WEIRDLAND: October 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Marilyn Monroe (Intimacy-Desire Paradox), Jerry Lewis (Funny Bones), The Kennedy Years

Algorithms conceived by cutting-edge computers still fail to predict romantic attraction. While such algorithms have been able to accurately predict the weather, University of Utah researchers found poor results when it came to predicting desire. A new study finds artificial intelligence simply can’t predict attraction between two people. “We found we cannot anticipate how much individuals will uniquely desire each other in a speed-dating context with any meaningful level of accuracy,” says study lead author Samantha Joel in a press release. “I thought that out of more than 100 predictors, we would be able to predict at least some portion of the variance. I didn’t expect we would find zero.” “It may be that we never figure it out, that it is a property we can never get at because it is simply not predictable,” says co-author Paul Eastwick of the University of California. “Romantic desire may well be more like an earthquake, involving a dynamic and chaos-like process, than a chemical reaction involving the right combination of traits and preferences.” Another different research shows that "partners who are responsive to each other outside the bedroom are able to maintain their sexual desire," says Gurit Birnbaum, psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center: "Responsiveness--which is a type of intimacy--is so important in a relationship because it signals that one is really concerned with the welfare of the other." Responsive partners are willing to show understanding at a deep level. They make the relationship feel special which is, at least in Western societies, what people seek from their romantic relationships. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Birnbaum and coauthor Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, report the "intimacy-desire paradox" lies in the contradiction between intimate and familiar relationships that many people strive for. "Sexual desire thrives on increasing intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time; better than any pyrotechnic sex," Birnbaum says. Source:

The staircase scene in Frank Tashlin’s sex-swap farcical updating of the Cinderella fairy tale Cinderfella (1960) resulted in Jerry Lewis having a heart attack. The stair scene was shot with one take of Jerry Lewis going down the stairs and one take going up. He ran up the stairs  (63 steps) in less than nine seconds and collapsed at the top. He was taken to the hospital and spent four days in an oxygen tent with his second cardiac event. This delayed filming for two weeks. On the evening of the ball, Fella (Jerry Lewis) is turned into a handsome prince and sent to the ball in a limousine. The great big band leader Count Basie is playing at the ball when Fella makes his grand entrance. The young man quickly gains the attention of the Princess (Anna Maria Alberghetti). The night is cut short when midnight strikes and Fella flees, losing his shoe along the way. The rest of the film plays out just like the classic fairytale! Jerry Lewis is priceless when it comes to engineering clever, complex, high-energy sight gags. A testament to his versatility here is mimicking the musicians as he listens to a song on the radio in the kitchen. Source:

By the time I was sixteen, I was a high-school dropout and I worked the Catskill resorts as a busboy and a tummler—the guy who makes faces and gets the guests in a good mood for the real entertainment. That’s what I wanted to be, the real entertainment. But what was I going to do? I always saw the humor in things, the joke possibilities. At the same time, I didn’t have the confidence to stand on a stage and talk. One night, at a New Jersey resort where my parents were doing their act, a friend of mine, Lonnie Brown—the daughter of resort hotelkeepers Charlie and Lillian Brown—was listening to a record by an English singer named Cyril Smith, trying to learn those classy English intonations. I had a crush on Lonnie and, attempting to impress her, I started to clown around, mouthing along to the music. Lonnie broke up, and that was music to my ears. An act was born. I hit on a genius solution—or what seemed at the time like a genius solution. After a couple of hard years on the road, playing burlesque houses where the guys with newspapers on their laps would boo me off the stage, I became a showbiz veteran (still in my teens) with an act called “Jerry Lewis—Satirical Impressions in Pantomimicry.” I’d do Sinatra singing “All or Nothing at All.” I knew where every scratch and skip was on every record, and when they came up, I’d do my shtick to them. I had gotten better at contorting my skinny body in ways that I knew worked comedically. I practiced making faces in front of a mirror till I cracked myself up. God had given me something I always felt: funny bones. 

Maybe Patti and I stayed together as long as we did (thirty-six years) because she called me on the carpet when I was indiscreet. She'd let me know that I’d face temptations on the road and, being a man, I’d give in to them. I had plenty of strengths, but even the strongest men will get their heads turned around. There was never any stopping my partner Dean, and there was no stopping women once they’d set eyes on him! Imagine—just months before Dean and I played the Copa and Slapsy Maxie’s, I was lucky to have fifty bucks to my name. Now I was walking down Fifth Avenue with three grand in hundred-dollar bills in my pocket and I got Gloria DeHaven on my arm. It was fantasyland... I said to Dean it was over, we would’ve only another couple of years and then we would’ve been knocked out of the ring like Joe Louis. 

I get pleasure from giving to those I love. That’s my pleasure. But I’m perceptive enough to realize that there are those who have felt oppressed by my generosity. It’s not always easy to get when you can’t give back to the same degree. Dean always used to take me to task for what he called 'flag-waving.' That could mean any number of things. It could mean giving money to the needy. We would walk down the street together, and I literally couldn’t pass a man with his hat out. If we walked back the same way and the same guy was still there, I’d hit him again. Dean would say, “That fucker can get a job! What the fuck are you givin’ him money for?” At the same time, I think he was happy to see me do what he couldn’t, even when he wanted to. Flag-waving was showing your colors emotionally. It was the exact opposite of everything Dean Martin had been taught to feel and to show. I knew I could sometimes be a bit much for him. I’d always worn my emotions on my sleeve, but as our career skyrocketed, the sleeve became a size extra large. I was constantly rewarded for showing my emotions. Did I feel bad that Dean was overshadowed? Sure I did. And so the more I got, the more I tried to give to Dean. But I recognize—now, fifty years later—that being at the receiving end of outrageous generosity isn’t the easiest thing in the world. —"Dean & Me" (2005) by Jerry Lewis

Although he had evolved, that other Jerry (the man-child) had stayed still and precious inside him. That Jerry meant "immortality," Lewis said. "He's forever. I have always said that I cannot allow the child within me to die. It's kept me alive." When his daughter Danielle came into the room, he bent down, and belted out: "Child! Beautiful baby. Come to Dad." It was this baby, he said, that had provided the essential balance in his life. After six sons, she was the miracle baby. He cried as he said: "She gives me a B-12 shot when she looks at me. She gives me worth, value. And now I'm frightened to death that I only have so much time. And I think, why didn't I do this when I could have had a long time with her." —"At Home with Jerry Lewis" (1993) by Craig Wolff

As The Women’s Room (1977) by feminist author Marilyn French makes clear, sex was seen as one of the most important things in life in fifties America. Certain publishing events suggest this: the two Kinsey reports (on men, 1948; on women, 1953), the first issues of Confidential magazine in 1951 and Playboy in 1953; best-selling novels such as From Here To Eternity 1951, A House is Not a Home 1953, Not As a Stranger 1955, Peyton Place 1956, Strangers When We Meet 1953, A Summer Place 1958, The Chapman Report 1960, etc. The Women's Room encompasses many ideas central to the Second-Wave Feminism movement that emerged in the 1960s.

