There’s Many A Quip About A Honeymoon Trip
“The funniest thing happened to m e on the way from the altar,” is the only way Dan Dailey’s brand-new wife, the former Gwen O’Connor, can tell the story of the first ten minutes of their married life. She got hit by a blackjack. The blackjack was in the hand of a Las Vegas card dealer, but here’s how it happened.
After a two-year, rough-and-tumble courtship featured by more fights than have been seen in Madison Square Garden, Dan and Gwen tied the knot in a hurry. Dan’s agent was going to Vegas to see another client, so they went along for the ride, and once having arrived, marriage seemed a sensible idea.
When Gwen finished saying, “I do,” she excused herself and started for the powder room. Her path lead through the Sahara Hotel’s gambling casino, so she stopped for just a minute at a “21” table to try her luck. Ten minutes later, when the frantic Dan started a search for his bride, he found her still at the table—minus $700.
“So I won a wife and lost some money, but I still came out ahead,” Dan told me.
Well, at least Dan and Gwen were alone on their honeymoon. Guy Madison had to share the first four days of wedded bliss with Sheila Connolly, with four hundred conventioneers and the entire University of Miami football team.
As you know, Guy and Sheila were married in Juarez, Mexico, then hopped a plane immediately for Miami, Florida, where Guy was due to make personal appearances for the sponsor of his “Wild Bill Hickok” TV series.
They were never alone a minute—well almost never, anyway. The entire Kellogg’s sales force was there with them, and if three’s a crowd, four hundred is ridiculous. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the Miami football team was quartered at the same hotel while waiting to play Fordham University. Whenever Guy and Sheila could get away for a walk, they’d be followed by whistles and catcalls from that group of huskies who knew how to take advantage of honeymooners. Guy was really a “wild Bill” by the time he got away from Miami.
Audie Murphy almost shot a man on his honeymoon. He and Pam had gone to the “77” Ranch Motel in Dallas, Texas, to spend their wedding night. They were both asleep when there came a scraping at the window. Audie woke with a start. He had learned to be alert to danger when he was earning his title of the “most decorated war hero.” He reached under his pillow for his gun (he always sleeps with it), then cautioned Pam, who had awakened by this time, to be quiet. The scraping at the window continued, and in the moonlight outside, they could see the shadow of a man. Audie raised his gun, took careful aim, but as the burglar started to raise the window, Pam could hold back no longer.
“Audie, don’t shoot, please,” she pleaded in a voice loud enough for the burglar to hear. Before Audie could get out of bed, the man made a swift and definite disappearance.
When the first fright had left her, Pam laughed and said: “Is that what they mean by a shotgun wedding?”
After his Connecticut marriage to Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis went to Niagara Falls, the traditional honeymoon resort, with Piper Laurie.
At the time, both Janet and Tony were in the East on picture-plugging stints for their respective studios. They knew they wouldn’t have much time together, but for two people so in love, any time is better than none at all. So they were married in haste, spent two wonderful days together and then were separated for the next six weeks. Janet returned to Hollywood and Tony joined Piper at Niagara where she was waiting for him to continue their tour for “The Prince Who Was a Thief.”
“Someday I’m going to have to take Janet there,” Tony said recently. “It hardly seems right to marry one girl and then go to Niagara Falls with another.”
A mistaken identity gag that would have done justice to an Abbott and Costello comedy preceded the Robert Taylor-Ursula Thiess nuptials. Bob and his bride-to-be had flown to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the occasion. On their arrival at the airport, they were met by one of Bob’s fishing friends, Jess Wort, who had with him another man, a stranger. Bob assumed he was the airport porter and asked him to carry his bags to the car. Bob offered him a tip, which was refused. He should have known something was amiss there. because what porter ever refused a tip! It wasn’t until he was about to be married that he discovered his mistake. The man whom he thought was the porter turned out to be justice of the peace!
Immediately after the ceremony, Bob had to leave for Cloverdale, near San Francisco, the location of his picture, “Many Rivers to Cross.” Naturally Ursula accompanied him. Being a wise wife, she’s interested in the things Bob is interested in—and one of these is fishing. While he was toiling before the cameras, making love to Eleanor Parker, Ursula was off with a friend of his learning the art of fly-casting. When she thought she’d progressed far enough in her studies, Bob went with her one noon to gander her technique. It didn’t quite suit him, so he offered her a lesson. “It’s all done with a quick flick of the wrist,” he explained, and with that, he flicked his wrist. The fishing line tangled in the branches of some trees and never was recovered. That was the last lesson he gave his wife on the art of catching fish.
