Jack Allen To Sell Marilyn’s ‘Down Boy’, and More

Marilyn By Moonlight author Jack Allen is selling off some items from his collection in the Essentially Marilyn auction on December 11 at Profiles In History – including photographs and the unreleased song, ‘Down Boy‘, as Mike Szymanski reports for The Art of Monteque. (The auction also features the spectacular collection of Maite Minguez Ricart – more details here.)

“When Jack Allen first fell in love with Marilyn Monroe, it was while watching her in the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes where she plays an ambitious showgirl … ‘Here was a girl full of naïve innocence and you could really tell that she loved performing and that she really wanted to make it,’ says Jack. ‘In a lot of ways that is the story of Hollywood.’

Jack worked on some of the photo displays and books with [Andre] de Dienes’s widow after he died in 1985, and as a payment for his work, he received some of his original photos.

‘I was most fascinated with the “End of Everything” photo session that he took near Zuma Beach in Malibu,’ Allen recalls. ‘She was troubled at the time, and it has an almost religious feeling to them.’

What the auction house doesn’t explain in the description of the photographs is why they will have a faint scent of dirt or earthiness to them. After a terrible rainstorm in Los Angeles in the 1950s, a mudslide buried and destroyed many of the photographer’s collection in his house, and out of frustration he simply buried most of his collection in the backyard. A year later, LIFE magazine editors asked about some Monroe photos, and he literally dug them up from his backyard, and in the middle of the mess, salvaged a few of the gelatin silver prints.

Marilyn with boxer Max Baer

In another signed 8×10 photograph expected to fetch between $6,000 and $8,000, Marilyn signed it to former Heavyweight Champion of the World Max Baer, writing: ‘To Max, My body guard, Love Marilyn Monroe.’ Baer was a fighter-turned-actor and longtime admirer of the starlet, and visited her on the set of Some Like it Hot.

When studios made movies, they often pressed a record — and it was usually one-sided — of each of the songs used in the film, so when dubbing or playback was necessary while they were filming, they could use the record. So, these records actually played while the stars recreated the scenes, or filmed the dance numbers or lip synced the songs.

Jack found the heavy 78 acetate records on eBay as part of an estate of a 20th Century-Fox craft service worker who took the 12-inch records when they were abandoned by the studio after the filming of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jack bid on the records in 2005, thinking they would be a fun piece of Hollywood history to have to one of his favorite films. The records were stained and scratched, but kept in their vintage sleeves from the studio … But, Jack noticed a recording ‘Down Boy‘ also penned by the legendary Hoagy Carmichael that featured only Marilyn and a soft piano accompaniment.

‘I realized that this was a song that was actually mentioned in the script, but it was never used in the movie,’ Jack recalls. ‘It was like finding a treasure. No one had ever heard this recording of Marilyn before.’

The song is upbeat and whimsical and planned for when a diamond dealer played by Charles Coburn is getting fresh with Marilyn’s character Lorelei. She sings to the men like they are a pack of hungry dogs, saying ‘Down Boy‘ to them. Marilyn sang the song with a swing temp in the key of A and B-flat.”

Marilyn ‘Shoulders’ High-School Controversy

This rather lovely photo of Marilyn in her Bus Stop costume – taken by Milton Greene on the Fox lot in 1956 – ran into the trouble this week, when a student wore the image on a sweatshirt at high school in South Ogden, Utah, as reported by Yahoo News. The image had been digitally altered to feature rapper Tupac Shakur (who once wrote a poem about MM), but that wasn’t the problem. It was Marilyn’s exposed shoulder that led a teacher to send the 13 year-old to the vice principal, who cited the garment as a violation of the school dress code – a claim  challenged by the girl’s mother.

Rare Colour Footage Shows Marilyn in Chicago

Major news outlets (who really ought to know better) frequently trumpet ‘rare, unpublished’ images of Marilyn which are usually nothing of the kind. With that in mind, what a lovely surprise to wake up this morning and find genuine unseen colour footage of Marilyn arriving at Chicago’s Midway Airport to begin her promotional tour of Some Like It Hot on March 17, 1959, posted to the Marilyn Monroe Video Archives account on Youtube.

56 Years Ago: Marilyn Remembered at Westwood

Yesterday, the Marilyn Remembered fan club hosted their annual service at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Among this year’s speakers were actresses Kathleen Hughes and Terry Moore; author Lois Banner; Juliet Hyde-White (daughter of Marilyn’s Let’s Make Love co-star, Wilfrid Hyde-White); Susan Bernard (author, and daughter of photographer Bruno Bernard); and the advice columnist Jeanne Phillips (known to millions as ‘Dear Abby’.)