Marilyn Monroe's lengthy beauty ritual was not about the makeup per se, said George Masters, Marilyn's make up assistant in 1962, but about getting into the mood to be "Marilyn" in public, and took time to "woo the sensual persona into being." When "Marilyn" suddenly appeared as he put on her lipstick or adjusted her dress, it was an incredible metamorphosis. Many years after her death, Masters said he still got goosebumps thinking about it. No stranger to Hollywood, John F. Kennedy had always been captivated by Marilyn Monroe. In October 1954, while undergoing spinal surgery in a New York hospital, visitors to his room were treated to a poster of Marilyn hung over his bed. The poster featured Marilyn in a tight white blouse and blue shorts, her legs spread wide apart. JFK and Marilyn were both charismatic and complex. Marilyn was particularly complicated and spent her entire life looking for a missing person: herself. The most constant male figure in Marilyn’s life had been Joe DiMaggio. Because he possessed a strong center and because he loved her, DiMaggio could cope with Marilyn’s frailties. But he just couldn’t cope with the movie racket or the Hollywood celebrity scene, which meant that they couldn’t be husband and wife. In 1967, five years after Monroe’s death, Arthur Miller confessed: “Marilyn’s addiction to pills and drugs ultimately defeated me.  If there was any key to her despair, I never found it.”

Comedian Joey Bishop, a sometime member of Sinatra’s Rat Pack, saw Marilyn at Frank Sinatra’s house in early June 1961. “I’d gone over there for our weekly poker game,” said Bishop. “Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and two other guys were there, and in the middle of the game, this tiny white puffball of a puppy waddled into the room. ‘New dog?’ Dino asked, and Sinatra said, ‘It’s Marilyn Monroe’s dog. She named it Maf, as in Mafia.’ And then Marilyn came into the room, evidently looking for the dog. And the thing is, she was completely nude except for a pair of emerald earrings that Sinatra had given her. We froze, and she stopped dead in her tracks. I could tell that Sinatra wasn’t too pleased about her not wearing any clothes. I’d heard she’d just recently undergone some minor gynecological surgery at Cedars of Lebanon, but she’d seemingly recuperated because she looked pretty damn good. After saying hello to everyone, she gathered up the mutt and went back into Sinatra’s bedroom. Marilyn was perhaps a bit afraid of losing her great sex appeal, and I couldn’t help but think that being with Sinatra confirmed for her that she still had it—in spades. I’d seen her with Sinatra at his home in Palm Springs and at the Palm Springs Racquet Club. Another place Sinatra brought Marilyn was the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. But I can also tell you that the most important man in Marilyn’s life was Joe DiMaggio. His love for her knew no limits. And though their marriage ended in divorce, she loved him as well.” —"Joe and Marilyn" (2014) by C. David Heymann

"At first I was hesitant to go into modeling because I didn’t think I was pretty enough. But they kept bugging me until my boredom finally enticed me to go see an agent that had been recommended to me. Her name was Pat Allen and she turned out to be a great lady. She raved on about how beautiful I was and signed me up on the spot. She soon became a wonderful friend and a trusted confidante. I posed for numerous magazine covers and ads and quickly received a lot of attention from the New York Press. Famous journalists such as Walter Winchell, Earl Wilson, Dorothy Kilgallen, Hyman Goldberg, Hal Boyle and Carl Gaston were soon keeping tabs on me and writing about my latest escapades in the press. I’ll never forget the first time I met Marilyn Monroe. It was at a bar near the Actors Studio in New York City. She was dressed up in her usual disguise of black wig, scarf, and dark sunglasses. The early 1950’s was a great time to be living in America. I don’t think that era will ever be captured again. I was wearing my body hugging Lana Turner sweater, tight slacks and a light fur coat. I loved the way the fur was caressing my body. It made me feel all warm and cozy. A fur coat had been my dream since childhood so with my first paycheck from modeling, I bought one."

"As I strolled up 5th Avenue towards my acting class, I once again was amazed by the energy and vibrancy of New York City. In just a few short years I had gone from being a little country girl from the hills of Arkansas to being a famous model, a trick shot golf artist and an actress. I had appeared on Broadway, been featured on the covers of numerous magazines and played golf with the likes of Bob Hope, President Eisenhower and the Duke of Windsor. I thought I’d done pretty much everything there was to do. Little did I know, I was about to engage in the biggest thrill of my life: Meeting and becoming friends with Marilyn Monroe. She thought I was crazy for turning down a lot of the offers that I got. She told me many times, “Jeanne, you have to take anything that comes your way in the beginning. You have to keep your name and face out there or else the public will forget you.” I knew she was right but I was lazy and scared most of the time. Marilyn used to call me at all hours of the night because she had problems sleeping. I had the same problem. She felt she could relate to me as I had been married to a hot tempered Italian as well. After Marilyn broke up with Arthur Miller she moved back to Hollywood. That was our wild period together. We engaged in such outrageous and audacious behavior that it still shocks me when I think back on it." —"My Wild, Wild Life as a New York Pin Up Queen" (2006) by Jeanne Carmen & Brandon James

John F. Kennedy was confident that Americans—“whose basic good sense has always prevailed”—would reject those “counsels of fear and suspicion.” Theodore Sorensen (adviser and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy) was weighted down with the melancholy burden of history. He knows that John F. Kennedy lived for a purpose; he just can’t bring himself to believe he died for one. “It’s terribly painful. If I can know that my friend of eleven years died as a martyr to a cause, that there was some reason, some purpose why he was killed then I think the whole world would feel better.” Sorensen makes it known when the subject arises in conversation that it is still too painful for him. President Kennedy had instructed the CIA to immediately stop all raids against Cuba, to make sure that no flying sparks from the agency’s secret operations set off a nuclear conflagration. But, once again, the agency asserted its right to determine its own Cuba policy, independent of the president’s will. In defiance of Kennedy’s order, Bill Harvey mobilized sixty commandos—“every single team and asset that we could scrape together”—and dropped them into Cuba, in anticipation of the U.S. invasion that the CIA hoped was soon to follow. The 1962 Havana conference, observed Sorensen, “brought to my mind and Arthur’s and Bob McNamara’s as never before, how close the world came to stumbling into a nuclear exchange that would have escalated very quickly on both sides to a nuclear holocaust that would have left both countries in ruins, and soon most of the world as well.” The Kennedy brothers, Sorensen continued, “were certain that no nuclear warheads were in Cuba at the time. They were wrong.” If Kennedy had bowed to their pressure, Sorensen grimly concluded, the world would have been reduced to smoking rubble. —"The Hidden Story of the Kennedy Years" (2007) by David Talbot

