This Person -or- Friendly Photo Sharing


This person, I think, does not give a rat’s ass if she keeps me up until all hours of the night or if I would be CONSIDERABLY more wealthy had I not fallen prey to her inordinate amount of charm/hilarity/WTF/omgiloveyou/tragedy.

Come to think of it…I don’t, either, on accounta I love the twit. Ah well. Look at her fluffy curly haaaaaaaaaaaair. ❤

Really, there’s nothing like going through a veritable mountain of Research Materials and reading a longhand letter she wrote to Hedda Hopper when she was in Europe in the late 50s, and finding newsy little items like, “…and at a table sat Yul Brynner, looking shiny as usual” ……..ahahahahaha. Shiny.

This has been a post.

Enjoy the hi-res picture. Don’t alter it.

Oh, Nelson Ackerman………..


I’m as relieved as you are.

Angela mined this delightful chestnut from an issue of the Golden Notes, Winter, 1953.


Can we all just take a second to appreciate the fact that in the year 1953, Nelson is alluding to some serious effing tonsil hockey with Miss MacDonald? I mean, I realize that he’s being funny, but, ya know, one’s wisdom teeth are at the BACK of one’s mouth. I think it’s nice of him to inspect her teeth for her. The very spirit of volunteerism, that Eddy. 😉


Nelson Ackerman Eddy, our Man Crush Monday, every Monday.



“I always thought him better looking in person than on the screen.” -Jeanette Anna MacDonald 


Angela had that one digitized, recently. It’s uncirculated and amazing and exclusive, so don’t reproduce it, colorize it, claim it as your own or touch it inappropriately. Er……….

But feel free to, ya know, download it, print it and plaster it to your ceiling. Pleasant dreams.

Nelsonhammering Nelsonhair

I know that the last one is from my own collection. I think the other one is Angela’s, in which case, I’m going to pretend it is also mine and she is going to be cool with that. Thanks, pal. 🙂


There is a subject, one that is known to most of the fans of these people (whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact remains that pretty much everyone who has read up on Jeanette and Nelson knows that this subject is “a thing”) that I have mentioned before, have snarkily illustrated before in photographs, but have never written about before in detail on this blog.

Until now.

Jeanette and Nelson, who had been broken up, reconciled at the end of production on Girl of the Golden West. She was married to Gene, at this point, and had been for about seven months. Nelson was (visibly) drunk during much of the production on Girl, the whole shoot was something of a fiasco and it is the only MacDonald/Eddy picture without a good duet. Obey Your Heart was recorded, but was unable to be filmed, because the stars were having such a miserable time and, professional people or not, could not get through the filming of this number. Sharon Rich blogged at length about this situation, read about it here. Sometime in the latter half of January, 1938, Jeanette became pregnant with Nelson’s child.

She didn’t tell Nelson about it right away. In fact, it wasn’t until one morning when they were together and he was awakened by the “pre-dawn sound of her retching” (Sweethearts, page 249) that she confirmed that she was about three months along, and that she wanted this baby very much, even though the timing was crappy with them about to start a new movie. And, you know, the minor inconvenience of her being very publicly married to another man. Still, Nelson was overjoyed, excited and ultimately his “pregnancy symptoms” were worse than hers.

Side Note: It has never been clear to me, or anyone, I don’t think, what exactly our twosome thought was going to happen when she popped this kid out while married to another man. Like…..?????? Guys? Hello? THAT IS A PROBLEM. It seems that Nelson had some scheme wherein they would finish the movie they were starting, Sweethearts, then melt into the horizon while she got a divorce and he told Sybil Thomas of “some doctor in Arizona” (Sweethearts, page 249) who would deliver the baby and falsify a birth certificate. (And, what? Claim that it was born 8.5 months early???) Well, gee, Nels, that sounds one hundred percent fail-proof. Solid plan, sir.

Anyway, sadly, we would never know how they were going to get out of that particular mess, because Jeanette went into premature labor around July 19, at approximately 26 weeks, and their baby boy, whom they would call Daniel, after Jeanette’s beloved and lost-too-early father, did not make it. The newspapers didn’t report anything until July 26th, when it was claimed that she was operated on the night before for an “abscess in her right ear”.

Jeanette’s pregnancy is very noticeable in several shots of the final print of Sweethearts, as well as in a number of posed and candid pictures from the set of that movie. Most striking is the change in her bust size. Jeanette was not a busty woman, ever. She writes in her autobiography of stuffing her bra with stockings in her Broadway days, before the advent of the padded bra, and in any number of the millions of shots of her, it’s obvious that she never was big in that department.

To illustrate my point, well, I sure don’t mind posting this gorgeous shot again:


There is nothing happening in the boob department. Compare that to this:


Not only can you see a little baby belly, but her bust size alone should make this completely obvious. Never at any other point in her life, padded bra or not, was she EVER this big. I guess one of the obvious questions is, “Oh, couldn’t she be wearing a padded bra?” But……, she’s never been “that kind” of star (a busty sex bomb)…and I see no reason why she’d need to be bustier in this movie than in any other film, where she is quite small busted, consistently. Adrian had certainly dressed her before without feeling compelled to do that. So I’m forced to believe that those are real. (This above is one of Angela’s digitizations from Margaret Herrick, used without worry because it is already a well-known photo. However, one of the librarians there used to be in the Nelson Eddy Appreciation Society and asked us, rather nervously, “Do… guys know Sharon Rich?” By the time we left, we felt pretty confident that we had shown her things in a different, HUMAN light. When Angela ordered this picture for digitization, she came over to us with it and goes, unsolicited, “I know why you’re getting this one! It’s a belly shot!” ….Proof, friends, that this is visually obvious, even to someone who would have been predisposed, once upon a time, to “not see it”. Sue, if you’re reading this, it was great fun spending time with you!!!)

Here is a well-known candid picture taken on Jeanette’s birthday, June 18. If you look below Nelson’s cuff, you can see that her pregnancy is in evidence here, too:


And on Nelson’s birthday, June 29th, his impending fatherhood is being blatantly toasted with a bottle of champagne capped with a baby bottle nipple:


Another thing that strikes me as very interesting is the change in Jeanette’s size during the course of the Pretty as a Picture number. This is one of the points that has caused some dissent about was-she-or-wasn’t-she: she looks smaller during the song than she does during the dance break. And that’s true! They sing and she’s one size, then they go to the dance floor and THERE IS A CUT, they dance, she is MUCH larger, THERE IS ANOTHER CUT, she’s “thin” again and they sing the last few bars and conclude the song with a kiss.

What is obvious to me is that they shot this sequence, something was wrong with the dance break or it wasn’t good enough or they maybe didn’t even do it right then, and they didn’t get around to re-shooting it until much later. The dance break is clearly spliced in, and that could have happened for any number of reasons. However, even though she’s smaller during the singing parts, her pregnancy is still evident:


That’s at the very end, after the second cut (so this is consistent with the first portion. It’s the middle portion that doesn’t match.) but her little belly is right there, front and center. The dress is clinging to her body. That is NOT the dress. What’s more, there appears to be a seam perpendicular to the waistband that seems “bulky” — as if this dress was made to allow for an alteration. Adrian isn’t really known for bulky seams, ya know?

