Funny, What April Fools Will Do
Aries’ children have great vitality and physical energy and a great love of independence. I wasn’t surprised to discover that Doris Day is an Aries child, but I was as surprised as Doris to learn that she was born on the same April day—the third—as Marlon Brando. At first, second and third glance; Doris and Marlon seem to have nothing in common, although they’ve both achieved the dubious honor of collecting sour apples from the Hollywood Women’s Press Club. Doris, however, seems to be a serious down-to-earth young woman, without any pixieishness in her soul. As for Marlon, I sometimes wonder if he even has a soul; he puts such a high picket fence around it.
But the stars don’t lie—in the heavens, I mean—for they say that Aries should beware of carrying their spirit of independence too far—into egocentricity—or attempting to be original and ending up only being novel. Words of wisdom for Marlon? Maybe. And certainly it’s true—the planet that gave the light of Day to Doris and Brando gave them an equal measure of harum-scarum April foolishness—and forgetfulness.
Like when Doris put fifty fruit-and-nut cakes in the back of her car to deliver as Christmas gifts. This is a perennial Yuletide gift from her mother to their friends. Three months later, they were driving to church on Easter, when her mother, to make conversation more than anything else, said casually, “It’s funny, Doris, but no one told me they liked my Christmas cake this year. I waited for someone to call, but no one has.” The blond turned red, struck her head and screamed. While her bewildered mother watched, Doris stopped the car, ran to the trunk and opened up the back. Fifty very moldy fruit cakes stared reproachfully up at her!
There was the time, too, when Doris was driving with her husband Marty Melcher, and he was talking very seriously about her career. She was staring out of the window and in the middle of some facts and figures on boxoffice grosses, Doris dreamily said, “Yes, but what color are we going to have for the dining-room draperies?” No wonder her mother calls her Miss Priscilla Pre-occupied.
Everyone has heard about Mr. Brando’s famous raccoon. When Marlon was in Chicago to promote one of his pictures, the local exhibitors and studio press agents begged and begged him to tell them what they could do to make his stay more pleasant.
“You really want to help me?” Marlon asked.
“Oh yes, oh yes,” they told him.
“There’s only one thing I want,” said the “different” actor.
“Name it and it’s yours,” they chorused.
“Get a mate for my raccoon,” Brando requested.
I’m not surprised at all that Paul Douglas and Jan Sterling—she was born April 3; he, April 11—are so congenial. They both have the same crazy sense of humor, When someone asked an recently, “Does Paul have any hobbies?” she replied, “He certainly does. Getting married. I’m his fifth, you know.”
The stars say Jan and Paul are typical Aries who bubble over with so much life and energy that it’s often difficult to curb them and hold them within the limits of safety or common sense. Now take their house. Shortly after Paul and Jan married, they called me very excitedly to tell of the new home they had rented. “There are seventeen rooms,” said Paul.
“The swimming pool is half a mile long,” added Jan.
“But how. much is it?” said the very practical I.
“That’s the best part of it,” said Paul. “We’re getting it for nothing—practically.”
Three months later, Jan and Paul were munching miserably at Chasen’s. “How’s the new house?” I asked brightly.
“It isn’t,” replied Jan morosely.
“You see,” said Paul, “the rent was cheap, but we needed ten servants to run the place and they cost us $2,000 a month.”
“That was bad enough,” interrupted Jan. “But there were so many rooms that whenever I wanted to talk to Paul I had to send out a search party.”
Janie Powell, too, was born in April—the 1st—and has a sense of humor with a touch of April Fool zaniness all mixed up with her propriety. Janie thought the policeman was playing a joke when he stopped her car on the way to the church to marry Pat Nerney and said, “You’re speeding.”
Janie smiled her sweetest smile and told the officer, “I’m on my way to be married.” The policeman looked at her licenses—wedding and driver’s—smiled just as sweetly and handed her a ticket.
But Janie knew it as a joke when the the best man, who was supposed to pick her up and take her to the church, went there without Jane and when the frantic bridegroom asked, “Where’s Janie?” the best man groaned, “Oh, I forgot about her.”
