You Read It First In Vintage Paparazzi
Van—This Month: Local high schools had been bombarding M-G-M so long with requests for interviews on Van Johnson for their school papers, the studio decided to do something about it.
So they sat down (Leo sits as well as roars) and telephoned each school that on a certain afternoon at four a representative from all the local highs could have a mass interview on Johnson.
They came, scrubbed to the eyebrows, all girls, and all prepared with their list of questions carefully written out. The questions had been taken from a poll handed in by students at each school.
“Now, Mr. Johnson,” piped up one sixteen-year-old cutie, “the men and women at Fairfax High”—Van gulped, ran a finger inside his collar and tried not to be taken off with apoplexy—“want to know; first, how you got this way; secondly, what kind of girl you prefer.”
Van took hold of the chair with a firm grip. “How I got this way? You mean—er—well-known?”
“I mean popular with women,” she replied seriously.
Van turned geranium pink and looked at the studio publicists for aid. He got none.
“Well, I—I say my prayers at night and just keep on hoping you’ll like me. I mean I hope it doesn’t stop, but I don’t know how it started.
“And girls I prefer? Well, I—er—” He studied her fresh and healthy young face for a clue. “Well, I like open-air girls. Tennis, that’s it. Girls who play outdoor sports.”
The reaction was perfect. He had hit the nail on the head and couldn’t have been more relieved.
Later Rags Ragland ran into Bob Walker and Peter Lawford reading the script of “If I Were King.”
“What would you do if you were a king?” Peter asked Bob.
“The first thing you should do,” Rags suggested, “is to slip Van Johnson a Mickey Finn and then maybe you’d have a chance with the girls.” The script just missed Rags’s head as he ducked out the door.
Sister Notes: Joan Fontaine is right proud of herself—and for good reason. In the living room of her home hangs a rather small Florentine painting—beautifully framed. But it wasn’t framed at all when Joan purchased it at an auction for very little money. It appealed to her—and she really knows quite a bit about paintings. Well, after she’d had it a while, she called in an art dealer to appraise it for her and discovered that the canvas is worth several thousand dollars! And oh boy—is she happy that sister Olivia de Havilland has won her long contract fight with Warner Brothers! Because the decision handed down to Olivia means that Joan, too, will be a “free woman” in about a year—instead of a much longer period for which she feared she might be tied up with David Selznick. Joan gets a fantastically small salary from Selznick—considering her star and prestige status in movieland. But now she’ll soon have the opportunity to step out on her own and make some real money. Speaking of Livvie—she’s doing a picture for Paramount now. It’s “The Well-Groomed Bride,” in which she is starred with Ray Milland and Sonny Tufts. And the dialogue is fast and furious and with that cast, it should ring the bell.
Last Minute Thoughts: Remember Cal’s warning that the reconciliation between Barbara Hutton and Cary Grant wouldn’t last? Fact is, it ended sooner than anybody thought. Hope the moody Mr. Grant doesn’t take it so darned hard this time . . . That baby girl adopted by the Bill Bendixes (they have a thirteen-year-old daughter of their own) has been christened Stephanie. Bill actually got incoherent telling Cal all about its cuteness. That’s Bendix for you.
“State Fair” Grounds: We rode the merry-go-round the other day on the “State Fair” set at 20th Century-Fox and were spotted on the brown horse by Dana Andrews who kidded the daylights out of us. Came up and offered us a spun candy cone . . . Vincent Price all done up in his “Dragonwyck” attire took us through the magnificent gardens of that set and never have we seen such beauty until Vincent explained how easy it was to poison someone with an oleander leaf. Didn’t like the look in Vincent’s eyes as he fingered those leaves, so we bowed out and came home. About time, too.
If You Wonder: Where Dorothy McGuire is after you see “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” don’t ask. She’s with a USO unit overseas playing in “Dear Ruth.” Hopes to run into her husband John Swope over there.
And if you wonder what’s happened to Dietrich, think no more of it. She’s followed her love, Jean Gabin, to Paris and will devote her time to entertaining the boys in service abroad. Of course Gabin will be entertained, too, probably.
If you ponder over Susan Peters’s tragic shooting accident after seeing her in “Keep Your Powder Dry,” remember it will be a long hard pull for little Susie with the movie colony right behind her. Saw Bob Walker and Van Johnson shopping for a bed jacket for her, and Lieut. (j.g.) Bob Taylor telephones concerning her every week. Susie played with Bob in “Song Of Russia.”
