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Have A Beautiful Time—Rhonda Fleming

Recently, Rhonda Fleming had occasion to visit Uncle Bernie’s Toy Menagerie in Beverly Hills. She settled herself quietly among the dolls to wait for the photographer who was to photograph her for the March of Dimes. Suddenly, she saw a woman customer point at her and say to the salesman, “Is that a doll?”

Many a man has said what the lady said. In fact all the eligible males in Hollywood, not to mention the ineligibles, have made with the wolf whistle when they glimpsed Rhonda. She has them spinning. Happy they would be to say to Uncle Bernie, “Wrap her up and I’ll take her home.”

Rhonda, a natural redhead, long and slim of limb, with features so perfect that just looking at her sends her cinema competition scurrying to a psychiatrist, is one of the real beauties of Hollywood. Technicolor, of course, is her cup of tea. Second only to Maureen O’Hara who has an edge on her in the number of pictures, she is generally acclaimed Hollywood’s Technicolor Queen. Photographers say of her, “Even a jerk can’t take a bad picture of Rhonda.”

With all this beauty, you’d expect her to be dull. But she isn’t. Beneath the gorgeous red hair is a brain. She works it overtime. And she worries.

Traveling is old felt hat to most of the Hollywood beauties. They’re a gallivanting lot. But until a few months ago, twenty-six-year-old Rhonda had never been on a trip. Born in Los Angeles, educated in grammar schools and high school in Beverly Hills, Rhonda has always been perfectly content with the City of the Angels. She is not the restless type. So, when her boss, David O. Selznick, arranged a personal appearance tour for her, Rhonda was delighted and a little bit frightened.

The tour lasted nine weeks. In the mornings there were rehearsals, press interviews, luncheons with exhibitors and townspeople. Followed by five shows. Rather strenuous. “It was the first time I ever had to take care of my clothes,” said Rhonda, who has been conditioned to studio spoiling and pampering. “It was rugged. There was no one to do my pressing or take care of rips and tears.”

Packing was a prize pain in the neck for, never having taken a trip before, Rhonda knew none of the tricks of a successful packer. When she arrived in the first city, St. Louis, and opened her luggage, she was greeted with thousands of wrinkles. She sat down and cried. And it was only the beginning of nine weeks of trains and hotels, packing and unpacking. She put through an SOS call to her friend Edith Head, chief costume designer at Paramount Studios.

Edith gave her some excellent suggestions. Those who are planning a vacation trip this summer will find them helpful. After all, on a much-looked-forward-to vacation, you don’t want to spend your “good time” money on valet service. Or, if you plan to visit a friend, you don’t want to spend hours with an iron.

“In the case of your suits, coats and dresses,” said Edith, “use your lingerie and stockings. Roll them up in the shape of shoulders and bosoms and stuff them inside your dresses, coats and suits. That keeps them from getting too wrinkled.”

Edith assumed, of course, that her lingerie (bras, panties, slips) would be nylon, which rolls up without wrinkling.

“In the case of your evening gowns,” continued Edith, “use the lingerie for the shoulders and the bust line, and then line the skirt with white tissue paper, pleated to give it body. Around the hemline place additional tissue paper. This prevents the skirt hemline from having a creased look.”

For the suit skirts she suggested that she buy some clothespins which would enable her to hang as many as four skirts on one hanger. As far as coats and jackets are concerned, she should fasten the sleeves to the sides with the clothespins to prevent them from sliding and becoming wrinkled.

The secret of good packing, Edith stressed, is layers and layers of tissue.

Rhonda found it quite an ordeal keeping “movie star fit” while traveling. The changes in climate, she says, “were particularly hard on my skin. I used a cleansing cream at night to remove the make-up, and then a special meal preparation to give my skin life and vigor. After that I cold-creamed my face, put vaseline on my lashes, and fell into bed.

“Never having traveled before,” said Rhonda, “I found myself without enough comfortable clothes. And especially did I suffer in the shoe department. Next time, believe me, I’ll take along several pairs of low-heeled slippers. I prefer high heels. And I think a tall girl looks better in high heels. But walking on high heels all day is extremely exhausting.”

So, take Rhonda’s advice, and when you go on your vacation save those elegant spiked heels for evening wear. All resorts feature a number of sports. And the man you hope to trap will undoubtedly be an avid golfer, shuffleboarder or badminton player. A neat ankle can be just as neat without stilts.

One of Rhonda’s worst trials on her trip was trying to keep her hair shampooed. Rhonda believes that her hair looks better right after it is washed. So she tried to wash it every second day. “I was always dripping wet,” she said. “Seems to me I was constantly calling the hotel maid to bring me extra towels.”

Her hair is naturally curly except for the ends. So when it is nearly dry, she sets it, and pins up the ends overnight. When facing a camera she uses lacquer on it. She uses lacquer also on those windy nights when she has to attend a premiere or a party.

Although she is a true redhead, Rhonda does not have the usual china doll complexion that accompanies same. Her mother is a blonde and her father is a definite brunette. From him she inherited her olive skin. Unlike most redheads, she tans easily and doesn’t freckle, except across her nose.

Her mother says, “Rhonda was an ugly baby. When she was born she had a tuft of black hair here, a tuft of white hair there, checkered all over her head. I couldn’t figure out whether she was going to be a blonde or a brunette. By the time she was three, she had lovely golden hair.”

Rhonda has a skin that is allergic to insect bites, especially mosquito bites. They swell up on her like goose eggs. Her most embarrassing experience occurred a couple of summers back when she was being interviewed for the part opposite Bing Crosby in “A Connecticut Yankee.” The night before the interview, Rhonda appeared in a play in Santa Ana, right smack in the middle of the citrus belt. The mosquitoes arrived in droves. When time for her audition the next afternoon she looked a mess. Bing laughed her out of her misery, and gave her the part.

What to do about mosquito bites? Consult your druggist about a good lotion.

Shorts are wonderful to wear around a swimming pool, a tennis court or just lolling on the lawn. But if your vacation takes you on a camping trip in the mountains just forget your shorts and wear heavy slacks. In other words, be sure and keep your legs covered. Poison oak and poison ivy have a way of lurking along mountain paths, just waiting for an unsuspecting hiker. If you do have the misfortune to contact some poison oak or poison ivy use a calomine lotion on it until you see a doctor. And remember, it spreads, keep your hands away from your eyes.

“Every girl to her taste,” says Rhonda. “You know whether you want to finish the summer with a hue like a squaw, or just let yourself get mildly golden in color. I prefer the latter.”

If you take Rhonda’s advice you’ll content yourself with a warm beige tint. Suntanning carried to the advanced mahogany stage inevitably thickens and coarsens anybody’s epidermis. Let yourself get a really dark burn and it will take months of careful creaming and patting with lotions to get your skin back to its original refinement, if you ever do.

Sun causes your eyes to squint, and squinting brings on eye wrinkles. Whenever you are in the sun you should wear sun-glasses to avoid this squinting. And when you are stretched out facing the sun, acquiring your tan, be sure and put plenty of oil on your eyelids. The skin over your eyes is very tender.

After a day of romping, or just relaxing in the sunshine, you will return to your hotel room with your eyes aching. After you take your bath (and a hot bath, by the way, is the best way to draw out sunburn) soak cotton pads in witch hazel, and lie down for ten minutes with these pads on your eyes. You’ll be wonderfully refreshed for the evening’s gala.

Remember, please, don’t try to acquire a luscious sun-tan the first day of your vacation. Better be safe than sorry.





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