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Marilyn Monroe (The Last Days), Frank Sinatra & the Jack Pack, Jerry Lewis & the Bombshell

Alice McIntyre of Esquire magazine described Marilyn as “astonishingly beautiful. Like nothing human you have ever seen or dreamed!” Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson saw her radiant beauty as “a certain myth of what we call in France la femme eternelle.” Marilyn told Lena Pepitone that Dr. Greenson had made her realize that her marriage to Miller was the cause of many of her problems. “In trying to win his [Miller’s] respect, she had become obsessed with the ‘serious dramatic actress’ goal. This was false, it wasn’t her. She should continue her acting lessons, and gradually improve her skills, but the movies she should concentrate on now were those that came most naturally to her—comedies, musicals, ‘fun’ movies.” Greenson had told her, “Above all, she had to be herself.” “Whoever that is,” Marilyn added with a giggle and a slightly puzzled look. 

Speaking at her funeral, her mentor Lee Strasberg, the Artistic Director of the Actors Studio, lamented that “the public who loved her did not have the opportunity to see her as we did, in many of the roles that foreshadowed what she would have become.” In his opinion, Marilyn’s true destiny pegged her to become “one of the finest American stage actresses of all time.” On Sunday, February 5, 1960, Marilyn was driven to New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where she was admitted under the name of “Faye Miller.” Expecting to be consigned to a conventional hospital room, she was escorted to the Payne Whitney psychiatric ward, where she was locked in a padded cell reserved for the most critically disturbed patients. For Marilyn, it was Kafkaesque. It was the true nightmare that had often precipitated her night terrors—the repetitive nightmare of her childhood that she had once related to photographer David Conover: “I’m screaming, ‘I’m not crazy!’ They put me in a bare room with bars on the windows and they go out and lock the iron door, leaving me in a strait jacket. ‘I don’t belong here!’” But the nightmare was real. The fear that she would end up like her mother was suddenly coming true. Becoming hysterical, she pounded on the locked steel door until her hands bled. Throwing a chair across the room, she smashed the small window on her locked door.

Hollywood had changed considerably since Marilyn Monroe had last lived there as one of its celebrated residents. She returned as a displaced person at a time when the studio star system was a thing of the past and the industry was in disarray. Many of the great screenwriters had done their last fade-out, tycoons heads were rolling, and the cinema was being captured from the Hollywood ruling class by Wall Street tyros. More and more of the business was being commissioned by agents with new faces. “If Louis B. Mayer was alive today to see what's happening to Hollywood, his head turn over in his grave,” said Sam Goldwyn. In the spring of 1961, when Marilyn returned to the rolling hills of Fox, it looked the same, but the studio would never return to the glory days when Norma Jeane first tripped into the 20th Century-Fox lobby. When Marilyn arrived, Frank Sinatra was in Hawaii, and she briefly stayed as a guest in his ring-a-ding-ding Coldwater Canyon pad before taking her back to the familiar surroundings of the apartment building at 882 North Doheny Drive. 

Visitors to the modern white-on-white triplex apartment building at the corner of Doheny Drive and Cynthia Street perceived it as a place of transition. Ralph Roberts and Susan Strasberg described Marilyn's apartment as resembling a hotel room, with modern, utilitarian furnishings and no personal touches, no photographs, no awards, just a few books, suitcases, and clothes. It was well known within the Sinatra crowd that the apartment was managed by Sinatra's accountant, Harry Ziegler, and for years it was a way station for Sinatra's pals, girlfriends, and business associates. Angie Dickinson and Betsy Duncan had been residents along with actor Brad Dexter, who had once saved Sinatra from drowning. When Marilyn returned in 1961, Sinatra's secretary, Gloria Lovell, was living in one of the Doheny units and Jeanne Carmen, one of Sinatra's preferred blondes, was living in the other. 

According to Brad Dexter, Jeanne Carmen had known Sinatra and Johnny Rosselli for a number of years. Dexter, who first met Marilyn when he played a role in The Asphalt Jungle, recalled seeing Marilyn and Jeanne Carmen together at the apartment on several occasions. They were friends, as Dexter recently stated. He'd usually see them at Pucini's with Frank, and sometimes at Palm Springs. Frank stayed in Marilyn's apartment for a while after she moved out, and Jeanne was still there in 1964. Marilyn and Jeanne Carmen had been acquainted since the early fifties. Carmen, like Marilyn, had started her career as a model and cover girl for girlie magazines, and she occasionally was cast in B movies, like The Monster from Piedras Blancas for Republic in 1959. Jeanne Carmen was a night person, and when Marilyn couldn't sleep and Carmen wasn't busy they'd while away the night talking and drinking. They often talked about drugs, sex and men. 

Arthur Miller wrote of Marilyn’s double-edged vulnerability in an unpublished play in which the character modeled on Marilyn has a purgatorial effect on the men who had loved her. "With her open sexuality, childlike and sublimely free of ties and expectations in a life she half senses is doomed, she moves instinctively to break the hold of respectability on the men until each in his different way meets the tragedy in which she has unwittingly entangled him—one retreats to a destructive marriage in fear of losing his social standing; another abandons his family for her, only to be abandoned in turn when her interests change. Like a blind, godlike force, with all its creative cruelty, her sexuality comes to seem the only truthful connection with some ultimate nature, everything that is life-giving and authentic. Her liberating promise is finally illusionary." Miller stated that the play remained unfinished because he couldn’t accept the nihilistic spiritual catastrophe that persisted in its foretelling: “That is, I believed it as a writer but could not confess it as a man. I could not know that in the coming years, I would live out much of its prophecy myself.”

