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:

Jan28

Jan30

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.

Feb1

“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:

Feb2and3

“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?

Feb4thru7

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”.

cantlocateGR

“Can’t locate GR”

March19

“_____ (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:

April10hysterics

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.

July15hysterics

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….

June6bigfight

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”:

snip3

snip4

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:

June25dizzy

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”

Aug8GRprettybad

And on the 18th of August:

Aug18badday

She’s just not well, guys.

Sept11

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.

Oct8hadspellcanttalk

“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.

Oct11migraine

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?

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I’ll See You Again, Part 2 (EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE)

Gee, I’ll be glad when I can stop talking about everybody dying for a while. This is about as depressing as finding yourself on a honeymoon with Gene Raymond.

So, yeah, Jeanette died (I was just so very diplomatic with my word choice right there. I would like a prize.) at 4:32pm, January 14, 1965. Her death certificate:

deathcert

Note all the varied heart conditions listed. Also note the incorrect birthdate of 1907. She was born in 1903, but shaved 4 years off somewhere and that misinformation is on her crypt, too. She was flown back to California on January 15th. Her funeral was January 18th.

The press, of course, lost no time in finding Nelson. “The networks were there and I was crying,” was how he explained it later. The fact is, he stayed up talking to the press until 5:00 in the morning. The reporters actually stayed with him, the consensus of opinion being that he needed to talk and had nobody else to talk to.

Here is one very well-known example of Nelson talking to an interviewer within hours of hearing of Jeanette’s death.

She was stunning and startlingly beautiful. I mean, she would take your breath away. I remember the first time I actually met her, I was tongue tied and I didn’t quite know how to act.

…Okay, WHO TALKS LIKE THAT ABOUT SOMEONE IN WHOM THEY HAVE NO ROMANTIC INTEREST.

Nobody.

I mean really, even at her death–or maybe especially at her death–Nelson’s word choices are revealing. And gorgeous. Is it any wonder she was crazy about him? Who wouldn’t want to be described thus?

Even more importantly, the interview was ended because Nelson had broken down in tears.

The next day, January 15th, Nelson granted an interview to ABC News. Angela and I were able to locate this clip within the ABC archives, paid to have it digitized and we are excited to present it to you, here. This interview has not been seen by ANYONE since it originally aired. It is for educational purposes only and may not be reproduced anywhere except where expressly authorized by Angela or myself. Listen to the difference here, hours of telling the same stories later. He has pulled himself together somewhat, and started being more careful.

I just…… yeah.

This man is hurting.

The lines in his face are 3 feet deep, you can tell he hasn’t slept and his grief is palpable. He is speaking very slowly and chosing his words carefully, especially at the beginning, before he really gets his footing in the conversation. His voice getting all soft when he says “…big movies and a really big star,” just breaks my heart.

He points out that he met her at a party, rather than at the studio, and it was “under personal circumstances” rather than on a film. Booyah. Even though in reality, he’s actually not accurate about the time frame of the party where they met–they met before she made Merry Widow.

And he points out that, “She did most of the acting, believe me.” See? He knows he wasn’t a great actor so you can all just shut your mouths about it. What’s more, HE WASN’T ACTING when he was with Jeanette. Aside from the singing, he really stinks 98% of the time in his movies without her. I’ve said this for years. Either the man was a great actor or he wasn’t. The Saints love to slam him for his lack of acting chops on one hand and then say that his intense chemistry with Jeanette is “just acting” on the other. They like it when they can have things both ways, see. No. Please go watch the hand porn and finger pulling in Girl of the Golden West and the neck-blowing in Sweethearts and on and on and please, please tell me more about how he’s just acting, losers.

I love his face when he recalls them “always having our digs at each other.”

“We’d fight like cats and dogs sometimes, just to make people wonder.” …… Mr. Eddy, darling, we don’t wonder.

“And we had to cut it out because people started to believe it.” Well, yes, there’s a problem. Some people still do believe it.

“We never changed in our attitudes at all.” ❤ ❤ ❤

feud

“We found ourselves…….elsewhere.” (post MGM) Yeah, he’s a little bitter about Metro still. You detect that in several places in this interview.

