Saturday Evening Post
- The New Marilyn Monroe - Part 2
pays magazine: USA
paru le 12 mai 1956
article: 2ème partie "The New Marilyn Monroe"
en ligne sur saturdayeveningpost.com
Part Two: Here She Talks About Herself
By Pete Martin
Originally published on May 12, 1956
Marilyn explains how Freud helped cure her inferiority complex and tells why she posed for that famous nude calendar.
“That nude calendar Marilyn Monroe posed for will probably be reprinted as long as we have men with twenty-twenty vision in this country,” Flack Jones told me. Jones had put in several years as a publicity worker at Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood studio before opening his own public-relations office. “Curious thing about it,” Jones went on, “when that calendar first came out, it had no bigger sale than any other nude calendar.
“You may not know it, but there’s a steady sale for such calendars. You might think that there are too few places where you can hang them up to make them worthwhile. But there’re lots of places where they fit in very nicely — truckers’ havens, barbershops, bowling alleys, poolrooms, washrooms, garages, toolshops, taprooms, taverns — joints like that. The calendar people always publish a certain number of nude calendars along with standards like changing autumn leaves, Cape Cod fishermen bringing home their catch from a wintry sea, Old Baldy covered with snow. You’re not in the calendar business unless you have a selection of sexy calendars. The sale of the one for which Marilyn posed was satisfactory, but not outstanding. It only became a ‘hot number’ when the public became familiar with it.”
Billy Wilder, the Hollywood director who directed Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch, is witty, also pungent, pithy, and is not afraid to say what he thinks. “When you come right down to it,” Wilder told me, “that calendar is not repulsive. It’s quite lovely. Marilyn’s name was already pretty big when the calendar story broke. If it hadn’t been, nobody would have cared one way or the other. But when it became known that she had posed for it, I think that, if anything, it helped her popularity. It appealed to people who like to read about millionaires who started life selling newspapers on the corner of Forty-second and Fifth Avenue; then worked their way up. It was as if Marilyn had been working her way through college, for that pose took hours. Here was a girl who needed dough, and she made it by honest toil.”
“I was working on the Fox Western Avenue lot when this worried man from Fox came tearing in wringing his hands,” Marilyn told me recently. “He took me into my dressing room to talk about the horrible thing I’d done in posing for such a photograph. I could think of nothing else to say, so I said apologetically, ‘I thought the lighting the photographer used would disguise me.’ I thought that worried man would have a stroke when I told him that.
“What had happened was I was behind in my rent at the Hollywood Studio Club, where girls stay who hope to crash the movies. You’re only supposed to get one week behind in your rent at the club, but they must have felt sorry for me because they’d given me three warnings. A lot of photographers had asked me to pose in the nude, but I’d always said, ‘No.’ I was getting five dollars an hour for plain modeling, but the price for nude modeling was fifty an hour. So I called Tom Kelley, a photographer I knew, and said, ‘They’re kicking me out of here. How soon can we do it?’ He said, ‘We can do it tomorrow.’
“I didn’t even have to get dressed, so it didn’t take long. I mean it takes longer to get dressed than it does to get undressed. I’d asked Tom, ‘Please don’t have anyone else there except your wife, Natalie.’ He said, ‘O.K.’ He only made two poses. There was a shot of me sitting up and a shot of me lying down. I think the one of me lying down is the best.
“I’m saving a copy of that calendar for my grandchildren,” Marilyn went on, all bright-eyed. “There’s a place in Los Angeles which even reproduces it on bras and panties. But I’ve only autographed a few copies of it, mostly for sick people. On one I wrote, ‘This may not be my best angle,’ and on the other I wrote, ‘Do you like me better with long hair?”
I said to Marilyn that Roy Craft, who is one of the publicity men at Fox, had told me that he had worked with her for five years, and that in all that time he’d never heard her tell a lie. “That’s a mighty fine record for any community,” I said.