The dry desert winds had warmed the L.A. basin and by 9 A.M., August 4, 1962, it was already eighty degrees. Jeanne Carmen related that Marilyn woke her at 6 A.M. to tell her about strange calls she had received during the night. Marilyn had been up most of the night. “Marilyn sounded nervous and exhausted,” Carmen stated. “She begged me to come over and keep her company.” Marilyn needed to talk to Carmen about things she couldn’t say over the phone. But Carmen wasn’t fully awake or aware of the anxieties she sensed in Marilyn’s voice. She remembered Marilyn saying, “Bring over a bag of pills,” and thought Marilyn was referring to “uppers” to help her through the day after a bad night. Jeanne Carmen told Marilyn she didn’t have time to come over that day because it was her birthday, and she had a series of engagements. They planned to see each other on Sunday. Carmen said that Marilyn called her close to nine o’clock that evening. It was Marilyn’s third call that day. “Are you sure you can’t come over?” Marilyn inquired. Jeanne Carmen again declined, saying she was tired, although she regretted not having responded to her.  —"The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe" (2012) by Donald H. Wolfe 

Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s longtime secretary, stated in an interview that she had overheard a discussion between Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Kennedy while she was going in and out of the room at the Biltmore, on July 13, 1960. She recalled that Johnson had claimed to have information about Jack’s womanizing, which had been supplied by Hoover, and used this “as a card, so to speak.” That evening the Lawfords threw a victory party at their Santa Monica home, with Frank Sinatra and the celebrity supporters and another addition, Marilyn Monroe, all raising their champagne glasses to the victorious candidate. The New Frontier, with ideals and aspirations from the eradication of poverty to exploring the galaxy, provided a potent and dramatic battle cry for the Democratic presidential candidate who had, for the moment, swept away the obstacles of his youth and religion.

There was another side to the image that the victorious candidate had portrayed, that of a of a modern, handsome, young statesman whose intellect did not prevent him from having the common touch, all of which added to the public allure and popularity of Jack Kennedy. Detective Fred Otash was sifting through the garbage of New York life in an effort to find something, anything, to stick, as an FBI file dated July 26, 1960 shows. A nameless Hollywood party girl told agents that Otash had contacted her earlier in the month looking for information about her participation in sex parties involving Kennedy, Lawford, and Sinatra. She told him that she had no knowledge of such activities. Agents following this up met Otash in his office on July 11. He told them that somebody was making attempts to spy on Kennedy’s hotel room but inferred that Confidential was looking for dirt on the senator for use in articles before the November election. The call girl told the agents that Otash wanted to set up Kennedy by putting a wire on her and that she had refused. The FBI would later hear one of their own wiretapped subjects discussing the senator’s sexual exploits. Meanwhile, after the convention, Jack Kennedy had little time to indulge in any such exploits, but he traveled to Las Vegas to party with Sinatra. In September, however, he faced into two months of a punishing schedule of campaigning, with an average of four hours’ sleep, and an ongoing round of breakfast and lunch meetings, press conferences and campaign speeches. —"Sinatra and the Pack Jack: The Extraordinary Friendship between Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy" (2016) by Michael Sheridan & David Harvey

Frank Sinatra kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye. When I looked at him, he winked and flirted with me. “You are such a pretty girl. Where are you from?” “Fullerton, California. I’m just a hometown girl.” “Well, I’ll bet your hometown misses you,” he said, laughing. After a while I began to feel more comfortable. These men were just ordinary people, but happened to be famous and wealthy. I believed Frank and the boys would take good care of me and pay me well. I began to relax. The 'party girl' was back. Frank did two shows a night, the second starting at midnight. Later, Frank took me by the hand and led me to the bed. “You don’t look like you’re feeling too good honey. Why don’t you come on over here and cuddle up with me?” I climbed in and lay on my side. Frank curled up beside me, spoon fashion, his arm around me, his hand holding my breast. In a few minutes he was sound asleep. Late in the morning, Frank awoke turned on again. Frank was gentle as we made love, and after about ten minutes, he was satisfied. Frank lay back on the pillows with a big smile on his face and dozed off while I dressed. Then he got up and put on a robe. He walked me to the door, kissed me on the cheek, then put one arm around me and with the other hand he slipped a wad of bills into my bra. “After the show, meet me in the Regency Lounge,” he said. “I want to see you again.” I pulled out the wad of bills and counted my earnings.

Frank was generous; I made a lot of money with him and I didn’t have to go out looking for tricks. He raved on about how he was helping Kennedy get elected in November, and that he was building a heliport at his home in Palm Springs and a special room where Kennedy could stay. One morning Frank Sinatra and I were having coffee in his suite at the Sands and he ranted that he was done with Peter Lawford. Peter had lied about President Kennedy staying at Frank’s house in Palm Springs. After he settled down he said, “I care for you a lot, Janie. I think you have a lot of class. You know, class is born in you, and not many people have that. And some people who you think have it don’t have it at all.” I didn’t say a word but I could see his disappointment as he paced the floor. He was upset about Marilyn Monroe’s death on August 5, 1962, but he kept it inside. “Janie, you always make me feel better, and you make me laugh when you do your sexy dancing.” I felt sorry for Frank. He led a life of glitz and glamour, but it was still a hard life to lead. That’s why I always tried to be available to him, even on the nights when he only wanted to cuddle. My relationship with him remained solid for the nine years I lived there. Frank always found a way to get a hold of me. Sometimes he was in town for a two-week gig at the Sands, and I was at his side whenever he wanted. I never slept with Sammy—white chicks didn’t go to bed with black guys in the early 1960s, and I didn’t think of him that way. We were friends. Sammy was easy to like. That first experience with the Rat Pack prepared me with the many show-business personalities I would meet in the future. —"Rat Pack Party Girl" (2017) by Jane McCormick

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

JFK (Declassified Files), Marilyn Monroe (The Final Years), Jerry Lewis (Erratic Patterns)

John F. Kennedy was killed on 22 November 1963, about 15m (50ft) from where we were standing on Friday, underneath the sixth-floor window from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired – or didn’t, depending on your point of view. “What hat happened in the window is not true,” said Ron Washington, holding a magazine containing grisly autopsy photographs of the 35th president of the United States. Washington has been on the case for 27 years and comes to Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas to sell conspiracy theory literature to tourists outside the former Texas School Book Depository, which is now a JFK museum. “I believe in the truth and evidence shows, indicates, Oswald’s innocent,” he said, gesturing towards the nearby grassy knoll. “Try to understand that what happened in the window was only a decoy to draw the attention away from the gunman behind the fence.” The imminent release of thousands of documents regarding the assassination is expected to shine at least a faint light on the government’s investigations, possible relationships with Oswald and his foreign trips, including a visit to Mexico City a few weeks before the shooting. Source:

Jerry Lewis visiting John F. Kennedy at the White House, 1963.

