Sunday, May 5, 2013

Marilyn Visits Vancouver

This is a special edition of the Vancouver Vagabond. It was written by a friend of mine, T.L. Burns, and looks at the one and only time Marilyn Monroe visited Vancouver.

July 1953. Marilyn Monroe and entertainment promoter, Ivan Ackery. The Province newspaper is credited with this photo.
William Cunningham took this photo of Marilyn at the Vancouver Airport.

Cunningham also took this photo, the location is unknown but if you look closely it obviously the same place as the first photo.

On Friday, July 24, 1953, Marilyn Monroe spent a less than a day in Vancouver on her way to Banff and Jasper to film River of No Return.  But while she was there, she made quite an impression.  She toured Stanley Park, met Squamish Chief Mathias Joe Capilano, and seemed to fall in love with one of the players of the B.C. Lions.

A lengthy article in The Sun from staff reporter, Jack Wasserman, had nearly a whole page to say about his day with Marilyn. This is how it starts: “This story is written for and dedicated to the 10,000 people who will approach me in the next couple of weeks and ask, ‘What is Marilyn Monroe really like?’

She is a sweet, unaffected, smooth-talking, sloe-eyed American girl with a 37-inch bust and a sense of humour  believe it or not.

Take the word of a reporter who spent nearly eight hours Friday with interviewing, protecting, and just looking at Marilyn, 20th Century Fox’s contribution to culture.

My day with Marilyn began shortly after noon at the Seattle-Tacoma airport where the blonde star stepped off a northbound United Airlines plane into the arms of a crown of U.S. servicemen.

It ended when she stepped onto a Jasper-bound Canadian National Railways train in Vancouver that had been help up for 15 minutes while she battled her way through a mob of autograph and curiosity seekers who plugged the station entrance.

 During that time she signed hundreds of autographs, posed for 373 amateur and professional photographers, was interviewed by 32 newspapermen (11 of whom had actually been assigned to the story), strutted her stuff on the tarmac at Vancouver International Airport, and went on a sightseeing tour of Stanley Park and the Capilane Indian Reservation.” Crazy right? All this in a few hours.

Wasserman went on to say that she’s forthright and talks easily, sometimes wittily. He also noted in his article that she has gold flecks in her blue eyes, and a tiny mole on her left cheek. She was wearing a tight-fitting black suit, a turquoise high necked, sleeveless sweater, silk stockings and open-toed black shoes. With him being so detailed, we feel he is smitten.
He quoted her in the article as saying “I’m really my very own self, from tip to toe.” And as part of her forthrightness, she told him her measurements and that she tints her hair.  He also said that the mussed-up look she has is not by accident. While talking with him, she constantly ran her fingers through her hair.  He states, “It was a terrible temptation to join her.”

She talked with him about her childhood and having lived in 15 different foster homes; about her nickname of string bean because she was taller than the other girls; her dreams of being a star; her collection of books and the college night classes she was taking.  When talking with him face to face, he assured his readers that though this information may sound trite from a reporters typewriter, it’s gospel when Marilyn looks out from under her long eyelashes and smiles at you.
Other members of the party headed for Banff and Jasper to make the movie “River of No Return” included Robert Mitchum, his wife and baby, he-man Rory Calhoun, and wife Lita Barron, a beauteous babe who isin the dark-haired league what Marilyn is among blondes, and dialogue director Natasha Lytess.

When Marilyn was told that the B.C. Lions football club planned to make her a presentation, she caught a glimpse of big Vic Chapman in full uniform heading toward her and exclaimed ecstatically, “Oooo, do I get the football player?” When Wasserman asked her if she was engaged to Joe DiMaggio, she said “No, I am not.”  He states that she looked a trifle disappointed when all she got was an orchid from Chapman.

Finally, after hours of pictures, autographs, and questions, she made her way to the hotel to eat and relax for a few hours before she was once again on the road to start the filming of “River of No Return.” 
Back then, it’s not hard to visualize Marilyn taking up nearly an entire page in the news; but even today, she still garners press from all over the world.  Her image is one of the most recognizable images ever. 
I have with me today the co-authors of the What She Knew Trilogy, K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns.  Their first book, Fateful Night, is being released May 10th of this year.  Their story is one of intrigue, mystery with a touch of conspiracy about Marilyn Monroe and the many secrets she knew. Here’s a brief synopsis:
The "What She Knew Trilogy" is a fast paced story of intrigue and mystery involving America's favourite sex goddess, Marilyn Monroe. This series has all the elements of the next blockbuster hit. We weave together a story of intrigue, mystery, with just a touch of conspiracy. In this period piece; high profile, never forgotten, iconic, historical characters are resurrected and showcased in a new light; bringing humour, depth and warmth to an all-star cast.

The fascination with Marilyn Monroe has never died nor have the questions surrounding her death been fully satisfied. This past August marked the 50th anniversary of her death and she is hotter than ever.

She has millions of fans worldwide; over three hundred thousand Facebook fans, and nearly one hundred thousand Twitter fans ~ most of which are under the age of 24; which makes Marilyn more ‘alive’ today than she was in the early 1960’s.

Many stars have tried to personify the Marilyn mojo. Uma Thurman, who sang as ‘Marilyn’ during a guest appearance earlier this year on NBC’s “Smash”. Scarlett Johanson perfected the ‘Marilyn’ pout for a Dolce & Gabbana spring makeup campaign in 2010. Michelle Williams earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her 2011 portrayal of Marilyn in “My Week with Marilyn”. These are modern day glamour girls who ‘got the look’ of Marilyn Monroe and made a big splash with the public.

Given the popularity of and our research on Marilyn Monroe; we’ve simply utilized the events leading up to her death and added our own take on what happened. Following the historical timeline closely as well as the world events of the day, we have created a compelling story of what if Marilyn had lived and ‘what she knew’ was enough to save John F. Kennedy from assassination.
We have fans of all ages and backgrounds that ask us all the time where is Marilyn Monroe? One of our reviewers had this to say, 'A book that makes you wonder..."Could it really be true?"' Our hope is that you, the reader, have a similar reaction and have a hard time putting the book down as other reviewers have shared.

We both hope that you can let yourself 'believe' and that you enjoy the 'what if?'

These are the beautiful ladies who have penned this incredible book.
And this is the cover.

You can find their book on Amazon as an ebook.  In a few short weeks, it will also be available in paperback.

Here’s how you can connect with them and keep up with the latest happenings:
FacebookTwitter and their website. If you are on Facebook, be sure to join the online release party on the evening of May 11.

Tomorrow I will be publishing my regular entry. So this week you got an extra post and I would like to thank the 'What She Knew' ladies for making me a part of this exciting journey.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. Thank you so very much Karen! We enjoyed researching about Marilyns one time stay in Vancouver. And, we always love the beautiful photo's you have on your blog and the rich history you share with us. Blessings to you, K.R. and T.L.

    1. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. Did you see today where I wrote on Jack Wasserman? I even found a photo of him.

      Thanks for supporting the blog. And thanks for writing this entry.

    2. I should have written to you ages ago, yes, I saw the blog on Jack Wasserman. Good job! I really do enjoy your blog very much.

    3. Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad that we have 'met'.

    4. Here's the link to our book that is now out, Fateful Night, Book One of the What She Knew Trilogy -

      Also, an article of this event in the Vancouver Sun, July 27, 2013. This goes nicely with our post above. Enjoy!

    5. Thanks for the updates tamylee!

  2. The Vancouver Sun ran this today on their "THIS DAY IN HISTORY" feature as July 27, 1953, so I sent them a letter asking them to look into more. Great article by the way.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I let the author of this piece know and gave her a link.