Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

The Champ-1952

One by one, throughout the Monday evening, the planes circled and landed at the International Airport. And as each plane settled onto the field, Photoplay’s welcoming committee grew larger. “That must be Natalie,” guessed Nancie Brown, as she tried to identify the fourth contestant to arrive for the Photoplay Scholarship Finals.

“Why, she’s wearing my hat,” said Connie Mavis.

The girl reached the group, and introductions were made. Natalie glanced at Connie and did a double-take. By coincidence, they wore identical cloche hats and very similar dresses. “I like your outfit,” Connie grinned.

“We seem to have the same designer,” Natalie grinned back. “But let’s make sure that it doesn’t happen when we’re both rich and famous!”

“I think I’ll go back to Carmel right now,” said Nancie. “I couldn’t possibly win. I haven’t a chance.”

But Jill André, a native Californian now living in New York, had another theme. It went, “Gosh, but it’s good to be home again!”

The girls fell into natural pairs. Nancie and Jill are of much the same temperament. During the week, they sat up until three o’clock almost every morning, whispering across the dorm room they shared, telling dreams and ambitions and what they would do when they were great stars. Connie and Natalie also complemented one another and formed a solid friendship. Connie used her eyes and her ears and said very little. Natalie, who moved from her native Brooklyn only two years ago, yet has the accent of a true Texan, was the chatterbox of the group.

After a brief stop at Hale Hall Residence (the women’s dorm at the famed Pasadena Playhouse) the girls were the dinner guests of Pierre DeVrahnos at his “House of Crepes Suzette.”

Tuesday was a quiet day for the girls. They asked especially if it could be so. The doom-shaped thing called an audition ‘clearly hung over their heads.

The finalists were at the playhouse by eight o’clock. Judges Loretta Young, Joe Pasternak, William Dieterle, George Murphy and Charles Prickett of the Playhouse staff arrived promptly. And at this time, the finalists were given their cold reading (a scene from “Anne of the Thousand Days”).

Connie went on first. She was followed by Jill, Natalie and then Nancie. The girls did not watch each other’s performances.

When Nancie left the stage, Judges Pasternak, Dieterle, Young, Murphy, Prickett and Wallace remained in their seats to make their decision. The girls sat quietly in the library.

The announcement was made by Loretta Young, who did the chore gently. Introduced by Oliver Prickett, also of the Playhouse, she said, “We were in there so long because it was so difficult to choose among you—and it went to you, Nancie.”

Nancie, who was holding a cup of coffee, closed her eyes (they were wet) and her hands began to shake. Miss Young went over and kissed her cheek. Then Connie, Jill and Natalie surrounded the winner, laughing and crying and hugging her.

When there was time, Nancie called her mother in Carmel, to tell her of winning.

Afterwards, they had a celebration dinner at the Huntington Hotel with their dates, four Playhouse students. 

On Wednesday, the girls lunched at the Brown Derby and turned in professional performances on the TV program, “Queen for a Day.” Thereafter, they toured the Hollywood hills to see the stars’ homes, drove to Santa Monica to have dinner as the guests of Jean Charles Birgy, owner of the Swiss Chalet, and saw a preview of “The Thief.”

On Thursday, there was a visit to Paramount’s talent department, and the evening found the girls dinner guests at one of the stars’ favorite restaurants, The Captain’s Table. Then, they saw a preview of “The Fourposter.”

They were in Hollywood early on Friday to do both TV and radio shows with Art Linkletter. Following this, was lunch in the Green Room of Warners’ commissary and visits to the sets, where they met such stars as Gene Nelson, Doris Day and Steve Cochran.

The foursome dined alone together on their last evening and went to see the Playhouse presentation of “Robert E. Lee.” Afterwards they went back to the dorm, got into their pajamas and talked.

“I shouldn’t have won,” said Nancie. “Jill is so much better.”

“I’d have died if anyone but Nancie had won,” replied Jill. “And that includes me.”

“What I really want to do,” Connie broke in, “is get into musical comedy.”

“I don’t think God meant for me to win the scholarship,” was Natalie’s feeling. “He only meant for me to meet Mr. Pasternak.”

Producer Pasternak had asked Natalie to pay him a visit at M-G-M. When she did so, he interrupted a meeting in his office to talk with her. He feels that she may have a great future in motion pictures.

Photoplay editors have a hunch that you’ll be hearing from all four of these girls. And that you’ll be seeing their names again—in lights.




1 Comment
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    5 Temmuz 2023

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