A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

I come to you with another Very Great Thing from The JAM Project!

Imagine my delight when I was going through the collection of film and found something we didn’t even know existed! The discovery was a 1955 screen test that Jeanette did for NBC. There is no date, other than 1955, on the box, but it is labeled in Jeanette’s handwriting, so that’s super fun as well. My assumption is that this is some sort of test for Prima Donna, which aired February 1, 1956; an episode of Screen Directors Playhouse that was written (real awkwardly) by Gene Raymond. NBC aired Screen Directors Playhouse, so this checks out on that level. I could certainly be wrong, but this came to us with no context and I’ve never read anything else about it — had never heard of it before it was in my hands. If someone knows something that I don’t about the purpose for this screen test, I’d be happy to learn about it.

The screen test is silent and in black and white, which is funny because Jeanette wrote on the box “Color Test B&W” ……….thank you for that, Miss MacDonald. ‘Preciate ya.

Maybe it was shot in color and they gave her a black and white version of it? Eh? Anyway, we have the black and white one that belonged to her.

Guys, she is SO GORGEOUS. So, so, so, so incandescently beautiful at age fifty-two. This, this is a star. Also, I LOVE her hair. Love it. I’ve done my best lip-reading and made a transcript, which I will include below (which is certainly not infallible, of course, but she’s chattering away in typical MacFashion, so it’s only natural to want to translate). It’s not perfect, but it does, I think, get across the jist of what she’s saying.

Enjoy her. ❤

Here is my rough transcript of what she’s saying:

:07 Okay gentlemen – are you looking at me? Am I pretty? …Come on. [THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART. YES. YOU ARE PRETTY. YOU ARE SO PRETTY. YOU ARE THE PRETTIEST ONE. WHAT IS AIR.]

:17 Ah and go to this side – see what happens

:25 Oh, you want me to look like this … sad … alright.

:33 There, is that so good? That’s good.

:40 Way up here…

:45 Alright (smiling)

:48 Oh no, that wouldn’t be good. (adjusting fur and looking down) There. This is as far down as I go.

1:02 Really? That’s good. Well that’s what I [don’t know this part] to.

1:13 Yeah.

1:14 Well if you’re ready, this is a fast [don’t know this word], he said. But anyway when I’m looking into the camera – that side – [there’s a phrase here that I haven’t got yet] But I always want to look straight to the audience (gesturing) which would be there. Then the [one word I don’t have] there…see?

1:35 Oh now with my singing which would usually be up there, you see – or there

1:59 [I’ve got nothing. Working on it. She’s cute.]

2:02 Now, for every second afterwards I’m singing to the camera because I think that [something about the audience and being selfish]. So… [don’t know the last phrase].

Ohhhhhhhh, Jeanette. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I want to conclude by thanking everyone who has helped to make these digital transfers possible. This is an expensive process and you are directly responsible for helping us accomplish the goal of sharing these treasures. I’d specifically like to thank Di, Annette, Margaret, Leslie, Brenda, Sandra, Melissa, Tracy, Christy and Philip. I hope I am not leaving anyone out!! Your support is so appreciated by the The JAM Project!

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His Madonna

Recently, interesting new documentation has come to light in the form of an unpublished manuscript that Nelson Eddy wrote and titled A Will of Evil. The manuscript was entrusted to a woman named Linda, who knew Nelson in his last years. It is not outstanding prose (and certainly not Nelson’s best writing, by a country mile) but it provides interesting insight into where his head was in his last years, with compelling parallels drawn to many things that occurred in his real life relationship with Jeanette. The book is available on maceddy.com as well as Amazon. Angela and I helped Sharon edit her introductory comments — and that, for the time being, anyway, is where my remarks end.

Most compellingly for the ongoing story of Jeanette and Nelson, however, is a colored pencil drawing that Nelson did of Jeanette that also ended up in Linda’s possession. It has been published inside the book as well as a smaller version the back cover, so it could be seen in color, and very recently, Sharon published it on maceddy.com as well. Her post is available at this link.

The drawing is exquisite. It’s intimate, it’s serene; it’s absolutely beautiful. He’s not just drawing a picture of someone, he’s lovingly rendering this woman who is dearly known to him.  And it’s not a posed “draw me like one of your French girls” situation, either; her hair is wet and water droplets are dripping down her back, as though she has just stepped out of the shower. More intimacy. This is not glamorous, this is everyday real life. Her body is accurate to the last detail; the tiny wrists, the tall expanse of chest, the way her face looks without makeup…I mean, wow. The love that went into this work is leaping off the page. And look at the knowing, secretive serenity on her face, and the way he highlighted her abdomen. Nelson titled this work My Madonna…is she, perhaps, newly pregnant here? Was that the reason for the drawing? You can see his title on the left edge, along with his NE signature.

For those of you who still “need to see concrete proof” that these people were involved…….welp. Here ya go.

For those of you who still contend that this story is made up, just screw off, really. Get some new lines.

Thanks to those involved in getting this published. It’s important.

I elected, as Sharon did, to put the drawing behind a link rather than pasting it into the body of a blog post. The historical significance of this piece of ironclad, “smoking gun” evidence cannot be denied and the reverence with which this gorgeous work of art was created is totally obvious, but even so, it’s a nude.

Nelson’s drawing of his Madonna can be viewed by clicking right here.

 

 

From The Golden Comet…

golden-comet

From the Golden Comet, Spring Issue, 1945, when Marie Waddy (later Gerdes) was President. The good ol’ days, as it were.

Amazing.

They used to put Nelson on the cover of the Comets with her, too.

Gasp.

They sure did kiss each other a lot, is all.  Not that that means anything, of course. Totally normal to have a married man friend walk your married self to your car, chat a while, put his arms around you and kiss you before you leave. Yep.

Love them!