“It may be a fine record,” she admitted, “but it has also gotten me into trouble. Telling the truth, I mean. Then, when I get into trouble by being too direct and I try to pull back, people think I’m being coy. I’m supposed to have said that I dislike being interviewed by women reporters, but that it’s different with gentlemen of the press because we have a mutual appreciation of being male and female. I didn’t say I disliked women reporters. As dumb as I am, I wouldn’t be that dumb, although that in itself is kind of a mysterious remark because people don’t really know how dumb I am. But I really do prefer men reporters. They’re more stimulating.”
I asked Flack Jones in Hollywood, “When did this business of her making those wonderful Monroe cracks start?”
“You mean when somebody asked her what she wears in bed and she said, ‘Chanel Number Five’?” Jones asked. “You will find some who will tell you that her humor content seemed to pick up the moment she signed a contract with the studio, and that anybody in the department who had a smart crack lying around handy gave it to her. Actually, there were those who thought that more than the department was behind it. ‘Once you launch such a campaign,’ they said, ‘it stays launched. It’s like anyone who has a smart crack to unleash attributing it to a Georgie Jessel or to a Dorothy Parker or whoever is currently smart and funny.’ There was even a theory that the public contributed some of Marilyn’s cracks by writing or calling a columnist like Sidney Skolsky or Herb Stein, and giving him a gag, and he’d attribute it to Marilyn, and so on around town. But the majority of the thinking was that our publicity department gave her her best cracks.”
“Like what?” I asked.
“Like for instance. I’ll have to lead up to it; as you know, in this business you can be destroyed by one bad story — although that’s not as true as it used to be — and when the story broke that Marilyn had posed in the nude for a calendar and the studio decided that the best thing to do was to announce the facts immediately instead of trying to pretend they didn’t exist, we said that Marilyn was broke at the time and that she’d posed to pay her room rent, which was true. Then, to give it the light touch, when she was asked, ‘Didn’t you have anything on at all when you were posing for that picture?’ we were supposed to have told her to say, ‘I had the radio on.’”
Flack Jones paused for a long moment. “I’m sorry to disagree with the majority,” he said firmly, “but she makes up those cracks herself. Certainly that ‘Chanel Number Five’ was her own.”
When I told Marilyn about this, she smiled happily. “He’s right. It was my own,” she said. “The other one — the calendar crack — I made when I was up in Canada. A woman came up to me and asked, ‘You mean to say you didn’t have anything on when you had that calendar picture taken?’ I drew myself up and told her, ‘I did, too, have something on. I had the radio on.’”
“Give her a minute to think and Marilyn is the greatest little old ad-lib artist you ever saw,” Flack Jones had insisted. “She blows it in sweet and it comes out that way. One news magazine carried a whole column of her quotes I’d collected, and every one of them was her own. There’ve been times when I could have made face in this industry by claiming that I put some of those cracks into her mouth, but I didn’t do it. This girl makes her own quotables. She’ll duck a guy who wants to interview her as long as she can, but when she finally gets around to it, she concentrates on trying to give him what he wants — something intriguing, amusing and off-beat. She’s very bright at it.
“A writer was commissioned to write a story for her for a magazine,” Jones said. “The subject was to be what Marilyn eats and how she dresses. As I recall it, the title was to be ‘How I Keep My Figure,’ or maybe it was ‘How I Keep in Shape.’ The writer talked to Marilyn; then ghosted the article. He wrote it very much the way she’d told it to him, but he had to pad it out a little because he hadn’t had too much time with her. As a result, in one section of his article he had her saying that she didn’t like to get out in the sun and pick up a heavy tan because a heavy tan loused up her wardrobe by confusing the colors of her dresses and switching around what they did for her.
“The article read good to me, and took it over to Marilyn for her corrections and approval. Most of the stuff was the routine thing about diet, but when she came to the part about ‘I don’t like suntan because it confuses the coloring of my wardrobe,’ she scratched it out. I asked her, ‘What’s the matter?’
