14 July 2012

Take the Time Machine: Join the Classic Hollywood Stars at a Fabulous Party




Do you know the feeling? A permanent state of mind that just doesn't wanna leave you? The same dream experienced over and over again? 

Sometimes I wish I could have experienced the good old days in Hollywood.

I wish I could take a time machine and go back and meet the stars from that time, like, Bogie, Jimmy and Ava or anyone else I'd happen to bump into. Just talking, dancing and laughing. Listening to their life stories and passions. Sharing dreams and thoughts and stuff like that - and just marvel in their presence..!

I've had this dream for a long time now - about my favorite classic icons, all from different decades joined together in one room - imagining how they would be talking and acting. Maybe even not so very far from how they act in the movies?

It's a silly fantasy, I know. It just has to be fulfilled, nevertheless. Somehow...
That's why I wrote it.



Presently, sipping martinis (shaken, not stirred) with Bogie and Bette Davis at “Rick's Café Américain”, dressed in a gold lamé evening gown and with a permanent wave, while William Powell and Myrna Loy are scampering about, trying to catch Asta, not noticing that the Marx brothers are making hilarious imitations of them. Not surprisingly, Carole Lombard decides to join in the rip-roaring chase. Meanwhile, Cary Grant is making daiquiris (and eyebrows) at the corner of the bar where a tipsy Marilyn Monroe is trying to seduce a stone faced Glenn Ford and Vincent Price; without much success as they’re more interested in watching Bing Crosby and Doris Day performing on the stage. Near the stage, Jean Harlow is leaning against the piano where Cole Porter sits, laughing loudly at one of Bob Hope’s jokes (Grace Kelly is hardly smiling, however) and The Andrews Sisters are getting ready for another swing number accompanied by a few quick dance steps from Ginger Rogers.

All the while, Lauren Bacall has been walking calmly around among the gentlemen trying to get some light for her cigarette, giving sultry looks, and Clark Gable has danced several dances with a now very tired Greta Garbo – which has not gone unnoticed by a scowling and pouting Joan Crawford who is serving drinks. She is pushed aside, because at this moment, James Cagney attempts to pick a fight with a puzzled Jimmy Stewart but is interrupted by Errol Flynn (in a very drunken state), only to be held back by John Wayne who patiently tries to calm down both gentlemen. Luckily, Marlene Dietrich goes on stage, now dressed in menswear, smoking her cigarette, and drawing all attention to her for a long moment.

Judy Garland is seen chatting animatedly with Charlie Chaplin and Olivia de Havilland at one of the many tables, and in the middle of the dance floor Douglas Fairbanks is swirling a giggling Ava Gardner around, while Jane Russell has a hard time trying to keep Henry Fonda concentrated on dancing the rumba. All evening, Lana Turner and Mary Pickford have been persistently hitting on Paul Newman and Rudolph Valentino, and it finally seems to pay off as the handsome guys start to react. Nobody really pays any attention to Peter Lorre who sneaks around along the walls, watching the guests with a suspicious look in his eyes. With some luck, he manages to dodge a champagne glass sent flying across the room by a hopping mad Rosalind Russell, originally meant for a baffled Rock Hudson, her apparently unsuccessful date for the evening. ‘He surely can do no wrong’, Julie Andrews remarks wryly to her fellow spectator in the shape of Alfred Hitchcock, who, in reply, calmly observes how much male attention the young, sparkling Vivien Leigh receives in this very moment. This goes unnoticed by a fidgety Claudette Colbert nearby who instead struggles to find her pack of cigarettes in her handbag and rolls her eyes when no one kindly offers her one of theirs. Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor and Maureen O’Hara are playing bridge in the corner of the room, while Laurence Olivier and Hedy Lamarr are their serious spectators (with Hedy once in a while commenting on the scientific methods of cardplaying and the statistics of winning). Sean Connery interrupts and joins the party and within a few minutes he’s proclaimed the winner of the game – much to his fellow players’ regret. At a game of pool Mickey Rooney has joined in together with Yul Brynner and Gregory Peck, each of them frowning, trying to figure out how good their opponents are at this game.

After a rocking number from Elvis; Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly perform a zippy tap dance to the number “Happy Feet” played by Glenn Miller and his band and get loads of applause. Katharine Hepburn’s significant laughter suddenly cuts through the heady sound of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, and Rita Hayworth has for the eleventh time this evening received a rose from an unknown admirer. Jack Lemmon tries his luck as a bartender, despite persistent advice from Frank Sinatra not to, and it only ends up higgledy-piggledy when Ann Sheridan – by accident, of course – receives a strange mix of whipped cream, vodka and orange juice into her face. Sitting next to her, Barbara Stanwyck and Joe E. Brown are laughing their heads off while Barbara butts her twentieth cigarette in some of the whip cream on the bar counter. The Chordettes perform “Mr. Sandman” on stage, while a chipper Lionel Barrymore shakes a leg and hums along. Meanwhile, George Sanders and James Mason attempt with an almost fatherly approach to get Debbie Reynolds down from the tables, and Jean Arthur frantically tries to convince the head waiter that her expensive fur coat indeed has been stolen. Tony Curtis hits on every single lady in the room and even manages to scare away poor Joan Fontaine and get a slap in the face from a miffed Gloria Swanson, but is cut short when he bumps into a moody Shirley MacLaine who tells him to buzz off, and afterwards get a pat on the back and some female guidance from a worried Spencer Tracy.

At present, Tippi Hedren has a bit trouble with the bird theme decoration going on in the ceiling, yet (surprisingly?) Jimmy Durante is able to distract her, and Elizabeth Taylor is staring intently at Montgomery Clift’s face, hoping the hysteria didn’t get to him. In the meantime, Natalie Wood has triumphantly beaten all the boys in a game of dart, not noticing Walter Matthau laughing at the young men’s baffled expressions when she leaves. Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quinn and Kirk Douglas are discussing whether Hollywood will continue producing adventure films and film noirs - or whether they should consider a change of genre - and not far from them, by one of the windows, facing the starry sky stands Audrey Hepburn with a dreamy expression and a hint of a smile playing on her lips. She doesn't  pay attention to Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark loudly discussing with each other who has been best at playing villain but are cut short when Edward G. Robinson approaches them, mildly suggesting them to be quiet, so that he can hear Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald sing a duet, and offers them both a soda pop and a cigar to calm the nerves. Behind them Jean Simmons and Ingrid Bergman ask Cyd Charisse about the art of dancing in high heels and tight dresses, which William Holden cannot help to overhear. As he silently shakes his head, Marlon Brando joins him for a cigarette and eagerly starts talking about civil rights, drawing a silent Sidney Poitier into the conversation.  Out in the hall, Laurel and Hardy have some trouble finding their coats and hats, as the hatcheck girl is being occupied by a charming Dean Martin, and Kim Novak sidles past him, unnoticed. Nearby, James Dean and Greer Garson are trying hard not to laugh when Peter Sellers awkwardly stumbles over a box of champagne on the floor, manages to get up with a smile and back away, only to come across a box of caviar and fall again. Hardly anyone hears him apologizing and swearing silently, just as Don Ameche unsuccessfully tries to help him up from the floor and ends up falling too because of one of Anne Baxter's poodles has got in the way. Leaning calmly against a delicate statue, Buster Keaton is rolling his eyes at the scene in front of him. David O. Selznick and Jack Warner share resigned looks, simultaneously almost regretting inviting practically everybody to the party.

Apart from that, everything seems to go just fine.

… Or have I forgotten someone? ;)