Town Chatter: Judy Garland’s engagement ring from Vincente Minnelli is so unusual. He designed it himself—and while you may not go for it—you’ll have to admit, it’s different. It’s a big pinkish pearl, set in a modern, heavy design of gold, inlaid with onyx. The two of them were at The Crillon, stunning new restaurant, the night it opened and Judy was gayer than she’s been for a long, long time. She wore a huge-brimmed hat of black feathers that becomingly framed her face which is filling out nicely these days. And when she turned around, there was no crown in the hat at ali! Just the brim—which fitted snugly to her own crown . . . Betty Grable and Harry James are kept pretty busy denying (1) that they’re separating and (2) that they’re going to be Ma and Pa again. The first rumor, if you ask Cal, is positively ridiculous. The second— well, it’s all over Hollywood again . . . Big doings at Ciro’s after the launching of Eddie Bracken’s new radio show which really got off to a wonderful start. Bonita Granville, who usually goes places with Fred de Cordova these nights, was there with Phillip Reed, back from the Pacific and out of the Navy now. Betty Hutton was there with her new crush who also happens to be the director of her latest picture, John Berry. The Danny Kayes (who are going crazy because Ida Lupino just bought the house they’ve been renting from Chester Morris—and where can they find another one?), Diana Lynn, with a feller who looked just like Sinatra—only he was taller and skinnier, Ann Rutherford, Eddie Cantor, Lela Rogers, who will soon be producing daughter Ginger’s movies—were in the crowd who helped celebrate. . . .
Bing Crosby, Photoplay’s Gold Medal winner, swears that he hasn’t yet seen “Going My Way”—but nobody believes him. When you stop and think though, how positively unhammy Bing is about everything—wouldn’t surprise Cal if he hadn’t seen any of his own pictures. When someone asked Bing if it’s true that he and Dixie are adopting a baby, he said, “Oh, no! We’re loaded now!”
Greer’s Greatest Pride: Greer Garson will show you those snapshots of her husband, Ensign Dick Ney, at the drop of an eyelash. She carries them around in her handbag—stacks of ’em. Even one of just the ship to which he’s assigned. And she’s so proud of the fact that he’s been all through the Philippine campaign. There are snaps of Dick all done up in his dress uniform; snaps of Dick, unshaven and sprawled on the sand—and when Greer gets to these she says, “I like the rugged ones the best, don’t you?” When she exhibits the snap of the destroyer, she beams, “Isn’t she beautiful?” Yes, she is—and so is Greer. Especially when she’s flouncing around in her garden wearing that new big picture hat—the pale green one with the pink roses. Looks gorgeous on Greer’s red tresses.
Straight from the Shoulder: Monty Woolley, who doesn’t mind being a movie star so long as he doesn’t have to be bored with fans, got the comeuppance of his life when he refused autographs in a Chicago railway station. Know who told him off? Susanna Foster, who speaks her mind whenever the occasion calls for it. On the other hand, Dinah Shore called back the fans police had shoved away from her broadcasting station and signed every single book.
Newcomer Favorite: Among the men we nominate as a soon-to-be favorite Michael Francis Dunne, who plays Uncle Willis in “Junior Miss.” Cal lunched with Mike, along with Dick Crane and Charles Russell, both wearing beards and applied sun blisters for the raft sequences of “Captain Eddie,” and we liked him. He enthusiastically led us all over the set just as if Cal had never clapped eyes on one before. Dunne was a radio announcer and actor in New York before coming to Hollywood. Our hunch is—he’s a comer!
Sooo Personal: Betty Hutton’s hair sweeps back so thinly from her nice face she should never brush it backwards … You would be surprised at the mother of the young movie star (male) who is about to plunge her famous son into a scandal of her own making . . . One of the homeliest women in town is one of the most arresting looking women on the screen but don’t ask us who, please . . . People tried not to laugh when Mischa Auer chased a burglar and broke a leg, but the way Mischa took on because it would interfere with his campaign for Mayor of Encino was a riot. . . Chuckles filled the air when Dixie Crosby put her foot down on the four boys’ appearing in any more pictures, declaring one actor in a family was enough. The three oldest boys squabbled and fought because Lenny, the youngest, got more lines to say in “Duffy’s Tavern” than they did.
