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The gregarious Alfred P. Doolittle is the father of the cockney flower girl, Eliza, in George Bernard Shaw's classic play, Pygmalion. Although Doolittle only makes a few appearances in the play, they are virtually all scene-stealers. He is a poor dustman, and he has not been a good father to his daughter. He shows up when he needs money but is perfectly happy as long as he has enough to spend drinking and carousing in the local pub. Although Doolittle complains about "middle-class morality," he is suddenly vaulted into a higher social and economic class when he inherits three thousand pounds yearly (thanks to Henry Higgins' philanthropy connections) to lecture about moral reform. Of course, Doolittle is totally morally unrepentant whether he is wealthy or penniless. Despite his many faults, Doolittle is presented by Shaw as a humorous and sympathetic rascal whose rich characterization becomes a classic of the English theatre. Doolittle's later re-creation in My Fair Lady--perhaps the greatest musical of them all--features two memorable Lerner and Loewe songs: "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church on Time."
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