Here is how she looks during the dance break. Clearly, she is bigger here:


Once again, if this belly was truly the dress and not her body, it wouldn’t cling so perfectly to her obvious pregnancy.

Here is a video I put together of all the shots I had immediately at my disposal where they are happily expectant:

Unfortunately, as we all know, it was not to be.

One day on the set, (no date provided) Jeanette took an accidental fall as she ran up a flight of stairs. Her character is angry and delivers an “I can’t take all of this any longer!” speech, turns on her heel and runs up the stairs. She appears to step in the front of her dress and falls, on her stomach, on the stairs, and she is quick-witted enough to push herself off to the side, absorbing the latter half of the impact and slide on her hip.





From off camera, someone (it sounds like Lucile Watson) calls out, “Oh, dear, be careful!”

Jeanette, red-faced, whips around and snaps, “Why? Am I gonna fall down again?” and runs up the stairs successfully this time. That dialogue was not included in the original script (obviously), but director Woody Van Dyke left the shot in the movie, rather than ask his pregnant star to re-shoot it.

In early July, it should be noted here, that Jeanette was attending a party at Woody and Ruth Van Dyke’s home, wearing a cotton dress and a bandanna that half covered her face. Nelson showed up and pulled the scarf away from Jeanette’s face, revealing that she was bruised badly. Nelson flipped out, having previously threatened to kill Gene if he laid a hand on Jeanette, and he ran out the door, ultimately beating Gene up so badly he had to go to the hospital, according to Woody, via Ruth. Gossip columns noted this, one saying he’d fallen down a flight of stairs and the other saying he’d been mobbed by hysterical fans (…ha). (Sweethearts, page 253, and Sharon Rich’s interview with Ruth Van Dyke). We don’t know exactly what happened to Jeanette during that fight with Gene, only that the side of her face was bruised as a result. There is no data as to whether or not she suffered any trauma to her midsection (a fall, being shoved or struck, etc), but the possibility certainly exists.

The existing medical data is very sketchy, but it is sourced from several different people (Blossom, Sybil Thomas, Marie Collick and Jeanette herself) and the consensus of opinion was that Jeanette complained of “nagging” pain in her back and middle after the fall on the stairs (Sweethearts, page 260). There’s a bit of conventional wisdom that says, “You can’t shake a good apple out of the tree,” but applied to this woman, who was pregnant a number of times without ever carrying to term (her problem was not conception, it was retention) — it does not seem all that surprising that this might be just enough to push an already questionable scenario over the edge.

Ultimately, Jeanette collapsed in Nelson’s arms while filming, he carried her to her dressing room and she promptly began hemorrhaging. “I never saw so much blood in my life,” he said to Sybil Thomas. The following details were related by Sybil, two wardrobe employees interviewed by Brent Perry, which he discusses on camera (I have seen the footage, it is shown at club meetings occasionally), and other bits were confirmed by makeup genius William Tuttle, in a taped conversation (that is in the process of being digitized) between himself, Judy Burns and Sharon Rich, circa 1982. He wasn’t at the studio that summer, but knew all about Jeanette’s pregnancy by Nelson and what had happened. His somewhat puzzling remark on the whole situation was that, “Nelson didn’t do right by her.” Set designer Herbert Gahagan who worked with Jeanette on The Guardsman (play) as well as in films, who had friends in the publicity department, also verified the pregnancy.

The details piece together as follows (this can be found on page 261 of Sweethearts):

– Nelson wraps the heavily bleeding Jeanette in blankets while Woody calls for a car. Nelson holds her all the way to the hospital. She lapses in and out of consciousness, and bleeds through the blankets, soaking his clothes. The studio sends over a change of clothing for him. When they got to Good Samaritan, attendants had to pry her out of his arms, he was in such a state. Nelson has to be sedated.

– Several sources confirmed the sex of the child. It was a boy and, even though his birth and death would never legally be recorded, they named him Daniel Kendrick, both family names.

– Marie Collick verified that Nelson had given the baby a proper burial on private property in or near Ojai, California. Many, many attempts have been made to find this tiny grave, none successful. It is likely that this private cemetery is now under a parking lot or road. The grave was simply marked “Daniel” with something that looked like a cherub on it. Marie was in the car when Nelson wanted to stop there to lay flowers. Sharon put out an ad in local papers, looking for anyone to come forward who may be able to help locate the grave, but as far as she got were two people who remembered seeing Nelson and Jeanette there together, but still could not lead her to the exact spot. (Sweethearts, page 263).

So, what happened to Jeanette that would result in heavy bleeding and premature labor at roughly six months of pregnancy?

I asked Dr. Maria Escano about it, wondering what conditions existed with those sort of symptoms. She gave me a description of “abruptio placenta” (thank you, Maria!), and then I found this helpful and informative article which I encourage everyone to read thoroughly. In a nutshell:

Placental abruption (abruptio placentae) is an uncommon yet serious complication of pregnancy.

The placenta is a structure that develops in the uterus during pregnancy to nourish the growing baby. If the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery — either partially or completely — it’s known as placental abruption. Placental abruption can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.

Placental abruption often happens suddenly. Left untreated, placental abruption puts both mother and baby in jeopardy.

It is most common later in pregnancy. Jeanette was six months along. Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain and back pain. Check, check and check. In some cases, placental abruption can develop slowly, as a result of trauma or injury to the abdomen, as from a fall. A factor that increases the risk of this happening is any kind of blood clotting disorder. Jeanette notoriously had thin blood and was “a bleeder”. Consider her accounting of her botched tonsillectomy in her autobiography. She hemorrhaged then, and her father was scared she was going to bleed to death. They could not get her to stop bleeding for a terrifying amount of time. This bears out Nelson’s statement about never having seen so much blood in his life—this is not the first time she’s had a situation in which she bled profusely and there was trouble stopping it. Also, this condition is more common in older women. Jeanette was 35, not old by any means but that has long been considered on the later side to begin the child-bearing process. She’d be considered automatically a “higher risk” pregnancy by today’s standards, just because of her age. When you add in her Rheumatic Heart Disease, she’s an even more risky candidate. One of the potential complications is shock due to blood loss. Jeanette was, by all accounts, acting very shocky in the car, lapsing in and out of consciousness. Check. For the baby, this condition can lead to premature labor and stillbirth.

Going by the data we have, having sought a medical opinion, read up on the subject myself and looking at how perfectly this fits on so MANY levels, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this is exactly what happened. It has been suggested by at least two sources that Daniel was born alive and then died (as in, within a few minutes), but definitive data has not come forward, and without legal documentation, it is possible that we will never know. In researching babies born at this period of gestation, it seems that there is a choice to make regarding the kind of care they will receive: life saving care or comforting care as they pass on, depending on the severity of the baby’s problems and the level of “premature” in question. The lack of birth and death records in this situation do not bother me one bit. If he was nonviable; if he was stillborn, his birth/death would not have been recorded anyway, as stillbirths were not compulsory statistics to record in the US until the mid-twentieth century. This very lengthy article is fascinating and sad reading for anyone curious as to how stillbirth was handled, legally and otherwise, during, before and after this time. Given the situation–these high profile people, this very dangerous, VERY premature birth (which, had he lived, would probably have meant that he would have faced serious developmental problems as a result), the fact that Jeanette was legally married to another man–this is pure conjecture, but one is forced to wonder if, with Nelson sedated and Jeanette presumably unconscious (these were the “Twilight Sleep” days, when women were routinely unconscious for the delivery of their babies), someone thought that this baby not making it was “for the best”. With technology being what it was in 1938, it seems highly unlikely that he would have survived, anyway, even if he had been born alive.