Bogie Again: Just before Humphrey Bogart and Lauren “Baby” Bacall went to New York, they were cheek-to-cheeking at Mocambo to music from “To Have And Have Not.” So far as Bogie’s concerned, it’s “to have” from now on. He was so outspoken in his interviews in the newspapers that even people in Cinematown were shocked. But when Lauren hit the big town, she was far more discreet—she “wasn’t talking” about whether Bogie was to have or not to have her. And anyway, the first thing “to have,” if the two are going to get together for keeps, is a divorce from Mayo Bogart—and she “ain’t talkin’ ” either.
Colorful: Vivian Blaine, who has finally been able to get rid of that awful pink-red hair dye job she was burdened with in “Greenwich Village,” is back to her more natural light brown tresses. The “pink” photographed beautifully in Technicolor—but it sure looked punk in the daylight. Vivian remembered that she once did a lot of posing for a certain shoe company’s ads and that they had promised her a dozen pairs of shoes—which she had never received. Vivian up and optimistically wrote to the company a few weeks ago requesting the shoes. When their answer came back it said merely, “Are you kidding?”
Another gal who’s glad her hair isn’t pink any more is Lucille Ball—she’s been trying to get rid of the carrot top for ages—and got a little tired of being called “Technicolor Tessie.” Now most of the red is out of it and you’d almost call her a blonde. And here’s a twist!
It was Lucille who persuaded Van Johnson to stay in Hollywood when he was about to give up and go back to New York. Well, the other day these two were making the first scenes for “Early To Wed”—and the first thing Lucille was supposed to do for camera purposes, was to punch Van in the nose!
Let’s Face It: When Frank Sinatra was recalled by his draft board in New Jersey for re-examination and possible induction into the U. S. Armed Forces, Cal couldn’t help thinking that one look at Frank’s frail frame should be enough to keep him out of the Army.
But now seems as good a time as any to bring into honest discussion the letters Cal receives from boys overseas demanding to know why certain seemingly strong and healthy young men capable of all sorts of physical feats on the screen are exempt.
It’s our honest opinion that no young man on the screen today is there because of pull or phony finagling. There is some legitimate reason for his not being in the fight, but Hollywood is only brewing itself a mess of trouble by not explaining more clearly the situation to the movie public.
May we suggest that each studio compile a list of its eligible actors with the reasons for their exemption clearly set forth? The actors know all about this feeling of growing bitterness and feel as unhappy about it as the fighting lads. So why not make this list available to any or all who care to see it for fairness’ sake?
And don’t give us any of that gluck that it’s nobody’s business. It’s the affair of every lad fighting, dying or coming home maimed or blinded, and it’s the only fair way to settle this “Why aren’t you fighting?” broadside aimed at the actors.
Did You Know: Richard Jaeckel’s mother Millicent has opened in the play “Let’s Marry” at the Playtime Theater in Hollywood. Son Richard, now at sea with the Merchant Marine, wrote his mother to keep it going until he got home again.
Andy Russell, the new rave singer, (it’s his listeners who rave, not Andy) was born Andrew Rabago in Los Angeles’ east side. His late father was a Mexican-born cowboy and played extras in movies. Andy went from drummer in Tommy Dorsey’s band, among others, to singing in Newark, and then on to the Paramount Theater in New York and finally to Hollywood for the picture “Stork Club.” He’s twenty-four, single, a member of a Frank Sinatra fan club and adores Crosby. Well!
Glenn Ford received his discharge from the Marine Corps in time to step into the most tense twenty-four hours of his life. His wife, Eleanor Powell, was taken to the hospital to await the birth of her baby with papa-to-be Ford pacing the corridors growing wilder as the long hours dragged on. They had to give the poor bedraggled ex-Marine Sergeant a knock-out pill when it was all over and his husky baby boy was safely here.
Party Note: Alan Curtis took Andrea King (look for her to be a star at Warners before the year is out) to the party that Paul Brook gave at his house, but Alan’s best gal is still the young society miss, Betty Newling, who has just made some very successful screen tests and will have a movie career of her own with Hunt Stromberg. The Bob Huttons (Natalie is on that new radio show with Eddie Bracken), Yvonne De Carlo with Fred de Cordova, the young director who has been taking up most of Bonita Granville’s time lately, were there too. And, of course, Jeanne Crain on account of she and Brook are still going steady.
