Bobby Rivers on ‘Smash’

Megan Hilty in ‘Smash’

Blogger and MM fan Bobby Rivers shares his thoughts on TV’s Smash:

 “I am a Monroe fan. She was not a belter in her movie musicals.  Not like a Patti LuPone, Liza Minnelli or Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway.  Marilyn Monroe was not designed for theatre.  She created herself for intimacy with a movie camera.  She cooed.  She purred.  She was a satiny jazz baby singing ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  But she wasn’t a belter.

In ‘Smash’, she’s a belter.  And the “Smash” Marilyn doesn’t have that sexy subtlety.  Instead of pushing her dress down when the breeze from the subway blows her dress up, the NBC Marilyn assertively lifted her skirt up in a number without any breeze at all.  But they probably had to add that kind of brassiness to make the Monroe character work onstage and play to the MTV-generation folks in the balcony.  The ‘Smash’ version of the Blonde Bombshell seems more Joey Heatherton than Marilyn Monroe.

Joey did movies and musical work on TV shows.  Joey could belt a tune. She could dance.  She hurled sexy in your face like a custard pie.  She hoped to follow in Monroe’s footsteps starring in ‘Sugar’.  That was the 1972 Broadway musical version of ‘Some Like It Hot’.”

Frank Sinatra’s Home Up For Sale

Frank Sinatra’s former California home, the Farralone estate, is currently on the market for $12 million.

The property, which recently featured on an episode of TV’s Mad Men, is also rumoured to have been the site where Marilyn had trysts with John F. Kennedy, reports MSNBC.

However, this appears to be unfounded. Monroe stayed at one of Sinatra’s homes in 1961, while he was away on tour. But there is no confirmation of her ever meeting with JFK there.

Sinatra’s friendship with Kennedy is well-known, but it ended abruptly in 1962 when the president chose Bing Crosby’s Palm Springs home (instead of Sinatra’s) for his residence during the Democratic Convention. And it is generally thought that Kennedy probably had his fling with Marilyn at Crosby’s home, not Sinatra’s.

Sinatra had an on-off romance with Marilyn, and was known for his jealous nature. It seems unlikely, then, that Frank would have stood for any dalliances on his turf – even where the President was concerned.


Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed

You can read my exclusive first review of Michelle Morgan’s wonderful, fully revised and updated biography, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed (or in the US, Private and Confidential) here

The book is due out next month and will surely be one of this year’s highlights!

‘Smash’ Episode 12: ‘Publicity’

Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) sings another Marilyn-themed number in this week’s episode:

‘It’s hard for me to hate Ivy when she sang “Second Hand White Baby Grand” as beautifully as she did. I don’t know that Karen could have sung that song as effectively as Ivy did simply because Karen isn’t “broken” the way Ivy is. With lyrics like, “Something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound” and “I still have something beautiful to give,” that heartbreaking song might as well have been written about Ivy instead of Marilyn.’ – TV Equals

Reading Beyond the ‘Blonde’

When literary critics cite Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde as an example of modern bio-fiction, I often wonder how much they know about Marilyn’s life. Novelist Manuel Munoz writes about Oates’s novel for NPR:

“Blonde mimics the large scope of a biography: We get her life and death, as well as the rise and fall of her stardom, and our curiosity is sated by the language of tabloid, and the privacy of diaries. Flamboyant and energetic, the novel assembles everything from gossip to pinups to present the life of a woman who, in the end, was overshadowed by her onscreen persona.”