‘What makes your hometown weird?’ Mey Valdivia Rude asks over at Autostraddle. Her hometown of Blackfoot is also the home of the Idaho Potato Museum, which ‘houses things like a life size pin-up of Marilyn Monroe in a dress made from a potato sack and the world’s largest potato crisp.’
The museum’s website includes ‘Movie Star in Burlap‘, an article revealing how Marilyn came to wear an Idaho potato sack, and souvenirs are available in the gift shop. (You can see more photos from the shoot with Earl Thiesen here.)
“In the early days of her struggle to attract the attention of the Hollywood community and the media, Norma Jeane wore a sexy and revealing red dress to a 1951 holiday-season party. A columnist commented in a print about the incident and observed that Marilyn’s stunning figure would look good even if she wore a potato sack. The remark prompted her publicity agent to have a dress made from a burlap bag obtained at the local produce market, which Marilyn wore for a photographic session. [NB: Another version of this story, told by Marilyn herself, is that the columnist had actually insulted her dress by saying she would have looked better in a potato sack.]
The bag had been packed at Long Produce in Twin Falls, Idaho, and displayed the Idaho identification and Long’s Sawtooth brand as never before.
The Longs wrote to Marilyn and thanked her for the publicity and she graciously responded with an autographed picture that was displayed on the office wall and reproduced for advertising and promotional purposes.
When Long Produce ceased business in the late 50’s, the prized autograph disappeared. Another print, however, was found recently at a garage sale in Minneapolis and purchased by a Union Pacific Railroad executive who presented the Idaho Grower-Shippers Association with two copies for their use. Reproduction of the picture by the Association in their yearbook publication captured the fancy of a new generation of fans.”
Photographer Vic Graybeal was in Sun Valley, Idaho when Marilyn arrived to film scenes from Bus Stop in 1956 (not 1962 as stated.) A selection of his photos is on display at the Twin Falls Public Library this month, reports KMVT.
‘Graybeal says, “We went up to Sun Valley and took pictures of Marilyn Monroe. My wife and I had lunch with her, and enjoyed her. That was real nice.”
That was in March 1962 [sic] when Marilyn Monroe was filming the movie “Bus Stop.” Graybeal says radio commentator Paul Harvey came to Idaho every six months or so, and fishing was a big part of those visits. Graybeal captured jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong with Jack Carter at the Twin Falls Airport.
Graybeal says, “I never thought that it would be very important. I just took pictures because I loved it. That’s what I was trained to do, and I didn’t think anything much about it. I just enjoyed the work.”
In another of Graybeal’s pictures, boxer Jack Dempsey pretends to knock out some business owners at the opening of their store. Bill Nichols of Blip Printers has scanned and printed out some of Graybeal’s photos, which will be on display at the twin falls public library through the month of April.
Graybeal says, “I’m just real happy to be recognized here. I think it’s probably more than I deserve. But I’m real pleased with the way they’ve treated me about these photos.”‘
The Sun Valley Storyis a new, illustrated book by Van Gordon Sauter, tracing the history of the now 75 year-old ski resort, where Marilyn filmed scenes from Bus Stop in 1956. (The book also boasts an introduction by another Hollywood legend, Clint Eastwood.)
“The book was published on the occasion of Sun Valley’s 75th anniversary. Like I said – lots of photos that include Averell Harriman, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Bobby Kennedy, John Wayne and many others. The book transitions page by page from old chairlift and railroad photos and pictures of skiers wearing old wood skis with poles with big baskets to today’s modern terrain parks. The book is lots of fun to read and passing the time thumbing through all the photos.” – Idaho Statesman