Afterwards, Jeanette, unsurprisingly, sank into a deep depression, feeling an “utter failure” (Sweethearts, page 263). I originally took those words at face value, that she was grieving the loss of her child, but as I was researching, I was made aware of the social stigma of shame surrounding women who “failed” to produce a live child. This was very much a thing, according to the article I referenced earlier, for a lot longer than I had realized! This stigma was alive and well when Jeanette and Nelson were growing up–back in the days when large families were much more common. I’m 28 and don’t have children, so I was simply not aware of how this used to be viewed, and thought it interesting to add here on a cultural context level. Further, babies who were stillborn frequently were not permitted to be buried in church cemeteries, particularly in the Catholic church, as they had not been baptized and therefore wouldn’t be going to heaven, they couldn’t be buried in consecrated ground. They were buried in a different plot, along with suicides and non-Christians. Now, Nelson and Jeanette were not Catholic, but this is a little picture of the worldview, before and at a time when they were growing up. It stinks. There was a lot of ground to be made up between that sort of treatment of the stillborn and what we do now, with recognition (some states issue a special kind of birth certificate now, mostly for the comfort of the parents), funerals, photo sessions, etc. It strikes me as appalling and sad that Jeanette and Nelson had so little time to grieve for their loss.

Jeanette was still “indisposed” the week of August 8-12, according to the report of one of Nelson’s fan club presidents who traveled from Montreal to visit the set. Nelson returned to Chase and Sanborn on August 7 and reported to work to shoot On Parade the following week. The “switchboard” sequences were also filmed this week, since they didn’t need Jeanette for those. (Sweethearts, pages 263-264) As soon as she was released from the hospital, Jeanette was shunted back to the studio, stuffed back into a costume and put back to work, finishing Sweethearts. This photo is dated August 16, 1938, which was a Tuesday, and either her first or second day back at work. All she had left to do was the “tour” montage and the finale musical number. This photo is one that I had photocopied at the Margaret Herrick Library, and I am hardly able to describe the grief and strain on these beautiful features. She looks haggard and ten years older. She looks, I think, like someone whose throat hurts because they’re trying not to cry. She has a larger-than-usual wrap around her and one hand on her stomach.


Statistics show that couples who experience miscarriage are 22% more likely to split up, and couples who experience stillbirth are 40% more likely. Here’s a great article that talks a lot about that study. When we look at the loss of this baby, and the next year or so in the lives of Jeanette and Nelson, we see a lot of upheaval (breakups and makeups, fighting over just when Jeanette was going to get a divorce [rumors were flying about a Mac/Raymond divorce in the trades, The Hollywood Reporter and Look magazine], the final fight and breakup because she insisted on finishing her current movie, Broadway Serenade, rather than pack up and go to Reno RIGHT NOW, Nelson’s subsequent elopement with Ann Franklin, Jeanette’s immediate suicide attempt, etc, etc). When you consider that these people were never really allowed time to emotionally bury their child, that her pregnancy and, indeed, their off-camera relationship had to be hidden, that they were supposed to appear like everything was fine and dandy and could never acknowledge their loss in anything but the most inner circles…well, it doesn’t seem surprising that the stress and pressure would get to them, on top of their already super high-tension existence.

Today, flowers were placed at Jeanette’s resting place at Forest Lawn, Glendale, in memory of the baby boy they lost but couldn’t acknowledge publicly.


To conclude yet another very somber blog, I offer this happier picture, possibly the closest thing to a “maternity shot” we’ll ever see (unless the photos of her and Nelson taken at Stonyvale ever surface, please GOD!!!) — a glowing Jeanette, posing with her hands on her little secret:


This story should have a happier ending.

Diaries and Letters and Shades of Gray

If there’s one thing that Jeanette is like really, really creepy good at, it’s keeping more than one iron in the fire. Consider the published book of her writings, The Irving Stone Letters, which offers a very authentic, often hilarious, sometimes TMI (“isles-pay”??? REALLY???), sometimes frustrated, thoroughly chatty picture of our unfiltered 1920s (and early 30s) MacDonald: Broadway Baby, singing sensation, party girl, tease, drinker of port, user of rude words, milk farm inmate.

Here’s a really fantastic thing. If you have this book, flip to page 41. Monday, September 13, 1927. The handwritten original follows. Jeanette begins:

“Irving dearest– Do you miss me–I wonder–I’ve never missed anyone so much before–really seems a nuisance to come out from rehearsal and find no Big Irving.”

(PS she had a hangover Sunday, people in the world who think she didn’t drink…)

Later in the letter:

“Nextly, I saw the ex [Jack Ohmeis] and, my dear, I could hardly look him in the eye and when he made love to me I was very much afraid I’d fess up but I know that wouldn’t have helped matters and every once in awhile during the evening I found myself thinking of you and you & me. Well, you can imagine.”

BOOM. Two involvements. One soprano. And she’s very open about it, but in a way that leads Irving to believe that he is still the Number One Man.

And then along comes Bob Ritchie, and while still corresponding on the reg and seemingly involved with Irving Stone, she (in a letter so lovey-dovey it is positively tooth-rotting) writes Bob:

“Gee! Gosh! I get almost sick thinking about you and how far away you are — oh daddy darling of mine, I could weep for the love of you–I’d give almost anything to have you fold me in your arms tonite and whisper, ‘I love you.'”

And later, in the same letter:

“I’m going to beddy now, my own–I also mean my own bed but I do wish it were yours. Move over! All I can think of now is you and how much I love & miss you. I’ll write more tomorrow. I’m tired now but I want you to know you’re my life and love and I’m yours forever and ever.”

Jeanette, for whatever else she may or may not have been, was no nun, folks. She had the gift of gab in real life and she was a prolific letter writer all through her life. She has the real gift of making the recipient feel like they are the only person in the entire world that she could possibly ever care about. In these early letters, we see these patterns being established–patterns that she would continue. Recently, a lengthy and thoroughly charming letter from Jeanette to Gene Raymond, surfaced. Jeanette is alternately worried, proud, political, bossy and flirtatious with her husband, who was overseas during the war. It was presented like it was a Giant Missile of Truth that was going to shatter every argument, every shred of research that has suggested that this marriage wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I’m sure she DID love Gene. I’m sure she DID miss Gene. I’m sure she WAS worried about Gene. After all, she did marry the guy, did she not? And she did call him, by her own admission, c. 1948, and ask if he loved her, and followed that up with asking him if he wanted a divorce. Obviously she cared on at least some level. He may not have been her first choice, but when she got engaged to him in 1936, following a break up with Nelson Eddy, who, for that moment in time could not seem to get a grip on his delayed adolescence — and when she walked down the aisle to him in 1937, she decided he was the safe choice, the sane choice. Gene got along with her mother. Gene didn’t threaten her career in any way shape or form. Gene didn’t make known to her any anger issues or general craziness. Gene liked to dance, ride, swim and play tennis. Gene was good looking and fun at parties. Yeah, Gene’s mom was a holy terror, but lots of people deal with in-law drama and live to talk about it. Gene did not challenge her. Take it from someone who has the footage of the two of them performing on Toast of the Town, doing the little patter song Gene wrote called How D’ya Do—he can’t bat in her league. The ONLY way they can perform together is for her to come DOWN to his level.