And it was Jane’s turn to forget when she left the lonely matching coat for her pretty Helen Rose-designed wedding dress at home. Janie remembered the coat at the reception and insisted on going back for it, then wore the coat for the rest of the evening!
It was showering in April when Howard Keel bawled his first song on earth. Howard tells me he hates all forms of practical jokes. But it was different when he started life as a struggling short-order cook. He flipped flapjacks into customers’ laps with the greatest of ease. Of course he could have slipped on a flap—as he explained to the boss. Today, he still retains a bit of the old whimsy. How about his naming his two children with a K for Keel—Kaiya and Kristine. But he wants to break the daisy chain and get a boy next time (in the spring tra la).
The first ambition of the Aries is to be first. A professional competitor, his object is not the material gain so much as the glory. He’s always one step ahead of everyone else; has the first word, often the last, too, in any argument and frequently wins by sheer vim and vigor. A true Aries, Debbie Reynolds made her first appearance on earth on April 1st, and as her friends will confirm, Debbie is the despair and delight of all who know her. You never know what she will say. I was there when Russ Tamblyn asked if she had a comb he could borrow.
“Over there,” said Debbie.
Giving it back, Rusty said, “Thanks for the use of the comb, Debbie.”
“Not at all,” said Deb. “That’s the one I use for my French poodle.”
Grace Kelly does the next best thing to being an April child. She rooms with one, Rita Gam, when they are both in Hollywood. And what fun these femmes have. When they answer the phone, each prankster pretends to be the other, makes appointments, cancels dates and makes for merry madness all down the line. Rita once confessed to me that she used to be afraid of telephones. She’d always get tongue-tied when offered a job. Not now. She makes big entrances at parties, then gets bored and is the first to leave. She refuses to learn to ‘drive a car. Hates housework, but doesn’t love orchids. And loathes all forms of outdoor sports. I’m not sure what she means, but Rita who lives mostly in the East, claims that Hollywood has given her a split personality. Serious and ardent in all they undertake is what the stars say about April’s children. They cannot go into anything half-heartedly and, therefore, if they once decided upon a cause—social, political, religious—they’ll work for that cause with all the vim and vigor of their energetic natures. Sounds like Bill Holden, doesn’t it? Bill was born April the 17th. I remember last year when Bill won the Oscar for “Stalag 17.” There was a party for him at Chasen’s later. He was embarrassed to flaunt his Oscar so his wife Brenda Marshall, who wasn’t, carried it under her fur coat. Later when Bill and Brenda drove happily home in their brand-new Cadillac and Bill could show his ecstaticism, he whirled into his driveway on a one finger turn and smashed that beautiful car on a square, very square, cement post.
Gregory Peck chalks up thirty-nine years on the fifth of April. This charming sprite in male clothing betrays a terrific sense of humor with his eyes. But he’s been too busy nowadays for foolish pranks. And he has been so rushed in the past two years—filming in Rome, Ceylon and Britain—that even the children he loves best in the world haven’t seen too much of him. But they remember that no matter how tired he was when he came home from the studio, he was never too exhausted to get on all fours and make like a bear and play with them.
It’s said that when an Aries child becomes addicted to a particular habit, he’ll throw all his energy into satisfying this whim. Maybe this is the reason why Spencer Tracy is called King of the Gags and Prince of Procrastination. This prime character, born April 5, makes five thousand reservations for every trip. He hates the bother of packing and changes his mind about leaving town a thousand times. So all steamship and airline companies know that 999 times out of a thousand, Mr. Tracy will cancel.
It was “e who pinned the “King” tag on Clark Gable. One of the big pools named Clark, “Monarch of the Movies.” The next time Gable went to his dressing room, he fell over a huge crown labeled King—a gift from his best friend, Mr. Tracy.
During the filming of “Broken Lance,” Spencer kidded a lot with young Robert Wagner who worshipped him. They were discussing a role and Robert said, “Gee, I’d like to do that, but I’m too young.” “Listen kid,” said Spence, “by the time we get through this film, you’ll be too old.”
