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You Read It First In Vintage Paparazzi

Runny Talk: Out to U-I to lunch with Jimmy Stewart and Harvey, the invisible rabbit. “You’ll have to excuse Harvey if he doesn’t talk to us,” said Jim drily. “He went to a stag party last night and drank too much carrot juice.” Next to Cal was a high-backed empty chair, tagged with Harvey’s name. It sits at the lunch table daily. Howard Duff stopped by to say hello. ‘‘What’s the matter, Harvey?” he inquired as he addressed the empty chair. “Been behaving like a rabbit again?” Alexis Smith, thrilled over making her first free-lance Western, hopped over to our table. “Hi, Bunny Boy,” she greeted Harvey, as if he were actually there. When Anthony Curtis. cracked, “Brother, you sure look like a wild hare,” that did it! Cal struggled dazedly to his feet. “Where ya going?” inquired Jimmy, who plays the inebriated gent who does see Harvey. “On a lost weekend,” we managed to mutter.

According to Cal: A conversation with Shirley Schrift, Bernard Schwartz and Rosetta Jacobs would mean you are actually talking to Shelley Winters, Anthony Curtis and Piper Laurie . . . As a kid, Ruth Roman wrote exactly one fan letter and it was to Gary Cooper, with whom she’s now co-starring in “Dallas” . . . Celeste Holm and June Havoc, who are often up for the same role, will never share the same close-up if they can help it, for reasons that date back B.H. (Before Hollywood) . . . Rod Cameron, who’s supposed to be a wolf in Western clothing, actually gives Bibles as presents to interested young ladies . . . Since she’s bleached her hair for that role opposite Bing Crosby in “Mr. Music,” Ruth now receives mail addressed to “The Blonde Hussey” . . . Rendezvousing in Mexico: Zach Scott and his fourteen-year-old daughter Waverly, who flew all the way from New York to meet her favorite “boy friend.”

Here and There: Ginger Rogers, so charmingly evasive with the press, has now hired herself a personal press agent. Who knows, maybe her next revolutionary step will be to cut that magnificent mane. . . . Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis sipping a champagne ice cream soda at Wil Wright’s new Vine St. emporium . . . Tarzan and his partner dancing on a dime at Ciro’s or, in other words, Lex Barker and Arlene Dahl never looked lovelier.

Baby Talk: “Why did you and Martha name your new son Ted?” Cal asked Mickey Rooney, who was serving cigars in the Hollywood Brown Derby. “Because we liked it,” he answered—and we can’t think of a better reason . . . John Derek’s respect for motherhood now practically borders on reverence. While his new son Russell (named after his best friend, cameraman Russ Harlan) struggled into the world via Caesarian section, John never left his beloved Patti’s side. “It was an amazing experience,” he said when we called to congratulate him. Curiosity got the best of us. “What was your first thought when you saw your son?” John started to laugh. “I kept saying to myself—why he has a real nose!” . . . Cal wishes those politicians who attack Hollywood could have heard Eleanor Parker when we talked to her. “Were you disappointed when little Susan didn’t get a baby brother?” we inquired. “Don’t be silly,” was the reply. “We adore Sharon and there’s still plenty of time. Bert and I expect to have five.”

All Brides Are Beautiful: And Joan Caulfield was no exception when she married Frank Ross in Beverly Hills. Cal had never seen Joan looking so radiant, and little wonder . . . 1950 was Joan’s year. She married the man of her choice, her career flourished with “The Petty Girl” and Columbia offered her a long term contract. The ex-Mrs. Ross (Jean Arthur) also is glowing. Five days before Frank’s wedding to Joan, she opened on Broadway as Peter Pan to receive the greatest ovation of her career.

Dis-a and Data: The one and only Clark Gable evidently takes his picture titles seriously. Just before he started “To Please a Lady,” he personally selected an Adrian designed wardrobe for his adored Sylvia . . . After twenty-four ambitious Hollywood years, every picture Joan Crawford makes is still the “first” one. The day she started “The Lady of the House,” she arrived at the studio at 7 a.m. and at 4 p.m. they finally shot her first scene. Mused producer Bill Dozier, “Joan reminded me of a race horse that had been locked too long in the stable” Pity poor Rory Calhoun. He loves little pig sausages and he can’t eat them on his Ojai ranch because they’re made from the little pigs the soft-hearted guy raised himself . . . “I wanted a scar that’s made in America,” Cesar Romero told Cal when he called to say he was in the hospital for an appendectomy before leaving to make “Happy Go Lovely” in London . . . Sox-appeal is what Van Johnson had for the British. Since his return, he’s been mailing back those bright red numbers to be worn with dinner jackets.

Ridiculous Rumors: That there is trouble between Deborah Kerr and Tony Bartley. To the contrary, the main reason she wanted to play Lygia in “Quo Vadis,” was to be close to him while he is producing pictures in Europe. Little Melissa went along to share the house her fond father has already rented in Rome. Just before she sailed, Debby called Cal to tell him the exciting news that Tony had finally received a labor permit to work in this country. All three will be back quicker than you can say Leo the Lion! Those separation rumors probably started when Deborah attended the Academy Awards (in a party) with Stewart Granger, one of their oldest friends. So it was perfectly logical that Stewart would escort Tony’s wife during his absence.

No Punches Pulled: Whenever your old pal Cal needs a story, all he has to do is seek out Mercedes McCambridge! Hollywood’s newest and most exciting Oscar-totin’ tootsie believes in speaking her mind, which she did when Warners called her back for retakes on “Lightning Strikes Twice.” King Vidor was the original director, but for some unexplained reason Bretaigne Windust took over. Mercy walked on the set, discovered who was going to direct her and promptly exploded. It seems “Windy” fired her on her first job in the theater—a job she needed badly. Of course she did the retakes, because, before anything else, she’s a trouper. But she also had the satisfaction of saying a few thousand words she had been saving.

Africa Speaks: “Should we bring along a few Hollywood witch-women for local color?” This we asked Richard Carlson when he invited friends over to see his slides depicting life on the Dark Continent, during the five torturous months he was there making “King Solomon’s Mines.” Tribal dances, savage lions destroying zebras, battling hippopotami, were actually photographed in color by the trusty Carlson camera. For two spell-bound hours we sat there, the Dana Andrewses, celebrated artist Paul Clemens, Anne Shirley, and Ronald Reagan with Ruth Roman, all watching the exciting slides Richard threw on a sheet suspended from the living room ceiling. “At least Africa has one custom I love,” beamed Richard, when the lights went on again. “The water was so dangerous, we had to wash our teeth in champagne.” Said Ronnie Reagan in his quiet, deadpan manner: “What vintage?” And the party was over!

That Certain Party: Paging pretty-boy Freud! At a Hollywood party recently, famous femmes were given buttons and bows, trimmings and trappings; each was supposed to create her favorite doll. With one or two exceptions, the lovely ladies created darling dollies that looked exactly like themselves!

Wedding March: Even about-to-be brides look so beautiful, Cal declared to Jan Sterling on the “United States Mail” set. Come autumn, she marries Paul Douglas, a second “try” for her, the third for him. “Even though I’m under contract to Paramount,” she told us, “I’m still hoping Milo Anderson at Warners can design my ‘I do’ dress. When I made Johnny Belinda’ there, I could only wear gingham. In ‘Caged’ I had one outfit, a prison uniform. Poor Milo, he was so discouraged he threatened to picket my house with a sign reading, Jan Sterling unfair to Hollywood designers!’ ”

Studio Scuttlebutt: Movie moguls are currently catering to Ann Sheridan and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving dream doll. So the story goes, Twentieth heeded her so badly for “Stella,” they paid $50,000 to producer Howard Welsch for postponing a commitment on the Sheridan services. Also, for every week she worked beyond a designated date, there was supposed to be a $10,000 bonus. Not bad for a gal who played small nurse roles and secretary bits for eight years at Warners! After seeing the rushes on “Stella,” boss-man Zanuck sent La Sheridan a glowing letter of thanks and encouragement. Result, Annie’s batting her beautiful brains out to help bring the picture in on schedule.

