Airborne With Marilyn in Korea

1044277_580119972040767_1685429879_n

86 year-old George Purifoy of Franklin Park, Illinois, has shared his memory of meeting Marilyn during her 1954 USO tour of Korea with TribLive News.

“It’s 10 a.m., and the breakfast club of old friends meets at a Panera Bread restaurant in the North Hills. They come daily, to share news, discuss current events, drink coffee and listen to stories.

Purifoy, 86, of Franklin Park has many. They’re all there, his wife, Jane Purifoy, explains. But sometimes they need coaxing.

‘Tell the one about Marilyn Monroe,’ she says to her husband.

‘Where’s it start?’ he asks.

‘With Bob Hope,’ Jane Purifoy says.

‘Oh, yes,’ he nods. ‘OK.’

This story is set in Korea, where Purifoy was serving with the Air Force during the war.

Bob Hope visited the troops. He brought Marilyn Monroe. She toured a plane — specifically, Purifoy’s F-84 Thunderjet, a single-seat fighter he named ‘The Marilyn.’

He opened the canopy for her, explained the cockpit controls. She asked for a ride.

Problem was, Purifoy told her, it’s only got one seat. But there was a two-seater on the base, and he could fly her around in that one. So she got fitted for flying gear while George readied himself to take the legendary model, actress and American icon into the Korean skies.

Before they could take off, though, an old, grizzled major stopped him.

‘George, you know, I don’t usually do this,’  the major said. ‘But I’m going to pull rank on you today. I’ll fly her. But all is not lost. You can strap her in.’

‘And I did. She was a beautiful woman.'”

When Marilyn Came to Warrensburg

12208367_1074749985892087_4337070735461362982_nMarilyn’s visit to Warrensburg, New York, during her Love Happy promo tour in June 1949 will be featured in the town’s museum program today at 1 pm, reports the Post Star.

Then-Warrensburg Supervisor Lee Orton, left, offers a ‘welcoming key to Warrensburg’ to  Marilyn at the local Colonial Arms Hotel
Then-Warrensburg Supervisor Lee Orton, left, offers a ‘welcoming key to Warrensburg’ to Marilyn at the local Colonial Arms Hotel

“In 1949, Hollywood stars Marilyn Monroe, Don DeFore, Lon McCallister and Donald Buka arrived in Warrensburg to award a big prize — a house — in a contest sponsored by Photoplay magazine.

The fully equipped home was on a lot chosen by Virginia Bleeker McAllister, the woman who won first prize in the contest. McAllister had been recently widowed and had a young son, Gordon (‘Rusty’), and she chose to build the house in Warrensburg, her hometown.

The prize home, still standing on James Street, was fully furnished and included all appliances, all of which received national publicity at the award ceremony.

The ‘Dream House’ as it appears today
The ‘Dream House’ as it appears today

The celebrities stayed at the Colonial Arms Hotel, now the location of Rite Aid pharmacy.

The event will be the topic of a program and exhibit, sponsored by the Warrensburgh Historical Society, at the Warrensburgh Museum at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Photos of Marilyn Monroe and the other celebrities, as well as of Lee Orton, the town supervisor at the time, will be on display, along with copies of Photoplay magazine articles.

Homemade refreshments will be offered.

At 2 p.m., the 1948 movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House will be shown. The Photoplay contest related to the Mr. Blandings movie starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.

Sunday’s program is free and open to the public.

The Warrensburgh Museum is located in the VFW Building (with the Warrensburgh bicentennial and American flag murals) at 3754 Main St.”

Marilyn Style: From Turtlenecks to Nude Dresses

Alfred Eisenstadt, 1953
Alfred Eisenstadt, 1953

Whether covered up or stripped down, Marilyn could pull off a wide range of styles with her trademark allure. On her La Vintage Vida blog, Stephanie Nolasco shows us how to wear a turtleneck like MM; and Marie-Claire looks at the history of the ‘nude dress’, referencing Marilyn in Some Like it Hot. In her role as Sugar Kane, Marilyn wore two ‘naked’ dresses (one black, one white) designed by Orry-Kelly. The less celebrated black version – my own favourite – was recently cited by Bustle among the 10 Best Old Hollywood Movie Outfits.

