Marilyn and Mae: Great Film Comics

Marilyn mimics Mae West in a deleted scene from ‘The Seven Year Itch’

“Austerlitz notes that his biographical chapters are intended to create a conversation among comedy’s most influential practitioners. Arranged in rough chronological order, the effect is cumulative. Mae West’s brazen sexuality primps the pillow for Marilyn Monroe’s bombshell self-awareness; unlikely bedfellows Jerry Lewis and Richard Pryor somehow manage to conceive Eddie Murphy.”

Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy by Saul Austerlitz, reviewed at the Boston Globe

Isabel Keating Voices ‘Fragments’ CD

“In mid-October, Farrar Straus & Giroux will bring out a book called Fragments – purported to be a work of Marilyn Monroe’s writings, poems, notes, letters from her personal archive. Isabel Keating did the audio voice of Marilyn for the Macmillan Audio version of this sure-to-be-hot book.

She did the recording of the material on the anniversary of Marilyn’s death and says: ‘During the sessions, a small group of us realized the fact and a collective shiver was felt and a tear was shed … Whatever anyone thinks about the book itself, even the jottings of this famous woman evoke her spirit, her mind. They show her as a woman searching and hoping to amplify her experience. She wanted to improve herself and was reaching and searching. I found the work so smart – and so fragile.'”

Liz Smith on WowOwow today

Isabel Keating is an acclaimed stage actress, having played Judy Garland (Marilyn Monroe’s friend and one of her favourite singers) in the much-praised 2003 Broadway production, The Boy From Oz.

‘Honoring the Horse’ in Nevada

Ernst Haas, 1960

“Fall 2010 is the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Misfits in Reno, Dayton and the Pyramid Lake area. The star-studded film, written by Arthur Miller and directed by John Huston, was the last movie appearance for both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, and also featured Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach.

However, other ‘stars’ in the movie were four-legged creatures – wild horses, rodeo horses and trained movie horses played prominent roles in the film. To pay homage to these horses, along with horses in general, which have played such an important role in Nevada’s history, the ‘Honoring the Horse’ exhibit will be featured in the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center beginning Sept. 15.

The ‘Honoring the Horse’ exhibit will run through March 2011, and in February, the Knowledge Center will host a discussion and showing of ‘The Misfits’, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release.

For more information, go to www.knowledgecenter.unr.edu/specoll, or call 775-682-5665.”

Nevada News

Phoenix Ramada Demolition

In 1956, Marilyn Monroe stayed in a penthouse suite at the Sahara Motor Inn, downtown Phoenix, Arizona, while filming Bus Stop. More recently known as a Ramada Inn, the motel is currently being razed and will be used as the site of a new law school, reports AZCentral.com.

This demolition is going ahead despite protests from local heritage organisations.

“The Sahara Motor Inn, later called the Ramada Inn, is an urban oasis that rose from the sand like a mirage in Downtown Phoenix, complete with a sparking pool, restaurant, cafe, bar, 175 guest rooms, gift shop, two large terrace suites for hosting parties and meetings, and two apartment penthouses. There are also 8 possible spaces for retail. These mini-resorts defined Phoenix in the 1950s by bringing resort-style amenities to the middle class. These mini resorts even attracted celebrities. Marilyn Monroe herself lodged in one of the penthouse suites in the Sahara while filming ‘Bus Stop’. During the late 50’s people from all over the country passed through Phoenix and many of these people spent the night in one of these mini resorts. They experienced a taste of living in the desert, fell in love with Phoenix, and then moved here.

The Sahara was built by Del Webb, the namesake for ASU’s own School of Construction which boasts of its collaboration that creates ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. ASU claims to be ‘the model of sustainability’ and the City promotes sustainable development, but in razing the Ramada, there is nothing that is sustainable, Earth-friendly, or revitalizing.”

Downtown Phoenix Blog

Alex North Centennial Salute

Alex North composed the haunting soundtrack to The Misfits, and other classic films including A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

A tribute to North, featuring a screening of The Misfits, will take place in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre (the same venue where the Oscar nominations are announced each year), on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, on Friday, September 24th at 7.30 pm.

As with all Misfits-related events, I wish I could be there. The soundtrack is available on CD.

Airbrushing, Then and Now

“You know what? I want to look as good as the pictures I see in magazines, but it’s not going to happen. This is how it has always been, and this is how it will always be. We are all smart enough human beings to know that the images we see in magazines or on album covers aren’t real. The fact is that we don’t want to see imperfections, we don’t want to see reality. If I watch a Marilyn Monroe movie I want to see her looking stunning, and in those days it was probably worse than it is now because they actually retouched the negatives so that no bad pictures could ever be seen. I grew up admiring those idealised images, and those women were Barbie dolls compared to what we are looking at today…’

Kylie Minogue

Photo montage by Tiina at Everlasting Star

Debbie Reynolds to Sell Collection

Debbie Reynolds, star of classic movies including Singing in the Rain (1952), is to put her collection of Hollywood memorabilia, worth about $5 million, on auction, after failing to find a buyer.

Miss Reynolds, 78, owns several Monroe-related items, including the famous white dress designed by Travilla for The Seven Year Itch (1955.)

‘Most people collect for themselves … but she collected for the public,’ Reynold’s son, Todd Fisher, told Knoxville News. ‘She collected for all of us. She collected for the American people to preserve the history of their industry.’

On his Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog today, Scott Fortner asks, ‘Will the Seven Year Itch subway scene dress come up for auction? If so, will it outsell the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress, which sold for $1.3 million in 1999?’

‘My Great-Aunt, Eunice Murray’

Marilyn at the Fox lot on her 36th birthday with Henry Weinstein, Murray (Photo by George Barris)

“Aunt Eunice and Dr. Greenson eventually became friends, and as time went by, he became very impressed by her stable character. For this reason, when the need later arose, Dr. Greenson, and some of his colleagues, hired her as a ‘support worker’ for some of their high-profile clients. She became the stable ‘friend’ that most of them did not have.”

An intriguing article about Marilyn’s last housekeeper, Eunice Murray, at Galveston Music Scene