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Charleston Party

Hollywood, like the rest of the land, is going back to the early Twenties. Among other things, the Charleston is with us again, rather, we’re with it, and the ways of the Flappers, the Slick Chicks, the Jellybeans, the Drugstore Cowboys, the Cake Eaters and the Lounge Lizards also are in evidence.

All of which brings us, happily, to the David Brians’ (Adrian Booth) Charleston party. David and Adrian, having about completed their dreamy hilltop home, began thinking of a party. They wanted it to be something different. Then photographs from the Broadway musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” supplied the inspiration for a party with a “Roaring Twenties” theme.

Adrian, whose first job was as a social hostess in a fashionable hotel, knows a good party is no accident but requires planning. With Dave helping her, she made sure everything was done true to the Charleston period. They invited the Edmond O’Briens (Olga San Juan—only for obvious reasons, Eddie now calls her Olga San Two), Ruth Roman and Anthony Curtis, Joan Evans and Carleton Carpenter—asking them to come in costume. Which meant the girls raided the studio wardrobes for low-waisted, heavily beaded, short-skirted dresses, long strings of pearls and dangling earrings, while the men concentrated on blazers, spats, belted-back jackets and turtleneck sweaters.

Adrian decorated the house with crepe paper streamers, planned a menu that was not in the Crepes Suzettes class (because those were hotdog days, really), and gathered old records from the studio library. For a table centerpiece she created a miniature Central Park. She used the back of the chess board for the park and trimmed it with tiny trees, little paper characters, mirror lakes and gay umbrellas. And instead of the usual lap-balancing routine, tiny folding tables were provided for the buffet paper plates that fitted into tin trays. As it turned out, this was a party with practically no career talk. No one sat still long enough.

The games were well-planned. For miniature golf, the outdoor rage of the twenties, Dave and Adrian made a course on the living room floor with empty peanut cans, golf balls and a couple of putters. There was a word game, too, almost in the class of the old spelling bee. Dave and Adrian printed cards with words most frequently mispronounced. This caused a much-heated controversy, of course. But there was always Webster as the final authority. Eddie O’Brien was the winner! “Guess What” was the real stickler of the evening. Adrian raided her refrigerator, garden and cupboards to find things to put on a huge tray. Object: To see which blindfolded guest could, by the touch method, guess correctly the greatest number of items on the tray. And here were some of the things: Uncooked beef kidneys, a mushroom, a decorative piece of stone moss used for flower arrangements, and some other weird things. Little Joan Evans guessed nine out of the twelve objects, winning by a landslide.

The choice of dinner partners, always a matter of importance, was planned in a unique way. Adrian wrote the name of each girl on a card and tied the card to a gay ribbon streamer. The cards then were dropped into a vase with the streamers hanging out so each man could choose a streamer and win the girl whose name was on the card for his partner. The partners held for the Charleston contest, too. The prize was a mug won by Edmond O’Brien and Adrian. However, the dancing was not confined to the steps of the twenties. Joan and Carleton Carpenter, who won his first screen fame for his jitterbug number in “Lost Boundaries” did a fast jitterbug number of the forties. And, before the evening was over, there was a little bit of “Swing Your Lady” in a square dance, shades of 1880.

Since the Brians started the Charleston ball rolling, everyone is doing it, doing it! Mr. and Mrs. William Bendix recently won a Charleston contest at Mocambo. Dixieland records are selling like mad. And producers are including Charleston sequences in new pictures. Joan Evans in “Billion Dollar Baby” will play a flapper.

At the Brians’, it became obvious that food is an important item at a Charleston party, that this dance does things to appetites. The food just vanished—and what food!

Avocado, banana and bleu cheese hors d’oeuvres, chili con mushrooms, cranberry delight, cottage cheese with red cabbage shells, shoestring potatoes, biscuits, Blitz torte and coffee.


Soften ½ lb. bleu cheese and ½ lb. cream cheese. Beat until fluffy and mix in 4 tbsp. mayonnaise and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowl, surrounded by potato chips for dunking.


Clean 2 bunches tiny green onions thoroughly and chop very fine, tops and all. Mix with 3 lbs. creamed-style cottage cheese and 2 tbsp. sugar. Place in large bowl. Separate head of red cabbage very carefully. Toward the center, there are tiny curly shell-shaped pieces. Decorate the edges and center with the red cabbage shells. A most attractive color combination!


Cut into small pieces and cook in a large heavy skillet until crisp:

½ lb. bacon


2 cups finely chopped onion

3 Ibs. ground beef, broken up

Fry until browned, stirring gently.


2 (No. 2%) cans red kidney beans

4 cans condensed tomato soup

1 (2 oz.) can grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. chili powder

2 (4 oz.) cans button mushrooms

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 cans beer

1 tsp. garlic salt

½ tsp. salt

Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, 2 hours. Add more water from time to time as needed.



2 envelopes gelatine

½ cup cold water

Let stand 5 minutes. Combine in saucepan:

2 (16 oz.) cans whole cranberry sauce

1 (6 oz.) can frozen orange juice

1 cup crushed pineapple and juice

Add softened gelatine and bring to boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, until gelatine dissolves (about 5 minutes). Pour into 1½ qt. mold and chill at least 4 hours. Unmold and serve.


Beat with spoon until fluffy:

½ cup butter or margarine

Beat in gradually:

½ cup sugar

Add, one at a time, beating well after each addition:

4 egg yolks

Mix and sift together:

1½ cups sifted flour

1 tsp. baking powder

4 tsp. salt

Add to batter a small amount at a time | alternately with:

3 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Spread in 2 well-greased 8 cake pans. Beat until stiff but not dry: 4 egg whites. Combine:

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Add to egg whites, 2 tbsp. at a time. Add 1 tbsp. Vanilla.

Beat until stiff and glossy. Then spread over cake batter in pans. Sprinkle with: ½ cup chopped walnuts.

Bake in slow oven (300° F.) 40 minutes or until firm and well-browned. Let cool slightly, then remove from pans.


½ cup sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

Add gradually: 1½ cups milk.

Heat gently over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

Beat well: 1 egg.

Add hot milk gradually, stirring constantly. Return to heat and cook until thickened. Spread between meringues. Cool and serve.

(David Brian will be seen in “The Victim,” Edmond O’Brien in “Once Over Lightly,” Adrian Booth in “Rock Island Trail,” Ruth Roman in “Barricade,” Carleton Carpenter in “Summer Stock” and Anthony Curtis in “I Was a Shoplifter.”)



It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1950

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