You Read It First In Vintage Paparazzi
Hearts Aflame-Hearts Acooling: Peter Lawford has it bad (at this writing) for beautiful Australian Jeanne MacDonald, who is now visiting Hollywood. Sharman Douglas never looked less worried . . . Richard Egan’s dates with Piper Laurie (the reformed petal cruncher) are strictly studio publicity stuff . . . John Dall and Janice Rule, who look like sister and brother, feel exactly the opposite about each other . . . Tony Curtis hasn’t given Janet Leigh an engagement ring, but she is now officially in charge of selecting his neckties!
Peeks at Production: Ethel Barrymore, at her own request, was removed from the cast of “Oh Baby.” Her given reason, “The part called for too much physical strain and exertion.” What the seventy-two-year-old actress thought about the direction, however, she didn’t say publicly . . . That darling old gray-headed lady who totters around the RKO lot and talks like she has marbles in her mouth—really has ’em. They’re used by Jane Wyman in aging her speech for that role in “The Blue Veil” . . . When Mitzi Gaynor broke her little toe during a dance routine, Lana Turner, who broke her toe when she slipped on the Topping boat, sent a wire saying, “Greetings from one peg leg to another.”
Cheerio and Pip-Pip: Word drifts back from London (where she’s making “Another Man’s Poison”) that Bette Davis is annoyed (and who can blame her) at reporters who referred to Gary Merrill as “the fourth Mr. Davis” . . . June Haver, who was over there last year, sent her little black address book to Ann Blyth, who is making “The House on the Square” with Tyrone Power . . . Speaking of Ty (who was away from London on a vacation), even Scotland Yard’s news of their jewel robbery couldn’t dim the Powers’ happiness over the expected arrival of the stork this fall.
Censor Stuff: If only Cal could tell you this story without censoring it! It seems that Lucille Ball, who is expecting her baby in July, was strictly instructed by her obstetrician: “Regardless of the hour, be sure and call me if anything unusual happens.” Well, due to her delicate condition, something unusual did happen and Lucy called at once. The doctor was out on an emergency case. Two hours later the maid announced to the now frantic Lucille that the doctor was on the phone. Lucille rushed over, picked up the instrument and poured out (and how!) all the intimate details of her problem. Following a dead silence, the voice on the other end quietly said: “That’s a very interesting story, Mrs. Arnaz, but this isn’t your baby doctor. This is the vet calling to see how your dog is!”
Happy Talk: In case they aren’t aware of it, Cal can tell Warners that Ruth Roman may not be “available” in the near future. “I love children,” she confided across the luncheon table at Scandia. “The house we bought is rented. As soon as the lease is up and we can move in, Morty and I want a family. We’d like to have two boys and two girls.” Tanned to a turn, Ruth, who had just returned from Honolulu, looked radiant. Handsome Mortimer Hail has given his wife a present every day since he married her. The first was a mink coat—the last a Mickey Mouse wristwatch! Though terrified of flying, Ruth flew back from Honolulu just to spend more time with her husband, who had to rush home on business. “When I do that, it’s got to be love,” she sighed softly.
Set of the Month: Through the hills and up a winding trail, we went. It was hot and dusty but it was worth every single, uncomfortable second. Waiting for us was—Josephine Hull! Round, firm and fully packed with genuine charm, the enchanting character actress was about to do a barnyard scene for “Fine Day.” “When you feed the chickens, talk to them as if they were people,” instructed director Joe Pevney. Josephine was so serious it completely broke us up! “Any eggs today, girls?” she called to the chickens wistfully. Later she showed us the “Oscar” she won for “Harvey.” “It’s like a good friend,” she told us simply. Howard Duff arrived to do his scenes with Josephine. “How are you, glamour girl?” he greeted her. “Seriously speaking,” says Howard, “I think Miss Hull does have glamour-not the Marlene Dietrich kind, of course. It’s a great warmth that one feels constantly and to me that’s very glamorous.” Cal says, “Me too!”
