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Midnight Frolic

Some New Year’s Eves, perforce, are more important than others; those which conclude a year that has been happy and successful, those that welcome a year that is rich in promise.

Which means there never was a New Year’s Eve as important as this one for Michael Kirby. During 1949, he won critical acclaim as Sonja Henie’s skating partner on a nationwide tour. He did well for himself, too, as Sonja’s leading man in “The Countess of Monte Cristo.” Hollywood, for the first time, was really taking notice of him.

Therefore, Michael’s lovely young wife, Norah, could not endure it when he told her that on the midnight of December 31, he would be on the road again with the Henie Ice Show. She couldn’t and wouldn’t endure it, she resolved. “Any time is the right time to celebrate anything good,” she told herself. The next day her invitations went out. However, she kept the theme of her party a secret from her guests, Mr. and Mrs. David Brian (Adrian Booth), Mr. and Mrs. John Derek (Patti Behrs), Allene Roberts, Johnny Sands, Barbara Lawrence and Douglas Dick. And she kept the party itself a secret from Michael.

Joan Marsh, a long-time friend of Norah’s, who couldn’t be at the party, offered to decorate the house and the table. Joan, who used to be a motion picture actress and now has her own business, Paper Unlimited, does the decorations for many Hollywood parties. She carried out the motif of the Kirby party with streamers, multicolored balloons, and a gay paper clown filled with gifts.

The balloons, filled with helium gas so they would stay in the air, were marked with the guests’ names and tied to the handles of the punch cups. Hot Burgundy punch was used for the toast to 1950. An old Canadian custom which the Kirbys, both native Canadians, always follow.

While they waited for the clock to strike twelve, they played a guessing game in which each person worked out his New Year’s resolution in pantomime. Michael’s was never to go away on tour again, and Norah’s was that, if Michael broke his resolution, she would take up her career again and go with him. Adrian vowed to have the cookbook she’s working on ready for publication before the end of 1950, and David Brian resolved to build a barbecue pit so Adrian could try out some of her barbecued recipes. John Derek resolved to have a one-man exhibition of his paintings, and Patti hopes to have at least five blue ribbon champions out of the last litter of German Shepherds.

It was at this point that Michael Jr. and Patricia Kirby joined the party—at least, until they were discovered standing in their nightclothes in the doorway and hustled back to bed.

After the midnight supper, with Michael incredulous that Norah could have arranged such a party and such refreshments without his help or his knowledge, there was talk, good talk.

David and Adrian, who’ve just moved into their new hilltop home, overlooking the Valley, were full of enthusiasm about it. David, whose hobby is carpentry work, is building what he hopes, eventually, will be a pool house.

Allene Roberts, as sweet and quiet as you’d expect her to be kept hoping that 1950 would be as good for her as; 1949 was, what with “Knock on Any Door,” and the number one position on Photoplay’s “Choose Your Star” poll to her credit.

John Derek, who looks more like a native of some far-off mysterious land than a native of California, was a little solemn, but his eyes lit up when he described paintings he had done on location.

Norah’s supper was really divine, so divine, that Adrian and Patti wanted her recipes. Anyone would. Norah had covered the baked ham with frosting. On this she wrote Happy New Year—1950 in pink. With the baked ham she had scalloped potatoes, cole slaw with sour cream dressing, pineapple corn sticks and lemon meringue ice box cake. For appetizers during the evening, she served cold boiled shrimps with two dips: Mayonnaise mix and chili sauce. Guacamole with potato chips for dunking was also very popular. (We gave you a recipe for Guacamole in the December, 1948, issue, but if you’d like a reprint, send a stamped, addressed envelope to the Editor, Photoplay, 205 E. 42 St., New York 17, N. Y.)


Arrange boiled shrimp on a large plate with a divided bowl in center. (3 to 4 lbs. serves 12.) In half the divided bowl, place mayonnaise sauce; in other half, snappy chili sauce.

Mayonnaise sauce: Mix 1 cup mayonnaise with 2 tbsp. lemon juice and ½ tsp. grated onion.

Snappy Chili Sauce: To ¾ cup chili sauce or ketchup, add ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. grated onion ½ tsp. dry mustard, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. horseradish, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, a dash of Tabasco. Mix well.


Place 3 qts. burgundy wine, 3 sticks cinnamon and 5 cloves in a kettle. Bring to boil and serve hot.


Norah baked the 10-pound precooked ham according to the directions on the label. Before she baked it, she trimmed off the outside skin, then brushed it with ½ cup pineapple juice (white wine is good, too) mixed with 1 cup brown sugar. Since the ham was to be decorated it was not scored, but a dozen whole cloves were stuck in the surface. After baking, these were removed and the ham cooled. Norah first covered the meat with a plain white frosting: To 2 tbsp. water and 2 tbsp. lemon juice, gradually stir in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar. Then she made this pink frosting: To 2 tbsp. melted butter and 1 tbsp. pineapple juice, gradually add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Beat in a few drops of red coloring. She placed this in a pastry tube and used it for the lettering.


Peel and slice thin 10 medium-size potatoes. Place ¼ potato slices n the bottom of a greased baking dish Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt, pepper as .you like, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. grated onion and generous dots of butte: or margarine. Repeat the potatoes and all seasonings three times, to make four layers. Add milk until it can be seen between the top slices of potatoes. Cover and bake in a moderate oven (350° F.) 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Then remove cover and hake 10 minutes more, or until delicately brown. Milk may be added from time to time if needed. Makes 12 servings.


1 large head cabbage

1 cup mayonnaise

cup sour cream

½ cup lemon juice

2 medium apples

Remove core from cabbage and soak in salted water at least 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Shred or chop fine into a large bowl. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream and lemon juice. Wash and core apples and slice very thin. Add to dressing, dipping a few in lemon juice and saving them for garnish. Combine dressing and cabbage.


2 cups sifted flour

¾ cup yellow commeal

1 tbsp. baking powder

1½ tsp. Salt

2 tbsp. Sugar

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup milk

¼ cup melted shortening, cooled

½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained

Mix and sift into bowl the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Combine egg, milk and shortening. Pour into dry ingredients all at once. Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Fold in pineapple. Fill well-greased corn stick pans ¾ full. (If your pans are two-piece, batter should come over the top of bottom pan.) Bake in a hot oven (425° F.) 25 minutes. Makes 14 corn sticks.


4 egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1½ cups sugar

4 egg yolks

3 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. lemon rind

1 cup heavy cream

½ tsp. vanilla

Beat egg whites until foamy; add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until whites stand in peaks. Add 1 cup sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Pour into two well-greased 8-in. cake tins, piling meringue a little higher in center than on sides. Bake in a very low oven (275° F.) 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch, but not browned. Cool, then remove from pans. Place egg yolks, remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice and rind in top of double boiler; beat until well combined. Cook over hot (not boiling) water until thick, stirring constantly. Cool. Beat heavy cream until it stands in soft peaks. Add vanilla and 2 tbsp. sugar, if desired. Place one baked meringue on serving dish. Cover with lemon filling. Top with half of whipped cream and second baked meringue; cover with remaining whipped cream. Chill 4 to 5 hours.

(Mike Kirby is in “You’re Only Young Twice,” Barbara Lawrence in “Thieves’ Highway,” Douglas Did in “Home of the Brave,” David Brian in “Beyond the Forest,” Adrian Booth in “The Savage Horde,” Allene Roberts in “Knock on Any Door,” Johnny Sands in “Outrage,” John Derek in “Rogues of Sherwood Forest.”)



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