Jane Powell almost didn’t make it to her wedding to Pat Nerney, but it wasn’t because she didn’t try. She tried too hard. Having decided on Ojai Valley, a resort not too far from Hollywood, for the ceremony, she sped there in Pat’s Thunderbird. The bride was a little overanxious and put too much pressure on the gas pedal. The cloud-rider was brought to earth suddenly by the familiar sound of a motorcycle siren. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Marlon Brando on the ’cycle. Jane explained, in answer to the cop’s regulation question, that she wasn’t going to a fire, but she was going to a wedding, her own.
“I’m Jane Powell,” she said.
“Very happy to meet you, m’am,” he replied, doffing his hat. “My wife and I enjoy your pictures. I won’t keep you long.” Jane’s face lit up. “It’ll only take me a minute to write out this ticket.” Jane’s face fell.
Separation rumors have haunted Liz Taylor and hubby Mike Wilding almost since their marriage. In fact beautiful Liz told me:
“I guess I’ll have to have at least five babies before people will stop saying Mike and I are breaking up.”
Well, they did separate once, and only a few minutes after their marriage in a London registry office on February 21, 1952. Their dual popularity had attracted a crowd the size of which would have done justice to an appearance by the Queen. When Liz and Mike left the office to enter their car, they were surrounded by a mob right out of a scene from any DeMille epic you can name, a mob so insistent on seeing and touching them that they were separated from each other. By accident, Mike got into the wrong car. Liz was waiting for him in another car. The crush of the crowd was so great they had to drive away and it wasn’t until five hours later that they were reunited to each other’s arm where they have remained happily ever since.
Las Vegas was also the scene of another more went and less harried honeymoon, that of Pier Angeli and Vic Damone. The day after their lavish wedding at St. Timothy s in Beverly Hills, Pier and Vic drove to Vegas where he was scheduled for a night club engagement. When they retired the first night, they hung a “Do Not Disturb sign on their door-and also on their phone. An overeager operator ignored the latter message and put through a call to the newlyweds the next morning. A sleepy Pier shook slumber and stars out of her eyes, picked up the receiver and murmured: “Hello?”
“I want to speak with Mrs. Vic Damone,” a voice said. “Hello, I want Mrs. Damone.”
’Who?” inquired Pier.
“I said I’d like to speak with Mrs. Vic Damone,” the voice repeated.
“I’m sorry,” Pier replied. “Whom did you say?”
“Mrs. Vic Damone. Can’t you hear?” the voice came back rather impatiently this time.
“Yes, but I just wanted to hear you say it once more. It sounds so wonderful,” Pier answered happily, put the receiver back on its hook, turned over and kissed the sleeping Vic., She never did find out who called.
Lita Baron spent her wedding night on the floor.
She and Rory Calhoun were married ın Santa Barbara and honeymooned at the Biltmore Hotel there. Rory is a tall man—too tall for the beds they supply at the Biltmore. If there’s one thing that Rory can’t stand, it’s having his feet hang over the foot of the bedstead.
Rory called the manager. “Can we get a longer bed?” he asked.
“We’ll do our very best,” came the polite reply.
An hour later, nobody had done his best. The bed was still too short. So Rory took the mattress off it, put it on the floor. and that’s where he and Lita slept the rest of the night.
Audrey Hepburn married Mel Ferrer in a secret civil ceremony in a quiet little Swiss village named Buochs, but instead of honeymooning, the newlyweds went home to prepare for their second marriage the next day. Seems Audrey had promised her mother (who wasn’t too keen on the merger) that she would be married in a religious ceremony before close family friends So on September 25, for the second time in 24 hours, Audrey in a Dior “H-style” gown and white hat, walked dry-eyed down the 13th century chapel aisle on the arm of her nervous husband.
