Perched In A Paneless Pose

LIFE, March 7, 1949

What kind of weirdo takes his wife and 11-year-old daughter into a burnt-out Victorian mansion to stand in windows that have no panes? Gary Cooper, that’s who. Or as LIFE magazine referred to him, “the embodiment of the solid, easy-going, tough-fibered American male.”

It seems he and his family were on vacation in Aspen, Colorado when they spotted said house corpse and decided to enter the spooky remains. These days, of course, that would be trespassing. There would be bars in those windows, preventing any would-be suicidal maniac from perch-pouncing. Or the place simply would have been razed to the ground.

But not for the Coopers, clad in goggles and free of smiles. Not by a longshot.

Here he sits with wife Rocky and daughter Maria in a room with cinder covering the floor. Watch your step!

Twelve years later, the family would take their final vacation to Sun Valley, due to an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had spread throughout his body.  On April 17, 1961, Cooper watched pal James Stewart accept (on his behalf) an honorary award for lifetime achievement at the Academy Awards. The emotional Stewart said, “Coop, I want you to know I’ll get it to you right away. With it, goes all the friendship and affection and the admiration and deep respect of all of us. We’re very, very proud of you, Coop.” 

In his last public statement on May 4, Cooper said, “I know that what is happening is God’s will. I am not afraid of the future.” He passed on May 13, 1961, six days after his sixtieth birthday.

giphy.com

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Daughters Of Fortune

Young Hollywood by Frank

Today, rather than looking back as usual, we look to modern young Hollywood actresses, all daughters of famous parents. I think you will agree that Riley Keough has the striking good looks of grandmother Priscilla Presley.

Below is Mickey Sumner, the eldest daughter of Sting (aka Gordon Sumner), striking a typical pinup pose.

Although this yellow polka dot bikini is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s style, it’s actually Ireland Baldwin. The apple didn’t fall from the tree, as she clearly resembles mom Kim Basinger more than pop Alec Baldwin.

We end with Billie Lourd, daughter of Carrie Fisher.

Bello Magazine

Why Your Grandma Never Had Hair In Her Eyes

Alpha Delta Pi ladies of Indiana University, 1943

One notices in 1940s hairstyles that the hair just beyond the temples was often smooth or pinned back, making the voluminous curled areas appear ever poofier in contrast. Ever wonder why you don’t see pics of these women with long bangs in their faces (like the umpteen actresses on talk shows who constantly wipe their hair to the side)? There’s no Crystal Gayle or Kim K. hair here. And it wasn’t just fashion.

Able-bodied men were overseas, and women were manning the production lines. Long hair (or even one stray lock) could get caught in machines and not only injure the workers, but put production on hold until she was freed. Even Veronica Lake (of the oft-imitated peekaboo hairstyle) changed her style during the war effort, showing the dangers of untamed, unpinned hair.

flashbak.com

This youtube video explains why safety is of the utmost importance during factory work.

The end result is a new and improved, less seductive 4’11” Veronica, donning the updo called the “Victory Roll.” Sleek = Safe. And as you can see in the video, from behind, her hair makes a dazzling V for victory.

Many stars wore them, including Rita Hayworth.

(Photo by Pictorial Parade/Moviepix/Getty Images)

And Betty Grable.

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Now you know why your vintage pin-ups often wear their hair in an updo, and why the Allies won the war.

The Great Stone Face

In honor of Buster Keaton’s birthday, I want to share some fun gifs of his work. Best known for his silent films, demonstrating his physical comedy with a deadpan expression, he was nicknamed “The Great Stone Face.” As you’ll see in these images, it’s a miracle he made it to age 70, after all those stunts. If you haven’t seen one of his flicks, do yourself a favor.

 

Well, I Swan!

Back in March of 1949, when this ad debuted, Doris Day had not reached the apex of her “girl next door” fame. She was on the second of her four marriages, and had already born her only son, Terry Melcher, who passed in 2004.

I’d be willing to bet she didn’t hold on to that 35 cent locket all these years. Day, now 96, may just reach Hope’s milestone of living 100 years. With a long legacy as an animal activist, her cinematic legacy still stands strong today.

all gifs from giphy.com

She was quite the ham, no?

Oh, To Be Rich And At Sea

photos by Jean Howard

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?