“‘That’s ridiculous,’ she said. ‘Having a suntan doesn’t have anything to do with my wardrobe.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to say something, Marilyn. After all, the guy’s article is pretty short as it is.’ She thought for a minute; then wrote, ‘I do not suntan because I like to feel blonde all over.’ I saw her write that with her own hot little pencil.
“The magazine which printed that story thought her addition so great that they picked it out and made it a subtitle. She’d managed to transpose an ordinary paragraph about wardrobe colors into a highly exciting, beautiful, sexy mental image. Some guys have said to me, ‘Why, that dumb little broad couldn’t have thought that up. You thought it up, Jones.’ I wish I could say, ‘Yeah, I did,’ but I didn’t. Feeling blonde all over is a state of mind,” he said musingly. “I should think it would be a wonderful state of mind if you’re a girl.
“One reason why she’s such a good interview,” Flack Jones went on, “is that she uses her head during such sessions. She tries to say something that’s amusing and quotable, and she usually does. When I worked with Marilyn I made it a practice to introduce her to a writer and go away and leave her alone, on the grounds that a couple of grown people don’t need a press agent tugging at their sleeves while they get acquainted. So if her interviews have been any good, it’s her doing.”
“One day she gave a tape interview and it was all strictly ad-lib,” he said. “I know, because I had a hard time setting it up. It was for a man who was doing one of those fifteen-minute radio interviews here in Hollywood, to be broadcast afterward across the country. We had a frantic time trying to get him the time with her, but finally he got his recorder plugged in, and the first question he pitched her was a curve. He wanted to know what she thought of the Stanislavsky school of dramatic art or whatever. Believe it or not, old Marilyn unloaded on him with a twelve-minute dissertation on Stanislavsky that rocked him back on his heels.”
“Does she believe in the Stanislavsky method?” I asked.
“She agreed with Stanislavsky on certain points,” Jones said. “And she disagreed on others, and she explained why. It was one of the most enlightening discussions on the subject I’ve ever heard. It came over the radio a couple of nights later, and everybody who listened said, ‘Oh, yeah? Some press agent wrote that interview for her.’ My answer to that was, ‘What press agent knows that much about Stanislavsky?’ I don’t.”
In the course of my research, before interviewing Marilyn, I’d discovered that Billy Wilder agreed with Jones. “I think that she thinks up those funny things for herself,” he said. Wilder’s Austrian background gives his phrases an offbeat rhythm, but because of its very differentness, his way of talking picks up flavor and extra meaning.
“I think also that she says those funny things without realizing that they’re so funny,” Wilder said. “One very funny thing she said involves the fact that she has great difficulties in remembering her lines. Tremendous difficulties. I’ve heard of one director who wrote her lines on a blackboard and kept that blackboard just out of camera range. The odd thing is that if she has a long scene for which she has to remember a lot of words, she’s fine once she gets past the second word. If she gets over that one little hump, there’s no trouble. Then, too, if you start a scene and say, ‘Action!’ and hers is the first line, it takes her ten or fifteen seconds to gather herself. Nothing happens during those fifteen seconds. It seems a very long time.”
“How about an example of when she’s bogged down on a second word,” I asked.
“For instance, if she had to say, ‘Good morning, Mr. Sherman,”’ Wilder told me, “she couldn’t get out the word ‘morning.’ She’d say, ‘Good …’ and stick. Once she got ‘morning’ out, she’d be good for two pages of dialogue. It’s just that sometimes she trips over mental stumbling blocks at the beginning of a scene.
“Another director should be telling you this story, not me,” Wilder said. “This other director was directing her in a scene in a movie, and she couldn’t get the lines out. It was just muff, muff, muff, and take, take, take. Finally, after Take Thirty-two, he took her to one side, patted her on the head, and said, ‘Don’t worry, Marilyn, honey. It’ll be all right.’ She looked up into his face with those big wide eyes of hers and asked, ‘Worry about what?’ She seemed to have no idea that thirty-two takes is a lot of takes.”
When I sat down to talk to Marilyn, I said, “I’ve tried to trace those famous remarks attributed to you and find out who originated them.”