While elaborate precautions had been made to keep the wedding a secret and a private affair, there wasn’t much the famous couple could do about their honeymoon, ultimately shared by thousands of happy onlookers. Traveling by train to Italy (Mel had a film commitment), each time Audrey stopped reading her book, shifted her position or Mel went for a drink of water, trainmen and fascinated travelers watched and happily beamed at their every move. When they reached Milan, the press was waiting, but they managed surreptitiously to make their way to Florence. However, by the time they arrived in Rome, Audrey was screaming, “We want to be left alone. This is our marriage, not the public’s,” as thousands of happy eyes and an international press corps doggedly pursued them wherever they went.
Finally, after a harrowing 100-mile-an-hour chase from five carloads of press photographers, Audrey, relieved, stepped out of their car at the 20-room stone villa they had rented. She no sooner got out of the car when she sent up a loud shriek and ran with her husband toward the nearest entrance, bolting the door. For there, sitting on the steps —uninvited—were a hundred more pressmen and photographers. When Audrey and Mel eventually made an appearance before the group, Audrey had only two words to explain it all—“terrible, fantastic”—meaning, of course, the publicity, not the honeymoon.
It took Bill Holden and Brenda Marshall almost two months to get together after they were married. Theirs was one of the most hectic marriages in Hollywood’s hectic history, and looking back on it, one of the funniest, although at the time Bill didn’t feel like laughing. But let him tell it in his own words.
“I’ll try to make it short, Sheilah. Ardis (that’s Brenda’s real name) and I planned to be married at midnight on Saturday in Las Vegas. I was working on a picture at the time and didn’t get off until very late in the evening. Through circumstances too gruesome to recall, I got to Vegas at 2 A.M. The hotel had given away our bridal suite, the minister had gone to bed and we couldn’t get a license. We finally woke everybody up, were married at four in the morning and found a cheap room in which to spend the rest of our time. I had to catch a plane back for L.A. at noon and Ardis left for a three weeks’ location on a picture she was making. Before she’d returned I was sent on location for a picture While there I had an appendicitis attack and was shipped home packed in ice like frozen herring. When I arrived I was sent directly to a hospital where they yanked out the appendix. Two days before I was to be released, Ardis complained that she had a pain in her side. I told her, Honey, that’s just a sympathetic pain,’ which proves how wrong I can be. A doctor examined her and she had her appendix out before you could say it. So there we were, side by side, in hospital beds. What a way to start a honeymoon. It was a rough beginning—but it’s been smooth ever since.”
John Derek played the absent-minded professor at his wedding. He didn’t play it, he was it. When he had elicited a “yes” from pretty Pati Behrs in 1948, he ordered a fabulous wedding ring designed by his jeweler. He and Pati left for Las Vegas, found a justice of the peace and reached that part of the ceremony that calls for the groom to place a ring on the third finger, left hand of the bride. John fumbled in his pocket, but all he found was a little lint left there by a careless tailor. There was nothing round, nothing firm, nothing set with diamonds. John halted the ceremony, phoned the jeweler in Los Angeles and had him put the ring on an airplane bound for Vegas. He met the plane, grasped the ring firmly in his hand and didn’t let go of it until he finally slipped it onto Pati’s proper finger.
Aldo Ray would win the title of the “most practical husband of the month” if such titles were awarded newlyweds. When he and bride Jeff Donnell were packing for their honeymoon trip, he suggested they take along an electric frying pan that had been given them as a present. Jeff couldn’t understand why he chose this particular present from all they had received, but she packed it with her lingerie and took it along.
It wasn’t long before she found out why. A friend had loaned them a cottage m the Santa Cruz mountains and, as Jeff tells it: “That Aldo isn’t dumb An electric frying pan is awfully convenient for cooking, and I wound up in the kitchen almost the entire time we were up at the cottage.”
Lana Turner and Lex Barker had a pretty bad beginning to their marriage. When luscious Lana wed Lex in Turin, Italy, she was a brunette, and her dark hair served as an effective disguise—too effective. Everywhere she went with Lex, he was besieged by autograph hounds who loved him as Tarzan and they ignored her. No matter what any star says, being ignored is the worst thing that can happen. But Lana’s sense of humor saved the situation, for she can look back now and say with a laugh: “Wasn’t that a fine way to start a happy life together!” But then, Lana’s a blond again. After all, how far can a sense of humor stretch?
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JUNE 1955