Hollywood Party Line
Photoplay’s Gold Medal Awards Dinner will keep me dwelling on the dolls and guys whose glamour duds or quips furnished news during the hours they, and a few hundred famous others, spent cocktailing and dining in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. No gal in any room could have topped Photoplay’s top femme award winner, June Allyson, for sheer chic and simplicity, proving again, these two adjectives usually go hand-in-hand. June’s chalk-white gown of crisp satin billowed out from a wallpaper waistline, was tight-bodiced, very decollete and held aloft with tiny shoulder straps. A roll-back cuff of the white satin, about two inches wide, finished off the bodice across the bustline and at the sides. But where bodice met shoulder straps in the back, the narrow cuff became flame-red velvet, widening slightly as it slanted down center-back and then became a hanging wide red sash from waistline to hem. No trimmings, no junk jewelry for Junie, just striking smartness.
Jane Wyman was simply done up, too, in her semitailored dinner dress of creamy satin; its shortish skirt a mass of fullness. And, oh, that tiny waistline! Ann Blyth was sporting a new hair-do that was half Italian bob in front, half a large bun in back. Ann’s gown was of iridescent blue taffeta. Another Anne—meaning Anne Francis—was in black, a real smart job, too . . . Vera-Ellen gets lots of kidding about usually wearing too much of everything, but she’s a doll and doesn’t give a dern. Vera and her bridegroom, Vic Rothschild, held hands all through dinner and the amusing entertainment. Vera was in black lace, and she was wearing her blonde hair in a huge bun at the nape of her neck. Around the bun were entwined rhinestones. She also wore a big rhinestone necklace and enormous long drop earrings of rhinestones. If Vera was also wearing flowers pinned to her shoulder or to her bag or gloves, I was just too dern dazzled to note!
Jane Powell, with a cute new short, short haircut (not the messy kind!) wore a very, very sophisticated full-length red satin gown; Lori Nelson, even purtier than usual, was in seafoam green lace and taffeta, draped tightly around her slim shape, and its skirt featuring a huge bustle-type bow . . . Barbara Rush looked more sophisticated than one is used to seeing her, in an Irish original. Jack Lemmon shone in a plaid dinner jacket.
Jane Russell was in red with a stunning black fox cape stole thrown over her shoulders. However, the fur neither hid the low, low neckline of Jane’s dress nor the startling effect of her completely shorn locks! Extra-startling because Jane for years has been a holdout on cutting her flowing locks. Said Jane, whose coif has a pompadour effect over the forehead but is shingled in back, “I look like a female Tony Curtis!” . . . Kim Novak almost went Jane one better in the low-necked department in her tight-fitting, long gown of pink-mauve lace, cut to an inch below the waistline in back! That’s where her wide shoulder straps disappeared. Kim was with Kerwin Matthews only because her real feller, Mac Krim, was out of town. Dick Powell, looking over Kim’s sexy getup, killed everyone by cracking from the dais, “Kids that age are so cute” … Dick did such a ribtickling job as master of ceremonies I have to mention it. Like f’rinstance when Ed Purdom’s award was announced and Purdom proved to be missing, Dick flipped, “Oh—I know where he is!”
In the glitter crowd that watched both seasoned stars and newcomers get their awards Judy Garland (in a plum-colored velvet maternity dinner dress topped by one of those tiny jewelled lids she loves), June Haver and Fred MacMurray, the Howard Keels (he sporting the craziest crew-cut in town! ), Anne Jeffreys and Bob Sterling, a dream couple off tv as well as on! Also Jeanne Crain, with her new inky black hair and wearing a watermelon pink, full-skirted floor-length gown. And Janet Leigh in a coral to orange floor-length number of Jersey and net, so tight-fitting from its high neckline to hip that it revealed more of Janet than a Bikini could! And she looked good.
Cute Sue Carson, an hilarious singing-comedienne long neglected by Hollywood, got raves for herself at Photoplay’s dinner when the Tinseltowners brought her back for encores galore. She not only wowed with her delivery, but was deliciously dressed in decollete sheath of simple white. Result: Sue was positively deluged next day with picture offers from the many studio execs who were present that night!