Marilyn and the Kennedys – The Unequivocal Truth: Peter Lawford’s home, a $95,000 purchase in 1956 from MGM magnate Louis B. Mayer, had been the setting for Marilyn’s encounter with Bobby Kennedy, on Wednesday 4 October 1961. This occasion had also been a party to honour the Attorney General. As part of the Justice Department’s crackdown on organised crime, Bobby was in town to talk with local law-enforcement officials about the rise in mob activity in Los Angeles. Following his brother John’s favourable account of his first real meeting with Marilyn just 11 days earlier, Bobby was keen to meet the great Hollywood star himself. Although it is safe to say that the Attorney General did grow closer to Marilyn than his brother, JFK, extensive research involving their personal schedules proves that Bobby did not have a fully fledged affair with Marilyn. Moreover, details of Marilyn’s supposed encounters with Bobby’s charismatic brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, were subject to a similar level of gossip and misrepresentation.

To this day, fans, historians, documentary makers and movie columnists repeat how Marilyn grew up as an orphan in a succession of foster homes. On both counts, that was totally incorrect. In fact, in September 1937, at the age of 11, Norma Jeane was moved to West Los Angeles to live with Grace McKee’s childless 62-year-old aunt, Ana Lower. It was there that she finally found the warmth and maternal affection she had been deprived of. ‘This woman was the greatest influence on my whole life,’ Marilyn recalled in a 1962 interview with photographer George Barris. ‘I called her aunt Ana. The love I have today for beautiful and simple things is because of her. She was the only person I ever really loved with such a deep love you can give only to someone so kind and so full of love for me. One of the reasons why I loved her was because of her understanding of what really mattered in life. She didn’t believe in a person being a failure either. She believed the mind could achieve anything. She changed my whole life.’

Marilyn had been an emotionally battered woman, weaned on rejection and even cruelty in her adolescent years, but she had learned how to ride her life’s punches. There had been agents, directors, and romantic suitors who went to bat for her, who tried to protect her. But she was actually no victim, at least not of the Hollywood studio system as commonly assumed. In 1993, Ralph Roberts (her official masseur since 1959) disclosed that Marilyn had told him she had only had a one-night stand with John F. Kennedy. ‘Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them,’ he remarked. In another exchange, Marilyn had announced, ‘He may be a good President, but he doesn’t grab me sexually.’ She also remarked to Roberts that the President ‘made love like an adolescent’. Another confidant was her former, short-term lover, newspaper columnist James Bacon who retorted to her: ‘But Marilyn. He’s too busy running the country to be bothered about being good in bed.’ In truth, due to his excruciating back pains, intercourse and lengthy periods of foreplay were, regrettably, nigh-on impossible for the President. To him, sex was mechanical and, since his desire for intimacy with a woman was borne more out of need than choice, he wanted the act to be terminated soon.

Fundamental to Kennedy’s sexual inefficiencies were the persistent and well-attested problems with his back and other ailments. He suffered from osteoporosis, which seriously affected his spine and, from the age of just 20, forced him to permanently wear a brace. His back was damaged further when, on Monday 2 August 1943, during the Second World War, his torpedo boat was hit by a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific. For 16 straight hours, Kennedy heroically managed to rescue his fellow seamen, but his bravery only managed to put more pressure on his already damaged spine. By his early 30s, the cocktail of steroids he had been consuming for colitis had accelerated his osteoporosis. His thinning bones, which had been supporting his spinal column, were now collapsing and he was now unable to perform even simple tasks. In an endeavour to ease his incessant back pain, surgeons cut open Kennedy’s back and inserted into either side of his lower spine two thin metal plates. But just three days after the operation, Kennedy developed a staphylococcus infection that spiralled out of control and he went into a coma. Within months, the back pain returned, more severe than before. After the operations, his back was weaker than ever.

When JFK moved into the White House in January 1961, he took with him eight personal physicians; doctors who would keep alive the public persona of a young, vibrant, robust President. He basked in his image of vitality and extreme good health. But in truth, it was a façade. His body was a crumbling wreck. Even the most menial of tasks could cause him great distress. By the one and only time he was intimate with Marilyn, in March 1962, President Kennedy, the most powerful man in the world, was in such disrepair that he had trouble even getting out of bed in the morning. Bending down to pull on his shoes and socks caused him immense discomfort. The thoughts of any kind of sexual intercourse outside the realms of the pool were a complete non-starter. Marilyn and JFK would never share a sexually charged session again, and Marilyn never pursued it. Openly dismissive of the former men in her life, Monroe made it clear to the few friends around her that the most significant thing for her at the start of 1962, was to move forward with her life, and that buying a home was the key to this. However, the decision to finally purchase was not entirely her own. It had actually derived from a suggestion made back in May 1961 by celebrated Californian psychiatrist Dr Ralph Greenson, the latest in a line of psychoanalysts who had managed to practise their methods on the star.

After Marilyn's divorce from her third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, was finalized in 1961, Joe DiMaggio came back into her life and, by all accounts, desperately tried to bring some stability and calm to an existence that was veering out of control. DiMaggio was always jealous of the attention she generated from other men. He tried to get her away from people who, to his mind, were nothing but trouble (including the Kennedys), and even proposed to her, asking her to marry him again. DiMaggio had initially been drawn (like a few hundred million other men) to Marilyn's "sex goddess" person, but he was never comfortable with her flaunting it, and was a self-admitted control freak, wanting Marilyn to wear low hemlines and quit being a movie star.

Yet during their courtship, DiMaggio had worked to squelch his possessiveness, and Monroe, who spent her life in search of a father figure, a man who’d never abandon her, found that in DiMaggio. “She’d grown accustomed to his paternalistic guidance and the protective side of his personality,” said Monroe’s close friend dancer Lotte Goslar. “And here was a father figure with whom she could have sex. And the sex was pretty damn good, as she said herself.” DiMaggio never stopped trying to win her back and he started therapy for anger management. In February 1961, when Monroe—who’d been diagnosed by two top psychiatrists as a paranoid schizophrenic like her mother—was forcibly institutionalized in New York City, DiMaggio ­answered her calls for help. In July 1962, a close friend of DiMaggio’s remarked, ‘Joe never sold his home there, the one he wanted for Marilyn. He has never stopped talking about her over the years. I think he believes she’ll eventually find herself and return to him. He’ll wait.’ During the afternoon of 1 August, 1962, now tired of waiting, DiMaggio excitedly flew out to Los Angeles and headed straight to Marilyn’s home in Brentwood where he asked for her hand in marriage. But although appreciative, Marilyn dismissed his offer outright and told him she wished to remain a friend only.