(Side Note: I viewed Jeanette’s scrapbooks at UCLA while I was in LA and there’s a freaking HILARIOUS article in the one dedicated to The Guardsman that says it’s good, she’s good, and “all it needs is Nelson Eddy”……..I laughed, and then I considered how perfectly succinct of a statement that was about literally everything. Nelson in that show with her? You couldn’t have gotten them to Broadway fast enough. Gene? Meh.)

Nelson was a whole other animal. They were so, so alike on so many levels. They were both insatiably ambitious, both driven, both perfectionists, both had made their way the hard way and paid their dues. Both brilliantly talented. Both dealing with some childhood scars. Jeanette would never stop trying to please her mother, who never gave her the validation her heart truly needed. Nelson had a lot of residual anger from the terrible behavior of and abandonment by his father. The sex was, by all accounts, mind-blowing, and the blending of their voices too sublime for mere mortals to stand without complete implosion. But they made each other effing nuts.

Many people have commented on that: they either couldn’t keep their hands off each other or they weren’t speaking. Middle ground is not something that really happens with the Eddy and the Mac. They can’t resist each other, and sometimes they are exactly what each other needs more than anything, but sometimes they are not good for each other.

And along comes Gene, into the middle of this business. He’s cute and fun and cultivates Jeanette’s friendship and doesn’t try to run her straight to bed. Nelson is still over here demanding that she kick the movie racket and get busy with the barefoot and pregnant routine, and the hell with all her hard work. I make no apology for the man; he was divine and gorgeous and a wonderful guy and probably heaven in bed but he also had a lot of growing up to do at this particular juncture and I wouldn’t have married him, then, either. I would have, later, but that’s not what we’re talking about. To that end, in the mid 30s, non-threatening Gene was probably really, really good for her. When you take into account the Nelson vs. Gene, passion vs. sanity, highs and lows vs. stability and a good tennis game…well, Jeanette’s choice of husband may not be all that shocking. Gene may not light her fire like Nelson does, but sometimes, at the end of the day, a good night’s sleep ranks higher than mad passion. The complications arise with the fact that it’s just NOT. THAT. SIMPLE.

None of this discounts, I don’t think, Nelson’s lasting presence in her life. From her napping in his arms on the set of Maytime to her pregnant belly, visible in Sweethearts, to how many many many darling candid shots of them on the radio, to This is Your Life, to Nelson getting on a plane and attending Jeanette’s opening of The King and I in 1956 in full evening dress (in an outdoor venue) and her skipping the opening night party to melt away into the darkness with him, to Nelson VERY COINCIDENTALLY leasing an apartment in the same complex as her, at the end, to being on the receiving end of condolences and handshakes at her funeral like he’s the widower, Nelson is almost always there. Barring a couple of breakups, Nelson’s presence is everywhere. It’s documentable. It’s provable. Jeanette talks about being attracted to and dating Nelson, before she married Gene, in her autobiography. We’ve recently made public an original letter from Nelson, Christmas of 1935, where he tells her he loves her and will always be devoted to her. That should tell you something. The fact that, from the page where she gets engaged to end of her book is only ninety-two pages should tell you SO. MUCH. MORE. Sometimes it’s not always just in black and white. Sometimes the most important things are unsaid. Surely from 1936 to the early 1960s, told in her own words, should fill more than ninety-two pages. So why is it pared down like that? She writes prolifically from her early childhood up through Naughty Marietta. And then the details vanish. The anecdotal stuff is sparse. No real fun on-set stories. Nothing about what it was like, making all those movies with Nelson. Nothing, in short, that the fans wanted to read about. What couldn’t she talk about? Doesn’t the possibility exist that so much of what was in her life was so caught up with someone she wasn’t “supposed to” love…so she couldn’t talk about it? And everything that she COULD talk about from a +/-25 year period, safely, without Nelson, filled………….ninety-two pages.

The mistake I think we ALL make, as people who love Jeanette, is we are too entrenched in our insistent belief that she is absolutely, black and white, 100% on one “side” or the other of how we view her life. She was, after all, a Gemini, was she not? I think she had a hell of a lot on her plate and I think she did the best she could under her very bizarre set of circumstances. I do not believe she was immoral or a bad person. I do not judge her AT ALL for doing what she did. I think she should have had all the happiness in the world. Since it’s documentable that she had way more than her fair share of misery, I’m pretty much all about her grabbing happiness wherever she can find it. Sometimes I think that person was probably Gene. Many times I think that person was Nelson. Some people want to pretend Nelson was never a thing, that it’s really the Jeanette and Gene show 800% of the time. Meredith Wilson’s wry comment, upon attending a Clan Clave was, “It’s like Nelson never existed.” Some people can’t come to terms with the fact that yes, Nelson slept with other women, including Gale Sherwood, who–good lord above–if you want to talk about someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of misplaced hate, look no further. Some people want to pretend Gene doesn’t exist, or can’t see a picture of him without making a derogatory remark. Some people actually like Ann Eddy…………….????????? Like it or not, it was as a team that Nelson and Jeanette were best known, best loved and best remembered. Like it or not, Gene and Ann are important players in this story. For me, I’m not the most anti-Gene Raymond person in the world, actually, most of the time. There’s a couple of instances in their younger days that make me want to rip him limb from limb, but I’m basically more-or-less ok until Jeanette’s heath starts failing and he starts neglecting the ever loving shit out of her, entertaining his ManFriends in his half of the apartment while Jeanette needs help and is being ignored on her side. That’s when we have a big, big problem, and that, of course, is what is being discussed later in this post. Don’t even get me started on the commercial plane to Houston.

I will suggest that Jeanette’s life was not one-dimensional or able to be completely pinned down in her writings to one person—to or from, for or against. That goes for both sides. What these writings DO do is give us a more complete picture, more data, a better story, more clarity, a larger window into the psyche of this woman. Ultimately, if EVERYONE gets a better understanding of Jeanette and her life, then on some level, this complete weirdness has been a success. I must admit it’s refreshing, anyway, to see the Saints getting on board with the idea that MacDonald Sex is a thing. Clap clap clap. She married Gene Raymond. I’ve always assumed that, at one time or another, that meant she had sex with him, too. I also know that they had separate bedrooms and later, separate (though adjoining) apartments. Jeanette made her marriage work. Honestly, on SOME kind of level, so did Nelson. Everybody limped along in this supremely jacked up world they lived in, since there wasn’t a solution in sight that worked for all four people, despite the many, many discussions and attempts. Two of them died far too young, and there is no way in hell you’ll ever convince me that Jeanette’s death did not directly impact Nelson’s.

The bottom line is, Jeanette demonstrated an early-established ability to keep more than one pot on the boil at a time. What her letters to any/all/either of her men prove concretely, is that she’s following her own pattern and she’s doing what she needs to do to keep on keepin’ on, in her life. I myself am eager to read absolutely everything that’s out there, because ALL of it has value and ALL of it is part of this story. Everything is a piece of the greater puzzle.

