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GOLD MEDAL MEMORIES: Drama! The touching tribute paid Monty Stratton when the 500 guests at Photoplay’s Gold Medal dinner rose to their feet as if they were one—in tribute to the man who inspired “The Stratton Story,” voted the most popular picture of 1949. As Jimmy Stewart said, “this movie was made possible only because of this man who lived it.”

Before June Allyson’s place on the dais was a large cellophane box in which reposed two large white orchids. June, arriving a little late from the Lux broadcast, where she and Jimmy Stewart had enacted their roles in “The Stratton Story,” hurriedly tore open the little envelope which held the card. It read, “Love, Husband.” June, all smiles, waved kisses to Dick who sat at a table close by.

Dinner Data: Ronald Reagan, facing the dais, not four feet from his ex-wife, Jane Wyman, smiled more broadly, clapped louder than any other person in the audience when she received the Gold Medal for her performance in “Johnny Belinda.” Just a few nights before, Jane, in the same room (the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel) attended a Friars Frolic during which Ronnie received accolades from that organization. It was Jane, then, who paid beaming tribute to her ex-husband. So many in town are still hoping that these two will reconcile . . .

A touchy situation developed when Kirk Douglas showed up with Bob Stack’s ex-girl friend, Irene Wrightsman McEvoy. Bob arrived alone. Since Kirk was seated on the dais, Irene suggested that she join the table where Stack was seated. Kirk, unenthusiastic about this suggestion, maneuvered Irene to a seat next to Ronald Reagan, where he could keep his eyes on her every minute . . . Esther Williams, dressed in soft apricot chiffon, glanced at herself in the mirror and admitted it was the first time she’d ever been able to see herself without aid of glasses. She was wearing contact lenses and this was the first big occasion during which she had the courage to use them. “You don’t know,” she confided, “what it’s like not to see clearly without glasses. This is wonderful.”

Party News: Cal attended the wonderful party given for the visiting Photoplay executives at the beautiful new home of the Alan Ladds. Sue had an informal sit-down dinner for fifty in honor of Editorial Director Fred R. Sammis and Mrs. Sammis, Vice President Herb Drake and Editor Adele Whitely Fletcher. We chatted with Bill Holden whose performance in “Sunset Boulevard” has the whole town talking. Bill is wonderfully happy, feels his career is clicking at last. During the evening Lucille Ball had difficulty keeping awake. She explained apologetically that she’d taken the medicine they give expectant mothers who are nauseous. Immediately the rumor spread that Lucille was expecting a baby. Later, when she heard this, she laughed uproariously. What had happened was this: She had been working in a scene in which she had been twirled around in a chair. It had made her dizzy. So the studio doctor had prescribed this medicine so that she could continue working—for no other reason.

Here and There: June Haver who lives in the apartment building owned by the late Dr. Duzik, has done such a successful job of redecorating her apartment that the present owners have persuaded her to decorate other apartments . . . Because Brod Crawford, all during his youthful acting career, was known as “Helen Broderick’s son,” Helen now has painted on her mailbox, “Brod Crawford’s mother lives here” . . .

Janet Leigh is the most un-Hollywood star we know. Recently, Frances Scully, one of the town’s leading women radio commentators, asked Janet if she would do a recording for the radio show. Janet’s busy schedule was such that her only time off the set of “Jet Pilot” was at lunch hour. “I’ll pack a lunch and jump in my car and come over then, if that’s okay with you,” Janet told Frances. She did just that and after recording, sat and shared her sandwich with Frances before dashing back to the set.

One Minute Interview with Doris Day: “I don’t know what I would do without my manager, Marty Melcher. When it comes to business, my system of filing is to quietly drop important papers in the fireplace! So Marty handles everything. Why, do you know, I have no idea how much money I make? I have a safety deposit box and I don’t even know what’s in it. Marty handles everything. Marty selects the songs for my recordings. The ones I selected weren’t as popular. Marty put over the deal for the new home I bought from Martha Raye. I love a home and I love being married. Yes, I think I can safely say I’ll be married in another year. Who am I going to marry? Oh, I’d rather not talk about it.” Quote from Cal: “Marty handles everything!”

Musings and Mutterings: Gloria Swanson, the star of the forthcoming movie “Sunset Boulevard,” is still envied by every star in Hollywood. A Pasadena doctor prescribes that diet that helps to keep the glorious one looking so glorious . . . Where there’s life, there’s Hope and these days where Bob goes his doting Dolores goes with him. Once upon a time it was the home, the kiddies, the charity endeavors that separated the Hopes when Bob traveled. Now, Dolores divides her interests and a new glow has been added . . . Wonder if Joan Fontaine knows her salty stories are raising eyebrows at Hollywood parties? . . .

Mrs. Cary Grant was being interviewed by a persistent, inquisitive reporter. “How much does your magazine (no it wasn’t Photoplay) sell for?” she asked politely. “Fifteen cents,” he answered. “For fifteen cents, I don’t think your readers are entitled to come into our bedroom,” Betsy Drake squelched him . . . Divorced they may be, but Zack and Elaine Scott still exchanged those long distance phone calls on their wedding anniversary, which happens to fall on his birthday …A moment Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Stewart will always remember. At the Photoplay Gold Medal Awards party when Mrs. Monty Stratton confided simply: “This is the first time in my life I ever wore an evening gown!”

A New Bette: Cal couldn’t help but be impressed with Bette Davis’s enthusiasm for the new film she’s producing with Barry Sullivan as her co-star. “It’s the story of a woman who keeps prodding her husband into getting on well in the world because she thinks that’s what he wants out of life. Of course, the inevitable happens and she finds herself alone with only herself to dominate in the end.” Seeing Bette at Ciro’s, where she and husband William Sherry were entertaining the Photoplay executives, Cal couldn’t help but think that Bette is happier now than at any time during her life. Sherry frankly admitted that he and Bette had had their problems but there was great tenderness in his voice when he added, “Bette was strong enough to help us both hang on to something we both wanted—a good marriage.”

The Corey Story: He’s the man of the hour. Stanwyck’s had him. Davis wants him. Crawford may get him . . . for their pictures, of course! So what happened to Wendell Corey when Lana Turner get him for “A Man of Her Own” could only happen in Hollywood. No sooner was he in the picture, than he was out again. Everyone was terribly polite and evasive when reasons were requested. “Why make a secret of it?” Corey cogitated. “The truth is, Lana thought I was wrong in the part; she was honest enough to say so.”

In the meantime, they dispatched the script to Ray Milland, who was skiing with his beautiful “squaw” in Squaw Valley. Only a friend of long standing would have roused old Cal out of the deep and downy at such an unearthly hour. “I want you to be the first to hear that I’m returning to M-G-M,” long-distanced Ray excitedly. “You were my first friend twenty years ago when I was in stock there. You were the only one who bothered to speak to me. I didn’t even have a dressing room. When they let me go, I promised myself I’d never go back to that studio until I drove through the front gate! Now, I can make outside pictures on my new deal with Paramount and this is my first. Isn’t it wonderful?” With a lump in our throat, we still had to wax facetious. “This time do you get a dressing room?” Ray sighed, “Oh, brother!” he mused. “There wasn’t a vacancy in the men’s building, so they’ve given me a suite in the women’s quarters. I’m right between Greer Garson and Ava Gardner!”

She Can Act, Too! She’s colorful, cantankerous, exotic, quixotic, modestly mad, madly magnificent. “All the King’s Men” won her an Academy Award nomination. With everyone inquiring about her, Cal played super-snooper and this is what he discovered. As a fine radio actress she was married to William Fifield. Their son, John Lawrence, was living on a farm near Chicago with his grandparents. He joined his mother in Hollywood when she recently became the brand-new Mrs. Fletcher Markle, wife of the brilliant radio director. They were first engaged last summer while vacationing in Monte Carlo. Suddenly, the engagement was broken. When Fletcher came to Hollywood as an M-G-M producer, their paths crossed again. Just as suddenly, they remembered ali the little things they realized they could never forget. When they eloped to Las Vegas over a weekend, both were working. So they spent their honeymoon at the Knickerbocker Hotel, just off Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood that’s been waiting a long, long time for the likes of . . . Mercedes McCambridge.


It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1950

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