On St Valentine’s Day, Armen D. Bacon shares a romantic encounter with Marilyn – as told to her by 89 year-old George Blair – in an article for the Fresno Bee.
“Pedaling back through time, he began telling us a story that had taken place 65 years ago. Freshly graduated from Stanford University, newly employed in San Francisco, his first assignment was taking him to Monterey’s famed Cannery Row.
One night, while dining solo at the Monterey Mission Inn, he recounts spotting a beautiful woman also sitting alone in the restaurant. The heart is a lonely hunter.
‘In those days, I was petrified of women and very immature,’ he added. But mustering his nerve, he asked the waiter to offer the young lady a drink. To his surprise, not only did she say ‘yes,’ she invited him to join her for dinner.
Which, of course, he did. They talked. He was in Monterey selling chlorination equipment to fish canneries. She was an aspiring actress breaking into the film industry.
‘Very, very attractive,’ he reminded us with verbal repetitions that mirrored a double set of pull-ups. By now, audible heavy breathing filled the gym, excessive calories being burned by overheated imaginations.
Why was such a beautiful woman having dinner alone, we all wondered.
He delighted in answering that her co-star, Barbara Stanwyck, was hosting a birthday party for her maid that night, and she didn’t want to go.
He stopped here for a moment, a sheepish grin covering his face, all of us gasping for air – awaiting the big finish. But according to George, the pair went their separate ways after dinner. She had to be back on the set at 5 a.m. He had to return to San Francisco.
The following morning, he drove past what looked like a movie set with lights and camera equipment surrounding an old Monterey residence on the outskirts of town.
He pulled over. There she stood on the porch. Clad in cut-off denims. I could tell by the look on his face that the vision remained crystal clear in his mind’s ageless eye.
And then, he drove off.
Five years later, he spotted her photo on a matchbox. Marilyn Monroe. Yes, that Marilyn Monroe. The movie was Clash by Night, which premiered in June 1952.”