Men at Work: Unattached females of Hollywood are about to picket Howard Duff and Jeff Chandler! Until they finish their individual pictures, both gents are living in their dressing rooms. Tired at the end of the day, they usually meet in a restaurant opposite the studio. After a couple of beers and dinner they return to the studio and turn in early. What this is doing to those lovely ladies who sit all alone by the telephone, is disastrous!
Praise from Caesar: Until she reads it here, Lucille Norman won’t know of this well-deserved tribute. It happened backstage at the Academy Awards, where the talented radio singer (she’s now under contract at Warners) appeared on the program. Helen Hayes and Ruth Chatterton stood in the wings and listened rapturously. With a catch in her voice, Ruth Chatterton whispered: “Doesn’t that beautiful voice remind you of Grace Moore’s?” “At that very moment,” Helen Hayes says, “I was thinking the same thing.”
Mr. Hush: His studio is finally convinced that Richard Basehart won’t talk about his romance with Valentina Cortesa. When he was refused permission to visit the Italian actress, Richard took a suspension (Translation: No dough!) and visited her anyway. Upon his return from Europe, everyone waited breathlessly. No announcement was forthcoming. Then they started questioning. Finally, local columnists demanded a statement. Richard, who gives a brilliant performance in “Fourteen Hours,” remained strong—and silent. Some say the couple were secretly married. We wonder.
John’s Other Life: Here’s hoping John Agar’s many fans join us in believing he’ll soon be back to being the gentleman he’s always been. According to a tip (Cal checked but the information was not available), following a third drunk-driving charge, John joined Alcoholics Anonymous. With such a fine family background, he’s obviously suffering from some emotional shock. Some say it all stems back to his first picture when he found himself in fast company. Like any ambitious newcomer, the sensitive John wanted to hold his own with the oldtimers. Living within the very shadow of Shirley Temple’s family didn’t add to his composure. Naturally their divorce and his wife’s subsequent testimony was a bitter pill to swallow. If a guy’s willing to try and help himself, he’s entitled to everyone’s support. Let’s give it.
At the Moment: Twentieth Century-Fox’s contract player Bob Wagner, who’s been dating Darryl Zanuck’s daughter, Susan, gets a be-eg studio build-up on account of it’s bosses’ orders . . . Dan Dailey, who surprised everyone with his sudden recovery and return to Hollywood, hopes to interest his studio in the documentary musical he wrote while convalescing in the Menninger Clinic . . . Bill Holden, the most popular actor who ever lost an “Oscar,” has a scrapbook filled with wires and letters of condolence . . . It wasn’t a strike and it wasn’t a race riot. Hedy Lamarr merely announced that she had sold her home before she found another one—and didn’t have a place to rest her beautiful head . . . Literary note: Anne Baxter and John Hodiak poring over a book with the title “2,500 Names for the Baby” . . . Joan Evans thrilled to her beautiful teeth when big boss Sam Goldwyn called to say, “I just saw ‘On the Loose’ and if you were my own daughter, I couldn’t like you more” … Scott Brady just looks mysterious when questioned about that rumored M-G-M contract.
Legs and Laughs: Betty Grable was doing her “No Talent Joe” number for “Meet Me after the Show.” “Meet me on the sound stage after lunch,” she called across the Twentieth commissary. “I do a dance in my bare feet. You can help me count the slivers!” Cal can’t describe Betty’s costume, but those skintight knee-length pants made Grable look very able! Manly muscle boys decorated the background as she went through the number staged by brilliant dancer Jack Cole. Harry James dropped by to watch his woman. Even Rory Calhoun, who had a day off, couldn’t stay away. “Hey, Betty,” a publicity man called over to her. “The New York Yankees are here and they want to meet you.” Betty’s eyes popped. “They want to meet me?” she quipped. ‘Brother, I want to meet them. You know I caught their act too!”
Man of the Moment: Jeff Chandler, who is the best bet on the U-I lot, is beginning to believe that old one about “all is not gold.” With the exception of another actor (Richard Egan) not a single studio soul congratulated him when he received an Academy Award nomination. Then recently, Jeff had to wait until the eleventh hour before he was notified that U-I had taken up his option. In the romance department, however, his obvious charm isn’t going to waste. When he had an interview in the Brown Derby, Jeff sat with his back to Ann Sheridan, in an adjoining booth. Annie knew the writer, so she sent over a kidding note, complaining about the “bad view.” Always accommodating, Jeff shifted his position. He liked what he saw and they’ve been having dates ever since!
