“Born Norma Jeane Baker on June 1, 1926, Marilyn Monroe would be turning 93 years old this year. This iconic actress is celebrated through the beautiful, rare and historic ‘Golden Dreams’ collection represented by Linda Goldenstein and Goldenstein Gallery.
Who could have imagined that a chance encounter would result in what has been called ‘the most famous picture since the Mona Lisa,’ transforming a 22-year-old aspiring Marilyn Monroe into one of Hollywood’s greatest film icons and helping a young man named Hugh Hefner launch his Playboy empire along the way?
Photographer Tom Kelley met Monroe on Sunset Boulevard in October 1948, after a minor auto accident. Marilyn told him she had an audition. He gave her $5 cab fare and his business card. In May 1949, Marilyn was behind on rent and her car in repossession. She found Kelley’s card and appeared unannounced at his studio. A model called in sick for a Pabst beer poster photoshoot and Marilyn got the job.
Two weeks later, Kelley called Marilyn saying that John Baumgarth, a major calendar publisher, had seen the Pabst poster and wanted Marilyn to pose for an upcoming calendar.
Not long after, Kelley’s color transparencies of unknown nude models arrived at Baumgarth’s Chicago offices. Among them was ‘Golden Dreams’ featuring the then-unknown Marilyn. Although it wasn’t Baumgarth’s first choice, based on the calendar selection committee he agreed to run Marilyn’s image in the 1951 calendar line. Baumgarth’s preferred image ‘The Charmer’ featuring Maxine Strong outsold Marilyn’s Golden Dreams by 2 to 1, until it was later revealed that the model in Golden Dreams was in fact Marilyn Monroe.
Narrowly escaping destruction, the color separations represented by Goldenstein are the unique, original separations first created by hand in 1950 and used by Baumgarth to produce the Golden Dreams calendars featuring Marilyn Monroe.
Baumgarth sold 9 million calendars throughout the 1950s, making Marilyn the best-selling calendar girl and earning John Baumgarth the moniker ‘The Man Who Made Monroe.’
Reproducing Marilyn’s refined features, supple texture and luxurious tones was no small feat – print artisans painstakingly created and corrected the many layers of film for the full color printing process – a masterpiece of printer’s art.
In December 1953, an astute man named Hugh Hefner bought the rights to reproduce the Golden Dreams image for $500 from John Baumgarth Company, to be used as the ‘Sweetheart of the Month’ in Playboy magazine. That first issue sold over 54,000 copies and the profits provided Hefner the funding to continue publishing and ultimately launch his Playboy Empire.
In 2010, Al Babbitt purchased the original and unique film positives and negatives used by Baumgarth Co. to produce the 1950s Marilyn Monroe Golden Dreams pin up calendars. Babbitt will speak at Sedona PhotoFest on June 15 at 1p.m., in the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, about the history of Marilyn Monroe, the iconic Golden Dreams collection and the color separation process.
Original Monroe large format color separations will be exhibited. These pieces are part of the ‘Messenger Art Collection’ represented by Goldenstein Gallery, 6,000 works of art created over 100 years by diverse calendar and promotional companies.”
Some Like It Hot will be screened at the Fox Theatre in Tucson, Arizona this Saturday, February 9, at 7:30 pm.
Rodeo star Wilbur Plaugher, who made an uncredited cameo appearance in Bus Stop (1956), has died aged 95, Fox26 reports. He played a clown in the famous rodeo scene, filmed in Phoenix, Arizona.
One of Marilyn’s finest early films, The Asphalt Jungle, will be screened at 11am this Sunday, October 29 at Harkins 16 Multiplex, as part of the 2nd annual Flagstaff Film Noir Festival, presented by movie historian Foster Hirsch in Arizona. Tickets cost $10 per film, or $60 for an eight-film pass.
Marilyn’s steamy 1953 thriller, Niagara, will be screened on October 3 at the NAU College of Arts and Letters in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona, as part of a two-season retrospective, 20th Century Fox: The Stars. Prior to this, you can enjoy Marilyn’s supporting role in All About Eve on September 26. (Let’s hope Bus Stop gets an airing in the next season, as it was partly filmed in the state capital of Phoenix, Arizona.)
Its remit goes beyond The Misfits however, celebrating Magnum photos from other eras as well as other notable photographers including Alfred Eisenstadt and Nahum Baron.
Some of the photos above – by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Inge Morath and Eve Arnold – were rare for me. You can view them all here.
