The cream of Hollywood's maritime fleet have been challenged by Captain Humphrey Bogart and the "Santana" to a yacht race from Long Beach Harbor to Catalina Island, this Saturday!
Picturesque Catalina Island lies 22 miles southwest of Long Beach Harbor, a very short run (under two hours) by yacht, but certainly a challenge for the screen legends who will be manning the ships!
Bogart's 55-foot schooner will be crewed by Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, William Holden, and Pat O'Brien; the following ships and crews have taken up the challenge...
"True Love", a 65-foot ketch, with Bing Crosby, Captain; his crew will be Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Johnny Holiday, Phil Harris, and Alice Faye...
"China Seas", a 65-foot cutter, with Clark Gable, Captain; his crew will be Carole Lombard, William Powell, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, Franchot Tone, Loretta Young, and Gary Cooper...
John Ford's "Araner", a 64-foot SWAN, with John Wayne, Captain; his crew will be Ward Bond, Victor McLaglan, Maureen O'Hara, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, and James Arness...
"Lonely Heart", a 67-foot ketch, with Cary Grant, Captain; his crew will be Jean Arthur, Randolph Scott, Deborah Kerr, Irene Dunne, Fredric March, Rosalind Russell, Dick Powell, and June Allyson...
"Dragoon", a 67-foot ketch, with Ronald Colman, Captain; his crew will be Benita Hume Colman, Richard Barthelmess, Robert Montgomery, Laine, Greer Garson, Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, and David Niven...
"Zaca", a 118-foot sailing yacht, with Errol Flynn, Captain; his crew will be John Barrymore, Clemmie, Tyrone Power, Olivia DeHavilland, Basil Rathbone, Alan Hale, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, and Johnny Weismuller (a crew size waiver due to his yacht size)...
The Judges are John Ford, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Cecil B. DeMille, Ida Lupino, Frank Capra, Preston Sturges, and Alfred Hitchcock, aboard Duke Wayne's 136-foot converted minesweeper, "Wild Goose", which will also house support personnel for the race.
This promises to be the industry's premier sporting event of the season, and you'll all be on hand for the festivities, before, during, and after the race!
Further details will be posted!
May 8, 5:30 PM
"Good Evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America, by Shortwave overseas...Let's go to press!
FLASH! HOLLYWOOD: Screen bad boy Bogart has challenged screen Kings Gable, Bing, Cary, Flynn, Colman, and Duke Wayne for the title of 'King of the High Seas', with a yacht race to Catalina on Saturday! The boats will all be manned by major stars, and Mayer, Warner, Cohn, Zanuck, and Goldwyn are fuming! And why not? One ship goes down, and America might see the Three Stooges in 'The Best Years of Our Lives'! Bogie's laughing them off, though, and told me if Jack Warner gets a boat and beats him, he'll extend his studio contract until 1999!"
May 8, 10:18 PM
"HOLLYWOOD - The biggest scoop in town is the Catalina Yacht Race, Saturday; it's shaping up as a 'David and Goliath' yarn between Bogie's tiny "Santana" vs. Errol Flynn's giant "Zaca"...but Bogie's not worried. "Yeah, Flynn's over double my size," he told me, over cocktails at Ciro's, "but size only helps on a long race; to Catalina, we'll outrun him." What does he think of his crew? "First-class! Betty's a great sailor, Spence (Tracy) and Kate (Hepburn) are old hands, too, and half of Ireland is aboard, between Spence, Jimmy Cagney and Pat O'Brien! Eddie Robinson has experience, Bill Holden has muscle...and do you think Bette Davis will let Crawford beat her at ANYTHING?" He isn't concerned about the rest of the field; "Colman and Duke Wayne are salts, but Gable prefers hunting, and Cary and Bing are weekend skippers...No, Flynn's my only competition, and I can handle him."
My money's on you, Bogie!"
May 9, 11:53 AM
HOLLYWOOD HUNKS ON HIGH SEAS!
by Tony Thomas
'The Outrigger' bar in San Pedro may not have the glamor of "21", but when three of film's sexiest leading men...Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, and Robert Taylor...are in town, preparing a sailing ship to race, Saturday, the temperature certainly rises a few notches!
"I've always been a sailor," Errol says, a wide grin lighting up his almost too-handsome features. "Growing up on a island certainly gives one an appreciation of the sea. I stowed away on a schooner when I was nine or ten, which did NOT please my parents! When I finally chucked school, and after a bad time in New Guinea, I knew I was going to see the world from a ship."
