Hollywood Party Line
There were two “Topics A” in Tinseltown this month—one, fashion, one, party patter—and for days, arguments about the former, and gasps about the latter, were heard all over town. Of course Item One means the Dior dither over whether this French couturier will again be able to dictate to American gals (as he did with the “New Look”), this time to raise their hemlines to “knee-length”!
There’s one bright streak in the freak idea: Even if American women do go en masse for that unflattering edict, they won’t have to throw out whole wardrobes as they did when that ole “New Look” changed every line from neck to hem! After all, many a gown, suit-skirt or dress can be shortened (in many ways) without being cut off and rendered suddenly unusable should the fad (if it takes at all) die a quick death!
A few stars, notably Jeanne Crain, hopped on the publicity band wagon, posed in short, short skirts, declared the furor was all too, too exciting and that they liked the idea, etc. But I can tell you there isn’t one top Hollywood designer with a kind word for this latest French foible—and our designers are tops! The Parisian dressmakers garner reams of newspaper space promoting “high-style” horrors year in and year out, but Filmville goes right on creating chic and lovely clothes! In the midst of all the hub-bub, Humphrey Bogart cracked, “If skirts go higher and higher and necklines keep plunging, they’ll eventually meet. And as long as the curves are all right, who cares?”
“Topic A,” Item Two was the sensational dinner dance given by millionaire architect-builder Hal Hayes, at his hillside house. He wined and dined 350 of the town’s social and filmites. Two sumptuous buffets, three bars, the complete Ted Fio Rito band, thousands of orchids, especially flown over from Honolulu, decorated the place. But the sensation of the soiree (and for a week afterwards) was the house itself! Nothing like it has ever been seen hereabouts—and a really graphic description of the place is impossible.
Very few of the hordes of celebs who dined at tables set for eight on three separate “terraces” (including a roofgarden) had ever been there before. Days later some were still in a daze at the fantastic house, which seems to lean off the hill, its glass walls glistening in the moonlight; the giant eucalyptus tree which starts under the suspended living room and grows right through three floors, spreading its top boughs over a corner of the roof! The swimming pool, most of which is indoors—winds its way out to a wall of rock, planted with the most fabulous tropical blooms.
Some of the guests included John Payne and about-to-be bride, Sandy Curtis, Ann Miller (with a new short hair-do and Bill O’Connor), Kathryn Grayson, the Van Johnsons, Mrs. Gregory Peck, the James Masons, Pete Lawford, Howard Duff with Gussie Moran on his arm, Nora Flynn Haymes with Scott Brady, Mari Blanchard, Nancy Sinatra, Terry Moore with Nickey Hilton, and oh, so many more.
Another “something slightly different” was a real hoedown tossed by John Carroll and Lucille Ryman, who announced their bust-up the very next day! This shindig at their vast acreage in the Valley, started at three o’clock in the afternoon and ended long after three in the morning! Two hundred gathered on the Carroll lawns where trees were strung with lanterns for the outdoor barbecue. After swimming, roping contests, singing and such, there was dancing to a band that featured everything from “square” to round.
Enjoying the fun were June Allyson and Dick Powell, the Andy Russells, Esther Williams and Ben Gage, Marilyn Erskine and Don O’Connor, Rhonda Fleming and spouse, Alice Faye, the Rory Calhouns, Arlene Dahl and Fernando Wotzisname, Mala Powers with Gig Young, Elaine Stewart with Roland Gammon—to name a few! When the party started, Carroll exclaimed, “If things get slow, I’ll let loose our herd of forty cattle and let everyone brand his own steer for excitement!” But things never got slow!
Space being short, we can only mention the wonderful opening Marge and Gower Champion shared at the Cocoanut Grove with Joan Crawford, Milton Berle, Katie Grayson, Debbie Reynolds, Mitzi Gaynor with fiance Jack Bean at ringside. A week later, Joanne Gilbert re-bowed at Mocambo, scene of her first singing sucess. On hand to greet her were her pa, Ray Gilbert, Kathleen Hughes with Lance Fuller, Rosie Clooney, Joan Crawford, who gave a party for ten, including Jeff Chandler.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1953