“I think it was wonderful of her to want to hold her head high.” — in regards to not slipping down into junky movies, but really also for her attitude about not lampooning their work in nightclubs, as he was more or less reduced to doing. He mentions taking out the skit he and Gale were doing where they “kidded” Rose Marie. It’s not funny, it’s cheap, he wasn’t a huge fan of doing that crap anyway but it sold tickets and let him keep working. Jeanette, in that sense, had more professional integrity (and worse health, but let’s pretend her health wasn’t a problem–she still wouldn’t have torn down everything she worked so hard to build up. She was proud of her movies.) and you get the feeling watching Nelson talk about how the “kidding” wasn’t funny right now that he regrets having done it in the first place. He is so damn supportive of her, all the way through this. Lots and lots of we this and we that. I like getting the sense that he is on her side, in her corner, that he knows why she did things that she did and he is sticking up for her. Even later, as he recalls the “doghouse” incident–which he mistakenly attributes to Sweethearts; in fact, it happened during Naughty Marietta, as a photo of the event can attest—and that’s a very, very well known story so you can see how shaken up, messed up and tired the man is. Nelson is usually very on point with the details. That mistake is interesting, in and of itself. Anyway, even as he recalls that incident, his telling of the anecdote comes from the perspective of someone who is on her side, even ending with the comment, “I mean, who doesn’t want to look at the rushes?” His delight with her antics and cleverness, even in this sad sort of retrospect, is also apparent. He’s proud of his girl.

And my favorite thing—him pointing out that she was smart. He starts out referring to her in present tense and corrects himself, which is sad, but I love that comment. J-Mac, he didn’t just want you for your hot bod. He likes your brain. 😉

doghouse

He starts to talk about how they often talked on the phone, but is careful to go back and amend his words with my wife and I and she and Gene. Yep. ‘Kay. I’m sure Ann and Jeanette had SO MANY TOPICS on which to chatter away their idle time. Again, he’s more careful in this interview than in the first one. By the way, he mentions that he and Gale are going to rehearse the substitute material that afternoon. In reality, he got to rehearsal, sat in a chair and cried, unable to rehearse either of the replacement choices, and said as much to his audience that night.

(Paraphrased from Sweethearts, new edition, pages 516-517) Linda Knight (club member) was in the audience for the entirety of Nelson’s Anaheim run, which opened that day, January 15th. Nelson had, for a long time during his nightclub years, been in the habit of singing a special song for Jeanette at some point in the evening when Gale was offstage changing her costume–not always something the audience knew, but something that meant something to him and to her. The lights would be really low and Nelson would be illuminated with a pin spot on his face as he sang. Linda notes that this night, he was sweating profusely, was physically exhausted and emotionally drained. He sang I Married an Angel and Rose Marie seemingly okay, but choked up during the poignant little song from Bitter Sweet called If You Could Only Come With Me. Then, this night in Anaheim (as well as the closing performance, the only two nights he sang this song), the lights dimmed and Nelson’s special song was one which had been deeply significant to both him and Jeanette, and sung by both of them, for many years:

There’s a little brown road windin’ over the hill
To a little white cot by the sea
There’s a little green gate at whose trellis I wait
While two eyes o’ blue come smilin’ through at me

There’s a gray lock or two in the brown of the hair
There’s some silver in mine too, I see
But in all the long years when the clouds brought their tears
Those two eyes o’ blue kept smilin’ through at me

And if ever I’m left in this world all alone
I shall wait for my call patiently
For if Heaven be kind, I shall wait there to find
Those two eyes o’ blue come smilin’ through at me

I Like Ike — and so, in fact, does Jeanette

Believe what you will about Jeanette’s love life, but the woman’s political affiliations are no secret: homegirl was a great big fat wealthy crusty old white square patriotic-as-hell do-your-duty American Way Republican. (And she didn’t start out wealthy. She was born into a lower-working class family. She estimated that her dad’s highest salary check was never more than $25.00. She made the most of her God-given talents and worked her ass off and climbed the ladder and was wise with her money. That, kids, is the American Dream.)

……..one of the 39845723445 reasons I love her, in fact. Go ON with your bad self, Jeanette.

Here is a great picture of Jeanette with President Eisenhower in 1960, at a Meet & Greet she was hosting. Thanks very much to fellow blogger Kayla, who is both my chum and sworn enemy, for the loan of the picture–I’d never seen this shot before and it’s great! (Check out Kayla’s blog here: http://cinemadilettante.wordpress.com/ for more Old Hollywood goodness and, if you subscribe to the Gene Raymond side of all things Jeanette, that’s the place for you!) Image

How fricking cute, right???

