’s astonishing “Dr. K” (above) never made the cut when the Mets marketing department completed production on “Doc : The Dwight Gooden Story”, a straight-to-VHS documentary Faith & Fear In Flushing’s Greg Prince describes as the product of Gooden’s 1991 contract extension. Much as it is hard to understand today why the Mets felt they could justify paying Gooden $750,000 for 3 videos (2 of which, presumably were never completed), the clause was the subject of derision in 1991, too. Still, Prince insists the video — still available if you have $20 burning a hole in your pocket — is “a perfectly legal 50 minutes of baseball entertainment…it remains alternately cheerful and depressing, depending on your Met mood.” So why all the fuss over Werner Herzog having his name removed?
“Doc” is clearly a curio from its time, both for production values and content. Anybody who’s excessively watched An Amazin’ Era or A Year to Remember will recognize it as emanating from the same basic school of Met video storytelling, save for the lack of a recognizable soundtrack. Amazin’, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Mets franchise, and Remember, the tribute to our second world championship, were both made in 1986, when MTV’s influence was cresting. Thus, “real” music was a must, whether you were setting highlights to Petula Clark and Neil Diamond (An Amazin’ Era) or Duran Duran and Bob Seger (A Year to Remember).
By 1991, the Mets weren’t paying the necessary rights fees to use anything you’d ever heard, though an original hip hop theme, “Doctor Doctor” was composed for the occasion — credited to Richard Fiocca and D.C. Smooth. Though it focuses on Gooden and his ability to throw strikes, “Doctor Doctor” is not to be confused with Mellow Mel’s 1986 recording, “Dr. K,” nor, for that matter, Robert Palmer’s 1979 hit, “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)”.
Nothing about Dwight Gooden’s synthesizer was mentioned in the credits, but crafting scores for video productions was about the only thing Doc couldn’t do if you believed Doc. And why wouldn’t we? Who was going to buy this thing except Mets fans for whom Dwight Gooden indeed represented heart and soul, even at the late date of winter 1991-1992?