And during a scene on location, director Eddie Dmytryk asked Spencer to ride over the hill into camera range. “That’s a steep hill,” complained Spencer.
“Don’t you think you can do it?” the director jeered.
“I’ll give it a try,” said Tracy hesitantly, adding, “but it’s a very tricky ride.” The cameras rolled and the horse appeared over the hill, but the saddle was empty! Dmytryk went white with fright. He was afraid to think of what had happened to his star, let alone the delay in production. That is—until he saw Tracy coming over the hill, bent over with laughter. That’s what I call a scary joke—even for an April fooler.
For those April foolers born after the 20th of the month, their star sign is Taurus and they’re reputed to be amicable and kind, strong and determined and at lovers of food—rich, heavy food. Perhaps this had something to do with Celeste Holm’s joke while working in “Carnival in Rio.” The first scene called for a banquet setting with real food. Heavy food. Celeste, who was born April 29, deliberately blew her lines so that everyone at the groaning board really groaned, trying to get the food down, take after take. Another food funny on the zany Celeste. She was eating spaghetti at an outdoor restaurant in the Farmers’ Market. A stranger at the next table was also eating the same delectable dish. When Celeste had cleaned her own plate, she calmly leaned across to the next table and swiped a forkful of spaghetti from the very startled luncheoner. And more to do with food. When Celeste flies, passengers can’t believe their eyes. when she joins the stewardess to serve lunch or dinner. One convivial flyer asked her, “Has anyone ever told you you’re the spitting image of Celeste Holm?” “I’m not only her image; I’m her,” replied Holm.
Ann Miller, who’s one of them April foolers, describes people who are born in April as full of energy and fast thinking. But she says ye be not as gay as people think. It’s just t they put up a funny front. I’d describe Ann as a very bubble personality and very amusing. She usually says the first thing that pops into her mind. I’m reminded of when she was visiting wounded GI’s in a hospital. And as she left them, beamed the message, “Cheer up, better luck next time.” And when someone was discussing Fred Astaire’s sister Adele, who married the son of the Duke of Devonshire, Ann was told that Adele lived in the very ancient Lismore Castle in Ireland. “When did she buy it?” she asked innocently.
There was, too, that party Ann gave to celebrate the engagement of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Eddie was in New York, but that didn’t stop Annie. She rigged up a dummy to look like Eddie, pinned this note to his lapel—“It was a rough trip honey, but I made it.”
Corinne Calvet comes under the sign of Taurus, having been born the 30th of April. And like a true Taurian, Corinne has a deep sense of loyalty and a stay-with-it attitude. Most Taurians are strong and determined and will set up a goal for themselves, working with patience and persistence until they a success of it.
Take, for instance, Corinne’s persistence. When the Chicago Chamber of Commerce bet the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce that a of ice would melt faster in Chicago than in L.A., Corinne went into action and, because we had one of our unusually cold days, sat on the ice to melt it, so saving the honor of her adopted city.
Bette Davis is an example Aries, having the qualities of individualism and egotism which can make a creative genius—for the mind is keen when it is well disciplined. She also has the Aries ability to dominate those around, with a fine courageous spirit that’s confident and the rock of strength.
Bette was born forty-seven years ago, April 5, 1908. And in Bette all the off-beat characteristics burst through at the seams. In the first place this gal never lies about her age. And in a woman that’s almost en evidence to be declared insane. She’s as unpredictable as the weather of her natal month. She’s lusty, gusty, eats like a stevedore, talks like one sometimes. But when you least expect it—just like an April shower—Bette can be the Greatest Lady you ever saw outside of a Gainsborough portrait.
How about your April chums? Are they sedate or scintillating, and as a group, different from the rest of us Virgos, Leos, Capricorns and what have you’s? Personally, I’m a Virgo, but right now I feel like an April flower that’s about to bloom in May. Even writing about them is contagious.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE APRIL 1955