And here she is yellin’ it up on the campaign trail:

Ikecampaign

So, with that, I will tell Nelson to go hang out in the commissary for a hot minute; his redhead and his blogger will be back with him in the next post.

I think it’s cool as shit that Jeanette was asked to come and perform in Washington, D.C. for BOTH Eisenhower inaugurations. (See? She used to be Beyonce, for those of you needing some modern-day context.) In 1953, Jeanette gave the Pre-Inauguration Concert (Ethel Merman did it in 1957). That occasion also provides the opportunity to share one of my favorite Jeanette anecdotes. She sang the National Anthem in a chiffon dress of red, white and blue…..under which our delightful little fruitbat made the occasion uber festive with coordinating bra and panties. She had a quick change after the National Anthem into white satin strapless for the rest of her performance. Generally, speaking as someone with some experience in theatrical quick-changes….you wear underwear that suits ALL your costumes if you possibly can. Not this girl. Stars and stripes forever, baby. Mary, the housekeeper, was pinch-hitting for MIA secretary Emily, and someone dropped the ball on the packing: there was no white underwear to go with the white dress. Seeing that it showed through, Jeanette handed off her underoos to Mary, saying, “I guess I’ll have to go without panties…but heaven help me and Ike if I fall down the stairs!” and thus, dear readers, she performed in our Nation’s Capitol. Bahahahaa.

So, at the 1957 inauguration, Jeanette showed up in a variety of places/roles. Friday before, she attended a Pre-Inauguration Tea and Fashion Show (wut.) and sang the National Anthem. During the actual inauguration, she was seated ON THE PLATFORM RIGHT BEHIND IKE. She recalled in a letter to her fans (Feb, 1957) that the weather was extremely overcast and misty but just as they were playing Hail to the Chief, the sun broke through the clouds and shined right on Ike, as if God in His heaven were saying, “That’s my boy!” So we need to find news footage of Ike on the platform in ’57, because the J-Mac Attack is right behind him. Super cool. Then on Tuesday, she was one of the guests at an exclusive luncheon for women who had done great work for the Republican party. At that luncheon, she sang Hello, Young Lovers, the Indian Love Call and Giannina Mia.

At the Ball that night, she sang the National Anthem again and noooowww I have a surpriiiiseeee foooorrr youuuu guuuyyssss… (the good stuff is at about 2:45)

One of our discoveries from the Library of Congress last weekend, straight out of mothballs, 57 years later. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t she?? ❤ ❤

Adios! Nelson, you can come back now!

 

 

 

 

This [Really] is Your Life, Jeanette MacDonald!

November 12, 1952

The International Optimists’ Club (is that still a thing?) decided that that perpetually happy chappy, Ralph Edwards, needed to be the recipient of a plaque. And who better to give that plaque? Well, the Queen of Optimism herself, obviously, Miss Jeanette Anna Mac-D.

Actually it was all just a huge ploy to get her to the El Capitan Theatre, where Ralph’s new-ish show, This is Your Life, was being done. The show involved ambushing an unsuspecting famous person and subjecting them to a sometimes-awkward-but-usually-fun half hour review of their lives. All sorts of conspiracy happens to pull that off, with spouses, family members, acquaintances, etc, having to be in on it but not letting on to the person involved. Maureen O’Hara’s episode is really cute, it’s on youtube and I highly recommend it.  J-Mac was one of those Hollywood types who referred to the “invasion” of television and sort of pooh-poohed it in its early days, and she was busy concertizing, so she hadn’t really gotten familiar with TIYL, but whatever, she’ll pour herself into a strapless gown and go present this Plaque O’ Optimism. She sang a concert in LA the night before anyway, so she was in town (though during this period, she spent a lot of time in New York, so LA wasn’t “base” at the moment, I don’t think. I could be mistaken about that, but it isn’t crucial information. What is interesting, however, is that she was out in LA without her husband.).