It’s the Truth That: Glenn Ford in “Follow the Sun,” portrays Ben Hogan, the famous golf champ. However, the actor won’t be seen in the long shots performing those master strokes. The difference in form was so great, they finally put a mask of Ford’s face on Hogan (who is shorter and heavier) and he swung for “himself” . . . Helen Hayes, who is President of ANTA (American National Theatre Association) is so impressed with the masterful way Hollywood presents its Academy Awards, she’s going to incorporate our ideas into the New York ceremonies . . When Robert Thomsen (M-G-M’s brightest boy producer) received the opinion cards from the sneak preview of “The Thin Knife,” the raves over Keefe Brasselle’s performance were all written in—lipstick!
Truth and Consequences: Some say Mrs. Tarzan was wise enough to see the handwriting on the wall. At any rate, Arlene Dahl requested that she be released from her M-G-M contract for various reasons . . . Esther Williams, on the other hand, just wants new plots to swim in . . The Clark Gables may be divorced by the time you read this, but Sylvia definitely remains “married” to her art. Her paintings (very much on the style of the celebrated Raoul Dufy) hang in the home of the Fred Astaires as well as in those of other friends too . . . Far from its being a publicity stunt, Dick Powell and June Allyson couldn’t be more serious about their plan for heading an adoption home to protect California parents. The admirable couple filed incorporation papers last October . . . Those close to the Dick Contino case declare the now famous accordion player has never been able to drive a car alone, or sleep in anything but an unlocked room on the ground floor. Since childhood he’s been so seriously complexed, he is deserving of understanding for having fled in terror from his Induction center.
Guise and Dolls: Shel and Farl (their Quixotic names for each other) were announced as being “officially engaged” recently. However, the proper ring—“twelve good-sized diamonds that made Shelley Winters squeal with delight,” wasn’t placed on the proper finger by Farley Granger. According to witnesses, when the handsome actor tendered his tantalizing token, he supposedly said: “Now behave yourself, or I’ll take it back—and don’t call the columnists!” Right up to the day the story broke, Farley, who is very devoted to his parents, had never mentioned matrimonial intentions. Neither had he ever introduced them to Shelley. While it’s all a familiar publicity pattern, should this devoted duo eventually marry, they have so much in common, (including a talent for creating front page news) they could easily live happily ever after.
Puppy Love: “Come back to the set and meet my dearest friend and severest critic.” Cornel Wilde’s black eyes twinkled as he stopped by Cal’s table in the Paramount commissary. A little later we got his “message,” watching C. B. De Mille shoot a scene for “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The action called for a mongrel dog to lick Cornel affectionately on the hand. Poochie, it seems, was just too doggone bored to even try. They tempted him by smearing on sausage, then honey. Finally, the exasperated director barked for a canine star who would succumb to Cornel’s masculine charms. “Please let me try once more,” pleaded the prop man. He then proceeded to perfume the actor’s hand with a fragrant—sardine! This time the results were sensational. The last we saw of Cornel, he was still trying to shake the new love in his life—and we don’t mean Jean Wallace!
A Little from Lots: The appearance together of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in Havana, made top topical conversation on Hollywood sound stages . . . Pity poor Nancy Olson, who was so embarrassed while making “Force of Arms.” Because she is “expecting,” the blonde beauty even had to dash out of love scenes, when illness overtook her . . . Betty Hutton, who should know, predicts that Charlton Heston’s performance in “The Greatest Show on Earth” will make him the most sizzling sex boy on celluloid . . . Time marches on and Charles Boyer has now reached the age and stage where he can kid about the hairpiece he’s worn since he played great lovers. The fascinating Frenchman refers to his hirsute adornment as “My brain doily!”