Power and Taylor both agree on Flynn's seamanship. "Errol's definitely at home on a ship's deck," Taylor says, with a laugh. "I'm an outdoor type, but into hunting and fishing. Oh, I've sailed a little, so I don't embarrass myself, but my captain, here, is the best seaman I've ever seen."
Power, of the dreamy eyes, agrees. "Errol knows ships, currents, weather, you name it. He's more in tune with the ocean than with land, I swear! I love planes, and flying...if I learn aviation as well as he knows the sea, I'll be a pretty fair pilot."
"Well," Flynn adds, "Fletcher Christian of 'The Bounty' was an ancestor, which doesn't hurt!" Lighting a cigarette...all three men smoked heavily during the interview...he continues, "I even played Christian in my first movie, in Australia, you know. Terrible wig, terrible performance, but I was better suited to the role than Gable was!"
I asked if Humphrey Bogart's comments about his ship's size advantage, in the race, was true. "Bogie's been jealous of me since he had to play a Mexican bandit in 'Virginia City'!" Errol laughs. "In theory, he's right," he admits, "Getting in and out of harbors will be tougher for the 'Zaca'. But on the high seas, it's all about sails, and muscle. We have more of both!"
May 10, 3:53 AM
Hello, my friends, from Hollywood!
My friend, Clark Gable, was swearing, lustily! As I entered the dry dock where the "China Seas" was being prepared for Saturday's big yacht race, I discovered him on a scaffold, in grease-stained overalls, inspecting the hull and using language that would certainly make your children blush! Finally, his lovely bride, Carole Lombard, noticed my presence, and shouted, "Oh, Paw, hush! We have company!" He turned, saw me, and grinned sheepishly, and asked Carole to take me to their leased apartment, near the marina, until he cleaned himself up.
As we waited for him, and played with their Siamese cats, Carole apologized, and admitted they have been taking the race very seriously. "Clark is nuts about motorboats, and barely uses the sailboat, but Victor Fleming has been boning him up on sailing. He'll be ready...and I will, too!"
Clark arrived, much cleaner, and in a gorgeous black shirt and bluejeans. He plopped down on the couch with Carole, and they played with the cats, as we spoke.
"Louella," he said, "It's going to take every minute until we sail to get my boat seaworthy...I loaned it to Robert Benchley, who ran it aground in Monterey during a squall. It wasn't his fault, the weather turned lousy, but there was damage."
"Oh, Clark," I said, concerned, "Should you withdraw from the race?"
"I thought about it," he admitted. "But Bogie challenged me BECAUSE he never thought I'd agree to it...and I'm not going to make things easy for him!" He laughed. "We'll have the ship ready, Saturday...and Vic Fleming is a hell of a sailing coach!"
"Don't forget Ronnie, dear," Carole interrupted.
Clark smiled. "Ron Colman is a square guy! He had planned to have Bill Powell and Jean Harlow on his team...Bill is a great sailor...but when he heard about my problems, he asked Bill to join my team, and give me a hand, in repairing and sailing it."
I nodded. Colman's unselfishness is legendary, among the film community.
Clark added, "Bill, Jean, and Myrna Loy have been here all week, working like crazy each day, and clowning for photographers, at night, to keep them out of my hair."
"What about the rest of your team?" I asked.
"They all arrived together, today," Carole answered. "You know, Franchot (Tone) has done some sailing, Gary (Cooper), even more."
"What about Loretta Young and Joan Crawford? Have they any experience?"
Clark shrugged. "Not much...but the rules said at least three crewmembers had to be female, so I don't think anybody will be much better off than me...and Joan hates Bette Davis, who's on Bogie's ship, so she's promised 100%!"
I had to run, to meet my deadline, but Clark gave me a quick peck, and said, with that famous crooked smile, "Sweetheart, we may just surprise everybody!"
May 10, 2:09 PM
Hello, my darlings!
You would think, with all the press coverage and pressure of Saturday's epic Yacht Race, that Cary Grant and his movie star crew would be in a state of nervous exhaustion...but, in fact, the opposite is true! When I visited their San Pedro mooring, this morning, the "Lonely Heart" was as shiny as young June Allyson's nose, and Cary was smoking a pipe, and sipping a wine cooler, as fashionably dressed as always!