“Etherton Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition, Marilyn, Magnum and The Misfits, featuring a selection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe from a private Los Angeles collection. Most of the photographs on display are from the set of Marilyn’s last film, The Misfits, taken by notable Magnum photographers including Eve Arnold, Bruce Davidson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dennis Stock, and Inge Morath. A selection of early contact sheets by Hollywood photographer Earl Leaf and fashion and celebrity photographer, Phillipe Halsman, will also be on view from November 23, 2013 – January 11, 2014.
Magnum Photos, founded in 1947 by several well-known photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, was the first artist-owned photo agency, allowing its numerous members to take control of their careers while giving them the freedom to search out events and people and ultimately inform a world hungry for information.
“You’re a real beautiful woman. It’s almost kind of an honor sittin’ next to ya’.”
With those words from the 1961 film, The Misfits, star Clark Gable wryly said what photographers world-wide knew about Marilyn Monroe: she was just special and no more so than when in front of a camera. And she knew it.
Incomparable director John Huston had a royal flush of a cast starring Monroe and Gable, along with Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift, and he made sure that only the best photographers were on set for the press photos, and those photographers were from Magnum.
Lining up to film the stars while on and off the set –it would tragically be the last film for Monroe and Gable —were Magnum photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, Philippe Halsman, Bruce Davidson, and Dennis Stock.
Along with The Misfits images, is a select group of contact sheets by photographer Earl Leaf, known for his work with magazines from Time to Movie Spotlight. This intriguing group gives a sweet look at an early unknown Marilyn, swinging from a tree and doing cartwheels for the camera in 1950 and then 6 years later, at age 30, when she staged a publicity session to keep her image in front of the public during a one-year period when she was producing films and not acting.
The camera was always in love with the beautiful Monroe, and this rare exhibit of vintage contact sheets and press photos represents a historic look at one of the world’s most well-known film stars. Resplendent in her natural beauty, the portraits and vintage contact sheets reveal the drive, desire, sadness, and pure spirit of one of Hollywood’s most photographed and relished stars
All photographs copyright the artists, courtesy Magnum Photo Agency and Etherton Gallery.”
Veteran entertainment writer Donald Zec recalls his friendship with Marilyn in today’s Mirror.
“We discussed fame, and I quoted my dictionary’s definition of a star – ‘a heavenly body radiating flashes of light.’
‘Yeah, I’ll settle for that,’ she beamed…
We flew together in 1956 to Phoenix, Arizona, where she filmed Bus Stop.
When a tray of food was put before her she rejected it saying ‘I have to watch my figure.’
My response: “You eat, Marilyn, I’ll watch your figure”, induced a playful slap on my arm.
She was then close to becoming Mrs Arthur Miller. The days of the jazzy one-liners were over. She was now cooking him chicken soup and reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Suddenly alarm bells rang and we saw black smoke billowing out of one of the prop engines.
Reassurance from the cockpit didn’t extend to the passengers quaking in seats 1 and 1A.
We discussed the unthinkable. I soothed her with the thought that if we crashed her name would be on every news bulletin and front page in the western world…
As she explained to me in one of her many calls from New York: ‘I admit I made lots of demands – the choice of co-star, the script, the costumes.’
‘But I wasn’t prepared to see myself being sold down the river.’
That phone call took place at 3.30am…
I remember this rare moment of [the Millers] in their apartment on 57th Street New York.
Everything in the large sitting room was white; the carpets, the walls, and the coffee table on which a silver-framed testimonial was inscribed, accurately, ‘to Marilyn, the Wonder of the Age.’
Beside it was a marble torso of the goddess Aphrodite.
A hint of Chanel wafted from the sofa where the ‘wonder of the age’ poured the tea.
A typewriter clacked in another room. The master was at work.
Then the tapping stopped. The tall, bespectacled genius entered and sat down beside her.
There was a long silence while Miller scrutinised her, virtually feasting his eyes on the tangle of golden curls around those lovely features, the unbuttoned shirt tied loosely at the bare midriff.
They looked at each with a tenderness that a single sound would have shattered.
Miller stood up, rubbed his hands, and said: ‘Thank you’ and went back to his desk. The great man had enjoyed his fix for the day.”
The evergreen Some Like it Hot gets another free showing next week, on Tuesday, March 29, at the Cline Library Assembly Hall, Northern Arizona University (in Flagstaff, AZ.)
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.”