March 22, 2019

The Story Behind the Only Known Photograph of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy Together

Fifty-seven years ago, on Aug. 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 of an overdose in her Los Angeles home. Just three months prior to her death, Monroe, dressed in a skin-tight, nude-colored dress, sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden ten days before his 45th birthday.

That now legendary performance on May 19, 1962 led to what is believed to be the only known photograph of Monroe and Kennedy together.

Marilyn Monroe standing between President John F. Kennedy (R) and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on May 19, 1962, at Hollywood executive Arthur Krim's Manhattan townhouse, following a rally for the President's 45th Birthday at Madison Square Garden. (Photo: Cecil Stoughton/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images)

The image, shown here, was taken that night at an after-party at the Manhattan townhouse of Hollywood exec Arthur Krim, by official White House photographer Cecil Stoughton.

Also seen in the photo are Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, on the left; Harry Belafonte, who also sang that night, standing in the back, and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the smiling man wearing glass on the right.

“It was Marilyn who was the hit of the evening,” according to TIME’s recap of the concert in 1962. “Kennedy plainly meant it when he said, ‘I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.'”

Stoughton had been instructed not photograph Monroe with the president, but he managed to sneak this shot. Out of respect for Jackie Kennedy, he kept the photograph secret.

Schlesinger later wrote: “The image of this exquisite, beguiling and desperate girl will always stay with me. I do not think I have seen anyone so beautiful; I was enchanted by her manner and her wit, at once so masked, so ingenuous and so penetrating. But one felt a terrible unreality about her - as if talking to someone under water. Bobby and I engaged in mock competition for her.”

That night’s performance added fuel to the rumors that Monroe was having affairs with both Kennedy brothers.

“It was pretty clear that Marilyn had had sexual relations with both Bobby and Jack,” James Spada, one of her biographers, told People on the 50th anniversary of her death.

According to another biographer, Donald Spoto, Monroe and JFK met four times between October 1961 and August 1962.

Her masseur Ralph Roberts claimed their only “sexual encounter” took place in a bedroom at Bing Crosby’s home on March 24, 1962, just two months before Monroe’s performance at MSG. “Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that,” said Roberts.

And yet, especially given Monroe’s death and Kennedy’s assassination not too long after, the idea of their relationship still holds its grip on many Americans’ imaginations.

A print of the famous photo was sold for $32,512.80 at an auction at Lelands on August 17, 2018. It is the only surviving version of the photo that Stoughton printed himself from the original negative. (A copy of the photo is part of the Life Images Collection.)


The Funniest Scenes From “I Love Lucy – The Ballet” (1952)

Lucy claims to have been a ballerina, to get into Ricky’s show. She goes to Madame Lamond’s class to hone her ballet skills.

I Love Lucy’s season one episode “The Ballet” (originally airing in February of 1952) featured not one, but two veteran Hollywood character actors in guest-starring roles: Mary Wickes and Frank J. Scannell. In the episode, Scannell appears as a comic attempting to teach Lucy a burlesque act, while Wickes plays Madame Lamond, a French ballet instructor.

The episode has Lucy attempting to steal the spotlight in Ricky’s show once again. Ricky has two acts to fill for his upcoming show. He needs a ballet performer, and a duo to put on a comedy act. Determined to fill one of those needs, Lucy attempts to pick up a talent quickly, in time to “help” Ricky by filling one of the show’s open slots.

Mary Wickes’ career in film and television spanned from the mid-1930s to the late 1990s. Notable films in which she appeared include The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Now, Voyager (1942), Higher and Higher (1943), On Moonlight Bay (1951), By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), White Christmas (1954), and the list goes on. Making the most of every decade she spent in front of the camera, she built up an extensive filmography, but made just one appearance on I Love Lucy.

Her character of Madame Lamond is comically stern, disciplining her students with a threateningly large stick. She’s not at all compatible with her lively, inexperienced student, Lucy. They engage in some very funny scenes of physical comedy, as well as a bit of banter, Madame Lamond trying (but failing, despite her best efforts) to help the clumsy Mrs. Ricardo learn the art of dance. Wickes doesn’t steal any shine from the show’s big star, instead paving the way for Lucille Ball to land gags like one in which she gets her leg stuck on the bar in the ballet studio. They’re hilarious to watch together.

Below are some of photographs from behind the scenes of I Love Lucy’s “The Ballet” taken by LIFE’s photographer Loomis Dean.

31 Beautiful Colorized Pics of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova During Their Short Marriage

In 1919, just before the rise of his career, Italian actor Rudolph Valentino impulsively married actress Jean Acker. Acker became involved with Valentino in part to remove herself from the lesbian love triangle, quickly regretted the marriage, and locked Valentino out of their room on their wedding night. The couple separated soon after, and the marriage was never consummated. The couple remained legally married until 1921, when Acker sued Valentino for divorce, citing desertion.

In 1921, Valentino first met Natacha Rambova - an American silent film costume and set designer, art director, and protégée of Nazimova - on the set of Uncharted Seas. The two worked together on the Nazimova production of Camille, by which time they were romantically involved. They married on March 14, 1923 at the Lake County Court House in Crown Point, Indiana.

Many of Valentino's friends disliked Rambova and found her controlling. During his relationship with her, he lost many friends and business associates. Towards the end of their marriage, Rambova was banned from his sets by contract. Valentino and Rambova divorced in 1925. The end of the marriage was bitter, with Valentino bequeathing Rambova one dollar in his will.