But while we’re sharing meaningful handwritten data, here’s some more stuff from Jeanette’s 1963 desk diary, ten months’ worth (she didn’t write in November or December, as she was in the hospital) of her daily comings and goings, appointments, eating habits, weight and health information.

I mentioned, both on this blog and in my presentation at the June Mac/Eddy Club Meeting, that the word “alone” is in here more times than I can even count.

Well. I did count them, last night, and the total is 44.

Forty-four times in ten months, Jeanette feels alone enough to make a note of it. Dozens of times, she writes “stayed home” next to plans that had been written previously, and even more frequently than that, she writes “no sleep” to begin her day. I really don’t know how this woman kept going as long as she did on this little rest. She tried to take a nap almost every day, but frequently she didn’t get her nap, either.

Gene is almost never home. He’s in New York for a month, from Feb 25 to March 23. He’s in Chicago, in Philadelphia, he’s at March Field doing his Air Force stuff all the time, he’s in Santa Ana, he’s anywhere but with her, a solid 80-85% of the time, and MANY of his engagements are social. And like, I recognize that the man is working, too, but it’s very clear, even from reading these pages, that Jeanette is not well. She would, in fact, be dead 15 months after her last entry in this book. Gene couldn’t arrange to be around to take care of her, but he certainly found time to have a documented involvement with Jan Clayton (they were both heavy drinkers), per HER own letters. He basically intimated that Jeanette didn’t have long to live and, rather than divorce her, he’d just wait until she died and then he and Jan would get married at an appropriate time. Of course, this never happened, but PLEASE, GENE, BE MORE OF A LOWLIFE. (Sweethearts, page 496)

Here are just a few examples of her concerning health entries:



She’s dizzy, frequently. She went to her Science of Mind church class and had a “turn”. On top of which, she’s getting a cold, and spent the next week seeing doctors daily for nose washes and the like. She isn’t sleeping and she feels like hell.


“Can’t seem to eliminate urine” and “Seem to have laryngitis” so she calls her doctor and he tells her to stop taking her Phenergan. Naturally, I looked it up, and it seems like it is used for pretty much everything that ails her, from allergies to insomnia to motion sickness to nausea and dizziness. The problem is, there are potentially dangerous interactions with people who have heart trouble. Here’s an informative description of the drug. Yikes. And obviously it wasn’t helping her sleep, but it was making it so she couldn’t urinate. Dear God, poor Jeanette. Seems like every normal bodily function gets screwed up in this poor woman’s body at some point or other.

I feel like a loving spouse, when their partner is this ill, would scale back their own activities to, you know, maybe be around more. MORE TO THE POINT, this woman shouldn’t effing be left alone! What the hell is his problem, joyriding around with his friends when she’s having dizzy spells, she’s not sleeping, she is underweight–and that’s without having any of these other issues like colds and vomiting and hysterical crying because she thinks she’s dying and various bathroom troubles. Didn’t he take an “in sickness and in health” vow, MacRaymond marriage enthusiasts? I guess his idea of supportive care is firing her nurse, taking her phone out of her bedroom, dumping drugs in her fruit juice, telling visitors she was sleeping and couldn’t see them and leaving her to rot, unattended for 8 days and then shipping what’s left of her to Texas on a commercial flight when ANY FAN OFF THE STREET would have taken better care of her. But I’m getting way ahead of myself, here. Oh, heck, we’re getting to that place where I feel like hell’s too good for Gene.

Anyway, as you can see:


“GR not home” — another thing to note on this page, that’s Gene’s handwriting at the top, “GR – MC”. So for those of you wondering why she wrote “Visitor!!” instead of “Nelson’s here!!!1one!” — well, here’s the proof that Gene had access to this book, if he wanted it. So why is she going to give him something else to flip out about? They have enough fights and bad spells between them in this 10 month period alone, and that’s with him hardly ever being home!!!…….so what was the rest of the time like?


Oh, look. She’s sick enough that she doesn’t go to her Science of Mind class, which she attended as often as she was able and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed and found interesting, and…………..Gene’s gone a lot. Once at a meeting, once to a banquet and once “away all day”.


“Can’t locate GR”


“_____ (illegible) all night and threw up my breakfast” Then she went somewhere and “threw up on way home”. 😦

March23migraine March24twomigraines

Gene arrived home after being gone a month. She had a migraine that night and TWO migraines the next day. THAT IS NOT GOOD. Those are only a few of the many migraines she had this year. It is known that she had a benign brain tumor, most likely diagnosed in 1960 (Fredda Balling notes how very, very sick Jeanette was when they were trying to work on her autobiography) and, of course, migraines are widely recognized as one of the symptoms. More information on that relationship here. Further, several pieces of documentation exist that suggest that Jeanette was seeing an oncologist at UCLA about this, and indeed, appointments at UCLA are noted several times in this diary.

On page 496 of Sweethearts, it is noted that sometimes when she and Nelson were on the phone, she would get “hysterical” and be frightened that she was dying (sourced from both Blossom and Sunny Griffin). Funny story, when this diary came to the fore, Jeanette herself writes of going into hysterics more than once:


She had a “bad nite” and “GR home very late”, she weighs only a hundred pounds but she’s skipping meals and Gene is gone again all day. I’m getting out of sequential order here, but here is the other mention of her “hysterics” on July 15. She had no sleep and no nap, is overtired and gets hysterical.


June 6, she and Gene have a “big fight” — she had gone to the apartment to meet with the guy who was doing some design and decorating for them, and Harold didn’t show up, which resulted in her presumably coming “home too early” and encountering Gene, which it looks like she could have avoided if she had waited longer….


And, as I’ve already published, she was alone on her 60th birthday (which makes me sad…this woman LOVED birthdays and loved to make a big deal out of them, loved to give parties for birthdays, loved to have a fuss made over her birthday, was absolutely always eating birthday cake in a picture, etc etc and this is a huge milestone birthday and nobody seems to give a rat’s ass), and Gene showed up for dinner but there was a “big quarrel” that evening about the “same old thing”:



There was no “our” apartment. There was a his and hers, two units with an adjoining door. Rather an odd arrangement for a happily married couple, especially when one of the partners is not well, nevertheless, observe Jeanette’s clear distinction between his and hers, June 20 and 21:

June20grside June21myside

And on June 25, she’s dealing with more dizziness:


She washed her hair, obviously wasn’t feeling well because she canceled Harold, then was “terribly dizzy after dinner” — oh, and Gene showed up in time to eat, it seems.

August 8: “not much sleep” and “GR pretty bad”


And on the 18th of August:


She’s just not well, guys.


Gene says he’s going to the apartment to “arrange books” but isn’t back as of 3:45AM. He “says he went for a drive up coast” and “I went over twice, started calling at 11:30, no A[nswer]” and “GR in awful mood” …..So he’s lying and defensive about it? That’s what I’m reading, anyway.


“Had spell can’t talk”

On page 503 of Sweethearts, it is noted that it was rumored that she had a small stroke around this time and that her speech was temporarily affected. This is without anyone ever seeing this diary until now.


And another migraine. There are at least 3 or 4 more that I didn’t clip for the purposes of this post. That’s not normal.

