Tag Archives: Joe DiMaggio

Halloween 2008

For Halloween this year, I desperately wanted my boyfriend and I to dress up like Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.  I know, total shocker.  🙂  It all ended up coming together quite perfectly, too, as earlier this summer I found a white dress a la Marilyn’s subway grate ensemble, that was super inexpensive.  I also happened to have an appointment to get my hair cut on Halloween morning, so I asked my amazing hair stylist, Martina, if she could do me up Marilyn style.  She happily obliged and even offered to do my make-up for me.  Without even looking at a picture of the starlet for reference, she was able to whip my hair into a full-on Marilyn ‘do and apply my make-up perfectly!  I was shocked!  When I asked her how she did it without using a photo, she said “Honey, that’s what I do!”  LOL  I actually think the effect may have been too good, though, because I had FIVE people stop me and say “Has anyone ever told you that you look EXACTLY like Marilyn Monroe.”  Even though it was Halloween, no one seemed to realize I was wearing a costume – they thought I just looked like Marilyn naturally.  LOL  That actually might be good news, though – as maybe someday I’ll get to play MM in a big screen biopic of the star.  🙂  

Anyway, since we couldn’t find anything to do in L.A. for Halloween (we were literally all dressed up with no place to go!), I dragged my boyfriend to Downtown Palm Springs.  We spent the evening walking around Downtown, barhopping, hanging out, and watching all the other people in costumes.  We had a blast!  And I even got stopped by a Japanese tourist who wanted her photo taken with me.  🙂 

We ended up spending most of our evening at the Palm Springs Riviera Resort & Spa – a legendary Palm Springs hot spot from back in the 50s and 60s.  The resort recently underwent a complete rennovation and has been closed down for the past year.  It only just reopened two weeks ago and it is a very cool, very hip spot to hang out.  The hotel has a 50s-modern style vibe to it, made complete with a large picture of Marilyn made out of Guatemalan coins hanging in the lobby, so, of course, I had to snap a photo of it. 🙂   And the Riviera is even a filming location!   It was featured as the hotel where Connie Stevens stayed in the 1963 flick Palm Springs Weekend.

 

The poolside Bikini Bar, where we hung out all night, is fabulous with its large firepits and ultra-comfy lounge chairs.   While there we ran into 90s actor Jeff Prettyman, who is currently retired and living in Palm Springs.  Jeff acted in the movies Young Guns  and Cheerleader Camp, so of course I had to take a pic with him.  🙂

The following morning, I was reading a Palm Springs magazine in our hotel room and I happened to spot a photograph of Marilyn Monroe posing at the Racquet Club of Palm Springs (pictured above), a place I had never heard of.  So, of course, on our way out of town I had to drag my boyfriend to stalk it.

 But unfortunately, when we arrived there wasn’t much to see as the area is currently a large constuction zone.  The once legendary resort and Hollywood playground is currently closed and undergoing a $50 million rennovation with the surrounding land being turned into luxury condominiums and lofts.  That was the plan, anyway.  In 2004, architect Van Scott Jones and financial handler Michael Mueller purchased the land with big plans to restore the resort to its former grandeur.  However, just a few days ago the property went into forclosure and the fate of the Racquet Club is now left up in the air.  I truly hope someone comes in to rescue this piece of Hollywood and Palm Springs history.  Oddly enough, for some reason the construction area was not entirely fenced in, and since there weren’t any “no trespassing” signs posted, my boyfriend and I ventured in for a little looksie. 

It was very, very cool to be walking around a piece of property that holds so much history.  While there, I could just imagine the screen legends of the day lounging poolside under the desert sun.  You can see the now empty pool behind me in the above photograph.     

The Palm Springs Racquet Club was opened up on Christmas Day of 1933 by actors Ralph Bellamy and Charlie Farrell, who wanted a place in the desert where they could play tennis.  The resort became enormously popular with the celebs of the day – a playground to the stars, compete with tennis courts, a large swimming pool and a legendary bar named the Bamboo Lounge.  The bloody mary cocktail was actually first concocted in that lounge.  Apparently, Racquet Club guests needed a little “hair of the dog” each morning to cure their budding hangovers, so the Lounge chefs mixed together a few ingredients and, voila, the bloody mary was born.  The owners of a New York bar named the 21 Club often stayed at the Racquet Club and fell in love with the new cocktail.  They ended up bringing the drink back to their New York bar and the rest, as they say, is history.  The Racquet Club didn’t fare quite as well as the cocktail created there, though, and due to dwindling profits, it was sold several times and quickly fell into dilapidation and disarray.  

