Tales From Misfit Flats

Photo by Eve Arnold

“The Misfit Flats are among the most beautiful spots in the world to me!! I was utterly mesmerized. I remember vividly the exact first moment I stood there and the exquisite calm that came over me. I felt it was my natural spot. I couldn’t love that stretch of desert more, but then I loved Dayton and that fabulous bar with the dollars on the ceiling. I’ve loved the memories of that film again and again…”

Gail Levin, director of Making The Misfits, speaking to Laura Tennant in advance of the Dayton Historical Society‘s celebration of the movie’s 50th anniversary,  September 18-19.

Reno Gazette-Journal


Murray on Marilyn: Missing Her Marks

“When you worked with Marilyn Monroe [in ‘Bus Stop’, 1956], there was press around all the time. And everyone was so uptight. Like: ‘Is she gonna know her lines? Is she gonna show up on time?’ And she didn’t know her lines, and she didn’t come on time. But there was kinetic energy [during the shoot] from all of this.”

Don Murray, speaking with Stan Taffel at Cinecon

Marilyn at Carnegie Hall

Carl Perutz, 1958

Bill Cunningham, best known as the ‘on-the-street’ photojournalist at the New York Times, has lived at Carnegie Hall for sixty years. This week, Cunningham and Carnegie’s four other remaining tenants are moving out as the legendary concert venue is set to become a music school.

In his latest slideshow, Cunningham talks about his bohemian home and the many famous names who have visited him there. During the 1950s, when Cunningham designed hats, Marilyn Monroe would pass through on her way home from the Actor’s Studio.

The image of Marilyn trying on hats in Cunningham’s studio apartment reminded me of some beautiful photographs of her taken by Carl Perutz, used by illustrator Jon Whitcomb for artwork in American Weekly. (Whitcomb’s painting was kept by her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, until his death.)

Painting by Jon Whitcomb

Although Cunningham was then a hatmaker – and not yet a photographer – at this time, I wonder if he might know the story behind these pictures?

Brigitte Bardot Remembers Marilyn

Brigitte Bardot in London, 1956

Brigitte Bardot, the iconic French ‘sex kitten’ of the 1950s and 60s, is one of the few actresses to come close to Marilyn Monroe’s impact in beauty and charm.

The two women met just once, in the ladies’ room of the Empire cinema, Leicester Square, London, at a Royal Command performance of The Battle of the River Plate on October 29, 1956, moments after Marilyn had been formally introduced to Queen Elizabeth II.

‘I stared at (MM) hungrily,’ Brigitte recalled in her 1995 autobiography, Initiales BB, admitting that she was too nervous to speak, and simply gazed at Marilyn’s reflection in the mirror. ‘I found her sublime. She was always for me what every woman, not only me, must dream to be. She was gorgeous, charming, fragile.’

Monroe, then 30, was filming The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier. Bardot, at 22, was still on the cusp of fame, having appeared in seventeen films. Her big break came almost a year later, with the release of And God Created Woman.

Bardot retired from films in 1973, aged 39. Since then she has largely abandoned her glamorous image, devoting herself to campaigning for animal welfare. (Marilyn also loved animals and nature, and once told a reporter that she wanted ‘to grow old without facelifts’.)

Brigitte turns 76 later this month, and in recent years has come under fire for her uncompromising views on everything from immigration to homosexuality.

‘People reproach (Bardot) for still being alive, for putting out an image that they don’t want to see,’ Dominique Choulant, author of Brigitte Bardot: The Eternal Myth (2009) and CineMarilyn (2006), tells the Los Angeles Times today.

‘People abandon their icons as they get older,’ Choulant adds. ‘Every 10 years, there is an extraordinary actress who has a sexual impact on a new generation, someone who represents a new type of woman sexually.’ (Often, Choulant notes, they are iconic enough to become known by a single name: Marilyn. Bardot. Madonna. Angelina.)

‘I have a lot of things in common with Marilyn,’ Bardot wrote, ‘and she is very dear to my heart. Both of us had childish souls despite our starlet bodies, an intense sensitivity that can’t be hidden, a great need to be protected, a naivete! We stopped our careers at the same age, but, unfortunately, not in the same way.’

The Sugar Kane Hairdo

“Now this is actually a lot easier than it may seem. If your hair is already of the correct length, all you need is a good set of medium barrel hot rollers!

I recommend using hot rollers of about a 1 inch diameter. When you’re putting them in, be sure to hold them up and out from your head when you start rolling, so that they go all the way down to the base of your hair and don’t just hang there.

Make sure not to use too big of sections or the heat won’t adequately penetrate all of the hair. You also want to be sure to roll them in the direction you want the curl to go.

For instance, in the pic above the curl goes toward her forehead and under, so you want to roll the hot roller toward your forehead and under when putting it in.”

Rockabilly Online

Marilyn in Playboy: ‘The Juiciest Morsel’


“December 1953. Marilyn Monroe appears on the cover, and as the centerfold, of the first issue of Playboy magazine. Her three-page write-up begins with her measurements; even then, the dispute over them raged. They “have been reported as 35” 24” 37”, 37 ½” 25” 37 ½” and 37 ½” 23” 37”. Sometimes she’s 5’ 4” tall and weighs 120 pounds, but she may shift unexpectedly to 5’ 5 ½” and weigh in at 118.” Her BMI is thus either 20.6 or 19.3, both normal today. Even during a late-life depression, when her weight was a supposed 140 lbs, she was still in the normal range. According to Playboy, Monroe is “the juiciest morsel to come out of the California hills since the discovery of the navel orange.”

Book of Odds