My thanks to Maria and Angela for their partnership with me on this diary. Posts like this will really just take all the fun out of everything, because you find yourself feeling so awful that Jeanette’s last years were so unhappy and unhealthy. But I think to pretend everything was just hunky dory, fine and great, is to do her a far greater disservice. It’s important to understand the facts of what she was going through, so that one can understand how other facts fit into this puzzle. Some of the stuff you read about her, you honestly don’t want to be true–that’s human nature. I think if all of us who love her had the choice, we’d have her tucked away into a blissful marriage with a perfect man, because we love her and want her to be happy. Sadly, that was not the case. It’s not “fun” — but it’s reality, and sometimes reality isn’t fun. I’ve seen the phrase “it’s complicated” being mocked in regards to this story….but, isn’t it?

Hello, Gorgeous

Morning, all.

That was some heavy stuff on the blog last night. I mean, I’m glad I posted it. I’m glad I said it, but yeesh. Sometimes being in “rebuttal” to someone else’s nonsense isn’t the best breeding ground for useful discussion, but in some cases it just feels really necessary to have your own say. The topics of last night’s post have been thrown around fast and loose for so long, I felt like they needed to be addressed here, on this blog. Sharon’s “sister post” on I felt was compelling and I’m SO glad she wrote it. There cannot now be any claims made that anyone doesn’t understand the situation or why it’s in the book. Nice job as always, Sharon.

Here’s the third and final of my recently digitized rare and fabulous stills of Jeanette. Not for profit, educational use only, same old thing. It’s fine if you want to download/print it for private home use, just no altering or circulation, please.

She’s so exquisite, there really aren’t words for it. Enjoy.


Blossom Time… and that “R” Word

I’m going to just put this out there, because I’m sick of it being a thing that gets thrown into arguments. (We can’t deal with letters that say I love you and will always be devoted to you, and we can’t deal with blatant lonely unhappiness in Jeanette’s own handwriting in her 1963 desk diary and we can’t deal with data from people who knew them and we can’t actually seek out the provided source material, because, you see, these things make us uncomfortable and they rock our worlds a little and it’s SO MUCH MORE FUN to just go on pretending these things don’t exist, don’t you know, and our dear biographer Turk had access to these things, no doubt, and he left them out of his work — he was too busy writing schmaltzy captions for photos of Gene Raymond — yet somehow his work is the “legitimate” one, even though it has been proven that he doctored the text of a letter from Nelson that he DID include, because the original letter has been sourced elsewhere……etc etc ad nauseum) anyway, a favorite diversionary tactic is to never ever ever actually address what’s being talked about but make a big stink about something else in hopes that the actual thing that’s “onstage” at the moment will just disappear. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please thank your lucky stars and move on with your life.

Thus, we come around YET AGAIN to the subject of Jeanette’s sister, Blossom MacDonald Rock, and what she could or could not communicate to a young Sharon Rich, to start this whole ball rolling when they first met in 1970.

Blossom had a stroke. A stroke that left her with a speech difficulty that came and went but most of the time was present, from my best understanding. Still, Sharon speaks affectionately of Blossom’s many friends in the Home, of her tending of stray cats that hung around, of how she loved to go out for lunch and shop and how she still smoked and how she would visit other residents who were very ill or dying and be compassionate and comforting. A speech difficulty does not equal a vegetable, people. I know from my own experience–as does anyone who has known and loved a stroke victim–that you figure it out. You learn to make do. You learn to phrase things so they can be answered simply. I find it disgusting how head-swimmingly fast these people will write Blossom off as a brain-dead vegetable to try to negate Sharon’s relationship with her and what Blossom started with a promising young writer and a story that desperately needed to be told.

How else do you think Sharon was put in touch with her MANY early interviews with “name” people? Blossom gave her her address book and pointed to all the people she wanted Sharon to call.

The newest drum being beaten is about Blossom having dementia, which, you know, obviously invalidates everything because it was on her death certificate. *eyeroll* Honestly? You’re so sure she had dementia for the last 8 years of her life? You know, when she was attending the Clan Claves EVERY YEAR and attended Gene Raymond’s wedding weekend on a yacht in 1974? People with dementia have a very, VERY difficult time being taken out of their routine. I’m witnessing that right now in two areas of my life. A longtime friend of my grandmother’s just died like two days ago, with aggressive dementia. A couple of years ago she was just as sane and “with it” as she could possibly be. I just asked Sharon, today, about the last time she saw Blossom. It was December, 1977 and she admitted that there was a change in her, even from the fall of that year when she saw her before (with Brent Perry and Diane Goodrich; they took her the first issue of Mac/Eddy Today, which she loved), and that she was very depressed, very down, very quiet, but that she was lucid.

Here is Blossom with her grand-niece, Nanette (Elsie’s granddaughter) at the Clan Clave in 1973:


And there, behind Blossom, is a young Sharon Rich:


She attended the Clan Clave in 1977 and there is a color picture of her with Emily West, which, for the life of me I cannot find right now. People who have dementia not only have difficulty being removed from their daily routine (and I’m sorry, this club meeting isn’t important enough for Blossom to attend it if she was not in a fit state to do so) but they are also very unpredictable and can get loud, upset, belligerent, etc, out of nowhere. So meetings like the Clan Clave are not really a great fit for them, anymore, yet she kept showing up. But just for the sake of argument, let’s say she was officially diagnosed with dementia in 1976, 77, whatever…..does that negate everything that happened before then? Do you people frequently go around telling elderly people that their life before their final infirmity didn’t happen?

Your argument is invalid and having a copy of her death certificate proves absolutely nothing except that she died.

Now, onto the other topic, which seems to have reared its ugly head again, so it’s getting addressed:

The first time Jeanette and Nelson had sexual intercourse was called a “rape” in Sweethearts.

Let me get one thing straight, right now, because I am insulted on a personal level for everyone who fell into the periphery of accusation in a recent blog post. REPORTING THAT SOMETHING HAPPENED IS NOT THE SAME THING AS CONDONING IT, SUPPORTING IT, OR BEING HAPPY ABOUT IT. However, responsible reporting is reporting the good, the bad and the ugly. The JMIFC wasn’t really about that life, the whole responsible reporting bit. They edited heavily everything that was put out in their publication, the Golden Comet, or said at a meeting. They vetted potential speakers to make sure they wouldn’t say anything the least bit edgy. Everything from Jeanette’s sex life (HEAVEN FORBID THE WOMAN HAVE SEX OH MY GOD WHAT A HORRIFYING CONCEPT) to anecdotes of her temper and other basic human realness were stricken from the record, thus creating a “knowledge base” that bears little to no resemblance to actual real life.

There is an issue of “rape” in Sweethearts. Yep, there sure is. Yep, just like any modern day evolved woman, I find it horrifying and disgusting that such a thing would happen. But here are some truths, and I say this, again, WITHOUT CONDONING WHAT HAPPENED.