What you need to know, without spending this whole post hashing it out, is that Nelson and Jeanette were broken up at this point. The years 1949-1952 were rough for both of them, but particularly bad for Jeanette. There had been a lot of talk about her and Nelson re-teaming on a movie, maybe at Metro, maybe somewhere else, and though several possibilities were discussed and, in fact, worked on, nothing fully came to fruition. Things had been extremely rocky for the two of them personally for a while, but it came to a head, according to confidante Sybil Thomas and verified by Jeanette’s sister Blossom, when Jeanette overheard some people discussing how she had photographed in test footage. Their suggestion was that Nelson should be paired with someone younger. Feeling totally irrational and out of sorts because of other pressures and tension in their relationship, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and she decided he’d lured her into filming to humiliate her. She packed up her stuff, told Nelson she never wanted to see him again and fled home, whereupon she had a total, complete, huge nervous breakdown. The fact that it took her this long to snap, when one familiarizes oneself with the RIDICULOUS amount of stress these people were under, from work pressure to the complete wreckage of their personal lives, shows just how strong she was. (I cannot IMAGINE her photographing that badly!! She’s flippin’ GORGEOUS in her last two movies—okay so her wigs were a wee big matronly but holy hell, she is stunning. She and Nelson would have looked perfect together. Let’s go find those meanies who said she wasn’t photographing well and punch them in the face.)

Friends who knew her before and after comment that she was changed from this point on—and indeed, she seems to be meeker and less balls to the wall in her dogged pursuit of her career after this. Yes, she worked–she actually was quite busy throughout the 50s with concert and stage work and sporadic TV appearances–but as we know, she never returned to films after The Sun Comes Up in 1948.

What she did do, because Nelson seemed to be a lost cause and movies were a no-go, is try to pull herself up by the bootstraps and give her relationship with Gene some CPR. They did the play The Guardsman, with the hope of taking it to Broadway, but it closed before it got there, due in large part to the complete lack of chemistry between the leads. Ever see Smilin’ Through? Gorgeous movie, beautiful costumes, wonderful old songs, terrific story, great cast and performances—except one. Gene isn’t all that offensive in and of himself, but they don’t really give any indication that they are dying to get wild in the dressing room between shots, either. Even when Jeanette added a mini-concert to the show, it was mostly her loyal fan following who bought tickets over and over.

The Guardsman, with Gene:

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Nelson, meanwhile, worked in radio and alternated between studying religion (frantically trying to give himself some peace) and screwing a rather long line of blip-on-the-radar type women. Every one of these conquests who have been interviewed knew about his relationship with Jeanette (that is not to say that they liked it) and they all admitted that he would have left them in a hot minute to go back to her.

It was Jeanette’s sister, Blossom, who ultimately saved the day. Basically, Blossom knew about the plans for This is Your Life, she knew Nelson had already said he wasn’t interested in being a part of it, and she knew that it would look 14 kinds of bad for Jeanette if Nelson, of all people, failed to show up as one of the surprise guests. She cornered Nelson into having lunch with her, and found that he was not really aware of all the problems Jeanette had had, and he was sorry about them. Their meeting ended with him agreeing that he would show up, if nothing else, to spare Jeanette the indignity of having people wonder why he didn’t come. How she reacted to him after this period of “off-again” in their relationship would sort of dictate his next move.

There was to be a reception afterwards at the Bit of Sweden restaurant on the Sunset Strip, and the arrangements Blossom and Nelson worked out were thus: If Jeanette was glad to see Nelson and reacted well, Blossom was going to have to leave the party suddenly and Nelson would step up to give Jeanette a ride home. If she reacted badly, she would come home with Blossom as planned.

Here is a link to Jeanette’s episode of This is Your Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5C6xhQZymA

I want to be very clear right now that this episode has been edited—not much, but enough that it is important to mention. What’s missing are little seconds here and there as well as the original commercials. I have the whole uncut thing floating around somewhere on a VHS tape, so I know it’s still in existence, but for our purposes, this will do.

Look at this little Optimistic creeper, sneaking up on Ralph with her plaque:

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Ralph goes to kiss her cheek and asks if Gene is in New York and her response is, “Yes, he’s in New York, you’re safe.”

Ahahahahahaha. Gene is not going to chase you around the El Capitan, Ralph. No worries. Jeanette’s pretty sure she left him on the other coast.

And then we are treated to several full minutes of Jeanette Anna not having a single clue what the hell is going on. It’s really grand. I like the part when she scoots back on the sofa like she’s five years old.

