What a Day……..

Today, I visited Hollywood Forever Cemetery, spoke to Nelson and Isabel (the beautiful roses are Angela’s), saluted Fairbanks and DeMille, climbed an attractive tree, kissed Valentino’s crypt (True story, there were many lipstick prints already on it and I added mine. Germy? Maybe. Impossibly romantic happening for Hollywood’s first heartthrob? But definitely. Mine are the top left corner…) and was moved by the lovely monument there for Hattie McDaniel.

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Valentino

Today, I walked through the gates of [what used to be] Metro Goldwyn Mayer. I walked onto my first sound stage, at the greatest movie studio of them all. I took pictures where I wasn’t supposed to, I touched walls and doorways and noted wide doors to accommodate hoopskirts and wondered how many other hallowed hands had gone that way before. I saw the old dressing room apartments, and their relationship to the other buildings, and my mental picture of the old Metro workday became clearer. I walked up the steps to the Thalberg Building and wondered how many dreams had been shattered or made there…and how many girls had been horribly manipulated and abused within those walls, in pursuit of Hollywood Glory, or in the keeping of it. And when we found ourselves back outside of the studio, Arik and Tracy and I walked around to the old old gates—the entrance of the studio until 1941, so this was where all our people went in and out to work every day until then. That felt pretty awesome.

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But, I really freaked out when I got to Grauman’s.

This, this right here, was amazing and absolutely a favorite moment for me so far:

Handprints

All of us—Kitty, Angela, Maria, Tracy and I…..we just squealed like little girls and had a field day with Jeanette and Nelson. Nelson’s hands are QUITE large, girls, (*swoon*) and hers are tiny, but what you really don’t understand until you actually see it is how tiny her FEET are. They are probably the smallest ones in the whole forecourt. It’s fine to say oh yeah she had tiny feet (size 3.5), but my hand is longer than her footprints. She’s like a little doll.

We found ourselves hanging around their slabs constantly. We’d go check out the other stars and come right back to them, over and over. We do adore those two freaks. ❤

The evening concluded with dinner at Miceli’s, the oldest (still open) Italian restaurant in Hollywood. The founder is still alive and is about 91, and he confirmed that Jeanette and NELSON (NOT. GENE. There was no confusion. Not Gene.) used to come in there in the 50s and eat together. The atmosphere COULD. NOT. BE. MORE. PERFECT. for them, oh my God. It’s right near everything but it feels out of the way, it’s dark, it’s SERIOUSLY romantic and sexy, the food is amazing, the layout is perfect with lots of hidey-holes for out-of-work movie stars who still have a most terrific yen for each other.

I barely made it through the meal without expiring. The place just makes them come to life for you in an incredible way. 800% could not handle it. In a super strange way, Miceli’s hit me harder than MGM did (This is partially because MGM is so totally unloved by the people in residence there now. It’s most disheartening and that feeling distracts you from your OMG-ing to some degree.). Hard to explain, but it just felt so personal and incredible sitting there, picturing them there, etc. And the very gifted pianist there played some Indian Love Call for us, so that added just the right touch of “I think I may die” to an already overwhelmingly awesome experience. Can’t say enough about how cool that place is.

Still not over Jeanette’s wee tiny feet and hands, and how it felt to slide my hands into them (my hands didn’t fit in her prints) and then into Nelson’s (his hands swallowed mine)……..oh man. Today was freaking amazing.

First full day in LA

I did some awesome stuff today, but having this be the first major part of my Los Angeles experience felt hugely important to me. Choosing her flowers (special ordered Sterling Silver roses, paired with Whisper) has been something that has been on my mind for weeks and I must say I’m pleased that they look so nice. It was really emotional to be there but hand delivering flowers was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I had a great crew with me when I did: Angela, Sharon, Maria, Tracy and Arik were all there.

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You are so loved, sweet lady.

The Letter

NELSON'S LETTER TO JEANETTE CHRISTMAS 1935

I have nothing to add at this moment, except that extravagant wretchess is now the only term of endearment I want in my life EVER, but please read Sharon’s post about it here and just picture me nodding vigorously along:

http://maceddy.com/breaking-news-nelsons-i-love-you-letter-has-arrived/

What’s that? ANOTHER piece of Historical MacEddy Pie that fits PERFECTLY into what Sharon wrote years ago? #BAM

Oh, and, uh, because my nerdiness knows no bounds………. like my shirt? 😉

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Happy Birthday, Jeanette Anna! <3

Today, our Jeanette would be 112 years old.

She’d prefer for you to think she was 108, thank you very much. 😉

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Beautiful at every age. ❤

And, of course, here are some of my favorite birthday shots of Jeanette with her most favorite co-star, taken June 18, 1938. She’s pregnant with his baby, their happiness is palpable and so what if there’s a camera around? The caption for the “peck” picture (which is clearly a different kiss than the last shot, their noses are on opposite sides and their hands are different) had to do with Nelson “congratulating” her on her birthday and her first wedding anniversary.