The word “rape” has, in the past, been romanticized. I am not saying that’s right or good or acceptable, I’m saying that it happened. It’s as regrettable as blackface, but it’s a thing. The most exciting, sexy scene in Gone with the Wind (1939) is Rhett carrying a visibly fighting and protesting Scarlett up the stairs to have his way with her, whether or not she consents, and the next time we see her she is smiling, singing and sated. The novel of GWTW  came out in 1936, and I don’t need to explain its popularity to anyone. Again, I’m not suggesting that it’s right, but I’m also of the opinion that you cannot on any level look at the verbage of a mid-1930s situation like this with your 2015 Feminist Lens. It is necessary to examine everything we know, not just one word. Happily and necessarily, we are taking a much more serious stance on rape than has ever been taken, now, in this era, but you don’t know how that word was thrown around back then.

As far as Jeanette and Nelson are concerned, the origin of the “rape” anecdote WAS NOT BLOSSOM. It came from a different source, and Blossom was asked about it and confirmed it.

Jeanette and Nelson had been dating, had come very close to having sex many times and every time Nelson had stopped. He was trying, as idealistic as it seems, to not sleep with her until they were married. He was trying to be a gentleman, whereas she was totally willing (and consenting, obviously!) — and when your partner is telling you to go on, go on, stopping on the basis of your own plans of virtue can be insanely difficult.

Jeanette wanted sex, leading up to this incident. It was Nelson who was not “putting out”.

Now I adore Jeanette with every fiber of my being, but she was capable of being an out and out shit when she wanted to be. I personally love that about her, but then, it was never directed at me. Let’s take a look at what happened with Lina Basquette (an excerpt from her autobiography is in Issue #53 of Mac/Eddy Today). This was before things were “official” with Jeanette and Nelson, and our little cat already had her claws out. Woody Van Dyke arranges for Nelson and Lina to attend a party together, to basically check on Nelson’s man!pulse. They walk in together and see Jeanette, who immediately, in a total bitch move, seeing Nelson with this sex bomb of a woman, insults his sexuality, calls him Nelly and says he’s been using too much peroxide on his hair. Nevertheless, Nelson and Lina go back to Lina’s place, start going at it like rabbits and the phone rings. It’s Nelson’s mother, Isabel, who has been tipped off by SOMEONE hell bent on ruining his fun evening. I mean, come ON.

So, fast forward to this situation where Jeanette is wanting to get laid, bad, and Mr. Gentleman is trying really damn hard to be a gentleman. So she goes out with some other guy, gets photographed dancing with him, the pictures make the papers and the next day she goes over to have brunch with Nelson and Isabel. Don’t you think she knew exactly what she was doing, up to that point, anyway? Making him jealous on purpose? As the Baroness says in The Sound of Music, “Come, my dear, we are women.” I personally — nobody has given me any data on this, but it’s my belief, knowing that she’s a smart and strong-willed woman — think she went over there knowing perfectly damn well what was in that newspaper and knowing he was going to flip out when he saw it.

Flip out he did, and a fight ensued and Isabel removed herself from the situation. Now, this is pure speculation on my part, but it seems logical that a woman who would so easily insult a man’s sexuality in front of another woman (Lina) would CERTAINLY throw it in his face that he “won’t” [have sex with her] so maybe he “can’t”.

And then I think it got physical. They definitely had a fight and they definitely ended up in a rough sexual situation that left him extremely remorseful and about an inch tall afterwards.

Do I think he snuck up on her like a creeper and held her down and forced himself on her against her will while she screamed in protest? Of course I freaking don’t.

Do I think this man who was KNOWN for a temper and anger issues (Frances Marion refused his proposal of marriage on those exact grounds, among many examples) finally and regrettably snapped? Do I think Jeanette pushed him on purpose, but didn’t expect things to go that far or get that out of hand?

Yes. And yes.

Do I hate parts of that situation? Yep. But I don’t think this is a black and white issue.

And he was in full-on crisis mode afterwards. And Jeanette, this grown up, strong-willed woman, elected in that moment to move on with him. To work out what had just happened to them. Anyone who had been violently raped/assaulted, but most especially the strong-willed type, would NEVER have sat there and figured it out afterwards. That right there is proof that, for whatever else it may be (and at the risk of repeating myself, I’m not saying it’s a good thing) this ISN’T that sort of situation. And one thing led to the next, they had sex again, Jeanette said it was “everything I dreamed of and more” and she “lost control” for the first time. And that ending was how she remembered it and how she reported it to her sister, who grinned about it when Sharon asked her.

I hate the use of the rape word. HATE IT. Because I don’t think this was that. I don’t condone what did happen, but I also don’t put Nelson in the category of some disgusting offender in a dark alley. Sharon hates it too, by the by, but she is telling the story as it was told to her, which is what she does. She, in fact, addressed this precise issue herself, tonight, on Interesting reading, and she’s far better qualified than I to speak on this issue and why it was so necessary to include in the book. The link to her exact post is here. It’s very informative. Read it.

And, while we’re on the subject of rape, I’d like to see a little outrage directed at the alleged rapists in the now-defunct Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club, one of whom is still active in this “fandom” to this day. I’d like to see some outrage directed at Clara and Tessa, who KNEW what was going on and hid it, making them complicit. That goes for every other member of that organization who knew about it and hid it. I’d like to see some of the underage male victims of this “most heinous of assaults” get some justice, even at this late date. Because, after all, if there’s going to be outrage, it should be all-encompassing, lest we fall into the trap of becoming hypocritical. And I would like to apologize to Jeanette for the MOCKERY that club made of her name after she died, by allowing their weekends to become little more than fiestas of debauchery.

Perfection, Part II

More exclusive MacBeauty, recently digitized and posted here for your viewing pleasure.

The same “rules” from the last post still apply: no re-posting or editing or colorizing or changing this photo in any way, please. Not for profit, educational use only. That being said, feel free to download and print this (or really any of my pictures) for PRIVATE use, like, to slap her up in a frame on your wall. I fully support that! But if I find ’em on ebay, heads are gonna roll. 😉

There just aren’t words to describe her. Nothing’s good enough.

The thing is, she wasn’t married yet. Nothing was irreparably screwed up, yet. These images capture the very essence of her joie de vivre that we never see again. Oh yes, there are many happy, cute pictures later on, but after, as Nelson put it, “the shit moved in”, something this wild, young, fresh, comparatively carefree woman was lost forever.

The fact that she gave such endless pleasure to so many people, but never got a lifetime full of it herself strikes me as a heinous injustice.

But here she is, ethereal, radiant and perfect:



This uncirculated, undigitized-until-right-now thing of incredible beauty just arrived to me by email. I found it amid hundreds and hundreds of stills when Angela and I were digging in California, and immediately took the steps to obtain this fabulous scan.

I thought a lot about not posting it here on my completely-open-to-the-public blog, not making it available for everyone, because quite frankly there are a couple of saint people who I know for a fact read this blog whom I wouldn’t walk across the street to punch in the nose, much less hand over this beautiful, perfect, fabulous thing that I paid good money to make available. But in a fit of apparent warmheartedness, I argued with myself that when it comes to things like this, I’d like to have the entire world get to enjoy the beauty and charm that is this most spectacular human being. SHE would want that, I think. I thought about watermarking it, but that seemed like an obnoxious move, and I don’t want anything to take away from how stunning the image is.

So here’s the deal. I have shared this treasure at high resolution. Save it, frame it, love it, enjoy it. However:

This is an educational, NOT FOR PROFIT sharing of a digitized image. That means……

I do not want to find it popping up elsewhere on the internet. I will make sure that it is shared where I want it to be shared. No colorizing, editing, altering or tampering with it in any way. I do not want it showing up on ebay or any similar website. I will know where it came from and you will be reported. I have all of the paperwork on this image including copyright and digitizing information, etc, so do not try it.