Though there were no doubts that DiMaggio was her best and most trusted friend, the chances of them ever remarrying were very remote indeed. Probably she had no desire to remarry DiMaggio because, put simply, she was no longer in love with him. She saw him now only as a close, platonic friend. And DiMaggio was totally devastated. Genuinely believing she would accept his proposal and imagining he would spend the entire day (and the rest of his life) with the actress, he had cancelled his appearance at that evening’s Fifth Annual Boys’ Invitational Baseball Tournament at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights. His no-show naturally took everyone by surprise. It was something the ever-reliable Joe never did. With Marilyn’s rejection still ringing in his ears, he dejectedly left her home, heading out to San Francisco to prepare for an old-timers’ baseball game which was due to take place at Candlestick Park on Saturday. —"Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years" (2012) by Keith Badman

Scientists pinpoint jealousy in the monogamous brain: Shakespeare's “green-eyed monster” has been written about for centuries, but the scientific study of jealousy is relatively young. Jealousy may have given a fitness advantage to humans in our ancestral environment; current evidence shows that culture also plays a role. “Understanding the neurobiology and evolution of emotions can help us understand our own emotions and their consequences,” says Dr. Karen Bales from the University of California, USA. Unrestrained jealousy can have negative health effects and in extreme cases can even lead to violence. But jealousy also plays a positive role in social bonding, by signaling that a relationship may need attention. It may be particularly important for keeping a couple together in monogamous species like humans. “The neurobiology of pair bonding is critical for understanding how monogamy evolved and how it is maintained as a social system,” says Bales.“ The researchers found that in the jealousy condition, the monkeys’ brains showed heightened activity in an area associated with social pain in humans, the cingulate cortex. “Increased activity in the cingulate cortex fits with the view of jealousy as social rejection,” she adds. “Monogamy probably evolved multiple times so it is not surprising that its neurobiology differs between different species,” says Bales. “However it seems as though there has been convergent evolution when it comes to the neurochemistry of pair bonding and jealousy.” Source:

"When I kissed her and told her I loved her,  Patti, my Princess, looked into my eyes and I knew my life was first beginning. The letters I received were as important to me as was medicine to a sick man. Time moved slowly… We would meet in New Haven, New York, Boston, whenever we could get away. Our love was so wonderful we thought that surely we were the first to love. The only thing we dreamt about was to get married. We had nothing but our love. There were many times through the ensuing years that I hung onto those words: 'I love her.' My feelings, where my wife is concerned, are very deep and very sacred. She is the very reason I live for she is the only reason I know that makes living worth anything… and the boys are equally worth it, but one day they’ll leave and then there will be only us." 

"I can only answer “God” honestly, and he knows my worth and my intentions, I have no fear of his wrath for I know he knows I’m basically good. Patti is the first human being that has ever cared about me or for me… Oh, there were a few beings that cared, but not enough that I could have survived. It was only when she came into my life that I realized I had a life… I want so much to scream the things that tug away at my heart and my soul… And when I try, the hurt is so strong, and deep, and festered that I clam up, and the relief I want doesn’t come… But I am a very lucky man to have found the real, right, and perfect human being to spend my years with. I want so much to do the right thing to keep her straight and happy… The only emotional thing that can kill me is when she hurts… or when I’ve caused her pain… but my intentions are never to hurt her, never to do her a moment’s pain, never to create a frown on her lovely face…"  —JUST 'CAUSE I LOVE HER by Jerry Lewis (July 4, 1951)

"Friends remember Jerry as being ultra-possessive of me in the early days of our marriage. As the children came along, they saw him as jealous of the time I committed to them. But just when I would start to agree with my friends, I would get a loving note from Jerry about how much he cared for me and the pride he had in my being a good mother. These mixed messages had kept me from separating from Jerry long before we met in court." —"I Laffed Till I Cried" (1993) by Patti Lewis 

On February 24th, 1953, Marilyn was awarded the Red Book magazine award for Best Young Box Office Personality. Her presentation as a special guest was made at the end of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis' radio show (there still is an audio recording available). Marilyn was excellent, and even played Jerry's girlfriend in a live skit on the show. Also there was a lot of 'off the cuff' stuff, the three performers hanging out socially in Beverly Hills. Jerry Lewis would comment about his friendship with Marilyn on Bill O'Reilly's and Larry King's talk shows. On neither occasion did he admitted to sleeping with Marilyn, although Lewis was adamant about defending her. In Marilyn Monroe: A Never-Ending Dream (1986), Marilyn confessed to historian/writer Guus Luijters she had found Jerry Lewis "quite sexy."

The Martin and Lewis Show (1953): Dean Martin reveals the identity of the show's secret guest to Jerry Lewis: Marilyn Monroe. Martin and Lewis talk about the cotton dress Marilyn is wearing and her new movie "Niagara"; Lewis attempts to get her to go out on a date with him; Lewis, Martin, and Monroe perform in a sketch about the newspaper editor of the "Daily Hangover" (Jerry Lewis) whose love interest is his star reporter (Marilyn Monroe). Extracted from the radio show's transcript — Marilyn: 'I'm a blonde, and I like to go out with tall, dark, handsome men. You see, opposites attract.' Jerry Lewis: 'Then you'll love me. I'm just the opposite.' Marilyn: 'Look Jerry, you're a man, and I'm a woman.' Jerry Lewis: 'Now that we've chosen sides, let's play.' Dean Martin: 'Won't you give up, Jerry. Marilyn prefers me. I've gone out with women that would not even look at you.' Jerry Lewis: 'So what? I've gone out with women who wouldn't look at me either.' Dean Martin: 'Giving her a kiss doesn't increase the newspaper circulation.' Jerry Lewis: 'But increases mine!' (laughter)

Jerrry Lewis was a perfectionist. But he also showed signs of obsessive compulsive disorder and depressive episodes. Some of his close colleagues thought his brand of childish comedy was a sign of escapism. He had felt like “a dummy, a misfit, the sorriest kid alive” during his childhood. A psychiatrist once even warned him off therapy, saying: “If we peel away the emotional and psychological difficulties, your pain may leave, but it’s also quite possible that you won’t have a reason to be funny any more.” Jerry revealed he had beaten himself up “a thousand times” over his son Joseph’s death, adding: “I’ve worked under the most painful conditions any man has ever felt in his life. But when I walk out on that stage, the pain goes away.” Often ostracized in his late career for his stubborn opposition to the postmodern trends in Hollywood, frequently neglected in an everchanging film industry and overlooked as iconoclast filmmaker in America, he would be vindicated by the likes of Martin Scorsese, who referred to Lewis as "one of the truly greats." To his credit, Lewis was one of the few writers who didn't use systematically his artistic medium as a scoreboard for his grudges or intimate foibles. Obviously, he projected on occasion some of his personal fears or fantasies, but it's not enough to trace  a semblance of autobiographical realism through his filmography in any case.

