On November 9, 2001 the Marilyn Remembered Fan Club met at the Greg Schreiner's house for yet another wonderful meeting!
(Click on any picture to make larger and be sure to click on the links provided.)
ITEM #1: Club member and author Ernest Cunningham brought the new Some Like It Hot book for all to see! This book covers the entire film from inception to completion. Included inside are many rare pictures of the cast and crew from the film. In the back is a copy of Marilyn's prompt book complete with her acting notations! This book is HUGE and well worth the price you pay. If interested you can purchase this book at www.tacshen.com. Here is a picture of this oversized masterpiece!
ITEM #2: A reminder was made that the 1963 documentary "The Legend of Marilyn Monroe" is due out November 13! This is the the infamous documentary that was hosted by John Huston shortly after Marilyn's death. The movie was produced by David Wolper and directed by Terry Sanders. This DVD/VHS also includes extras never before seen! Check your local stores for this great item or www.amazon.com. Or click here for DVD information or here for VHS information.
ITEM #3: The NEW Norma Jeane wine is out! (They call the wine a 'A Young Merlot'). Greg mentioned that complete set of Marilyn Merlot's are worth close to $6,000! Here is a picture of the new label!
ITEM #4: Greg announced that last week a French film maker recently interviewed him for a new documentary on Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand. They also interviewed two members of The Marilyn Remembered Fan Club, author Ernest Cunningham and Jill (That's me!) Adams. When the documentary is complete the club will be given an exclusive copy to view!
ITEM #5: Another reminder that the Bradford Tree Ornaments featuring Marilyn Monroe are currently available for Christmas. They are one dimensional but they are reasonably priced at around $9.95 a piece. Check for them in your local gift or Holiday shops. Greg showed them to the club and they are indeed impressive!
ITEM #6:Greg made a special announcement that George Barris (Marilyn Monroe photographer and friend) extended an invitation to all members of The Marilyn Remembered Fan Club to come to Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum in Hollywood on Sunday, November 11th to view their $2 Million Dollar Marilyn Monroe exhibit for free! The reason for this special invitation was that Mr. Barris, along with club member Vicky Mirsch, had organized a special event for the children of Hollygrove Orphanage. Please click on "Marilyn News" link below for more information on this wonderful charitable event!
GUEST #1: Our first guest of the evening was dancer/actress Valentina Oumansky. Valentina studied and worked with some of the most important dancers and choreographers of our time, including Martha Graham and Jack Cole! (Marilyn Monroe worked with Jack Cole for most every film she did, it was interesting to her Valentina speak of what a wonderful man he was and that he could make anyone feel at ease- Perhaps that is why Marilyn trusted him so.)
Valentina's impressive resume ranges from The King and I with Yul Bryner, to The Music Man with Shirley Jones and Can-Can with Frank Sinatra just to name a few! Valentina was a delight to listen to as she spoke of her many travels to the far east and her work with the Kabooki Theater. (see below for pictures featuring Valentina with Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra!) Many thanks to Marilyn Remembered Fan Club Member Valerie Weich who introduced us to the delightful Valentina!
A.C. Lyles literally spent hours spellbinding us with his amazing stories. His dearest and closests friends were President Ronald Reagan (A.C. had an office in the White House while President Reagan was in office for 8 years!) and Actor James Cagney. His stories were fascinating and compelling. But for the purpose of this article I will focus on just the Marilyn Monroe stories.
A. C. knew Marilyn well before her big break in movies. He was first introduced to Marilyn by a journalist who went by the name "Skinny." Skinny asked A.C., who was currently working in the publicity department, to meet with what he called "four cute girls." One of those girls turned out to be Marilyn Monroe. From that one meeting he formed a long lasting friendship with Marilyn.
A. C. spoke of Marilyn in the most delightful of ways, remembering her as a young sweet girl who had a "Gracie Allen" quality to her. He said she was always interested in the goings on in the studio, but never in a gossipy way. A.C. shared with us that when he first met Marilyn he wanted her to be his little sister, someone to hug and protect. He said that she would immediately evoke from you a feeling of protectiveness over her, like she was vulnerable and needed looking after.