11169219_10153371503334634_7701228451066479639_n
Costume test, ‘Some Like it Hot’

Marilyn in Fashion: Orry-Kelly, and More

orry kelly

It has been a good year for Marilyn-related fashion books. Creating the Illusion, Jay Jorgensen’s lavish study of Hollywood’s great costumers, has been well-received by Marilyn fans, and features rare photos and information.

And after being published in his native Australia for the first time this year, Women I’ve Undressed – the memoir of Orry-Kelly, who designed Marilyn’s costumes for Some Like it Hot – is coming to Kindle on December 3, with a hardback version following in February 2016.

“Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot. He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was – until now. Discovered in a pillowcase, Orry-Kelly’s long-lost memoirs reveal a wildly talented and cheeky rascal who lived a big life, on and off the set. From his childhood in Kiama to revelling in Sydney’s underworld nightlife as a naive young artist and chasing his dreams of acting in New York, his early life is a wild and exciting ride. Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, and partying hard in between auditions, he ekes out a living painting murals for speakeasies before graduating to designing stage sets and costumes. When The Kid from Kiama finally arrives in Hollywood, it’s clear his adventures have only just begun. Fearless, funny and outspoken, Orry-Kelly lived life to the full. In Women I’ve Undressed, he shares a wickedly delicious slice of it.”

Cartier’s Diamond Homage to Marilyn

Karen-Elson

Diamond manufacturer Cartier has made an enchanting Christmas commercial, featuring a cover version of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl Best Friend’, performed by supermodel Karen Elson, from an arrangement by Jarvis Cocker. Of course, Cartier was referenced in Marilyn’s signature song from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Elson is shown being carried aloft by tuxedoed suitors, in a nod to Jack Cole’s original choreography. It was filmed in Paris, where Blondes is partially set. The neckline of her red dress is similar to Marilyn’s in Niagara, and the scene where her flared skirt billows over a subway grate recalls The Seven Year Itch. You can watch the clip here.

Latest Book News: Marilyn Reissued

bailey legend

Two previously published works on Marilyn are being reissued under different titles. Originally a ‘bookazine‘, Jessica Bailey’s Marilyn Monroe: A Hollywood Legend is now available in paperback for £4.99 at Amazon. It is a fully illustrated, short biography. Meanwhile, a video-enhanced, ebook edition of Timothy Knight’s Marilyn Monroe: A Life in the Movies will be available on Kindle for £6.61 on December 1.

mcknight ebook

Marilyn at Julien’s in December

Marilyn in Japan, 1954
Marilyn in Japan, 1954

Some interesting Marilyn-related items – from the collection of Dame Joan Collins, no less – will be auctioned by Julien’s in their Icons and Idols: Hollywood 2015 sale on December 16. Among the highlights are a 1946 Fox studio memo, concerning the starlet’s name change; a  scorecard from the 1949 Movie Star World Series, where she acted as a bat girl at Wrigley Field; her 1956 signed Conversion to Judaism certificate; an American Airlines napkin, signed to a fan; and a 1960 letter from actor Gary Cooper, thanking Marilyn for a gift of roses.

Marilyn’s Love Affair With Brooklyn

rostens 84-remsen-street
The Rostens’ home in Brooklyn

“When I retire, I want to retire to Brooklyn…it’s my favorite place in the world so far that I’ve seen. I haven’t traveled much, but I don’t think I’ll find anything else to replace Brooklyn. I just like walking around. I think the view is better from Brooklyn, you know, you can look back over and see Manhattan. That’s the best view…It’s the people…I like the streets, just the people and the streets and the atmosphere, I just like it.” – Marilyn to Dave Garroway, NBC Radio, 1955

Marilyn’s adventures in Brooklyn are featured in Robert Furman’s new book, Brooklyn Heights: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of America’s First Suburb, reports the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

“84 Remsen St.: Lots of literature lovers can tell you where Arthur Miller lived in Brooklyn Heights. But do they know where the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright met Hollywood goddess Marilyn Monroe?

According to Furman, it was at 84 Remsen St., in the home of Norman Rosten, the late playwright, novelist and Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. Rosten and Miller had been friends since their days as students at the University of Michigan.

As everybody knows, Miller and Monroe did not live happily after. They married in 1956 and divorced five years later.

The Remsen Street brownstone where Rosten once lived now belongs to philanthropists Joseph and Diane Steinberg, Finance Department records indicate.”