Rudolph Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova in the early 1920s

Valentino died in 1926 at the age of 31 because of Peritonitis. Considered as an early pop icon, and a sex symbol of the 1920s, who was known in Hollywood as the "Latin lover" or simply as "Valentino". His premature death caused mass hysteria among his fans and further propelled his status as a cultural film icon.

From the time he died in 1926 until the 1960s, Valentino's sexuality was not generally questioned in print. At least four books, including the notoriously libelous Hollywood Babylon, suggested that he may have been gay despite his marriage to Rambova. For some, the marriages to Acker and Rambova, as well as the relationship with Pola Negri, add to the suspicion that Valentino was gay and that these were "lavender marriages."

Here below is a beautiful colorized photo collection of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova during their short marriage.

Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova, 1921

Rudolph Valentino, Natacha Rambova and two dogs, 1922

Rudy and Natacha on the deck of the RMS Olympic prior to Natacha's departure for Europe in 1922

Rudy and Natacha with her mother Winifred Kimball and step-father Richard Hudnut, on the deck of the RMS Olympic prior to Natacha's departure for Europe in 1922

Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova at their Mexicali Wedding, 1922

March 21, 2019

Fascinating Black and White Photos Document Beautiful Life of New Zealand in the Early 1970s

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island—and around 600 smaller islands.

New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.

New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Take a look at these fascinating black and white photos from Archives New Zealand to see the beautiful life of this country in the early 1970s.

A shop in the Strand Arcade, Auckland, December 1970

Arikikapakapa Golf Course, January 1970

Arrowtown, High Street, Otago, January 1970

Auckland School for Dental Nurses, Mt Eden, Auckland, October 1970

Car Ferry 'Opua', Opua-Russell, Bay of Islands, Northland, January 1970

A Collection of 12 Amazing Photos of Lincoln-Zephyr Hot Rod

The marque Lincoln-Zephyr was used by Lincoln for their lower-priced line of mid-size luxury cards in 1936–1940. The Lincoln-Zephyr was extensively utilized by mid-century hot rod enthusiasts who lived in an era when used Lincoln-Zephyrs were affordable cars that didn’t break the bank. The Lincoln-Zephyr was also ideal for many kinds of modifications aimed to increase drag race speed.

Today, Lincoln-Zephyr cars are rare and pricey, and quite a few of the cars on our roads that look like Lincoln-Zephyrs or modified Lincoln-Zephyrs are actually lower-priced replicas rather than the real deal.

Designed by Eugene Turenne Gregorie, the Lincoln-Zephyr was hailed as an extremely modern car when it was first unveiled in November 1935. The overall exterior was streamlined to decrease air resistance. The windscreen was low raked, the fenders were integrated, and the front was inspired by the prow of a ship rather than the front of traditional 1930s cars. By using a compact vale-in-block flathead engine, the designers could give the Lincoln-Zephyr a low hood. The streamlined design was the inspiration for the name Zephyr. In Greek mythology, Zephyrus is the god of the west wind.

Gregorie in part based his design on Briggs Dream Car, a rear-engined concept car developed for the Ford Motor Company by John Tjaarda (Joop Tjaarda van Sterkenburg) for the Century of Progress Exhibition 1933–1934.

Back in the 1935, cars with a low coefficient of drag were still rare, and Chrysler Airflow (launched in 1934) had been a market failure. So, by lauching the Lincoln-Zephyr – a car with an even lower coefficient of drag than the Chrysler Airflow – Ford was going out on a limb. This gamble, however, proved to be a success. During the first year, 80% of Lincoln’s total sales consisted of Lincoln-Zephyr cars.

Consumer interest in the Lincoln-Zephyr was so huge that from the 1941 model year, all Lincolns were Zephyr-based. This is why the marque Lincoln-Zephyr was eventually discontinued. There was no longer any point in distinguishing the Zephyr from other Lincoln-cars. When the United States entered World War II, resources were diverted to the war effort and the production of all U.S. cars, including the Lincoln’s, were halted. The last pre-war Lincoln-Zephyr was produced in February 1942. When production was restarted again after the war, the name of the Lincoln-Zephyr was changed to simply Lincoln.

The First Real Woman in a Menstrual Hygiene Ad (Kotex): Lee Miller

In order to make some money after arriving in New York, the young Lee Miller made stock photos for the famous American photographer Edward Steichen. Steichen sold some to Kotex, which put one into the first menstrual hygiene ad ever to show a real person; it ran from July 1928 into 1929. America, and Miller, were horrified. No decent woman would associate herself publicly with menstruation!

But by December 1928 Miller was enjoying her fame, and left with a girl friend to Paris, where she met the Surrealist painter and photographer Man Ray; they became lovers, and Ray made some great pictures of Miller.

Her association with photography probably began with the nude photographs her father made of her when she was a teenager. Much later Miller became a great World War II photographer in Germany.

Lee Miller photographed by Edward Steichen in 1928. Believe it or not, this photograph was taken for a Kotex advertisement, which caused a bit of a scandal.

But probably the first famous person to appear in menstrual hygiene ads, in distinction to someone who only later became famous, was the Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in the 1970s, who appeared in many Stayfree ads. She also appeared nude doing a split on a balance beam in Sports Illustrated, so she was willing to take chances! She still makes ads today, although not for menstrual hygiene.

(via Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health)


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