By the ripe age of 32, Les Paul had fretted together the instrument that would make rock music possible and listeners able to feel the noize: the solid-bodied electric guitar. He seems to be scratching his head as to what his invention had wrought.
Below, you can see his first sound-on-sound Ampex recorder; Paul pioneered multi-track recording. The guitar is his second Epiphone “clunker” modified with a steel bar to mount pickups. The amp is a Gibson EH-150.
Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Fun fact: Paul was Steve Miller’s godfather (yes, that Steve Miller) and his first guitar teacher. Compare these 15 vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars.
His mind was nimble and ever creating. Paul passed away at 94 in 2009.
Art Director Mitchell Leisen is holding the plates, but he’s also the host of this July 4th, 1952 Catalina Island outing. He invited friends Cesar Romero, Mona Freeman, Rory Calhoun, and Robert Wagner aboard his boat, Escapade.
Perhaps, like me, you cannot help but think about Robert Wagner and his suspect boat activities, but this was decades prior.
Out on the water, with Mitch at the wheel, he is joined by (among others) Susan Zanuck in the hat, Cesar Romero, and Lita Baron (Mrs. Rory Calhoun).
When Lita later divorced Rory, gossip mags said she accused him of adultery with 78 women, including Betty Grable. In his 1999 obituary, he was quoted as retorting to her charge with, “Heck, she didn’t even include half of them.”
I’m not saying he did it, but I will say he stole a revolver at 13, was sent to jail, and subsequently escaped from said jail. From there, he hot-wired cars, took them for joy rides, and robbed jewelry stores for kicks. For this, he spent three years in prison.
What about you? Have you ever spent the 4th of July on a boat?
Have you ever worn long sleeves on the 4th? I can’t imagine.
Have you ever committed adultery with 78 different partners?
So said Humphrey Bogart.
We can only assume he’s doing his best to keep ahead of the world here, while Clifton Webb angles Bogey’s hat just so. Laurence Olivier, in his own straw hat, looks on.