You can re-watch the live stream here.

Why Marilyn’s Still a Fan Favourite

Over at the New Statesman, celebrities are talking about their unusual collections – including writer and comedian David Baddiel, whose parental enthusiasm brought him more Marilyn than he bargained for…

“Both my parents were collectors. Some would say hoarders. My mum collected children’s books, then, for reasons anyone who has come to my stand-up show will know, golfing memorabilia. My dad, Dinky Toys. The whole place teemed with stuff. I wasn’t that bothered with collecting really, but my mother took anything I expressed an interest in and decided ‘Oh right, that’s David’s thing’, and for birthdays and Hanukkah would just buy me too much of that. I went through a few iterations of this: I remember a magazine called Look and Learn, which my mother bought me binders of, and later, Marilyn Monroe-abilia (she was still buying me photos and cards of her when I was in my forties).”

Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Professor Stephen Hawking has died aged 76, the BBC reports.

“The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.

Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics. He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing – a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.

Through his work with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose he demonstrated that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.”

Hawking was also outspoken on social issues, and took his unlikely place in popular culture with good humour. He made guest appearances on TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, and was the subject of The Theory of Everything, a 2014 biopic starring Eddie Redmayne (who previously played Colin Clark in My Week With Marilyn.)

Finally, Dr Hawking may have been the world’s most distinguished Monroe fan, as Gregory Benford noted in a 2002 profile for Reason magazine.

“Although I had been here before, I was again struck that a man who had suffered such an agonizing physical decline had on his walls several large posters of a person very nearly his opposite: Marilyn Monroe. I mentioned her, and Stephen responded instantly, tapping one-handed on his keyboard, so that soon his transduced voice replied, ‘Yes, she’s wonderful. Cosmological. I wanted to put a picture of her in my latest book [The Universe in a Nutshell], as a celestial object.'”

Errol Morris, who directed the 1991 documentary, A Brief History of Time, recalled discussing Marilyn with Hawking in a Slate magazine interview.

“I wanted to shoot him on a stage, so we assembled a facsimile of his office in a studio. He has all of these pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the walls. At one point, one of the pictures became unglued and fell off the wall. Stephen, of course, is clicking away and finally, he says, [synthesizer voice] ‘A FALLEN WOMAN.’

Finally, I said, ‘I figured it out, why you have all these pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the wall. Like you, she was a person appreciated for her body and not necessarily her mind.’

And he gave me this really crazy look, like, ‘What the fuck are you saying, Mr. Morris?’ He gave me this crazy look, and then finally, there’s a click, and he says, ‘YES.'”

Hawking was digitally added to this 1954 photo of Marilyn by Milton Greene, gifted to the scientist by Archive Images

Fans paid tribute today on the Facebook page, A Passion for Marilyn:

“The theoretical physicist once described his heroes as ‘Galileo, Einstein, Darwin and Marilyn Monroe.’ The last was of particular appeal to the scientist who hung posters of her and collected Monroe-related bric a brac.

‘My daughter and secretary gave me posters of her, my son gave me a Marilyn bag and my wife a Marilyn towel,’ he once said. ‘I suppose you could say she was a model of the universe.'”

‘Mr DeWitt’ and Marilyn in Iowa

92 year-old Bill Homrighausen of DeWitt, Iowa has been collecting Marilyn memorabilia since the 1970s. His vast collection will be displayed at a fundraising ‘Valentine’s Dinner With Marilyn’ on February 10 at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, as Amanda Hancock reports for the Quad City Times.

“Some of the miniature Marilyn museum — including a framed black and white photo of Marilyn above the couch in the living room — was visible from the front door. Stacks of Marilyn Monroe-themed calendars, books, CD’s and photos covered Homrighausen’s dining room table. Magnets adorned with photos of the actress and model filled the refrigerator. Going up the stairs to the home’s second floor, dozens of framed photos and posters line the walls. Even Homrighausen’s business card is printed with a Marilyn Monroe smile.

He started collecting in the ‘70s and was ‘amazed’ by the variety of memorabilia he found. Examples include sets of playing cards, clocks, a cigarette lighter, coffee mugs, nesting dolls, a mouse pad, stamps, notepads and a few more neckties.

‘She was probably one of the most photographed people in the world,’ Homrighausen said. ‘How you could make that many books about someone who lived such a short life and not have any duplicates … it’s quite something.’

After working for Iowa Mutual Insurance for 42 years, Bill Homrighausen penned over 100 columns for the DeWitt Observer, which were later gathered in a book titled, They Call Me Mr. DeWitt — A Treasury of Recollections.”