Rage in Hollywood: When the most co-operative and peace-loving actor in Hollywood wants to walk off the set, the reason has to be rigorous. Alan Ladd’s the lad. Charles Vidor’s the director, who also had trouble and a lawsuit at Columbia. The picture is “Rage of the Vulture” and the set is about as soothing as a quiet day in a boiler factory. Climax came when cameraman John Seitz (he photographed “Foreign Affair” and other great hits) was replaced. Alan, who has a sympathetic role and loves it, wasn’t getting along with Vidor and he was very pleased with Seitz and his work. Walking out would have cost him many thousands, but Alan was too indignant to care. However, when he realized the cost to the studio, he reconsidered. Now star and director speak only when it pertains to production.
Bits and Pieces: Now that MacDonald Carey, Wendell Corey, and Mark Stevens are living on the same Beverly Hills block, they’re sharing the same swimming pool, tennis court, and lawn mower . . . In between making records, appearing on radio and acting in “Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick,” Dinah Shore’s making all the curtains and cushions for their new Palm Springs home that George Montgomery is building by himself . . . Leave it to Corinne Calvet to be tres original. Anyone can paint on canvas, but the French filly is doing portraits on flagstone—but don’t you dare ask us why!
Wedding Belle: Mrs. Marty Melcher finally came down to earth long enough to pour a spot of tea. However, Doris Day, wearing dungarees and moccasins, looked about as bride-like as a bobby soxer! “We didn’t want any fuss or chichi,” she grinned. “So one day Marty just casually called while I was covering a sofa. ‘Let’s do it,’ he said. I dressed, we dashed over to the Burbank City Hall five minutes from this house. Two photographers magically appeared, so we grabbed them for witnesses. My gold wedding ring looks like a miniature belt with holes and a tongue buckle. But someone had changed the size and Marty had to stop and readjust it before he could slip it on. It broke me up completely! After the ceremony we drove home again.” Doris sighed ecstatically. No, Cal didn’t ask her if she ever got that sofa covered!
Romantic Round-up: Rhonda Fleming and John Payne really put Cupid to the test, when they went to Florida for the Pine-Thomas production of “Cross Winds.” The amorous ones had to make love to each other—under water! . . . Marlene Dietrich, who happens to be very fond of Michael Wilding, happened to be at the same desert hotel where the handsome Britisher spent his last weekend before heading back to London . . . The shy Lew Ayres, who isn’t too shy to get around local lovelies, is getting around with lovely Helene Stanley, recently brought out from the New York stage by Twentieth Century-Fox . . . It comes up love (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) when Howard Duff gives the King of his cats to Marta Toren.
Good Will Toward Men: Cal’s seen it happen before. An actor is so close to his studio they take him for granted. He gets lost in the shuffle. From now on it will be a different story for Ricardo Montalban. Since his tour of all the important South American countries, M-G-M wouldn’t dare deprive him of the build-up he has long deserved. Ricardo, who is always a gentleman, kind and sincere, was a great ambassador for Hollywood. Thousands waited to see him everywhere and he saw them all. Ricardo Montalban is a religious man, whose faith is being rewarded by the faith others have in him.
Great open Spaces: Ronnie Reagan (completely reconciled to his divorce from Jane Wyman) is a happy man these days. He has a new 350-acre ranch that he loves and it’s very obvious that he is in love with Nancy Davis. If that new house he plans to build is any indication, wedding bells should be a-ringing soon. The first day on his ranch, a man drove up, offered to trim the trees free and buy the branches. “It’s a deal,” exclaimed Ronnie, who was digging his ninety-fifth post hole, “But I’m curious. What do you do with the branches?” Came the amusing answer: “Oh I sell them to your studio. They use them for props when they build outdoor sets on the sound stages!”
Boy’s Town: Cal kind of worries at times because he’s seen what success does to nice guys like Gene Nelson, who was a one-man dreamboat in “Lullaby of Broadway.” Well, our worries are over. Gene’s values remain as solid as those dancing feet. We ran into the charming Mrs. Gene the other day and she brought us up to date on our boy. It seems David Butler called to tell Gene the front office was raving over his performance. The maid answered the phone. “I’m very sorry,” she said to the pleading director, “Mr. Nelson is on the lot next door— flying a kite! He instructed me not to disturb him—unless it was very important.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JULY 1951