Oh, I see. Mmhmm. *eyeroll*

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Anyway…no rants or tirades for this post, just the hope that this special human being realizes, wherever she is, how very dearly she’s loved and how hard we’re willing to work to have her truth understood once and for all. And I hope you all, reading this, understand that this was a good person, a kind person, a decent person, and that she’s 100% worthy of admiration and respect. It’s really nice, when you study someone’s life so closely, to find that you care about them more and more all the time.

Happy Birthday, J-Mac. Love you! ❤

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Today was the Raymonds’ anniversary…

And just in case anyone was wondering, in 1963, it fell on a Sunday. Jeanette got no sleep the night before and had breakfast at 4:30AM because she was wide awake, went to church, and she and Gene host a “Barbecue for 12” at 6pm, no other details or any special ruffles and flourishes are noted. She got no sleep that night either, ate alone, took a small nap and worked out in the playroom arranging/packing music. Gene toddled off to a meeting around 6 and didn’t come home until 2:45am, drunk (“Hi”). Jeanette had a third sleepless night. He was gone again the following morning, Jeanette’s 60th birthday, where she writes “Happy Birthday alone”. Gene shows up in time for dinner and they have a “big quarrel” about the “same old thing”. No nice arrangements for her birthday. No party, no dinner out, nothing fun. And 60 is a big deal. And Jeanette LOVED birthdays. How many photos are there of her having birthday cake?? Her own? Someone else’s? Dude, if there’s a birthday to be celebrated, the MacDonald is THERE. She made a point of looking at the time all night and telling Gene it was her birthday at the stroke of midnight on one of their early dates. She loved to give birthday parties for other people—there are dozens of birthdays noted in this desk diary. Surely Gene knows that. But it doesn’t appear as though he can be bothered to give a rat’s ass about making something nice for her. But he sure can get stinking drunk the night before and ignore her all day and then fight with her.

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Nice guy. Really. He proves what a nice guy he is over and over throughout this diary.

What did you expect to find? That everything was hunky dory peachy keen and then she just mysteriously kicked the bucket at 61? Oh, well, yeah, she did have that heart thing…….

Please don’t ignore and gloss over the facts. Her last years were not happy and her husband of record did not treat her well, but he was happy to continue to ignore her and be business as usual while she wasted away to nothing. To continue to pretend otherwise is simply out of touch with reality.

Jeanette was a gorgeous bride on that day in 1937, and I’ve always thought it rather fabulous that Ginger was one of her bridesmaids, along with Fay Wray. That’s her sister Blossom as the matron of honor.

Too bad she and her party look like they’re at a funeral.

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See you June 28th!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share information for how you can join us for the Mac/Eddy Club Meeting at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in  Los Angeles, June 28th!

Tickets and information at this link.

I’ll be there, can’t wait–eight glorious days in Los Angeles! I have some exciting research opportunities that hopefully will turn up compelling things to post here. I also have a great deal to share on the blog as is, and I hope to be getting at least one of those posts up before I leave for LA. Suffice to say that lots of new material is surfacing (and I say “new” because it’s stuff that Clara, Tessa, Gene and their ilk didn’t want you to see, and as their stranglehold weakens, we are able to crack open the decades old facade) and I am so proud of the efforts made to secure AND SHARE these things, now.

One thing I can briefly talk about: we got Jeanette’s 1963 desk diary. And that has some heart-wrenching details. I haven’t even finished studying and absorbing the thing and it has put me in tears more than once. She and Gene were fighting, a lot, he was absent even more, she was very unwell, not eating well (and nobody seems to care–I swear to God if I read the word alone one more time…) very lonely and feeling unloved. It’s all set out right there in her hand, like she has nobody else to tell, like she needs to unburden to someone or something but does not have that outlet. Just, I might add, as has been pointed out countless ways and subsequently ignored by the people who still insist that Gene Raymond was some sort of pillar of matrimonial excellence. OH, but, amid the page after page after page of a level of unhappiness that no wealthy, retired 60 year old movie star should be dealing with, are two beautiful moments of joy almost certainly brought about by our friendly neighborhood baritone, but more on that later. 😉

Sharon wrote the truth, long ago, from countless interviews and thousands of conversations.

Pieces of the hard evidence, long hidden and NEVER MENTIONED by the people who put themselves in charge of the Censorship of Jeanette MacDonald, are coming to light in this auction. And they support Sharon and the truthfulness and validity of what she was told. But most importantly, they support this special, special woman and they validate the story she lived but could not tell. And that’s what compels me. And that’s why I’m here.

I’m so happy to be on the right team. I feel so privileged to be allowed to add to this story.

And I’ll see you June 28th!

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