This story is taken from the Martinsburg, West Virginia Newspaper and it was written by Ethel W. Bovey as told to her by J.S. (Jim) Dailey of Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Well, the wild, wonderful state of West Virginia marked its 137th birthday June 20, and is getting better all the time. Right? The more I see of the state, the more I love it.
The West Virginia Centennial was celebrated June 20, 1963, a month or so after I began working at The Journal. I remember it as one really fine celebration, with just about the best parade we've ever had in Martinsburg. It meandered through downtown streets for more than three miles in blistering heat, and, although I can't quote figures, many thousands of spectators lined the streets.
Jayne Mansfield, a popular actress of the day who was appearing at the Casino Royale in Washington, agreed to come to Martinsburg at no charge to serve as grand marshall. Parade officials were pleased to hear that she had reportedly passed up a later request to help Senator Robert Kennedy judge a soap box derby in Bethesda, Maryland, because she had promised to come here.
James S. Dailey Jr., and Dr. Russell F. Evans drove to Washington the morning of the parade to bring Jayne, her daughter Jayne Marie, and her manager, Paul Blaine, to Martinsburg.
"We were a bit late", recalls Dailey, "and the hotel manager got us a D.C. motorcycle police escort to the Virginia line. However, Jayne was taking instruction in the Catholic church and had to stop at a church on the way. I was driving the Cadillac furnished by Dailey Motors and asked the officer to take us to the closest Catholic Church. We got there and Jayne needed a hat, which nobody had, so she asked for a handkerchief and I gave her mine. She put it over her head, entered the church, came out and gave back the handkerchief, which I still have--never washed or used again!"
Virginia State Police met them and provided an escort to the West Virginia line, where West Virginia State Police met them and took them to historic Boydville, at that time the home of Roderick and Mae Cheeseman, for lunch.
After lunch they were taken to the Cadillac convertible the Daileys had borrowed from Hoffman Chevrolet-Cadillac in Hagerstown, Maryland, for the parade. They couldn't get a Cadillac convertible from Martinsburg because every convertible were promised to the parade before they knew Jayne would make an appearance.
They were stopped countless times en route by autograph seekers, says Dailey. Jayne never refused, but graciously obliged and posed for pictures as well. Following her ride in the parade, she watched some of the units from the viewing stand before she had to be driven back to Washington to be ready for her show at the Casino Royale that evening. So Jayne, her daughter and manager, Dr. Evans and Dailey's wife, Mary Ellen, headed for Washington with Dailey at the Wheel. However, when they passed a Tastee Freeze on the way they had to turn around at Jayne's request and go back for ice cream. Dailey laughs at the memory.
"This is the truth," he declares, "she wanted a cone with 10 scoops. I didn't think they could possibly put 10 scoops on a cone, but they did."
"Her daughter got eight scoops, the manager five, and the rest of us didn't have any. That is absolutely true." he adds. "We got them to their hotel, and they were three of the nicest people I've ever met," says Dailey. "Jayne was a delight, and not a dumb blond, by any means. On Monday night of the next week, Jane and Clyde Smith Jr., Russ and Ginny Evans, Mary Ellen and I went to her show. We had the table in front of the stage.
"Jayne did her show, then asked people to come up and do the twist, (a dance popular at the time). After one man, an obvious "plant", had gone, Jayne and I did the twist. Then she came to our table, sat on my lap and sang something to me." Dailey has no idea what song she sang, but recalls someone taking a picture of them. How he'd like to have a copy of that as a memento. He's been looking for it since 1963.
The group went backstage and met Jayne's soon-to-be-ex husband, Mickey Hargitay, her daughter and her maid, and were rewarded with hugs and autographs before departing. The next day before returning the borrowed Cadillac to Hoffman, Daileys looked it over and found the red leather seats had been torn by Jayne's spike-heeled shoes.
They had just`sold an identical vehicle to Del DeHaven. They went to the DeHaven home and asked him to trade seats, which he kindly consented to do, so the Cadillac was returned good as new, says Dailey. Jayne's manager assured the local dealers that he would see that Jayne's next car would be purchased from them, but it never happened. At a later appearance at the Shady Grove Theatre, the group learned that manager was no longer in her employ.
Jayne was killed in an automobile accident several years later, but these friends in Martinsburg have fond memories of their brush with a celebrity in 1963. (Jim would like to add that the first thing Jayne said to him was "I really like your haircut" (It was a "Hollywood Haircut") and then added "I like your beard too" (which he grew just for the Centennial) and she called him Jimmy or The Professor but he never asked her why. When the others left the dressing room and Jim lingered and said to her "Thanks Jayne you're a real doll baby" and she hugged and kissed him and said thank you and I hope we meet again. They did meet again when she was starring in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" at shady Grove Music Fair, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, close to Washington, DC. She & Jayne Marie, both remembered me. She sat at a table outside, after the show and signed autographs for everybody, in a long line. She was the most gracious celebrity he ever met and being a celebrity seeker, he met quite a few. ) (I would like to thank J.S. (Jim) Dailey and Ethel W. Bovey for the use of this article and picture on my website)
I miss Jayne and Marilyn. Jayne was a wide-open, fun-loving type whose candle too soon burned out, though she is not the subject of song like Marilyn. Jayne and I had a certain rivalry at times in our careers, but when she died in Boluxi she was doing me a favor by filling in a night club date I couldn't make. She left behind many children, and she remains close to my heart. Best, Mamie