Cinema Chatter: Maybe you read about how Merle Oberon is expected to wed cameraman Lucien Ballard when she gets her divorce from Sir Alexander Korda. Maybe. But Cal has a hunch that there’s another interest in Merle’s life—a famous singer. Not yet free himself . . . Virginia Weidler has turned herself into a ravishing blonde . . . For the first time in all the years she’s been in pictures, somebody has realized that dignified Geraldine Fitzgerald really has beautiful legs so—you guessed it—the studio is now doing a lot of leg-art pictures of her . . . Bill Lundigan has been doing a wonderful job in the Philippines and was one of the first ashore in the Peleliu campaign. He’s with a photographic unit. Don’t be surprised if on his first furlough back to the States, he and Rena Morgan (daughter of the famous Helen) get married . . . Vincent Price, who had to get fat and flabby for “Laura” is shelving fifteen pounds for “Dragonwyck.”
Gals and Guys: Ann Dvorak and Leslie Fenton, seen about together sometimes—but no chance of a reconciliation here. In fact, Ann and Arturo de Cordova are shaping up into just about the hottest romance in town . . . Lynn Bari strolled into the Brown Derby one noontime in a flesh-colored sweater over a short black skirt—and strong men swooned . . . Garbo certainly behaves like two other people when she’s away from Hollywood. Been flitting all over New York cafes and public places just like anybody else—and not pulling that “vahnt to be ahlone” stuff. What’s more, there is actually make-up all over the usually unadorned Garbo pan. ’Tis said her boy friend, Gaylord Hauser, is about to go into the cosmetic business, and it would be sort of silly if Garbo didn’t help things along.
Around Town: Lynn Bari and Fred MacMurray keep a running gin rummy game going on the “Captain Eddie” set that’s a dilly . . . Chester Morris will do a play in New York . . . Margaret Sullavan and husband Leland Hayward have sold their Brentwood home and have purchased one in Connecticut which means the actress, her agent husband and their three children will make the East their future home . . . June Haver, who is giving Betty Grable plenty of competition in “The Dolly Sisters” (Betty has put on too much weight), is another home buyer—her first house, too, an eight-room Colonial near the studio. Incidentally, June reports sailor Farley Granger has grown two inches taller since he’s joined the Navy . . . Deanna Durbin, too, too plump, consuming plates of kidneys at The Players and in the bright sunlight, too—gosh, steaming kidneys for lunch yet.
Love as Cal Sees It: Cal has finally made up his mind about the Anne Baxter-John Hodiak romance, after due consideration and having carefully observed them together, and here’s what we conclude: They’ll never marry. Of course at this point the two will probably take off for Las Vegas leaving Cal with his bare face hanging out, but we’ll take our chances and say—no marriage. Know why? Because we think Anne is in love, has been in love for some time, and will continue to be in love with Dick Derr, now a navigator with the Air Transport Command flying the Gold Coast. Dick was Anne’s first real beau when he was an actor at Twentieth and our hunch is—he’s still top man.
Does Charlie McCarthy have a new stepmother or doesn’t he? At this moment it looks as if Edgar Bergen will finally leap into benediction. The lady’s name is Frances Westerman, a New York Powers model, and just like every other couple they’ve had their spats and reconciliations and misunderstandings. In fact, Charlie could do a take-off on Edgar’s telephonic wooing and unwooing that should be a classic.
Donna Reed is dating her old beau, Lieut. Bill Ryan, whom she knew as a student at L. A. City College, while her ex-husband, make-up man Bill Tuttle, is courting Louise Allbritton. Music isn’t the only thing that goes round and round in Hollywood.
That Parsons Hospitality: We had supper with Lana Turner and Turhan Bey at Louella Parsons’s cocktail party and exchanged a lot of personal (yeah, personal) chit chat. We took along Lieut. Ted Tewksbury whom producer Walter Wanger mistook for Tyrone Power and so did the boys parking the cars. They even asked the embarrassed navy officer for his autograph.
It was old home week for Cal and Walter Pidgeon, who hadn’t glimpsed each other in a long time. Greer Garson was all aglow after winning Photoplay’s Gold Medal. And Maria Montez in a hat of blue roses had to tell Lieut. Tewksbury all about her husband in Paris, of course. Edgar Bergen was there without Charlie, and Junie Allyson couldn’t get over it. John Payne and Gloria De Haven popped in and out fairly beaming. We complimented Bob Young on his role in “The Enchanted Cottage” and unlike a blase movie star he said, “Hey, say that so my wife can hear it.” Pretty nice. And speaking of wonderful hostesses you just can’t beat Louella.