“They are mine,” Marilyn told me. “Take that Chanel Number Five one. Somebody was always asking me, ‘What do you sleep in, Marilyn? Do you sleep in P.J.’s? Do you sleep in a nightie? Do you sleep raw, Marilyn?’ It’s one of those questions which make you wonder how to answer them. Then I remembered that the truth is the easiest way out, so I said, ‘I sleep in Chanel Number Five,’ because I do. Or you take the columnist, Earl Wilson, when he asked me if I have a bedroom voice. I said, ‘I don’t talk in the bedroom, Earl.’ Then, thinking back over that remark, I thought maybe I ought to say something else to clarify it, so I added, ‘because I live alone.’”
The phone rang in her apartment, and she took a call from one of the hand-picked few to whom she’d given her privately listed number. While she talked I thought back upon a thing Flack Jones had said to me thoughtfully, “I’m no psychiatrist or psychologist, but I think that Marilyn has a tremendous inferiority complex. I think she’s scared to death all the time. I know she needs and requires attention and that she needs and requires somebody to tell her she’s doing well. And she’s extremely grateful for a pat on the back.”
“Name me a patter,” I said.
“For example,” he said, “when we put her under contract for the second time, her best friend and encourager was the agent, Johnny Hyde, who was then with the William Morris Agency, although he subsequently died of a heart attack. Johnny was a little guy, but he was Marilyn’s good friend, and, in spite of his lack of size, I think that she had a father fixation on him.
“I don’t want to get involved in the psychology of all this,” Flack Jones continued, “because it was a very complicated problem, of which I have only a layman’s view, but I honestly think that Marilyn’s the most complicated woman I’ve ever known. Her complexes are so complex that she has complexes about complexes. That, I think, is one reason why she’s always leaning on weird little people who attach themselves to her like remoras, and why she lets herself be guided by them. A remora is a sucker fish which attaches itself to a bigger fish and eats the dribblings which fall from the bigger fish’s mouth. After she became prominent, a lot of these little people latched onto Marilyn. They told her that Hollywood was a great, greedy ogre who was exploiting her and holding back her artistic progress.”
I said that the way I’d heard it, those hangers-on seemed to come and go, and that her trail was strewn with those from whom she had detached herself. I’d been told that the routine was for her to go down one day to the corner for the mail or a bottle of milk and not come back; not even wave good-by.
“But she has complete confidence in these little odd balls, both men and women, who latch onto her, while they’re latched,” Jones said. “I’m sure their basic appeal to her has always been in telling her that somebody is taking advantage of her, and in some cases they’ve been right. This has nothing to do with your story, but it does have something to do with my observation that she’s frightened and insecure, and she’ll listen to anybody who can get her ear.”
“Johnny Hyde was no remora,” I said.
“Johnny was a switch on the usual pattern,” Jones agreed. “He was devoted to her. He could and did do things for her. I happened to know that Johnny wanted to marry her and Marilyn wouldn’t do it. She told me, ‘I like him very much, but I don’t love him enough to marry him.’ A lot of girls would have married him, for Johnny was not only attractive, he was wealthy, and when he died Marilyn would have inherited scads of money, but while you may not believe it, she’s never cared about money as money. It’s only a symbol to her.”
“A symbol of what?” I asked.
“It’s my guess that to her it’s a symbol of success. By the same token I think that people have talked so much to her about not getting what she ought to get that a lack of large quantities of it has also become a symbol of oppression in her mind. If I sound contradictory, that’s the way it is.”
When Marilyn had completed her phone call, I put it up to her, “I guess you’ve heard it argued back and forth as to whether you are a complicated person or a very simple person, even a naive person,” I said. “Which do you think is right?”
“I think I’m a mixture of simplicity and complexes,” she told me. “But I’m beginning to understand myself now. I can face myself more, you might say. I’ve spent most of my life running away from myself.”
