Marilyn Monroe’s Honeymoon Whirl
Who, better than Sidney, could talk about Mrs. DiMaggio? He started out being a friend of the bride. Now he’s a friend of the family.
I’VE BEEN ASKED to tell you about the Marilyn Monroe-Joe DiMaggio honeymoon. Me, who wasn’t even there because, as you should know, two’s a honeymoon—three’s a crowd.
And you might as well have 3000 as 3, that’s the number of fans— movie and baseball—which greeted the Monroe and DiMaggio when the giant Stratoclipper landed in Tokyo. Even Joe, who’s accustomed to crowds, was scared when the Japanese pushed and jammed around the plane. In fact, to tell you the truth, Joe and the officials finally had to sneak Mon-chan through the cargo hatch of the plane so she could make a safe and hand-waving departure. The Japanese people gathered hours ahead of time even though it was a bitter cold day. A good portion of the crowd was made up of teen-agers in their drab school uniforms. In addition, many Japanese women came arrayed in their colorful kimonos, bringing with them beautiful floral offerings.
I forgot to mention that Mon-chan is the Japanese pet name for Marilyn and means “Sweet Little Girl.” It is just about the most endearing term that can be said in Japanese and denotes quite a lot of affection in a country where affection is not displayed and where there are no words such as “I love you.”
It’s nice to keep in contact with Mon-chan—but often difficult—especially on a honeymoon. The honeymoon started in California, was interrupted for five days because Joe had to go to New York to prepare some television films (television interferes with everything), and then the DiMaggios continued where they had left off and went to Japan.
I was with Marilyn the day before she left for Tokyo and, among other things, she told me about the California honeymoon. But before I tell you about this, I think I should tell you something about the Japanese honeymoon. To change an old saying, second things first.
At this writing Mon-chan has left Japan and is in Korea entertaining the troops. This is something which she has wanted to do for a long time, and it certainly proves her marriage is a good thing because it helped her fulfill her ambition. I can just see the Monroe worrying whether the boys will like her, worrying about how she looks, especially her hair, and—I never made a safer bet—that before Marilyn finished singing “Bye, Bye Baby,” they were already calling her Mon-chan or whatever pet name they have.
About her hair, I happen to know that for a day or so, the Monroe took care of it herself. Then Mon-chan soon discovered Tokyo had, among other things, modern beauty salons. They could do a good job and, although the equipment was the newest, old Japanese customs prevailed. For example, the manicurist stood while doing Marilyn’s nails. This will be something for her to tell her friend Rosie when she gets back to the studio.
Marilyn loved Japan as much as the people loved her. It was the third time she had been out of the United States. The other two were: a quick trip to Mexico and one to Canada for the filming of “River of No Return.” Joe is more of a traveler and had been to Japan where he is a hero. They go for American baseball as much, if not more, than they do for American movies.
Mon-chan found Tokyo to be everything Joe told her about it, and then more. For he first few days DiMaggio and the Monroe honeymooned at the Imperial Hotel, which is as modern as any hotel in N.Y. or L.A. It was built by Frank Lloyd Wright, who is, as Marilyn puts it, “related to Anne Baxter.” Here Marilyn and Joe had to practically barricade themselves in their rooms. A large stone at the entrance was crushed under the weight of the crowd eagerly hoping to get a glimpse of her.
The Japanese people were in love with Mon-chan, and the press was soon to be. Instead of hiding out as they had to in the first half of the honeymoon, Marilyn and Joe held a press conference in their hotel suite for two hundred reporters and photographers. I must say that marriage hasn’t changed Marilyn a bit. She was about two hours late for the conference, but she had a good excuse: The way she looked. Of course the newspapermen forgave her immediately. I must tell Mon-chan that I’m proud of how she conducted herself at this conference. I realize how nervous she must have been when she entered the room to face the press. Before Marilyn left for Tokyo she said to me: “Hold a good thought for me.” She was thinking of conferences like this, entertaining the troops, etc. Well, anyway, once Marilyn actually faced the press and started talking, her nervousness disappeared and she became herself, a Mon-chan.
Far from home and the studio, Marilyn’s answers proved that the many remarks credited to her in the past are strictly true Marilyn Monroe and were not given to her by anyone to say.
“We are told you do not wear anything under your dress. Is that true?” asked a reporter. He certainly must have seen the fringe of lace peeking from beneath the red wool form-tight dress she was wearing. Or it could be that he never got to the bottom of the dress.
“I’m planning to buy a kimono tomorrow,” the Monroe evaded with a grin.
Later another newsman, pointed to a dark fur piece the Monroe had just placed over her arm, signaling she was getting ready to leave, asked: “What kind of fur is that?”
“Fox—and not the 20th-Century kind,” she smiled, making obvious reference to her then-current trouble with the studio concerning “Pink Tights.”
When asked about men, she said, “There are several Hollywood actors I enjoy working with but Joe, here, is my favorite man.” She made it clear that she was more interested in making her marriage work than having a career, but of course would like to have a happy combination of the two. Joe seconded this notion by adding, “There is no reason why career and marriage won’t mix; it is going on every day all around us.”