Jerry Lewis loved to work with segmentation, to divide the frame into separate compartments (the line between stage and backstage in the prom scene of The Nutty Professor, the recording studio scene in The Patsy). Another instance: Music disappears from the soundtrack when a girl disappears around a corner with her transistor radio in The Ladies Man. Lewis's great originality as a filmmaker lies in his art of multiplying segmentation or segmenting multiplicity so as to produce a spiraling disorder that leads miraculously to a reassertion of order (as in the endings of The Family Jewels, Which Way to the Front?, and Cracking Up). His films take place in zones of indeterminacy and combinatorial freedom. In The Total Film-Maker, Lewis called the pattern formed by the comic performer "an erratic pattern." If the confessional aspect of The Nutty Professor and the self-reflexivity of films such as The Errand Boy and The Patsy have often encouraged viewers to see Lewis's work as a distorted autobiography, a set of mirror fictions in which he externalizes various aspects of himself, his films make an equally strong demand to be read as the most vivid and emotionally wrenching American show-business hallucinations ever put on film: representations of a modern world, partly real, partly staged. The Bellboy, The Errand Boy, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy, Three on a Couch, and The Big Mouth are comic masterpieces that propose a rich and haunting combination of realms and values without ceasing to coexist within a single frame. These films do not, and are not made to, offer the reassurance of a cohesive narrative controlled by a stable authorial agency. They set up, instead, a liberating and exhilarating confusion of realms, in which Jerry Lewis (the author), too, is one of the figures that swim in and out of focus. Source:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rat Pack Confidential, First Date with Jerry Lewis

How America Lost Its Mind: the ’60s permanently reordered American society and culture and there have been unreckoned costs. The 1960s was the Beginning of the End of Reason. America was created by hucksters and passionate dreamers, which made America successful—but also by a people uniquely susceptible to fantasy, from Hollywood to conspiracy theories. In other words: Mix show business with everything else; then run it through the anything-goes ’60s. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled. If the 1960s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it. Source:

There was the time when Frank Sinatra, riding high on the early reviews for From Here to Eternity, visited his hero in search of approval. “I saw your picture,” said Bogart. “What did you think?” Frank asked him. Bogart simply shook his head 'no'.  Frank Sinatra saw in Humphrey Bogart all the things he always wanted to be: aloof, profound, world-weary, slightly drunk, slightly sentimental, romantic, tender, tough, loyal, and proud. He could take his hero worship too far. Once, when a date of Frank declared, in Bogart’s presence, “You sound like Bogie sometimes,” the actor laughed and said, “Don’t remind him, sweetheart, the poor bastard’s trying to kick it!” In fact, Bogart was one of the few people who were willing to tell Frank Sinatra exactly what they thought of some of the things he did. 

In 1948, Sinatra applauded the Martin & Lewis duo, although he considered its forte was really Jerry Lewis. Dean, the tall, handsome, crooning straight man, was more or less along for the ride. And when the ride ended, when Martin and Lewis devolved into an ugly spitting contest and finally broke apart, Lewis went on to solo success, just as everyone predicted, while “the dago” (Martin) initially floundered. It wasn’t that Dean Martin didn’t have the chops. He had a charming voice in the Bing Crosby mood—a stylish singer, if never a real artist. He cut a great figure in a tux, golf clothes: real movie star looks. And he was funny, with a gift for whimsical one-liners and a canny, low-key delivery. But he seemingly didn’t have the drive to go it alone. He was ten years older than Lewis and struggling under an absurd burden of debt when the two had met. Martin took the edges off of Jerry Lewis’s hysteria. By 1954, they weren’t such good pals anymore. Jerry was styling himself a creator of artful comic narratives in a variety of media.

"The unbridled sweep of the all-American ego at its most infantile and traumatized has always been an object of awe and fascination for the French; think of their celebrations of Poe and Faulkner, H.P. Lovecraft and Orson Welles. Call Jerry Lewis “America” and you have a recognizable psychosexual object that signifies something more than slapstick. The childhood sections which predictably dominate depict not only the lonely New Jersey misfit I expected, but also the street-smart chutzpah of a semi-abandoned tough guy who dreamt of murdering his grandfather, killed his cat in a rage when he was five, and hated his small-time show-biz parents." —Jonathan Rosenbaum

Everyone in show business knew that Jerry would do great, but most predicted a dire future for Dean. And when he debuted as a single, it was disastrous. His first picture, Ten Thousand Bedrooms, was numbered for years among the great movie turkeys of all time. Cynics were predicting he’d be out of the business altogether within months. Like Frank with From Here to Eternity, Dean was rescued by fate in the form of a new singing persona and a World War II movie (Some Came Running). Within two years of splitting with Jerry, he found himself teamed, unofficially but semipermanently, with Frank, starting with a trip to some sleepy town in the Midwest. Frank knew that Dean would be a perfect choice for the role of Bama Dillert, a honey-drippin’ card shark in the upcoming film Some Came Running. A gambler, roué, souse with a southern accent just like the one Dean sported as a shtick, he was capable of being played right by no other actor in the world. If it took till mid-’58 for Frank to offer Dean the role, the likely reason is that he was waiting to see how The Young Lions turned out.

