Friday, April 30, 2010

Good Time Gal

Dorothy Provine was a flashy, glamorous, dishy blonde; just the sort of dame you'd expect Sinatra to be palling around with post-Ava, pre-Mia. That was a big romance; presumably the one with Richard Chamberlain was strictly for the fan mags. It was in the gossip columns that Dorothy made the biggest splash; aside from her role on the television series The Roaring 20's (1960-62), Provine's career never took off the way most expected it to. Her films "progressed" from low-budget fare like Riot in Juvenille Prison (1959) to supporting roles in such all-star tediums as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and The Great Race (1965). She certainly had range: a decade before Faye Dunaway, Provine played the lead in The Bonnie Parker Story (1957); she was giantess in The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959); and at least one characterization called upon her, er, minstrel skills.

Perhaps she was difficult: Provine herself alluded to a feud with studio boss Jack Warner; he dropped her after she refused to make another television series, The Perils of Pauline, insisting upon a film career or nothing. Warner opted for nothing, and Provine hit the supper club/Vegas trail, replacing Carol Channing as George Burns' nightclub act partner. That, too, ended amid rumors of acrimony. Leading roles on Broadway (Little Me) and in Hollywood (Harlow) were announced, then went nowhere. Finally, in 1968, Provine left the rat race, Sinatra, and Chamberlain (and Alan Ladd, Jr., Ray Anthony, Andy Williams and Gardner McKay) behind, marrying director Robert Day. Though that happy union lasted until her death, it began with a typical Hollywood splash: Day's wife filed for divorce once she discovered his adultery with Provine, who was already pregnant with Day's child. The divorce was expedited to become absolute in only one month, rather than three, and Day and Provine wed almost immediately thereafter. A mad, mad, mad, mad world, indeed! R.I.P., Dottie. We always hate to see a good time gal go.

January 20, 1937 - April 30, 2010

Dress Down Friday

Enjoy your Friday with flair, darlings!

Leather and Lace

All Points West

It's Mae's world. We just inhabit it.

If the Avanti is a-Rockin'...

As Cookie and Felix stumble out of ElMo with their dates, the Sardelli twins, only one question is on their giddy lips: which couple gets the back seat first?

Who's the Natural Cougher?

ALLA NAZIMOVA in Camille (1921)

GRETA GARBO in Camille (1936)

For our money, Nazimova's modernized take on Dumas' lady of the camillas outpaces the better known, more widely-viewed Garbo version. The sets and costumes (and hairstyles!) in the Nazimova picture (set in the then-present 1920's, rather than the 19th century) are extravagant, outrageous, opulent - yet sleek, stylized, and never the focal point of the action. They're the perfect glass-and-lacquer background for the star's over-the-top mannerisms and spellbinding, hypnotic presence; and provide a icily modern foil for the operatic pathos of Dumas' tragic love story. By contrast, the 1936 version fairly smothers you with lace and crinolines and velvets and period detail. And, studying the photos above and below, which star looks more like a wasted, wasting courtesan?

The Lady Eve

Each time we raise an eyebrow, make a wry observation, or purse our lips in disapproval (or, ideally, all three simultaneously), we silently thank Saint Eve of Arden, for showing us how.

April 30, 1908 - November 12, 1990

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birthday Roundup

A girl who cain't say no...

April 29, 1917

...a girl who sang as if she couldn't say no...

April 29, 1936

...and a guy we wouldn't say no to.

April 29, 1912 - November 21, 1977

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Talent to Amuse

We hope we have one, darlings!

* This clip embodies everything we hold near and dear: brittle 1930's sophistication tarted up with 1960's wiglets and sequins. It's a culture clash of the very best kind!

If You Want the Girl Next Door...

...go next door. If you want Anouk Aimee, you're in the right place, darlings!

April 27, 1932

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The First Lady of Song

When Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus can do this, let us know. We'll be watching the skies for airborne pigs. (No, not Fergie on her private jet.)

April 25, 1917 - June 15, 1996

Saturday, April 24, 2010

She's the Greatest Star?

Debatable, but it's undeniable that she has given us some truly magical moments. For our money, this is near the top of the list, capturing a nascent, thrilling young talent and the pathos of a legend fighting to stay afloat.

Her Name is Barbra
April 24, 1942

It's Saturday!!!!

Live it up, dahlings!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Step into Shirley's world and help her celebrate her birthday, won't you?

April 23, 1928


She was Richard Avedon's favorite fashion subject; graced the cover of over 50 magazines within a six year span; and after her modeling career ended, ran her own modeling agency and gourmet restaurants in Paris. She was Dorian Leigh, the first supermodel (Janice Dickinson be damned), and for nearly a decade, she was one of the most photographed women in the world, appearing on the cover of Vogue no less than seven times in one year (1946).

A John Rawling portrait of Dorian Leigh for the cover of Vogue, 1946

By the mid-1950's, Leigh's fame had been surpassed by that of her younger sister, Suzy Parker; she starred in a few French films, then relocated to Paris to launch the city's very first modeling agency. Leigh was enormously successful, and there are tantalizing and scandalous tales of the former cover girl joining transatlantic forces with her mentor, Eileen Ford, to drive competitor John Casablancas out of business -- and out of his mind. Eventually, Leigh herself was "run out" of the industry, thanks to the illegal schemes of one of her five husbands, which is when she entered the restaurant business. Relocating to New York in the 1980's, Leigh penned several cookbooks, including one devoted to crepes. Her son, Kim, died at 21 by his own hand; after that, the reputed inspiration for the glamorous and hedonistic Holly Golightly became a Born Again Christian. She died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease in 2008, at age 91; but through the lens of Avedon and other genius photographers, the breathtaking elegance and mystique of Dorian Leigh will never age.

April 23, 1917 - July 7, 2008

We Endorse:

The Lesbouffant!

Even when white water rafting, two-step dancing, or (ahem) deep sea diving, your 'do will stay firmly in place! Don't put your finger in the dyke - use it to press down on a can of Aqua Net today!

Hats Off to You, Darlings!

Norma, Cookie and Felix take a day trip from the home and wish you all a Marvy Weekend! And our favorite expatriate scamp makes a cameo appearance as we all play "Where's Muscato?"


Don't Make Me Over

The hair do's and don't's of being a star.