24 August 2010

A Madhouse

Beatrice Lillie

From "A New Yorker At Large" by Jack Stinnet in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on this day in 1937:

Under the elevated highway that runs along the waterfront in the West Fifties, traffic is a shambles. Those able to beat through it with bones unbroken, find the great pier shed a madhouse...for the Queen Mary is out for Southampton with nearly 2,000 passengers and a dozen or so friends and relatives to see each of them off.

As we move up the gangplank, we see that the autograph army is already aboard the lugger and the ship is theirs. Deploying in platoons they maneuver in quick time across the decks, through the great salons into the passageways, executing attacks from both flanks on the cabins of Madeleine Carroll, Beatrice Lillie an Sonja Henie.

Honey-haired Sonja, smiling over a huge spray of orchids, keeps her romance with Tyrone Power alive by tossing coyly noncommittal answers to direct questions of the press. We are a bit weary of the romance and think it is about time Sonja's press department thinks up something else...and we say so...which widens the smile of the lady-of-the-skates into a grin and draws a mischievous wink. If Sonja pronounced her name as most people mispronounce it, we would make a couplet of the fact you can't be a meany with Sonja Henie.

Bea Lillie steals a march on the autograph army by encamping temporarily in the cabin of a friend, who despite his millions from Fifth avenue merchandising, is not worth a cent to the signature grafters. There was some complaint that that was no way for a Lady Peel to act, but being hard to find never has made anyone less desirable to the autograph hunters yet. Miss Lillie told us she is only off to London to see her son and tend a little legal business and will be back in a few weeks. There's Hollywood business to be attended to before long.

Miss Carroll had come aboard with the dawn and husband Capt. Philip Asteley, who was doing a job of holding the door of their cabin full worthy of comparison with Horatius's business at the bridge.

Miss Carroll and her husband are off for a holiday of boating on the French canals and the least we could do was wish them a much happier voyage than we saw them off to last year when civil war prevented their even visiting their castle in Spain.

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