Frank was cool in the sense of remote. Zarathustran drama and intoxicating romance: That was Frank’s bag. Dean was warm in the sense of comfortable. Alone, Frank couldn’t relax: He was insistent, a perfectionist, a lionizer of himself and his art. His audience adored him and feared him and envied him and lived through him, but they didn’t exactly like him—and as a singer he never particularly cared if they did. If anyone grew nostalgic for The Rat Pack, if it ever seemed like a more innocent time, that was because it was the last moment of cultural unanimity. For the first sixty years of the century, save a couple dozen months after Elvis made the scene, everybody in every house in America found pleasure in the same type of comedy, music, movies. The Rat Pack bunched it altogether at an unprecedented height and pitch—and for the last time. And nobody seemed to agree about anything ever again after they were toppled from their golden aerie.

Dean Martin: "I want to be remembered as a damn good entertainer, nothing spectacular. A good entertainer who made people enjoy themselves and made them laugh a little. I want them to think 'He was a nice guy'." Dean Martin on The Rat Pack: "The whole world is drunk and we're just the cocktail of the moment. Someday soon, the world will wake up, down two aspirins with a glass of tomato juice, and wonder what the hell all the fuss was all about."

“Both Jerry and Dean are always yelling and falling all over the place when they see me,” Marilyn said with a giggle, “and I love them for it. Other people have criticized me for the way I dress and the way I walk, but Dean and Jerry never do.” So was Sammy Davis Jr., another affectionate prankster who treated her with that brotherly mix of teasing and protectiveness. Back in LA there’d been a rumor she and Sammy had slept together, a rumor they both found hilarious. To the Rat Pack guys she was just Marilyn—no starlet and certainly no piece of studio meat. Marilyn certainly wasn’t dressed like a fashion plate, but that was the whole point. In fact, it was her lack of interest in fashion that gave her such a wonderful sense of style—a style she solidified in New York City. She wore black pullovers and toreador pants to dive bars with Frank Sinatra, flung minks over slips for midnight walks in Central Park. Her style remained unchanged from 1955 to her death, in 1962—a time when fashions and fads moved at warp speed.

Yet she never looked dated. She still doesn’t—a shot of her in pigtails, jeans, and cowboy boots on the set of The Misfits could have been taken yesterday. In New York, Marilyn dined at Gino’s with Frank Sinatra, then swilled cheap scotch at the Subway Inn down the street. She stretched out in her bathrobe on the floor of the Waldorf-Astoria, scrawling poems on crisp hotel stationery. Back in LA, Marilyn really had looked up to Shelley Winters as a big sister: In 1951, they had shared men, minks, swimsuits, and Sinatra records. Milton Greene had long been exasperated with Marilyn’s wardrobe, which ricocheted from skintight to slovenly with little in between. “That looks like a schmatta,” he’d moan whenever she’d show him a dress. He begged her to stop passing out in her makeup and cajoled her into using the gold-plated hairbrush Frank Sinatra had given her on her birthday. 

Like Las Vegas, Miami had a strip of fabulous hotels—the Eden Roc, the Diplomat, and, especially, the Fontainebleau, the gaudy Moderne pipe dream of architect Morris Lapidus, the most expensive, expansive, and exciting jewel of the city’s glittering string. The Fontainebleau catered to the biggest shots and had the biggest stars under contract, the Sands of Collins Avenue. Miami specialized—even more than Vegas—in spoiling guests. It was also a celebrity magnet, its clubs and hotels offering high fees and, like Vegas, a place for entertainers to relax and watch one another work. In January I960, for instance, just as Dean Martin was making a resort movie at the Sands with Frank Sinatra and the rest of them, Jerry Lewis directed himself in a film at the Fontainebleau, The Bellboy. In the 1960s Rock ‘n’ Roll had happened—rock’s early performers had opened something that no one before them had dared, a kind of bald rebellion that entertainers of the Rat Pack never dreamed of expressing. What seemed like high-spirited fun in the winter of 1960 came to look like debauchery by the summer of 1964; the high hopes of one generation were replaced with the simple adolescent cheeriness (Rock 'n' Roll) of the next one. —"Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party" (ekindle, 2014) by Shawn Levy

Rat Pack Mysteries: I went down to the lobby of The Sands, walking through the fabled casino. As I took a detour to the crowded Copa Room nightclub, the lights went down, which meant that Frank Sinatra would be soon coming out. The room was smoky and dark and a big band was playing on stage. The patrons were dressed to the nines and chain-smoking cigarettes. The Copa Room's showgirls were known as "The Copa Girls." The showroom had taken its name from the former Copacabana in New York City. “Hey, doll, bring me that drink,” the gangster-like man said abruptly, without breaking his mile-long stare. He was pointing to a young waitress fresh from San Gabriel Valley carrying a heavy tray of champagne glasses, her uniform pulled too tight across her farm-girl hips. The crowd went wild when Sinatra walked out and started to sing a rousing rendition of Luck be a Lady. 

While the Dom Perignon flowed freely, Johnny Rosselli chatted about Marilyn Monroe. He had known her since 1948 when Harry Cohn had signed her first contract for Columbia. Cohn had used Mob money to enhance the Columbia Studio’s potential. Usually Johnny laughed at Sam Giancana’s antics, the way he had fallen head over heels with Judith Campbell and Phyllis McGuire, whom had been placed on his pedestal. Any man foolhardy enough to approach Phyllis with romantic overtures would meet a violent end or at the very least a brutal beating ordered by Giancana. But when it came to Marilyn, Johnny didn’t like the way Giancana had wiretapped her Brentwood home by Hollywood private detective Fred Otash. Sam Giancana knew he could use Marilyn’s affair with Jack Kennedy to destroy him politically.

Jerry Lewis simply shrugged when he was left behind the party, sitting in one of the background booths, self-consciously lighting a Kool cigarette. Why wasn't Lewis surrounded by a coterie of starlets like his partner Dean Martin or the Rat Pack allies? Maybe the high-life perks that used to intrigue his mind had lost its gleamy allure for him. He probably was reminiscing about his first girl, Lonnie Brown, harking back to his first serious date with her. He just could see her now placing a hand gently on his arm and talkingto him as softly as she could amid the din of the coffehouse. Jerry had wanted to know what kind of kid she thought he was, and Lonnie had said he was cute, a bit silly, vulnerable, and easily hurt. She had seen right through his soul. Then she pulled a small lipstick—like a secret play toy—from her dress pocket and applied a reddish coat that made Jerry's heart beat real fast. Finally, his lips wiped out entirely all the waxy traces of lipstick on her mouth with a spontaneous, urgent kiss. Years later, Jerry would date a few glamourous starlets in Hollywood. But as he suspected tonight, a lot of memories, like old buildings and casinos, would collapse in his time, but not that unforgettable moment with Lonnie. Source: