Marilyn Brings ‘Itch’ Back to Bartlesville

The Seven Year Itch opens in Times Square, NYC, 1955. A similar model of Marilyn was used to promote the film in theatres nationwide.

The Seven Year Itch will be screened at noon on January 6 in the Bartlesville Area History Museum (BAHM) at City Hall in Washington County, Oklahoma, as a new exhibition, Vaudeville to Cinema opens, Bartlesville Radio reports. (You can read more about the film’s massive publicity drive in Michelle Morgan’s book, The Girl.)

“According to Debbie Neece, BAHM Collections manger, ‘The Seven Year Itch is a 1955 American romantic comedy film based on a three-act play with the same name by George Axelrod. The film was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, and stars Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell, who first played the part of Richard Sherman, in the three-act play on Broadway.  A massive promotional event took place in Bartlesville announcing Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Seven Year Itch. The bigger than life-sized fifty-two foot cardboard cutout of Marilyn Monroe stood taller than the Osage Theater marquee at 316 S. Johnstone Avenue and the movie drew full house showings.”

Vaccaro, Rizzo and the Marilyn Connection

Tony Vaccaro began his career in photography while serving in the US Army on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Aged 97, he is now the subject of an HBO documentary and a new retrospective, Tony Vaccaro: La Dolce Vita, at the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s telling that along with Pablo Picasso, Marilyn heads up the impressive list of celebrities he photographed, though she appears not to be featured in the exhibition.

The photo shown above right, taken in Canada during filming of River Of No Return, has been attributed to Vaccaro by the QNS website. (Canadian photographer John Vachon was also present at the shoot, as featured in his book, Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost Look Photos.)

One of Marilyn’s last photo shoots is also mentioned in connection with an ongoing Paris retrospective, Willy Rizzo: Pop! Once again, though, it’s unclear if Marilyn is featured in the exhibit, other than in a 1996 photo taken at the home of supermodel Stephanie Seymour, with Andy Warhol’s iconic portrait adorning the wall.

Warhol’s Marilyn in Chicago

Muralist Jeffrey Zimmerman has recreated Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn outside the Chicago Institute of Art on Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, as part of a retrospective, Andy Warhol – From A to Z and Back Again, on display until January 26, 2020. (It’s an interesting counterpoint to Seward Johnson’s giant sculpture of MM, which made its own debut on the ‘Magnificent Mile’ back in 2011, before finding its forever home in Palm Springs. )

Thanks to Mikael at Marilyn Remembered

Make-Up With Marilyn in New York

The Makeup Museum will open in New York next May, revealing the beauty secrets of Marilyn and other movie legends and displaying their vintage cosmetics and skincare products, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Tickets will go on sale in March 2020 for the inaugural exhibition, Pink Jungle: Makeup in 1950s America, sponsored by Erno Laszlo, and which will run for six months.

“‘The 1950s is a perfect time period for the Makeup Museum to start with in the debut exhibition, because the 1950s is the birth of the modern cosmetics industry,’ says executive director and co-founder Doreen Bloch. ‘We’re going to be displaying one-of-a-kind items, something consumers have never seen before in public.’ These include personal items (creams, powders and skin pastes) from Monroe and Garbo’s vanities. ‘Marilyn, to me, is still, today — not to overuse this word — such an icon. Gen Z, Boomer, everyone in between knows her. She’s such a special reference point,’ says Bloch.

The museum is using knowledge of Monroe to create a ‘shelfie,’ a showcase of all the products that would have lined her beauty shelf that she might have shared online, if Instagram been around in her day (and if she would have embraced it). ‘What would Marilyn look like, what kinds of brands would she be using?’ wonders Bloch. ‘We have beauty receipts from Marilyn, and that gives a strong historical perspective on the brands she used,’ such as the Max Factor Creme Puff foundation that will be shown.

She adds that even though it’s the Makeup Museum, they are also looking at tangential categories, like skincare, haircare and fragrances. So another item on display is Active Phelityl Intensive Cream, said to have been Monroe’s favorite moisturizer. According to Bloch, a jar of Erno Laszlo cream was found next to Monroe’s death bed, as seen in images from the Los Angeles Police Department taken at the time. ‘Dr. Erno Laszlo created Phormula 3-8 balm specifically for Marilyn to heal an appendectomy scar on her stomach,’ adds Bloch.

‘The ’50s was a time of immense change,’ Bloch says. ‘You have the advent of the color TV, which is game-changing for the makeup industry, where all of a sudden you can actually see the color of Lucille Ball’s lips in I Love Lucy, and how that impacted the sale of cosmetics. You see also how many rules there were at the time for how you were meant to use makeup …’

‘The icons of the day, like Marilyn, Dorothy Dandridge, Greta Garbo, Anna May Wong, were critical in the dissemination of makeup as an acceptable tool,’ she adds. ‘Before the ‘50s, there was a lot of stigma related to wearing a red lip, but that became acceptable because of women onscreen.’ The museum will showcase iconic looks from the era, particularly the cat eye. ‘Different women applied that look in their own way. For example, Marilyn often did a double wing on her lid in terms of the winged eyeliner.'”

Naomi Watts Inspired by Marilyn

Among those who attended the opening night of the Marilyn exhibit at Blancpain in Manhattan this week was Australian actress Naomi Watts, who shot to fame as a fragile Hollywood starlet in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001), and was the initial favourite to play Marilyn in filmmaker Andrew Dominik’s long-mooted adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde. After nearly a decade’s gestation, the film went into production this year with Ana de Armas in the lead role. Nonetheless, Naomi’s love for Marilyn is still strong, as she told Fashion Week Daily after arriving at Blancpain yesterday.

“Why did you want to be a part of tonight?

A New York night. Like any actress, I’m fascinated by Marilyn’s story.

What are your first memories of her?

I think she was there before I saw her films because she was everywhere. I was probably too young to know the films. She was just a glamour symbol. Then as I got to see her on film and then become an actor and get inside of her story. It was a wonderful discovery. Some of her work in the later part of her life was particularly extraordinary. Knowing what she had gone through as well. She was one of a kind.

Did you ever have any desire to play her in a biopic?

There was a moment where I nearly did quite a while ago. I’m too old now.  I’m aged out. Yes, it was something I considered and I was talking to a filmmaker for a period of time. It was a dark piece.

Do you have a favorite Marilyn Monroe movie?

The Misfits. I love the rawness of that. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is another. The Seven Year Itch! There are so many!”



Marilyn’s Swiss Watch (and More) in Manhattan

Marilyn Monroe: Timeless Elegance, an exhibition featuring items of her personal property from the collections of Greg Schreiner and Scott Fortner, plus photos by Lawrence Schiller, is now on display at the Blancpain boutique on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, in association with the licensing wing of Marilyn’s estate, Authentic Brands Group (ABG) until November 23. The items on display include Marilyn’s diamond-ensconced 1930s Swiss Art Deco watch, purchased by Blancpain from Julien’s Auctions in 2016 for $225,000, and her costume from The Prince and the Showgirl, as Roberta Naas reports for Forbes.