I have absolutely no idea what this means but, sure, Ralph, you can have a pat/hug. It’ll be exactly like the pat/hug my husband gets in a few minutes:

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She gets that she’s been punked, but it takes her like, two full guests to figure out exactly what is going on. Here’s her snarky “mmhmm” and raised eyebrow when he mentions that her mom kicked the bucket and had been her “guide and inspiration”:

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She needs her glasses. Cue middle-aged-bifocals-position, holding picture way away to see what it is…

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“He’s [Gene] on a television show tonight!” ………….and you are a great big dope, babygirl. HAHAHA. Like a lamb to the slaughter, Jeanette. (Also does it not strike anyone else as interesting that she doesn’t appear to know the details about what he’s doing? He’s in NY. He’s on a television show tonight. Do you know any more than that, J-Mac? Do you care? Do you people actually talk at all ever?)

So Gene is on the phone “from New York” and she calls him Pappy and he calls her Bunc and it’s cute. “Bunc” is short for “Bunko” which was his nickname for her. Let’s go to Webster:

a swindle in which a person is cheated at gambling, persuaded to buy a nonexistent or worthless object, or otherwise victimized

or

a complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care

or

a fraud

Anybody else see the absolutely fantastic humor in this? THE OTHER HALF OF MY FAKE MARRIAGE, BUNKO. Hey, if you’re going to be part of this ridiculous mess, you gotta have a sense of humor. I guess that goes for the principals as well as the followers.

And just look at her, waving at the TV. She is so, so cute. And so embarrassing. It sucks that she didn’t have kids, if for no other reason than she would have been awesome at being mortifying in moments such as these. Nobody told her that dress was not the greatest, I guess. Oh well. She fared better than some actresses of her generation in the 50s.

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How do you not love this human? How. Just how. ❤ ❤ ❤

Gene: Will you call me afterwards?

Jeanette: Will you be home?

……………….And there you have it, folks. Ha. Gene says he’ll “wait for your call and make the date afterwards.” Great. Gene’s sort of sniggering laugh gets on my nerves and always has. But anyway.

Ralph mentions her amazing contribution to the Army Emergency Relief Fund during the war and she reacts with sweet modesty. Never call this girl’s patriotism into question, kids. She practically bleeds red, white and blue. Another moment I love is when Ralph shows her a picture of her jitterbugging with a random soldier at the Hollywood Canteen (before bringing him onstage) and she remembers his first and last name, plus the fact that he was married and had a baby. A brief encounter in a busy life from ten years before, and look at her. What a sweetie pie.

Then her 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Edna Clear comes out, and Jeanette is again the very picture of adorable charm and grace. Ms. Clear says Jeanette was one of her “most brilliant” pupils, which is a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery long stretch (J-Mac was not a very good student–she got much more learned later in life and “never regretted not going to college”). Even so, it’s super cute. Then they show some pictures from her movies and play a little strain of music from each. She coos during Lover Come Back to Me, by the way. Ralph makes mention of her “great co-star, Nelson Eddy” and look at her face:

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Nervous wreck. When she had first gotten there that night, some wise-ass parking employee told Helen Ferguson (who brought her) to park Miss MacDonald’s car “over there beside Nelson Eddy’s”….and this is the point where I think she really starts realizing that maybe that guy wasn’t being stupid. Maybe Nelson is here. Is he really here? Is he coming out? How is he going to act? …How am I going to act? Shit. Keep it together, Jeanette. You’re on national television. Crap crap crap. Is he really here?

She seems to breathe a little when they mention her wedding date, because she realizes Nelson is not the next person coming out. Dr. Martin, the minister who married her and Gene, comes out and, as soon as he’s there, Jeanette sportingly drops the nervous look and becomes all warmth and sweetness again. Dr. Martin pontificates a little about they “show in their life the philosophy of the holy bonds of matrimony” and Jeanette looks down, embarrassed. Yep, that’s a little awkward.

And here comes Gene. She hugs him and tells him he played it “very well and very straight” and he goes, “Did I play it straight?”

Guys, it’s a cheap laugh and it’s wrong, but I WILL NEVER NOT CHUCKLE.