Well, I’ve used so much space on the above that I’ll turn into “quickies” a few affairs that oughta be longies. (Wanna keep you up-to-date on everything partyish in Jollywood, y’know!) Now then:
There was the offly chic soiree preceding the regular opening of the new gorgeous Persian Room—also at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Don Loper, plus $80,000, managed to transform the old Palm Terrace into a “modern miracle” in a mere eighteen days. Ogling with delight the elegant decor were some of the best-dressed gals in town (lots of ’em dressed by Don too) and they included Ann Miller with Bill O’Connor, Merle Oberon and Rex Ross, Joan Crawford, Jeanne Crain and Paul Brinkman, Irene Dunne, Sonja Henie and Alfie de la Vega and lots of local socialites.
Jack Warner took over the Rodeo Room to entertain for General O. P. Wayland, who was of such help in the filming of Alan Ladd’s “The McConnell Story.” Gary Cooper, June Allyson and Dick Powell, the Jean Hersholts, Virginia Mayo and Mike O’Shea, Terry Moore, the Tommy Noonans, Dana Andrews, cute Rosemarie Bowe (pining for Bob Stack who was in Japan shooting “Bamboo Curtain”), Karen Sharpe with Bill Guthrie, Diana Lynn, Doe Avedon and Georgie Jessel were in the crowd. . . . There was a star turnout for Marguerite Piazza’s bow at the Cocoanut Grove. She scored a smash hit with such ringsiders as the Van Johnsons, Lana Turner and Lex Barker, Piper Laurie, who was dating David Schine (he raised you-know-what with photogs who tried to snap them), Wanda Hendrix and her husband Jim Stack, the Keefe Brasselles, the Spike Joneses, and Sonja Henie who was with Liberace. Liberace wasn’t wearing a polka-dot shirt with his Tux that night. But he was sporting a diamond ring in the shape of a piano! And Mamie Van Doren (with Hugh O’Brian) had a large rhinestone tiara atop her head. Next night she wore it to Johnnie Ray’s opening at Ciro’s and had a large tiff with her date, Bob Neal, and left the place by herself, leaving a couple dozen people wondering whether this is love!
There was a “Youth Night” premiere at the Iris Theater in Hollywood for “White Feather,” which boasts a lot of younger players. Debra Paget, in pastel pink, strapless gown with full skirt of net, topped by a beaded long-waisted bodice, was with Hugh O’Brian. Debra was wearing the biggest, longest, widest, chandelier earrings yet eyed—and a new semi-short soft hair-do. Virginia Leith, Jeff Hunter and Edward Franz also helped host scads of high-school boys and gals for the occasion. The way those gals and fellas respond to the pic, there’s all good reason to believe that “White Feather” will be a hit, which should make Jeff and Debra and Hugh happy about what’s ahead for them in their careers. They all did a very good job along with Bob Wagner, who’s in “White Feather,” too.
And now we get to what should be called “The Henie Does It Again Party!” She sure did! Sonja took over all Ciro’s for her enormous Circus Party and belieeeve you me, traffic on the Sunset Strip was jammed up before, during and after the affair! Wot with Sonja arriving on an elephant, a loudly playing calliope and a bunch of snake charmers performing with live reptiles in front of the place, it’s no wonder! Guests were routed from the usual cafe entrance so that they had to climb steps and pass a big animal cage (containing a live hippopotamus, among other things) on the way in. The bar and main room were transformed to a replica of “the big top” with trapeze and other circus artists performing during dinner.
Sonja was a doll in her bareback rider costume and handed out lavish prizes for the most original getups, etc. Mrs. Reggie Gardiner got one for her fantastic costume that “transformed” her into a trained seal! Authentic in every way—even to the black flippers over her arms and a golden ball on her head—anchored to the black sheath that covered her from tip to toe. She also had bits of cellophane pasted to her face to make her look wet!
Judy Garland wasn’t in costume, was rollickingly gay and saying she always feels her best when she’s pregnant. Vera-Ellen was a fortune-teller; Cesar Romero a Gaucho, Jane Withers a tramp clown; ditto Edgar Bergen, whose Frances came as a snake charmer. Susie Hayward was an elephant trainer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, in black robes, long black wig, dead white face and four-inch fingernails, came as Vampira; Peggy Lee came as a Tattooed Lady; Jon Hall as Ramar of the Jungle—natch! Rory Calhoun was a Ringmaster. His cute frau, Lita, and I went as twin bearded ladies. James Mason wore a big false nose that lighted up—and nobodyrecognized him. Johnnie Ray, Jeanne Crain, the Van Heflins, Janie Powell were others I glimpsed tangled up among millions of yards of paper streamers in the wee hours. Hundreds danced and danced to the tunes of three bands that played constantly into the wee wee hours of the morning and enjoyed the delicious and exotic refreshments.
—BY EDITH GWYNN
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1955