Personality of the Month: She was the center of attraction at our corner table at Scandia’s intimate dining room in Hollywood. And yet, a little over a year ago, Ruth Roman was practically unknown.

Cal’s friendship with the brown-eyed, brown-haired, twenty-six-year-old beauty began Christmas Eve a year ago when Cal and Ty Power walked into Ty’s mother’s home for a pre-holiday dinner. Ruth was there with Bill Walsh, a friend of the Powers, who then was the number one man in her life. We were instantly taken with Ruth’s good looks.

“She’s an actress,” Ty told me as we drove home several hours later. But it remained for Kirk Douglas to discover how good an actress. Her work as Kirk’s wife in “Champion” resulted in a Warner Brothers contract.

Now posters advertising “Colt .45” with Ruth’s name sharing billing with Zachary Scott and Randolph Scott have her family in Boston agog. Her mother and three sisters who remain in Boston can’t accustom themselves to her fame. Ruth, however, can. When she decided to become an actress, she headed straight to New York, giving herself ten years to make it, or quit. New York wasn’t interested in her, but David O. Selznick was. So she came to Hollywood and when Selznick had no pictures for her she asked for her release.

Ruth, married once, has no current plans for another trip to the altar.

She’ll be seen next in “Lightning Always Strikes Twice” with Richard Todd and Mercedes McCambridge. And those who have seen the rushes promise it will zoom her straight to the top. She has made it four years before her deadline.

Bravos for Betty: When Betty Hutton arrived in New York for the premiere of “Annie Get Your Gun,” her daughters Lindsay and Candace were with her. Her mother, too. So Betty got around. She saw the Broadway hit “The Member of the Wedding” with Robert Sterling who, “by coincidence,” was in New York at the same time. She also showed up at other places with other escorts—including Mike Todd, Joan Blondell’s ex. Everyone is cheering Betty’s work in “Annie,” even Ethel Merman, the star of the stage version.

Hollywood Is: Delighted by the news that the Dean Jaggers have adopted a beautiful baby girl, who’s been named Diane . . . Annoyed by those circulating rumors (which Cal refuses to believe) that Kirk Douglas is beginning to “look right through” old helpful but unimportant friends when he now sees them . . . Amused by Jane Wyman, who was nineteen in “The Glass Menagerie,” sixteen in “Johnny Belinda” and will probably look just as convincing if she gets her wish to play the fourteen-year-old in the movie version of the stage hit, ‘‘Member of the Wedding” . . . Unimpressed by Corinne Calvet’s attitude after a terrific build-up with only three pictures to her credit. She now chooses to grant interviews only to the “best” publications . . . Charmed by the great trouping of veteran stage star, Jane Cowl, who is still so nervous in front of the camera, Bette Davis had to leave the set before Jane could do her close-ups for “Story of a Divorce.”

Dancing in a Dream: To M-G-M with the most excited young lady this side of a yo-yo! “I’m going to dance with Fred Astaire!”

“Unless you explode first,” Cal kidded his friend June Allyson, who literally was gasping.

“It’s just like a dream come true,” she sighed ecstatically. “I was still in school when I saw him (she said the word with reverence) in ‘Gay Divorcee’ fourteen times. Each time I’d go home, shut myself up in my room and practice the steps I saw him do. Finally, I tried out for the chorus and eventually came to Hollywood. One day, six years ago, I ran into him on the lot. My hair was tucked under a bandana. I wore no make-up. He smiled, but I couldn’t speak. I was so mortified I thought I was going to die.”

At this point we were joined by Dick Powell. “Another attack of Astaire-itis?” he gently prodded. “Ever since they told June she was going into ‘Royal Wedding,’ she’s almost been ill. She wouldn’t ski for fear something might happen. The other night, in her sleep, she kept saying ‘I’m going to dance with Fred Astaire!’ ”

That’s when Cal checked out, confidentially, feeling older than Fred Astaire’s great-grandfather.




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