Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

How They’ll Spend Christmas Morning

The Dick Powells were on the stork’s calling list last year, but this year they have a wonderful celebration planned for their baby son and daughter. Both June Allyson and Dick Powell always long for a white Christmas—and June has one all arranged. She has engaged a snow scene from her studio. And she’s also arranged for a creche—the Three Wise men, the stable with the animals, and the Christ Child all life-size. Through this, she and Dick feel their babies can learn the lovely Christmas story in all its radiance.

The Christmas tree goes up on Christmas Eve at the Powells’, but the presents are not opened until the next morning. And smart little Junie has one trick that other mothers could adopt. Her babies get so many presents, many of them from her and Dick’s devoted public, that while she lets the kids open all the packages, she later hides half the toys. Then she brings them out to them one at a time, all during the year, which makes them much more appreciated. She and Dick visit a veterans’ hospital Christmas afternoon, while their babies nap. This they’ve done every year since they were married.

These very calm, peaceful and quiet doings, however, can’t match up with the merry throng at Kathryn Grayson’s house, which never numbers less than forty, including thirteen children, all of whom, with one exception, are closely related.

The very dawn of Christmas day finds Katie’s brother, Bud, arriving with his four youngsters. It is Bud who brings the Christmas tree. Then brother Mike appears with the turkeys. With him are his eight youngsters. Next on the scene comes Katie’s pretty sister, Frances Rayburn, who is married to Sidney Kirsten. They have three children, and Mamma, Papa and the kids are all loaded down with wonderful things to eat at this family picnic, as well as presents for everyone. All the Kirsten relatives accompany them, and naturally, Katie and Frances’ parents are there, and Katie’s daughter, Patty Kate.

Uncle Bud and Uncle Mike, their wives and their in-laws are present, too, but Katie’s ex-husband, Johnny Johnston isn’t. However, his two children are, for Katie loves them and they her. The one unrelated child is the daughter of Katie’s housekeeper and butler.

There is a real ceremony when the final glittering object is hung atop the green branches. And there’s a riot of laughter and happy shouts as the presents are opened. There is a big, big dinner along about two-thirty in the afternoon and sleepy little heads begin to nod around five-thirty. Then, happy but tired grown-ups begin packing them off home.

Yes, Christmas is the most family day, almost without exception, that Hollywood ever knows. In some houses, like Virginia Mayo’s and Mike O’Shea’s, it is even a solemn day.

Virginia and Mike are so deeply religious that their celebration is entirely on the reverent side. They go to mid-morning church services, and they visit veterans’ hospitals in the afternoon and evening. This, too, is true of Ann Blyth, and as this is written, she had Army permission to go to Korea to entertain our troops.

At the Esther Williams-Ben Gage household, they have always set up two tiny but dazzling Christmas trees at either end of the swimming pool. The little Gage boys hit the water and swim in opposite directions. Which ever one beats Mama Esther Williams or Daddy Ben Gage to the trees (and the boys have never quite understood why they’re so much faster than the parental competition on that one day of the year) gets a present. Then they reverse directions and scoot off for a present on the tree at the other end.

Debbie Reynolds, just as you might expect, holds open house for her entire neighborhood. Anybody can drop in, particularly boys in uniform and Girl Scouts—and everybody does. There is casual food, soft drinks, records on the machine, and the one baby in the family, Debbie’s brother’s child, reigns over the general happiness.

Both Janie Powell and Elizabeth Taylor are infanticipating this Christmas, so their holidays will be necessarily quiet.

Last year, even though baby Jay was only six months old, Janie and Geary Steffen bundled him up and took him off to a ski resort in the San Bernadino Mountains. They hired a small cabin; Janie did all the cooking; Geary did all the washing up, and a healthy, happy laughing time the three of them did have of it. But this year, they will have to stay home, close to the hospital, just in case the stork comes winging in ahead of time.

Mrs. Michael Wilding, on the other hand, is going to have a formal, very English type of Christmas—that is, unless she is in a delivery room. Beautiful Liz is wildly happy with Michael, and his influence on her is emphasizing the “British” quality she has always possessed.

Instead of being a luscious madcap, Liz is now a dignified young matron, devotedly indulged in her slightest whim by her husband. She hopes to be able to attend church services with Michael this year, then come back to a very English dinner, with plum pudding burning in a holly wreath, as the final touch to it. This they will share, naturally, with their closest friends, the Stewart Grangers. Liz’s mother and father will be present, too.

Probably to prove that the Christmas spirit can overcome anything, Steve Cochran, who insists he will never re-marry, always entertains not only his ex-wife, Fay McKenzie, and their little girl at Christmas time, but also his ex-mother-in-law. Actually they all meet (together with Steve’s mother, who flies in from her home in Alaska) at Carmel, California, where Fay has a house—but it is Steve who foots all the bills, gives everyone terrific presents and enjoys himself very much. Every other day of the year, Steve is very much the lone wolf.