So then Ralph brings Nelson up again and that look is back on Jeanette’s face. Awesome, now she gets to see Nelson for the first time in a very long time and Gene’s going to be here for the fun, too! And check out Gene, looking to see how she is reacting—he’s already seen Nelson backstage at this point:

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Grace Newell, Jeanette’s life-long voice teacher and “adopted” mother (according to the sweetest ever letter written by Jeanette to Grace, who outlived her, a few months before Jeanette’s death) comes out next and is precious, and Grace is followed by our heroine, Blossom, who so plainly adores her sister–and the feeling is completely mutual. Then they say something about Elsie the Family Cow—excuse me, I mean Elsie, the other MacDonald sister–and this part is edited out of this youtube video, but, Scout’s Honor, Jeanette wrinkles her nose at Blossom and mouths, “Oh, is she here too?” Elsie is not our favorite sister, you see. Nevertheless, she’s there, all lacquered and blonde and awkward, but definitely related two the other two and sporting the one characteristic that all three sisters got in full measure: an absolutely gorgeous set of teeth. Check out the teeth on these girls!

And finally, but finally, Ralph turns the subject to love, and we know Nelson must be next. (No, I’m totally serious, that happens.) At the word “love”, music begins to play in the background—the song that Nelson sang at Jeanette and Gene’s wedding—and her face is unchanged, but you can see Gene beginning to watch her carefully. And then, from backstage, Nelson starts to sing.

Here is the link to the video of Nelson’s portion of the episode. If you don’t have 25 minutes to kill on the other one, WATCH THIS ONE. It’s two and a half minutes long and it’s sort of the law that you watch it. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and it still kills me.

The INSTANT she hears his voice — I actually put a stopwatch on it. It takes her three-quarters of a second to go from polite listening to full-blown O-face.

The MacDonald Ecstasy:

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NOBODY ELSE GOT ANYTHING CLOSE TO THIS REACTION.

And then, in the 10 seconds following that reaction, she begins to cry. While her head is still back, you see her struggling to keep her emotions in check, and failing. Gene, watching all this in a sort of bemused way, sportingly hands her his handkerchief. There are people who say, “Oh, I would get teary too, listening to a song from my wedding,” …but it has nothing to do with the song. She reacted before he’d even formed one word. It is the sound of Nelson’s voice. The affirmation that he is there, that he is singing, that he still cares about her enough to show up. He’s there, and he’s there for her, and she knows it at once.

She and Nelson make eye contact for just a moment, and he reaches out and takes her hand–the same one that has the handkerchief in it. Still emotional, she grabs the handkerchief away and holds it in her other hand, the better to hold his hand with. (This part is taking me forever to write because I get caught up in watching it!)

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It’s really hard to capture, because he’s turning towards her and the youtube quality of this recording sucks, but Nelson is definitely smiling, having seen her reaction and felt her hand probably squeezing the crap out of his:

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It is necessary to note here that Nelson is reading the lyrics while he sings—VERY unusual for him. One good look at her face, and you see his arm move as he throws the music behind the couch. He’s not holding it in the next shot. She has been effectively turned into a puddle of MacGoo:

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He keeps squeezing and wiggling her hand, just like he used to do in all their movies—Girl of the Golden West contains a scene of such blatant hand porn that it might be too much for this blog. And then she just sort of melds right up into his arms.

And it looks for a split second that their faces are going in the same direction, but damn it, no kiss. They remember they’re on TV.

And then Jeanette finds herself exactly where she is supposed to be. ❤

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Blissed-out MacDonald, right there. Gene who???

Gene literally could have dropped dead off to the side and nobody would have noticed.

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Look at Nelson. Star football player and his cheerleader girlfriend, anyone? Still holding hands, by the way.

Then Gene shakes hands with Nelson, who still has Jeanette’s hand, and look at Gene’s body language here:

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That two-handed grip is known as the “politician’s handshake” and body language research defines this as “an attempt to control the situation or person” ………Welp. Yep.

Nelson, being cute, addresses her as “Jeanette–I may call you Jeanette, may I?” and she laughs and Gene, in some sort of fiercely misguided attempt to be relevant, goes, “That’s all right, old man, I give you my permission.”

Hey, Gene! HERE’S A GREAT BIG DOSE OF FUCK OFF.

