Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

It’s Been 56 Years Since The Death Of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Was Pronounced Dead August 5, 1962

(Though She Actually Died A Day Earlier)

Hollywood August 5 – Marilyn Monroe’s Body Removed: Coroner’s attendants remove the body of film star Marilyn Monroe from a Los Angeles mortuary today, en route to the Los Angeles County Morgue. The glamorous star, 36, was found dead in her bed today probably a suicide. – AP Wirephoto, 1962

Today is the recognized anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death.

Arguably, no movie star has had such an enduring grip upon the public’s imagination so long after their death as Marilyn Monroe. Continue reading

Searching Here In Allentown- At The Book & Paper Show With Postcards, Antique Advertising & A Real Black Bear

Things You Will Find At The Allentown Book & Paper Show

On a cloudless Saturday at eight forty in the morning, a line of about 200 eager men and women snaked its way around Agricultural Hall at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown, PA.

They were anxiously awaiting the April 21 opening of the two day Allentown Book and Paper Show, an all encompassing smorgasbord of anything and everything collectible that has a relationship to paper.

On  the show floor a few minutes before 9:00 am,, show promoter Sean Klutinoty announced to the 170 dealers over the public address system, that the anxious crowd would soon be admitted. This was the cue for the dealers to return to their tables. They had set up their stalls the day before but quite a few dealers were scurrying about making some last minute purchases from one  another.

Searching through hundreds of thousands of postcards

At nine sharp, customers started filing in. Like bees who fly precise routes to pollinate flowers, the mad dash began for people to get to their favorite dealer. For those who do not have a special dealer to go to, there is a rush to visit each booth methodically row by row.

Each patron is searching for something particular and they ask dealers if they possess whatever special item they seek, before the competition, real or imagined, swoops in and beats them to it.

Another aisle of postcard row

If it made of paper and you cannot find it in Allentown that is the exception.

Unlike a book show where you have books and some ephemera, at a paper show there is literally no limit on what antiquity or modern collectible you may find. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #57 – Cary Grant & Ginger Rogers

Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor


The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?

There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.

In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s  breakthrough film Niagara.

4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto

Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

June 1, 2016 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

10 Rare Photographs From Her Life

A simply stunning unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde's home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

A simply stunning, unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde’s home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

June 1 marks Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. We have pondered this before: what would an elderly Marilyn Monroe have been like? Reclusive and mentally ill like her mother was? Elder stateswoman of the movies and spokesperson for women’s rights? It’s all conjecture, there’s obviously no clear answer.

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

As much as Marilyn accomplished, her life was unfulfilled. No babies, no aging to segue into nuanced character roles in films, no Broadway or television career, no venturing into social activism on issues that would have concerned her.

When Marilyn died at the age of 36 in 1962, she became immortalized in ways that probably would have amused her. The movie goddess is still forever young, and has become an icon of many things: the 1950s; glamor; gay rights; womanhood and sex to name a few.

As time passes and the people who actually knew her pass away, Marilyn becomes more of a figurehead of a time rather than a once living flesh and blood person. Authors are drawn to Marilyn and have made her the subject of hundreds of books and millions of words analyzing her without knowing her.

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1950 film which includes Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island!)

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1951 film which includes Donald Crisp, Jeffrey Lynn and Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island!)

This literary interest in every aspect of Marilyn’s life was not displayed when she was alive. Only six books were written about her during her lifetime. True, there were the articles in magazines that gave superficial glimpses into her life. But Marilyn and the publicity machine that surrounded her obfuscated much of who she really was.

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #50

Marilyn Monroe Without Makeup – 1954

Marilyn Monroe in the morning with no makeup cloes up photo Milton GreeneIt is said that Marilyn Monroe was an expert at posing for photographers. During her early modeling days she questioned her photographers about the technical aspects of photography and over time and with studying, Marilyn learned how to always look her best in front of the camera.

So it was unusual that anyone would ever get to photograph Marilyn without makeup.

It dd happen occasionally, but those sans makeup photographs are the exception.

With photographer and one time business partner Milton Greene, Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #41

Marilyn Monroe At The Actors Studio

These three candid photographs of Marilyn Monroe at The Actors Studio in New York were taken by Roy Schatt (1909 -2002).

They are currently being offered at auction on April 15, 2015 by Doyle New York Auctioneers & Appraisers. The estimate for all three photos are between $800 – $1,200. The first two photos of Marilyn in the audience is being offered as one lot (lot 569). The other photo (lot 570) captures Marilyn eating lunch.