Among the stars who hung out at the Racquet Club in its heyday – Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Jane Russell, Bob Hope, Jayne Mansfield, Gregory Peck, Errol Flynn, John Kennedy, Bing Crosby, Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra, Spencer Tracy, Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Ronald Regan, and, of course, my girl Marilyn Monroe, who spent New Years of 1948 there with her agent Johnny Hyde (pictured above).  Rumor has it that Marilyn was actually discovered by photographer Bruno Bernard while lounging poolside at the Club, but I am not sure how true that story is. 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Raquet Club of Palm Springs is located at 2743 North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.  The Palm Springs Riviera Resort & Spa is located at 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive, also in Palm Springs.  If you need your hair styled like Marilyn – or if you just need a new ‘do in general – you can visit Martina Maina at T-Birds Salon, located at 1808 West Olive Avenue in Burbank.  You can visit T-Birds website here.  T-Birds is located right across the street from an oft used filming location – the Safari Inn – which was featured in True Romance  and Apollo 13 .

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Marilyn Merlot

I am still very much in the throws of my Marilyn Monroe obsession, and it is definitely true what they say – the more you think about something, the more you attract that thing to you.  My father happened to be going through his wine collection last week and discovered a bottle of “Marilyn Merlot” wine that he had purchased almost a decade ago.  No one in my family has ever been a big Marilyn fan, so it was a fairly random purchase.  My dad says he came across the wine one day many years ago in a grocery store and he grabbed it thinking it might one day be a collector’s item.  Due to my recent obsession, he of course gave the bottle to me and I quickly put it on display in my kitchen.  Flash forward to this past weekend, when my parents were vacationing in Monterey, California.  They made a visit to their favorite wine shop there, Terranova Fine Wines, and lo and behold, sitting on a shelf in the store was a vast collection of the Marilyn Wines, including the one my father had just given me.  It’s present day worth?  $225!!  Guess he was right about it one day being a collector’s item.  🙂

Bob, the owner of Terranova, filled my dad in on the history of the Marilyn Wines.  Apparently, in 1985 two Napa area brothers gained exclusive rights to Marilyn’s name and certain images of the starlet and decided to use them on bottles of wine.  Beginning in ’85, the brothers released a new vintage of Marilyn Merlot each year on her birthday – June 1 – each with a different photograph of the screen legend.  The wine was not extremely popular until its fourth vintage when it caught the attention of a Japanese businessman who formed a partnership with the brothers.  They agreed that 60 percent of each year’s vintage would be sold exclusively in Japan, as Marilyn is still a huge icon there.  They also agreed to only release a limited quantity of each year’s wine, so as to prevent overflooding of the market.  Today the wines are hugely successful, with some vintages costing upwards of thousands of dollars.  The brothers have branched out and now also produce Marilyn Cabernet, Norma Jeane Wines, the Velvet Collection, and Blonde de Noirs, their latest creation of sparkling wines.  All royalties from the sales of the wines go to Anna Strasberg, the wife of Marilyn’s beloved acting coach, Lee Strasberg, to whom Marilyn left everything in her will.  Anna allocates the money to the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and the Anna Freud Fondation in London.

That same day that my parents learned the history of the Marilyn Wines, my boyfriend and I were actually stalking the Beverly Hills home Marilyn shared for a few short months with husband Joe DiMaggio.  Monroe and DiMaggio rented the house in April of 1954 while Marilyn was in town filming There’s No Business Like Show Business.  The home, which is most often referred to as Joe and Marilyn’s honeymoon home, is a very cute, but nondescript Elizabethan style house.  It is amazing to me to that she lived in such a normal home at the height of her career. 

On October 6, 1954 a distraught Marilyn held a press conference on the front lawn of this home announcing her divorce from Joe DiMaggio.  The press were out in force that day, camped out in Marilyn’s front yard, to document the event.  Marilyn vacated the home shortly thereafter.  You can see a slide-show of the press conference that took place that day here.  Although it is a very long slide-show, there are quite a few photographs where you can see the home in the background.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Marilyn and Joe’s honeymoon home is located at 508 North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills, just off Santa Monica Boulevard.  Terranova Fine Wines is located at 315 Calle Principal in Monterey, California.  If you visit the store, be sure to ask for Bob, who has a vast knowledge of Marilyn Monroe and the Marilyn Wines.  You can also visit the Terranova website here.

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