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You Read It First In Vintage Paparazzi

Parties: Mike Todd, at his $7,000 party following the “Raintree County” premiere in Louisville, Ky., cautioned the orchestra not to play “Around the World in 80 Days.” “This is her night,” Mike emphasized, nodding toward Liz, “and I want no publicity for myself.” And her, in bright array, looked a dream. But Mike’s tune was different the following week at his “intimate” Madison Square Garden blowout, held to celebate the first birthday anniversary of “80 Days.” More than 18,000 guests sang his laurels during the year’s biggest and most publicized fiasco.

At the Jules Stein (MCA) soiree, Gene Kelly popped in from the “Marjorie Morningstar” location. Remembering those rumors of bickering between Gene and his leading lady, Natalie Wood, we asked how the picture was going. “Well,” said Gene with a shrug, “at the moment it’s in bits and pieces.” The following week so was Gene, with an injured leg and Asian flu. In bits and pieces.

At the same party, Van Johnson bustled over. “Hey, I was thinking about you today,” he said. “While I was washing the lunch dishes, I came across that tray you gave Evie and me for a wedding present and I—” While he was washing the lunch dishes?!! Tut tut, the things you do hear at Hollywood parties . . . George Nader, at the same party, hasn’t half the social ease as girlfriend Martha Hyer.

Highlight of the shebang that Jack Benny threw for Ed Sullivan was Maurice Chevalier’s rendition of “Dixie” with a French roll accent . . . And the contortions in that number put on by eight-year-old Portland Mason at Dean Martin’s Mocambo party was to me the height of bad taste.

Tears: The misty eyes of Jeff Chandler, who finally moved into a Hollywood apartment alone, at the mention of his two children . . . The wails of Marie Wilson at the prospect of losing the adored baby she hoped to adopt, with the real mother now asserting her claim.

People in Hollywood Wonder: Why George Raft didn’t title that too-revealing magazine confessional just plain “Riff-Raft” and be done with it . . . If 20th Century-Fox will be successful in its plan to star Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and Tommy Sands in one picture . . . Why, in “Raintree County,” M-G-M insisted on those closeups of Monty Clift’s swollen features, results of that auto smack-up . . . If Monty is really in love with his secretary, Marge Stengel, as reported, and if so why May Britt draped his arm at the premiere. They just wonder about Monty, period.

They’re concerned over Shelley Winters and Hedy Lamarr, two stars who insist on feudin’ and fussin’ through life. Contention, in part, prevented Shelley’s play, “The Saturday Night Kid,” from opening on Broadway, and cost Hedy many friends at Universal Studios.

Hello, Memphis: It was two o’clock in the morning in Memphis and eleven P.M. in Hollywood, when Nick Adams and I decided to telephone Elvis Presley with news of his latest movie, “Jailhouse Rock.” Nick had carted us off to the private showing earlier that evening and couldn’t wait to get back to the telephone. “He’s probably down at the gate talking to the kids.” Nick said while the Presley phone jangled. “Guys hang around there all hours.” Elvis, who had just returned from Nashville, was happy over Nick’s raves on “Jailhouse,” and thanked us both for our kind words.

Tips: Stars to watch for: James Garner, six-foot-four Oklahoman, thirty, brown eyes, black hair, devil-may-carish, bit part in Broadway’s “Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” and Marlon Brando’s friend in “Sayonara,” scores in “Darby’s Rangers,” star of his own TV show, “Maverick.” Strong, sexy, eligible. Curt Jurgens, handsome blond co-star of Bob Mitchum in “The Enemy Below,” six-feet-four, divorced from Eva Bartok. Single.

Prediction: Take my word for it: Never take sides in a quarrel. After all those bitter bits tossed between Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin—and as recently as Dean’s TV debut—guess who Jerry telephoned first with the news of his newest son’s arrival. You know it—Dean Martin. So, I predict that sometime, somehow, someplace, those two will get together again, Dean and Jerry.

All About Venetia: Get ready! The new Lana, the young Rita, the latest Kim is on her way. Her one and only role so far, in “Darby’s Rangers,” rings no alarms, sets no standards, promises no genius. But what this teenage divorcée does to the local swains! Handsome Barry Coe, the “Peyton Place” boy, hopes to marry Venetia the minute her divorce from Russ Tamblyn is final.

Tab Hunter, in a trance of, sorts, parted with his favorite horse, “Battling Bim,” before he knew what hit him, selling it to Venetia in an unguarded moment. Tony Perkins risked life and limb to climb embankments and break in windows when Venetia mislaid her door keys. Frank Sinatra spent one entire evening at a party trying to become “friends,” and got nowhere. Once shy, once retiring, Venetia’s now cool and sophisticated. Besides her own private phone, which she never answers unless on signal, two answering services take care of her messages. She seldom, if ever, calls back. She lives alone, likes it and keeps ex-husband Russ as her best friend. If all this comes across on the screen, and, remember, we said if, then walk, don’t run, to the nearest Venetia Stevenson fan club. This could be the one.

This ‘n’ That: Paul Newman has finally effected a property settlement with his ex-wife, and is now free to marry Joanne Woodward . . . A few days after Bob Wagner taught Natalie Wood how to play gin rummy, she took him for $485 . . . Yul Brynner coaching Kim Novak on her “From Among the Dead” lines . . . Jayne Mansfield has set January 8th as her wedding date with Mickey Hargitay . . . The Fishers awaiting a little brother or sister for baby Carrie. Daddy Eddie wants a boy. . . . Everyone bursting his buttons with pride over Irene Dunne’s U.N. Appointment . . . Big, big hats at cocktail parties newest rage, with Dana Wynter, Joan Collins, Martha Hyer and Erin O’Brien the smartest wearers . . . Liz Taylor and Eva Marie Saint biggest fans of town’s smartest color: Green.

Set of the Month: Rumors that Tommy Sands has it made as an actor, sent us to the “Sing! Boy, Sing!” set for a look. Sure enough, even after ten or more takes of a single scene, Tommy was cool, natural and easy. The scene had Tommy and pal Nick Adams eating waffles for breakfast. Tommy could take his slowly but Nick—a half-starved kid—must wolf his with gusto and ask for more. After ten waffles with butter and syrup, a pea-green Nick asked to be excused, and bolted for the exit. “That’s nothing,” grinned Tommy. “The other morning Nick had to eat nineteen banana splits before we got it right!”





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