It didn’t sound very clear to me, but I pursued the subject further. “For example,” I asked, “do you have an inferiority complex? Are you beset by fears? Do you need someone to tell you that you’re doing well all the time?”
“I don’t feel as hopeless as I did,” she said. “I don’t know why it is. I’ve read a little of Freud and it might have to do with what he said. I think he was on the right track.” I gave up. I never found out what portions of Freud she referred to or what “right track” he was on.
“What happened in 1952, when the studio sent you to Atlantic City to be grand marshal of the annual beauty pageant?” I asked Marilyn instead. “Did you mind going?”
She smiled. “It was all right with me,” she said. “At the time I wanted to come to New York anyhow. There was somebody I wanted to see here. This was why it was hard for me to be on time leaving New York for Atlantic City for that date. I missed the train and the studio chartered a plane for me, but it didn’t set the studio back as much as they let on. They could afford it.”
Flack Jones had told me that story too. “They’d arranged a big reception for Marilyn at Atlantic City,” he said. “There was a band to meet her at the train, and the mayor was to be on hand. Marilyn and the flacks who were running interference for her were to arrive on a Pennsylvania Railroad train at a certain hour, but, as usual, Marilyn was late, and when they got to the Pennsylvania Station the train had pulled out. So there they were, in New York, with a band and the mayor waiting in Atlantic City. Charlie Einfeld, a Fox vice-president — and Charlie can operate mighty fast when he has to — got on the phone and chartered an air liner — the only one available for charter was a forty-six-seat job; it was an Eastern Air Lines plane as I recall it — and they all went screaming across town in a limousine headed for Idlewild.
“The studio’s magazine man in New York, Marilyn and a flack from out here on the Coast boarded the plane and took off for Atlantic City,” Flack Jones said. “Bob and the Coast flack were so embarrassed at missing the train, and the plane was such a costly substitute that they were sweating like pigs. On this big air liner there was a steward aboard — they’d shanghaied a steward in a hurry from some place to serve coffee — but all of this didn’t bother Marilyn at all. She tucked herself into a seat back in the tail section, hummed softly; then fell fast asleep and slept all the way. The other two sat up front with the steward, drinking quarts of coffee because that was what he was being paid to serve. They drank an awful lot of coffee.”
Flack Jones said that Marilyn and her outriders were met at the Atlantic City airport by a sheriff’s car and that they were only three minutes late for the reception for Marilyn on the boardwalk. There she was given an enormous bouquet of flowers, and she perched on the folded-down top of a convertible, to roll down the boardwalk with a press of people following her car.
“She sat up there like Lindbergh riding down Broadway on his return from Paris,” Flack Jones said. “The people and the cops and the beauty-carnival press agents followed behind like slaves tied to her chariot wheels. That is, she managed to move a little every once in a while when the crowd could be persuaded to back away. Then Marilyn would pitch a rose at the crowd and it would set them off again, and there’d be another riot. This sort of thing went on — with variations — for several days. It was frantic.
“But,” Flack Jones explained, “there was one publicity thing which broke which wasn’t intended to break. It was typical of the way things happen to Marilyn without anybody devising them. When each potential Miss America from a different part of the country lined up to register, a photograph of Marilyn greet- ing her was taken. Those pictures were serviced back to the local papers and eventually a shot of Miss Colorado with Marilyn wound up in a Denver paper; and a shot of Miss California and Marilyn in the Los Angeles and San Francisco papers, and so forth.”
For a moment Flack Jones collected his thoughts in orderly array; then went on, “Pretty soon in came an Army public-information officer with four young ladies from the Pentagon. There was a WAF and a WAC and a lady Marine and a WAVE. The thought was that it would be nice to get a shot of Marilyn with ‘the four real Miss Americas’ who were serving their country, so they were lined up. It was to be just another of the routine, catalogue shots we’d taken all day long, but Marilyn was wearing a low-cut dress which showed quite a bit of cleavage — quite a bit of cleavage. That would have been all right, since the dress was designed for eye level, but one of the photographers climbed up on a chair to shoot the picture.”