Nelson, by the way, skipped the rehearsal for TIYL the day before (but he DID attend Jeanette’s concert at the Philharmonic–this was noted by several sources, including a rather rude critic who found Nelson’s presence at the concert more exciting than the concert. He just didn’t go backstage to see her afterwards.) and had the TIYL people scrambling in blind panic for replacement people to try to fill the gap if he really didn’t show on the actual day. When he did arrive, he was given a prepared speech–the only guest to get one—because he hadn’t attended the rehearsal and they didn’t feel he could be “trusted” to make the appropriately PC comments. He doesn’t even get through all of his statement before he sort of trails off and Jeanette is like, “Well Nelson, what can I say, except it (his performance) was certainly one of the highlights of our wedding (snort) and we’ll never forget it!”

He then kisses her hand and that’s more-or-less it. At the end of the show, she’s given a wristwatch and she sort of starts to show it to Gene, but then shows it to someone on her right—whether that is Nelson or Blossom or just a coincidence, I’m not sure.

The fact remains that Jeanette was not an overly weepy-in-public type, and Nelson totally did her in, the moment she heard him. It’s amazing what you can learn about her, just from watching this show. Her chemistry with Gene is palsy and fun, but her chemistry with Nelson is emotional and adoring. This moment in time was the catalyst for their reconciliation, and they would be “on again” from this point until her death in 1965.

So thanks, Ralph Edwards! But more importantly… thanks, Blossom. 🙂

MacEddy at the Melchiors’….Bottoms up!

In honor of Easter, I’m going to take you all on a merry Easter Egg Hunt through the beautifully manicured lawns of Mr. and Mrs. Lauritz Melchiors’ 25th Anniversary Party. (Melchior was a cool dude, check him out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauritz_Melchior)

I might even photoshop some painted eggs onto the pictures.*

*I probably won’t do that.

So here’s the thing, folks. You people who still actually think that Jeanette and Nelson DISLIKED each other, please step to the left. I get that there are people who don’t think they were in love with each other, but at this point you basically are forced to admit they were AT LEAST good friends. Jeanette, in her own writings to her fan club for publication in The Golden Comet, their quarterly magazine thingy, writes about socializing with Nelson on numerous occasions. There are many pictures of them together at social functions–sometimes with their spouses, sometimes not. The dynamics in all of the pictures are always interesting. But given their propensity to socialize together and all the nice things they had to say about each other over the years, and how they both tell the same story about the “Mac/Eddy Feud” –it’s pretty clear that they liked each other just fine…in a socially acceptable, double-dating way of course. Mmmhmm. Yep. Certainly.

Another myth perpetuated by the JMIFC and still tossed about by the members who are still alive/active, is that Jeanette hated coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages of any description.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

In the cookbook Lookin’ In and Cookin’ In with the MacRaymonds at Twin Gables that was issued by the JMIFC in 1984 with the help of Gene Raymond, there are two mentions of her not liking coffee and barely tolerating tea (though she mentions coffee in several menus she gave for various parties and gives her recipe for coffee ice cream) and at least as many mentions of her not liking alcohol…  In the same book, there are no fewer than eight pictures of her seated at a tea/coffee service or with a tea/coffee cup in her hand and at least one where she is having a cocktail. In addition, there are references to appropriate wines for her dishes! Outside of the book, there are dozens of pictures of her having coffee or tea on the set, but I’m not digging those all up unless I have to. The point is, this is a minor thing but totally in line with what the JMIFC does best; forge merrily ahead with the very PC, squeaky clean PR version of things and happily ignore what the pictures (and, indeed, the principle subjects!) say to the contrary.

Here, in her own handwriting, Jeanette neatly annihilates the notion that she didn’t like to drink:

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“I don’t believe I told you, but last week after it was all over and all the hard work over, I went out and got a snout full — not too full but enough to warrant complete relaxation and how! Had about a quart of port wine and I do love port. My leading man was along and we had about a million laughs but that’s all — it would have been much more interesting had you been there for wine always makes me sentimental — …” (Excerpted from The Irving Stone Letters)

I mean… you guys ever drink port? I had two TINY glasses of it Christmas Eve and it knocked me on my ass. I’m the champion lightweight of all time, but even so….a quart? Good gracious, Jeanette. And wine “always” makes her sentimental. So, yeah. Not the first and only time she ever did that, folks.

