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Summer Sorcery

Well, kiddies, this is one month when there’s absolutely no question as to what was the party. It was the luncheon Charles Brackett, just about the finest producer-writer in our town, threw under the massive old sycamore trees in his “back yard.” (You should have such a back yard!) It was in honor of “The Beard” meaning Monty Woolley, a visitor for that week. But most of Charlie’s guests won’t be beard-age for a long time. Anne Baxter and John Hodiak were telling the Ray Millands about the litter of six pups their sheep dog had presented that morning; and John Lund didn’t seem to worry about “two careers in the family” when his attractive wife Marie gabbed with Nunnally Johnson, Joan Fontaine and her new big crush Charlie Feldman, Gene Tierney and Oleg Cassini about a possible television series for herself. Cassini had had his showing of new summer clothes at a big Hollywood department store just a few days before and was taking bows for his lovely creations from the several who had seen them. Gene was wearing one of ’em—a cool, sheer, rather tailored wool dress of brilliant coral, tight of waist and with a skirt that looked pencil slim but had enough “hidden fullness” in the way it was cut to give it plenty of flow. Push-up sleeves, a tricky small collar of the same coral wool and a tiny, long-sleeved bolero completed the costume.

Gloria Swanson, who is but sensational in “Sunset Boulevard,” looked stunning at Charlie’s (he made the picture) luncheon, in a simply cut, slightly draped black crepe dress; a large, black fringed wool shawl around her shoulders, and her sleek haircut topped by the tiniest of dead white hats from which a stiff little veil fell to just below her eyes. S’matter of fact, Gloria has been doing a lot of “show stealing” around here and was the unquestionable hit of the lovely dinner dance that Julie Kline, with Mrs. Van Johnson and Iris Bynum to help, gave at the Ambassador for the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund. It was their second such affair, and was in co-operation with Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills shop and those wonderful hat makers, Rex and Wally. Loretta Young narrated the fashion show, and look who modeled the clothes! Arlene Dahl, Nancy Guild, Donna Reed, June Havoc, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, Diana Lynn, Ann Miller and more! But when the Swanson stepped out for the finale in a breath-taking gown, the crowd stood up and cheered her!

Joan Leslie is sort of reversing things by wearing a dress from her own private wardrobe in “The Skipper Surprised His Wife.” It’s usually the other way around, with stars often buying their screen gowns from the studios to wear in private life. Well, anyway, Joan traipsed into the studio one morning wearing a little cotton house dress—just a cute polka-dot thing that was so dreamy she was asked to keep right on wearing it until certain domestic scenes were finished.

Marie McDonald, well again after that long siege of illness, had eyes popping out to there when she showed up at a beach party in the last gasp in bathing suits. It was made of white lace over a heavy pink satin base. With Marie’s shape, stunning is a small word.

Now back to a bunch at a big buffet—this time at the wonderful new home of Gail Patrick and Cornwell Jackson. June Haver wore a pink rose twined in with her choker of pearls and brilliants. You just gotta have a big flower, real or not, tucked into your necklace, high and center, or you just ain’t livin’ this season! Gertrude Michaels, back in the movies with both feet, Ginger Rogers with Greg Bautzer, Lizabeth Scott, the Van Johnsons, all among the Jackson’s diners. And Van had three helpings of the dessert that Gail whipped up herself, a cake that wasn’t really a cake. Van asked for the recipe, but just like that night at Sonja Henie’s several months ago, he didn’t get it!

Some of this group went on to Mocambo later where that Firehouse Five Plus Two have been taking over every blasting Monday night (and blasting is the word) for the gol-durndest Dixieland and Charleston sessions this side of 1925! We’ve never seen Hollywood “let its hair down” over anything—like the way these “Names” have checked their inhibitions at Mocambo’s door to get into these leg-breaking contests. Couples who team up on the dance floor and go mad together aren’t always a pair who were dating that evening. For instance, one session saw Van Johnson and Lana Turner teamed to knock themselves out? while Cornel Wilde with Jane Wyman and Kirk Douglas with Mary Anderson were contestants. One eve, Perc Westmore, Bette Davis, designer Don Loper (who could outdance ’em all in any category if he wished) acted as judges, while their “mates” let everything go with various partners. The place has been a madhouse on Monday nights, and what fun! Well, it’s as good a way as any to replace the square-dancing craze. And not as boring, if you ask us, and nobody did!





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