Janet and Tony Curtis are utterly ex-hausted by Christmas day—because they always spend Christmas eve with Jerry Lewis. Because of Tony’s religion, they don’t go overboard on Christmas, anyhow, though they have Mr. and Mrs. Morrison, Janet’s folks, and Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, Tony’s parents, and his kid brother over to dinner. In the afternoon, they go to visit the Le Roy Boys’ Home, a Los Angeles charity organization, and Tony takes gifts along for every kid there. It’s to his eternal credit that he hasn’t forgotten his own poverty-stricken upbringing as a youngster in New York, nor how much a helping hand meant to him in those days. This year, he and Janet are in a big glow over being able to do their magic act, which they learned for “Houdini,” for the kids.

At Bill Holden’s, the children are too excited to wait for Christmas really to arrive, so Bill and Brenda let them put up the Christmas tree a week ahead, all of them trimming it. Then they start waiting for Grandpa and Grandma Beedle—Bill’s father and mother—almost as eagerly as they wait for Santa Claus.

It is the unique habit of the Holdens to have Grandpa cook Christmas morning breakfast—and to say he goes to town is putting it mildly. Grandpa comes up with everything from steak and potatoes to ice cream in the shape of Santa Clauses.

At Dorothy Lamour’s, Dottie, her husband, Bill Howard, and the two boys—true to Mamma’s New Orleans upbringing—have duck with orange sauce and a strictly Creole menu for their big meal.

Betty Hutton signed her contract to play London’s Palladium this December, way back early in July. But far-sighted Betty insisted that, no matter how fabulously successful her engagement might be, she must wind it up by December 20th, at the latest. This was because Christmas in the Hutton household is such a ball. The Christmas tree goes up two weeks ahead of time, with Candy and Lindsay permitted to add five ornaments each a day. A week before the Big Day, Betty’s parents arrive. Then her sister Marion and her child joins them. And a couple of days before Christmas, Lindsay’s and Candy’s own daddy, Ted Briskin, comes in from Chicago.

On Christmas Eve, Candy and Lindsay open their presents from Daddy and Mommy, from Aunt Marion and Grandmother and Grandfather, as they all sit under the tree. These are the gorgeous presents, the lovely dresses and such.

But actually they can hardly wait for Christmas morning. Because then, every year, the little girls discover that Santa Claus has not only crept into their house, but right into their bedroom. There, every Christmas dawn, they discover wonderful special stockings of green and red velvet, with their names embroidered on them in gorgeous colored stones, hanging from the foot of their beds. And in these stockings are the fun things—the toys, the noisemakers, the ultra special dolls.

And because these things are such fun, there is one thing the little girls do to enjoy them even more. They select three toys each to give away when they go to Sunday School with Mamma later in the morning. The Sunday School gives them the names and addresses of some children Santa has forgotten. Then they go visit a few of these youngsters and share their gifts with them.

Yes, it’s a family day in Hollywood. The four little Lancasters have a wonderful custom. Their daddy, Burt, buys each one of them a tree, which is exactly each child’s height. They are wonderful looking trees—but better yet, they are gorgeous eating. You see, whether they are the height of Jimmy, the eldest, or Joanna, the baby, these trees are made of lollipops, and candy canes—and they invite all the kids in the neighborhood to help eat them.

But what of the childless and the unmarried of Hollywood on Christmas day, you ask? They come off better than do similar people in other parts of the world. For there is a great good they can do.

They go visit the veterans in the hospitals. Oh, I don’t mean only Bob Hope, who has never yet missed a Christmas and who, after a fun session with his four kids and his devoted Dolores, gives up the balance of the day to five or six hospital trips, or Ann Blyth, who can and does sing, or Carleton Carpenter, who goes darting around between beds, cracking jokes. I mean the dramatic actors and actresses—like Gary Cooper, who just goes around and listens to the lads’ stories, and Jimmy Stewart, who is like a father confessor to many a guy. And Liz Scott.

Liz goes into the locked wards—and so, incidentally, did Shirley Temple, every year when she was in Hollywood and she will do it again this year in Washington, where she now lives. The locked wards, in case you don’t know, are where the boys are who have lost all sense of reality. A girl can’t tell when she’s in there whether those poor guys ever see her, even hear her. But she holds their hands, she talks to them gently, she kisses their foreheads—and she hopes. She might be in danger, because one of them might turn violent, but she remembers the danger they endured for their country—and the terrible, blank price they are now paying for it. So she takes her risk, too.

Then, after Christmas, if she is lucky, she gets letters from the doctors in charge. “Johnny B. wasn’t so restless yesterday,” the letter says. “Will H. really slept last night.” “This morning Henry X. shaved.”

When Christmas comes to Hollywood, you find it’s a terrific place.





1 Comment
  • vorbelutr ioperbir
    4 Temmuz 2023

    Throughout the awesome pattern of things you receive a B+ for effort. Exactly where you actually misplaced me ended up being on the particulars. You know, as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be more correct right here. Having said that, let me say to you what did deliver the results. Your authoring is very powerful and this is possibly the reason why I am taking an effort to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, while I can notice a leaps in logic you come up with, I am not really confident of just how you appear to connect your details which in turn produce the actual final result. For right now I will, no doubt yield to your point however hope in the foreseeable future you link the facts much better.

Leave a Comment