Now that I have the lecture out of the way (I’m sorry about that to the 99.9% of my readership who are wonderful people, but one bad apple ruins this stuff for everyone), here is the incredible Miss MacDonald in all her amazing glory, by C.S. Bull:


While My Lady Sleeps…

The Moon will rise but all in vain
For there’s no use in shining
While my lady sleeps

The breeze will sing a sad refrain
Because her heart is pining
While my lady sleeps

Starlight and moonlight and amorous melody wasted
What can they mean when I’m yearning for kisses never

The night may hold a million dreams
But when her eyes discover, Just a lonely lover
She will hurry on, with a sigh to the dawn
While the willow tree weeps, and my lady sleeps.


“Jeanette MacDonald rests between scenes of MGM’s Maytime…” Original snipe on the back of this photo.

Folks, she was just about to marry another man. This scene was excruciatingly difficult for both of them because of that fact: life imitating art. You see Nelson, in the final print of the film, staring at the tree because he couldn’t get through the song while looking her in the eye.

They were not, by any stretch of the imagination, at their “happiest” here, personally.

Yet, he is her safe place. Even in personal turmoil, she’s at ease in his arms.

Yet, he holds her while she catches a catnap on the set. With his chin on her head and both arms around her. He is still, not disturbing her, knowing how hard to come by sleep was for her, anytime when he couldn’t be there.

Yet, she holds onto him as she rests.

If you don’t take away ONE OTHER THING from this blog, please just understand that the events of June 16, 1937 do not tell a complete story.

Music to go with the above lyrics, so Nelson can serenade you while you sniffle, here.

Mac/Eddy Meeting, June 2015: a Re-Cap!

Hello from the green, lush, hilly, humid East Coast! I loved everything there is to see and do in California, but I’m happy to be home. I am such a born, bred and LOYAL Virginian…in my view, you just can’t beat it. I talked to someone in the airport yesterday about going home to Virginia and they said, “Norfolk?” and I was like, “EW, NO.” That is not Virginia. Southwest Virginia, rolling country and not much traffic……but I digress.

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been so very supportive of my work–the blog, the presentation on Sunday at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, etc–the comments, both on the blog and in person, were so kind and wonderful, and I really appreciate it, I know Angela does, too. We were so thrilled and honored when Sharon asked us to speak at the meeting and doing the assignment justice was really important to us, for Jeanette and Nelson and our club. I only wish I had stood up straighter while I was speaking—I know better than that!!!!—but I had on very high heels and the podium was thus a little low for me and it was quite dark in there so people could see the screen, and, well, excuses, excuses. Ugh!

If you have not yet had time to watch the presentations, please do! The video is long, but so worth it:

A major, major highlight of the day for me was meeting and talking to Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke IV. Woody’s grandson. I knew he was coming, but I hadn’t seen him arrive and then I looked up and there he was, no mistaking the crazy resemblance, right down to the way his hair is graying. Looking at him in profile is just really startling. Same nose, same chin. I’m sure he felt very stared at throughout the day but he took it with great grace and was the nicest guy one could ever hope to meet. He was so moved by the outpouring of love for his grandfather and asked to come up to the mic to tell us so. After I spoke, he made a point of coming up to me, remembered my name and told me how much he loved what we had done. Just really an incredible and amazing time, and a huge thank you to Sharon for coordinating that really special opportunity. Before I met Woody IV, Linda Tolman (whom I LOVED meeting in person!!!!!) came over to me so we could compare our Jeanette gloves, and she thrilled me by pulling a box out of her bag and plopping it on the table in front of me—the two charm bracelets that she owns that Nelson gave to Jeanette. Soooo I’m like, sitting there holding the woman’s jewelry from her boyfriend and their best friend’s grandson is ten feet away from me and I WAS NOT AT ALL OKAY. EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD. MAYDAY. MAYDAY. SOS.

Here are the bracelets:


Pictures of both of them, and also many charms indicative of their movies together—totem pole from Rose Marie, harp from I Married an Angel, tri-cornered hat from Naughty Marietta, and my personal favorite, a honey bee, because that was his pet nickname for her, Honey Bee. DID I MENTION THAT THIS WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME???


The clock charm on one of Jeanette’s charm bracelets from Nelson, depicting the exact time at which she walked in, late, to his concert when they first knew each other. He called out from the stage, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty!” and later gave her this charm.

Cannot thank Linda enough for bringing those (as well as some of her other treasures) and being generous enough to pass them around. Seeing them in person was pretty mind-blowing.

Oh, and here’s me with Woody IV.


Handsome man! Runs in the family!!! I’m just a hair over 5’7″ and had on 4+” heels, just to give you perspective.

Needless to say, I couldn’t eat lunch, I was so totally overwhelmed. Angela, too. I’m told the food was great; it sure smelled good! Then, the meeting was called to order by Sharon, who introduced Bern, who very movingly spoke in tribute to Patrice, our recently-passed club member and screenwriter. That was a difficult task and Bern did an excellent job. Then Maria got up and spoke about the letter. Maria, too, did an outstanding job of presenting this treasure, and telling the room that it will be professionally preserved and then donated for permanent display to one of several possibly museums/libraries. I must chuckle at the response from the ‘other side’ regarding the letter, total crickets for days and days…and in “rebuttal”, they want to nitpick their interpretation of one letter of one word that Nelson writes in closing, but they COMPLETELY IGNORE the “I love you and will always be devoted to you” part, trying to say this is merely a thank-you note. Snort. Yep, I write that in every thank-you note I send to co-workers, ever. Anyway…………

Maria did a great job with her presentation and she has the sort of voice that makes you want to get comfy while she reads you a bedtime story. Get busy with recording some audiobooks, Maria!!

So then there was a break for show and tell with the letter, and then it was Angela’s turn. When we were first working on this assignment, we made a list of the topics that needed covering and basically split them up, each taking some research stuff we’d done together, and each talking about the scripts of Jeanette’s that we personally have in our individual possession. Angela presented lots of video footage as well as a compelling case regarding Jeanette’s mental state around the time of her nervous breakdown and break-up with Nelson, the unfortunate 1949-1952 era. She did a fantastic job, watch the video!!!

And then me. I knew I was presenting a lot of fact and figure type data, but I felt like it was all important, and the membership stayed with me beautifully. I totally enjoyed speaking to the group.

After all that, Sharon closed the meeting and people started going their separate ways and we broke down our set-up and started putting things away. Then our core group went to dinner at the famous Smoke House, where Jeanette and Nelson (AND EVERYONE ELSE IN HOLLYWOOD THE PICTURES ARE AMAZING IN THERE HOLY CRAP) dined. Great steak, people. Great garlic bread. Go there. You won’t be sorry.

We were all a little (a lot) exhausted and slap-happy, and dinner was a delightful and hilarious affair. What a fun group! We laughed and carried on and almost got chucked out and Angela threatened to slap me because I couldn’t stop laughing…..ha.

Here’s Sharon and me at that dinner. I highly recommend hanging out with this lady. 🙂