The way Marilyn described this scene to me was this: “I had met the girls from each state and had shaken hands with them,” she said. “Then this Army man got the idea of aiming his camera down my neck while I posed with the service girls. It wasn’t my idea for the photographer to get up on a chair.”
“Nobody thought anything of it at the time,” Jones had told me, “and those around Marilyn went on with the business of their workaday world. In due course the United Press — among others — serviced that shot. Actually it was a pretty dull picture because, to the casual glance, it just showed five gals lined up looking at the camera.”
Jones said that when the shot of the four service women and Marilyn went out across the country by wirephoto, editors took one look at it and dropped it into the nearest wastebasket because they had had much better art from Atlantic City.
“That night the Army PIO officer drifted back to the improvised press headquarters set up for the Miss America contest,” Flack Jones said. “He took one look and sent out a wire ordering that the picture be stopped.”
“On what grounds?” I asked.
“On grounds that that photograph showed too much meat and potatoes, and before he’d left the Pentagon he’d been told not to have any cheesecake shots taken in connection with the girls in his charge. Obviously what was meant by those instructions was that he shouldn’t have those service girls sitting on the boardwalk railings showing their legs or assuming other undignified poses. There was nothing in that PIO officer’s instructions which gave him the right to censor Marilyn’s garb, but he ordered that picture killed anyhow.”
According to Jones, every editor who had junked that picture immediately reached down into his wastebasket, drew it out and gave it a big play. “In Los Angeles it ran seven columns,” he said, “and it got a featured position in the Herald Express and the New York Daily News. All the way across country it became a celebrated picture, and all because the Army had ‘killed’ it.”
He was silent for a moment; then he said, “Those who were with her told me afterward that it had been a murderous day, as any day is when you’re with Marilyn on a junket,” he went on. “The demands on her and on those with her are simply unbelievable. But finally she hit the sack about midnight because she had to get up the next day for other activities. The rest of her crowd had turned in too, when they got a call from the U.P. in New York, asking them for a statement from Marilyn about ‘that picture.’”
“‘What picture?’ our publicist-guardian asked, and it was then that they got the story. They hated to do it, but they rousted Marilyn out of bed. She thought it over for a while; then issued a statement apologizing for any possible reflection on the service girls, and making it plain that she hadn’t meant it that way. She ended with a genuine Monroeism. ‘I wasn’t aware of any objectionable décolletage on my part. I’d noticed people looking at me all day, but I thought they were looking at my grand marshal’s badge.’ This was widely quoted, and it had the effect of giving the whole thing a lighter touch. The point is this: a lot of things happen when Marilyn is around.” He shook his head. “Yes, sir,” he said. “A lot of things.
“Another example of the impact she packs: when she went back to New York on the Seven Year Itch location,” Jones went on. “All of a sudden New York was a whistle stop, with the folks all down to see the daily train come in. When Marilyn reached LaGuardia, everything stopped out there. One columnist said that the Russians could have buzzed the field at five hundred feet and nobody would have looked up. There has seldom been such a heavy concentration of newsreel cameramen anywhere. From then on in, during the ten days of her stay, one excitement followed another. She was on the front page of the Herald Tribune, with art, five days running, which I’m told set some sort of a local record.
“In the case of The Itch, there was a contractual restriction situation,” Flack Jones said. “The studio’s contract called for the picture’s release to be held up until after the Broadway run of the play. When Marilyn went back to New York for the location shots for Itch, the play version was still doing a fair business, but it was approaching the end of its long run. If you bought a seat, the house was only half full. Then Marilyn arrived in New York and shot off publicity sparks and suddenly The Itch had S.R.O. signs out again. The result was that it seemed it was never going to stop its stage run; so, after finishing the picture, Fox had to pay out an additional hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars to the owners of the stage property for the privilege of releasing their movie.