And I’m SO not judging her for it! I don’t care at all, in fact, I’m all about her having a drink if she wants to have a drink—my problem is these people who act like she was some sort of teetotaling angelic virginal goddess. She was a human being, okay? I don’t believe she was a heavy drinker, or even a “regular” drinker–but I do think we have enough proof that she was a “social” drinker –and yeah, probably got drunk every now and again– and WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM? Please don’t project your own psychopathic morality onto her just because you think her ass doesn’t get really uncomfy sitting on top of that pedestal, is all I’m asking.  (Guess what else, guys? She had sex before she was married, too. And she occasionally had to go potty like everybody else. I’ll wait while you peel yourselves up off the floor.)

Gratuitous picture of Jeanette drinking that has always made me laugh:

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So anyway, what does all this have to do with the Melchior party? Plenty. From what I can tell, the evening was very “well lubricated” as everyone, most especially our darling redheaded one, is constantly seen with drink in hand. Who the heck can BLAME her, I think I might need a few drinks too if I had to stick it out at a party with the guy I loved…and his wife…and my husband. No matter how well they played it, that’s got to be awkward. I feel like the shot below was fairly early in the proceedings. (Ann looks the best she’s ever looked at this party and Jeanette still outclasses her by a country mile.) Nelson is pretty much screwed seven ways South of Sunday so he’s just decided to smile real big and Jeanette is by this time maybe on her second Tom Collins (she loved a good Tom Collins. I have been told this by someone who made them for her in the early 60s.) …so she’s starting to not give a rat’s behind if Ann is there or not. Party like it’s 1926, people. Notice that her highball glass is almost full here.

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And that, to my knowledge, is the first and last glimpse of Ann we get at this party. My pal Angela suggested it was because the spell that made her pretty for 10 minutes wore off, but it has to be some other reason, I suppose. (In all seriousness, please, if you have other pictures from this occasion with ANY of the main parties in them, please send them to me! I’d love to see them! I have no problem with being incorrect!)

Moving on, we find, most peculiarly, that dinner has been served and indeed, has been eaten (because it’s brandy and cigars time, so dinner is a thing of the past), and there is no trace of Ann Eddy or Gene Raymond…but Tweedledee and Tweedledum over here managed to sit together.

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Geez, Melchior, you have a lot of medals.

So, let’s talk about all these lines and arrows with which I helpfully ruined this hi-res scan. (Thanks for the scan, Maria!)

A. Homegirl has a brandy snifter. And it isn’t full. Also, that seems to be a bottle on the table in front of her snifter. BYOB at the Melchior house? Awesome. I hope Nelson wired her, “ANN COMING TONIGHT STOP UNAVOIDABLE STOP BRING THE GOOD STUFF STOP LOVEYOUMEANIT STOP”

B. That highball glass is halfway down—really can’t be the same one all this time later or the ice would have melted. So. Atta girl, J-Mac.

C. GOOD GOD LOOK AT ALL THE EMPTY GLASSES. Either this guy at the head of the table is really knocking them over or some of that collection is Jeanette’s.

Now, check out the fact that Jeanette is slightly angled in her chair towards Nelson. If you look at her reflection in the glass behind her, you can see the angle more clearly. Very good, very good. Many of us learned in some sort of high school math how to calculated the projected intersection of two lines, right? Well, check out the line from where her leg is and the line of his arm, going under the table. Now look at Nelson’s face. Bwahahaha. Get your hand off her leg, buddy. Or don’t. Please. Ever. And she’s being a giant hambone with that cigar but look at her face…..yeah, she was photographed mid-something, but she looks pretty amused.

Which leads us to the third photograph of the night and the magical appearance of Gene Raymond.

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I think this looks like 2am when everyone has decided to be buddies and sing a rousing chorus of We Are the World.

And, ya know, look who doesn’t give a flying you-know-what anymore and has his arm around his girl.

Hint: Not Gene.

Look at Mrs. Melchior. She effing KNOWS and she’s just like, “I’ll drink to that, yo.”

Side note: Jeanette has switched from the highballs and the brandy to the champagne. Excellent.

In conclusion, Jeanette didn’t hate alcohol too too much, she liked to sit next to Nelson and play Lost My Spouse at fancy dinners and it’s all very grand. Just one night out of so many that they had absolutely NOTHING going on between them. 🙂