Story #1: A.C. use to accompany Marilyn to the studio commissary where she would confide in him her dreams to become a big star. He said she would look around the studio commissary all wide eyed and said, "One day people will turn their heads to look at me." Later on in Marilyn's career A.C. would accompany her to the studio commissary where she was now a big star, and indeed peoples heads would turn to stare. Always conscious of her appearance, A.C. said Marilyn only ordered soup when she went out to lunch with him because as she put it, "If someone comes up to me I don't want to be caught with a big mouth full of food!"
Story #2: He said that Marilyn would often want to know details about stars that A.C. knew. But they were usually obscure stars like Lili St. Cyr or Mae West. She was even interested in the intimate life of Christine Jorgesen, famous for being the first person to have a man to woman sex operation!
Story #3: Mr. Lyles was a good friend to agent Johnny Hyde who was instrumental in Marilyn's career. A.C. said he often would get calls from Johnny asking for him to look after "Baby," (Johnny's nickname for Marilyn) because he had to work late. A.C. said he would often take Marilyn out to nightclubs for the evening at the request of Johnny Hyde and would have many conversations with her about her career. One such conversation he remembered was her concern about becoming a star. She thought she had the talent for it but that her butt was too big and therefore she might not make it! Of course as history would later prove it was one of her most important assest!
Story #4: A.C. Lyles also shared another delightful story about Marilyn and journalist Sidney Skolsky. Sidney was a close friend to Marilyn Monroe, as well as to other young starlets. He often would rely on them for transportation from one studio to the next as he did not drive. In exchange for these actresses help, Sidney often would write favorable items for them in his column. It was said that Sidney was never at a loss for a ride in Hollywood! Well, one Saturday morning Marilyn was having lunch with A.C. and she turned flush. In a panic she asked A.C. what time it was, to which he replied 12:15. She utter "Oh No! I was supposed to pick up Sidney at 11:30!" A.C. said, "Well Marilyn you are only 45 minutes late." To which she replied, "You don't understand I was supposed to pick him up on Monday!"
Story #5:Interesting to note, A.C. Lyles was asked about Robert Slatzer. (For those who are unfamiliar who Robert Slatzer is, he is the gentlemen who claims among many other things to have once been married to Marilyn Monroe.) A.C. actually had some rather nice things to say about Mr. Slatzer. He said that although he won't comment on the "supposed marriage to Marilyn," he can say he remembers attending many parties where BOTH Marilyn and Bob were seen together. He said Mr. Slatzer use to work at the Paramount Studio and that he is really a delightful man whom he has the highest regard for. Coming from Mr. Lyles this was quite something and makes one stop to think.
A.C.'s insight to Marilyn gave us all such a fresh perspective of this sensitive and talented star. He didn't recall a woman who was all breathy and put on, but instead a sweet, insecure, young woman who was tremendously sensitive. A girl who broke out in tears when told of a story about Clark Gable having to pass by a studio stage showing a plane crash shortly after his wife Carole Lombard had died in a similar way.
Mr. Lyles was such a wonderful speaker and had so many delighful stories to share. I hope that perhaps Mr. Lyles may one day return to our meetings and speak to us some more. What a thrill it was for all of us to have him here!
The meeting ended, reluctantly, at around 10pm. Many of us stayed a little later to have our pictures taken with A.C. and to thank him personally for such a wonderful time.
UPDATES: Sadly Marilyn fans have lost another historic person in Marilyn Monroe's life, John Springer. John Springer was Marilyn's press agent who handled her career from 1955 up until her death in 1962. Springer was the person who arranged Marilyn's famous last interview with Richard Meryman from Life Magazine. NEXT MONTH: The Annual Holiday Party! An announcement was made by Greg that our next unoffical meeting will be on December 16th for the Holiday party! (See The News Page for more information)