“Things reached a new high — and no joke intended,” Flack Jones went on, “when Billy Wilder shot the scene where her skirts were swept up around her shoulders by a draft from a subway ventilator grating. That really set the publicity afire again, and shortly after that The Itch location company blew town while they were ahead. The unit production manager had picked the Trans-Lux Theater on Lexington Avenue for the skirt-blowing scene. He’d been down there at two o’clock in the morning to case the spot; he’d reported happily, ‘The street was fully deserted,’ and he’d made a deal with the Trans-Lux people for getting the scene shot there because there was nobody on the street at that hour.
“It seemed certain that Billy Wilder would have all the room in the world to work, and he had left word that nobody was to know what location he’d selected, because he didn’t want crowds. But word leaked out. It was on radio and TV and in the papers, so instead of secrecy you might almost say that the public was being urged to be at Lexington Avenue on a given night to Marilyn’s skirts blow. Instead of having a nice, quiet side street in which to work, Wilder had all the people you can pack on a street. Finally the cops roped off the sidewalk on the opposite side to restrain the public, and they erected a barricade close to the movie camera. But that wasn’t good enough, and they had to call out a whole bunch of special cops.”
Flack Jones said that when Wilder was ready to shoot, there were 200 or 300 photographers, professional and amateur, swarming over the place. Then Marilyn made her entrance from inside the theater out onto the sidewalk, and when she appeared the hordes really got out of control and there was chaos. Finally Wilder announced that he’d enter into a gentleman’s agreement. If the press would retire behind the barricades, and if the real working photographers would help control the amateurs, he would shoot the scene of Marilyn and Tom Ewell standing over the subway grating; then he’d move the movie camera back and the amateur shutter hounds could pop away at Marilyn until they were satisfied.
“So the New York press took care of the amateurs and made them quit popping their flashbulbs,” Flack Jones said. “Wilder got the scene and the volunteer snapshooters got their pictures. Everybody was there. Winchell came over with DiMaggio, who showed a proper husbandly disapproval of the proceedings. I myself couldn’t see why Joe had any right to disapprove. After all, when he married the girl her figure was already highly publicized, and it seemed odd if he had suddenly decided that she should be seen only in Mother Hubbards.”
I asked Marilyn herself if she thought that Joe had disapproved of her skirts blowing around her shoulders in that scene. I said I had heard his reaction described in two ways: that he had been furious and that he had taken it calmly.
“One of those two is correct,” Marilyn said. “Maybe you can figure it out for yourself if you’ll give it a little thought.”
Something told me that, in her opinion, Joe had been very annoyed indeed. And while we were on the subject of Joe, it seemed a good time to find out about how things had been between them when they had been married, and the unbelievable scene which accompanied the breaking up of that marriage. “Not in his wildest dreams could a press agent imagine a series of events like that,” Flack Jones had told me.
When I brought the subject up, Marilyn said, “For a man and a wife to live intimately together is not an easy thing at best. If it’s not just exactly right in every way it’s practically impossible, but I’m still optimistic.” She sat there being optimistic. Then she said, with feeling, “However, I think TV sets should be taken out of the bedroom.”
“Did you and Joe have one in your bedroom?” I asked.
“No comment,” she said emphatically. “But everything I say to you I speak from experience. You can make what you want of that.”
She was quiet for a moment; then she said, “When I showed up in divorce court to get my divorce from Joe, there were mobs of people there asking me bunches of questions. And they asked, ‘Are you and Joe still friends?’ and I said, ‘Yes, but I still don’t know anything about baseball.’ And they all laughed. I don’t see what was so funny. I’d heard that he was a fine baseball player, but I’d never seen him play.”
“As I said, the final scenes of All-American Boy loses Snow White were unbelievable,” Flack Jones told me. “Joe and Marilyn rented a house on Palm Drive, in Beverly Hills, and we had a unique situation there with the embattled ex-lovebirds both cooped in the same cage. Marilyn was living on the second floor and Joe was camping on the first floor. When Joe walked out of that first floor, it was like the heart-tearing business of a pitcher taking the long walk from the mound to the dugout after being jerked from the game in a World Series.”
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