Off the Record: Sonny Tufts and the husband of a big feminine star almost said it with fists in a Hollywood late spot—and Hollywood almost had another headline “bout” . . . Everyone at Paramount is raving over blonde little Joan Caulfield, said to be terrific in “Miss Susie Slagle” which stars Veronica Lake. They’ll bet you it will make a star of Joan . . . Another find in that picture is Billy de Wolf, headed for the top as a comedian. You should hear Dotty Lamour and others rave about his talents . . . June Haver is around and about with Dr. John Dizik mostly—but Cal knows that her heart lies over the ocean . . . George Brent is liable to be a bridegroom by the time you read this. The gal—Janet Michaels. They’ve been going together on and off for so long. . . .
Co-incidence Worth Noting: That Kay Francis and Connie Bennett, both of whom rose to stardom and movieland’s positively top salaries at the same time a few years ago and then almost disappeared from the screen, are now back in Hollywood and both resuming their careers not only before the cameras, but as producers! Connie is boss where Gregory Ratoff is directing “Paris, Underground” in which she also stars. And her portable dressing room is also her “office”—and it’s plenty chic. Connie and her almost ex-husband Gilbert Roland don’t even bother to speak when they come face to face these days!
Party: No one knows how to entertain service men in an impromptu get-together quite so well as lovely Marjorie Reynolds (wait till you see her in “Bring On The Girls”) and her husband, handsome Capt. Jack. A stray soldier along the way, a friend of Jack’s from the post, another that drops in, and—zoom, it’s a party.
Cal dropped in on one of these famous whiz-dings the other evening, and found everyone smacking his lips over a punch bowl. Well, of course, we had to sample the ingredients of the flowing bowl, and found it so good we asked Marjorie for the recipe to pass on to you who may want to whip it up for your service-men guests. Marjorie calls it Pink Party Punch, which is kind of purty, isn’t it?
Pink Party Punch
¾ cup sugar or honey
1 cup water
8 strips lemon peel.
3-inch stick cinnamon
12 whole cloves
½ cups orange juice
¾ cup lemon juice
1 bottle claret
2 cups carbonated water
Boil sugar (or honey), water, lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves together for five minutes. Strain, cool, and add orange juice, lemon juice, claret and carbonated water. Pour over block of ice in punch bowl. Float thin slices of orange and lemon on top. Makes 2 quarts, or 16 to 20 servings of sparkling punch.
By the way, Marjorie says those separation rumors between her and Jack are false, and after nine years of marriage they are still happy.
Waxing the Comics: Our invitation to the Command Performance read 9:30 p.m. but the show didn’t really get under way until 9:40, as Frank Sinatra was busy over on Dinah Shore’s program. When it did get going, friends, you couldn’t buy a show like that for five cool millions and yet every week Hollywood stars give their time rehearsing hour upon hour for a request radio program for the boys overseas.
This was a special night however, for the boys had requested a Dick Tracy show with stars taking the parts of the various comic strip characters. And how’s this for a line-up: Bing Crosby as Tracy, Bob Hope as Flattop, Frank Sinatra as Shaky, Dinah Shore as Tess Trueheart, Frank Morgan as Vitamin Flintheart, Jimmy Durante as the Mole, the Andrews Sisters as the Summer Sisters, Cass Daily as Gravel Gertie, Judy Garland as Snowflake, Jerry Colonna as the Chief? From the western front to the Philippines, in remote bases over the world, on ships at sea, in hospitals and at the very fronts, the boys will hear this side-splitting show—one of 125 such programs that have been made exclusively for them.
“Heavens, but I’m nervous,” Hope screamed from the stage, which, of course, was ridiculous. The script, highly seasoned, brought roars of laughter from the invitational audience. The actors kidded Bing’s baldness, Frankie’s slenderness and Hope’s weight. At one point Bing produced a picture of Hope clad only in long underwear which was passed among the audience to Hope’s open-mouthed astonishment. First time Cal ever saw Bob stopped. Frank Morgan in a horrible fur coat exactly like Vitamin’s, and carrying the usual cigaret holder, was a riot. At one point they altered Durante’s script and the look on his face as he read the risque line was so paralyzing neither Hope nor Crosby could continue for five minutes. What an evening!
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1945