Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Cincinnati Radio Convention was a lot of fun, and it inspired me to book a room to go to the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention too. I'm very much looking forward to it.

I am currently reading Debbie Reynolds' new book Unsinkable. When I was in the early stages of my research about Dick Powell, I borrowed Debbie's first book from the library, hoping to find information about Susan Slept Here. I was disappointed, and wrote her a letter asking for anecdotes and impressions of Dick. She never responded, but she did address the film in her new book. What she says is amusing and gives me something to add to the book.

"Dick Powell and I became friends while making the film. At the time he was married to June Allyson, another MGM star. I hadn't yet met her. Before marrying Dick, June had dated many men, including John F. Kennedy, who happened to be the brother-in-law of Peter Lawford, June's co-star in Good News.

"While we were filming, Dick invited me to their ranch in Mandeville Canyon, just outside Los Angeles. Dick was a very good businessman who owned a production company with David Niven in addition to his other enterprises. Dick loved that ranch; they even had cattle. During my visit, Dick went out with the horses while June took me on a tour of the house. As we climbed up to the second floor, she stopped by a window in the hallway and instructed me to look at the view--hundreds of acres of beautiful land, a breathtaking vista. When I turned back to her, June had taken about four roses out of a bud vase and was drinking the contents of the vase before replacing the flowers. Apparently, the clear liquid was vodka. She had it stashed all over the house, in various containers.

"June went to great lengths to hide her drinking, which was strange to me, as Dick was also a big drinker. Every afternoon at five-thirty, no matter what scene we were filming, a tray with two large glasses of milk would appear on the set. Dick and the director, Frank Tashlin, would enjoy their milk, which was half whiskey."