I cite these examples to show you the Monroe in action, and you’ll have to admit, any kind of action with her is interesting and newsworthy.
Five days after Marilyn arrived she visited the Tokyo Army Hospital. The place really went into a tail spin when word reached the patients that she planned to visit. They were told she would be in the Red Cross lounge on the 7th floor, and, somehow or other, the wards were emptied as elevator loads of patients reached the lounge. Afterwards, when she made a tour of the wards, the boys kept her busy autographing their casts!
When Marilyn went out shopping on the Ginza, which is similar to New York’s Fifth Avenue or Hollywood’s Wilshire Boulevard, she learned about kimonos and Japanese women. The Monroe was surprised to find out that the Japanese woman always wears an underslip (shirt) with the kimono.
In fact, the Japanese woman makes it a point that the kimono is long enough so her ankles don’t show, and many of them take short steps and walk pigeontoed so as not to reveal the ankle. The Japanese women, Marilyn was told, are very modest.
This was confusing to Marilyn when she and Joe visited Miyanoshita, a prominent resort outside of Tokyo, and discovered there that it is not considered immodest for men and women to indulge in nude bathing together.
However, one Japanese custom delighted our Mon-chan. She has been practicing it for years in the United States. One evening when she, Joe and Lefty O’Doul went to dine at the home of some Japanese ballplayers, Marilyn was told to take off her shoes as she entered the house. This I can assure you she enjoyed doing, because the first thing the Monroe does when she enters her own house or dressing room at the studio is to kick off her shoes. She prefers to walk around barefooted. I remember going to a sneak preview of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with her. She got ready to race out of the theatre before the end of the picture so as not to have to discuss it with certain people. But she couldn’t make her fast getaway because one of her shoes was missing. She finally located it a row in front of where we were seated, but by then the picture was over and the people were waiting for her.
I guess the food, sukiyaki, was okay with Marilyn. She will generally eat whatever dish is set before her and is not at all fussy about food. I know that Marilyn doesn’t—or didn’t—know how to use chopsticks, but I’m willing to wager Joe has taught her by now. Marilyn is a quick study.
The Monroe, who seldom hides her emotions, gave the Japanese people evidence that she is in love with DiMaggio. While at the Kewana Hotel, at the beautiful coastal resort, she followed him around for a while on the golf course. Then she waited and watched him admiringly. When the Monroe-DiMaggio romance started, Marilyn had never seen a baseball game and all she knew about a diamond was that it is a girl’s best friend. Now she takes a lively interest in baseball, admires Joe’s ability and star rating as a ballplayer, and, because of Joe, is learning a great deal about golf as well.
The reason for the honeymoon trip to Japan, as you know, was that Joe and O’Doul were to help coach Japanese professional baseball teams in spring training. The Monroe accompanied Joe to several baseball parks and watched him and O’Doul do their stuff. One afternoon when the practice session wound up and Joe was getting ready to leave the park, Marilyn sat in their car unobtrusively while Joe, who is Mr. Baseball there, was mobbed by both fans and the press. She just sat there watching and purring like a contented kitten, giving the Japanese still more evidence of a happy bride.
Joe and Mon-chan took in most of the sights, went shopping, even dropped in to see the Kabuki Theatre. But for the most part, they behaved very much as they do back here in the States: staying with their own small circle of friends and enjoying each other’s company. There were nights when Marilyn stood by and watched while Joe shot a game of snooker with O’Doul, Then later Joe would play billiards with Marilyn. This is a game Joe taught her when they were on the first section of the honeymoon in California.
This was the portion of Marilyn’s honeymoon which I reported in the newspapers. To me it was incredible that Mrs. DiMaggio and her husband Joe, two of the most easily recognized persons in the whole United States, could so completely hide out that no one could find them. I discovered how when Marilyn telephoned me at Schwab’s drugstore and I met her later in her car on Sunset Boulevard.
Marilyn was wearing a big yellow polo coat, a kerchief over her hair and had a pair of dark glasses which she kept putting on and taking off. As people walked past the car no one recognized her.
To my question, “Where did you spend your honeymoon?” she replied simply, “Idyllwild. It’s a lovely place—I can’t exactly tell you where—about fifty miles from Palm Springs, I think. Only it’s in the mountains. Snow country. Joe and I had a lovely cabin. There weren’t any other guests at the place. Just the caretaker and his wife, wonderful people. Joe and I took long walks in the snow. I’m not much of an outdoor girl, but I loved it. There wasn’t a television set in the cabin. Joe and I talked a lot. And we played billiards. There was a billiard table there and Joe taught me how to play. Says I’m pretty good too.”
And that brings us right around to Marilyn in Japan, Marilyn in Korea and Marilyn now back in Hollywood.
The DiMaggios will most likely settle in a nice house in a quiet district and become a happily married couple while pursuing their respective careers. Marilyn Monroe, the glamour girl, will rate high as a housewife, too. The Japanese women are ranked foremost among all the women of the world for their ability to please their men. Indeed they are educated toward the purpose of serving and bringing pleasure to their husbands. I know that Mon-chan didn’t have to follow their example because she has always looked forward to a husband and a home. We’re all holding a good thought for the DiMaggios, aren’t we, readers?
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1954