Because Actors Studio chief Lee Strasberg thought Schatt had real talent as a photographer he was given access to photograph the classes where actors could hone their craft.

Marilyn stands out in the first photograph Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #34 – Jayne Mansfield & Marilyn Monroe Photographed Together

Jayne Mansfield In A Revealing Pose – 1955

Later That Year, Jayne Is Photographed With Her Role Model, Marilyn Monroe

Jayne Mansfield in a negligee 1955 photo Milton Greene

This photograph of Jayne Mansfield in a sheer negligee top is not your standard cheesecake photo. And it’s not because Jayne is a little overexposed, which tended to be her modus operandi in front of the camera.

It is because the photograph was taken by Milton Greene, known for his business partnership with Marilyn Monroe. In 1955, Greene did a whole session of photographs with Mansfield and made some stunning images of her.

Considering Greene’s business dealings and personal closeness to Marilyn Monroe,(Marilyn was living for a time with Greene and his wife Amy) it is a bit of a surprise that Marilyn Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe’s 88th Birthday

June 1 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 88th Birthday

I can’t imagine Marilyn Monroe at 88, can you? Would she be like Doris Day who stays close to her home and discourages having any photos taken of her? Or would she still be active and in the public eye? We’ll never know. Marilyn died at the age of 36 under mysterious circumstances the evening of August 5, 1962, or for those who buy into the “official suicide story,” in the early morning hours of August 6.

Photographer Milton Greene, Marilyn’s one time business partner, took these photos of Marilyn in the early to mid-fifties. Here is the always young and beautiful Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe signing autographs for fans 1953 photo © Milton Greene

Marilyn Monroe signing autographs for fans 1953 photo © Milton Greene

1956 – Joe DiMaggio And Hollywood Stars Attend A Charity Ball

Fundraiser For Boys Towns Of Italy Draws Top Celebrities 1956

Elsa Maxwell Cleo Moore Joe DiMaggio Linda Darnell Shirley Jones 1956 3 22

The woman seated is Elsa Maxwell, a gossip columnist who was famous for hosting parties featuring royalty, the wealthy and movie personalities. Standing from left to right are stars Cleo Moore, Joe DiMaggio, Linda Darnell and Shirley Jones.  At the event, DiMaggio, crowned Shirley Jones queen of the Boys Towns of Italy.

Called the “Ball Of The Year,” the benefit was held on March 22, 1956 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The support for Boys Towns of Italy came primarily from American contributions. The organization was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II to help war refugee children.

At the time DiMaggio was rumored to be dating Cleo Moore, a look-alike to his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe. Moore was groomed by Columbia Pictures to be their answer to   Monroe, but her career never took off and she retired from films in 1957 at the age of 33. Moore died in 1973, three days before her 49th birthday of a heart attack.

Posture Queen And The Creation Of The World War II Pin-Up Girl

Stand Up Straight Please, This Is A Publicity Stunt

Lillian McKevitt

New York, NY – Miss Lillian McKevitt, of Jackson Heights, New York is chosen as “Posture Queen” from among forty beautiful Walter Thornton models who demonstrated exercises to provide good posture in celebration of Good Posture Week (May 4-11), has her posture matched by Mr. Thornton with that of Sgt. Lester Hare of the military police of the Canadian army, who attended the matinee performance on the penthouse terrace of the Mayflower Hotel.  –  April 27, 1942: Acme News Photograph

By whom Lillian McKevitt was chosen Posture Queen is not noted in the news photo caption.

The interesting story here is about the modeling agency Lillian came from, The Walter Thornton Modeling Agency which began its business in 1931.

A June 27, 1948 Associated Press article describes how Walter Thornton created the World War II “Pin-Up Girl.”  Strangely this is based only on Walter Thornton’s assertion.

The story goes, “while in the service, Thornton pinned his girlfriend’s picture to the canvas wall of his tent. The pin put a hole in the tent and the Sergeant put Thornton on K.P. (Kitchen Punishment duty).  The new soldiers however lived in lush barracks and could pin up pictures of pretty girls without punching a hole in the wall. So one day in 1940, Thornton dug out about 5,000 photos of girls from his modeling agency and sent them to Fort Dix, NJ. The idea was a winner and the World War II pin-up girl was born.”

Allegedly.

Thornton also put on a hair-pulling match in 1940 at Palisades Amusement Park which we previously profiled here.

Time Magazine noted in 1954, “He (Thornton) also has shown a talent for getting publicity for Walter Thornton.” Continue reading