"Hedda, darling!", Cary greeted me, "Thanks for visiting!"
"Always a pleasure, Cary," I replied. "Obviously, you aren't overanxious about the race."
He laughed. "I'll let you in on a secret...When I saw Bogie doing practice runs to Catalina, four days a week, I suspected he had an ulterior motive, and I got the "Lonely Heart" prepped, just in case!"
It was my turn to laugh. "Cary, you dog!", I said, "You cheated!"
"Me? Cheat?", he replied, in all innocence. "No more than Bogie did!"
"You know, you are being both praised by some feminists for having more women than men in your crew, and condemned by others for simply playing up your image as a 'ladies' man'."
" 'Damned if I do, damned if I don't', eh?" he replied. "Well, both sides are right...other than June (Allyson), I've worked with all the ladies in my crew, and know their capabilities...these are very strong women! But I admit, they are pleasant to look at, as well!"
"Humphrey has said in a interview that you're just a 'weekend sailor' and no threat...how do you feel about that?"
"Hedda, when Randy Scott and I shared a bungalow, we sailed constantly, and raced nearly every weekend, often against Freddie March and Dick Powell...and this was long before Bogie even owned the "Santana"...Now we're all together, in one crew, so I think he's in for a shock!"
"Who do you think may be your greatest competition, besides the "Santana"?"
"Well, Flynn and the "Zaca", of course," he admitted. "If Errol can get out of the harbor fast enough, and raises all his sails, the race might be over." He looked thoughtful, for a moment. "But if we can get a big enough lead, starting out, we may just give him too much distance to catch up to! Duke Wayne? He's great with the "Wild Goose", but that's not a sailboat, and he may not be a threat, sailing the "Araner"...Gable's got ship problems, we all know...Ronnie Colman is a fair sailor, but too conservative...Bogie and Flynn, they're the ones to beat!"
"What about Bing Crosby and the "True Love"? Young Johnny Holiday says they have a surprise, planned..."
Cary laughed, and held my arm. "Hedda, I love Bing, Bob, and Dotty, but this isn't a 'Road' picture! Bing doesn't sail much, and they could attach every studio wind fan in Hollywood on the "True Love", and they couldn't beat us!"
"What do you plan to do, after the race, assuming you do win?"
"Why, give you an exclusive, of course!"
May 10, 7:42 PM
SAN PEDRO, CA: Perhaps the most surprising participant in Saturday's big Catalina yacht race is big Duke Wayne...not because of his qualifications (he is a respected sailor; with his converted minesweep, the "Wild Goose", he's cruised to Hawaii and back), but because he's not known for any skill in commanding a sailing ship.
"Yeah, I'm being called a novice," Wayne said, as we sat down to chat, this afternoon. "I actually had to talk Bogie into letting me run, but I think he liked the idea of a lifelong liberal whipping the pants off this right-wing conservative!" With a chuckle, Duke lit a Chesterfield, and continued. "But I started sailing with Pappy Ford back when I was moving props, in the '20s. Worked my way up from cabin boy, on the "Araner", and I know that ship like the back of my hand. Oh, this old boy can sail!"
"Did John Ford have any misgivings about loaning you his yacht?"
"Well, he did say if I broke anything, he'd send me back to 'Singing Sandy' westerns!" We both laughed at the reference to the low point in Duke's career. "He trusts me...and I'm loaning him the "Wild Goose" as the Judges' Ship, so he has to be as careful as I am!"
Beautiful Maureen O'Hara walked in, and Duke invited her to join us.
"Will Ford be impartial, as a Judge...after all, his ship is in the race..."
"Pappy is the most unbiased Judge you'll ever meet," Duke replied, and Maureen giggled, adding, "He'll probably be harder on us than anybody else!"
"How is the crew working out?"
Maureen answered, "We all are old friends, except for Jim Arness, who is Duke's protege, and a giant," adding, poking Duke in the ribs, "even bigger than you!"
Duke laughed. "She's right, we're family, in the best sense of the word."
"Let me tell you, Jim," Maureen said, with a laugh, "these are not adults, they're overgrown kids! Ward Bond always keeps a flask of whiskey as a bracer...last night, while he was sleeping, Duke RELIEVED himself in it! This morning, Ward has been very...colorful ...describing what he's going to do to this guy!"
"Aw, Maureen!" Wayne groaned, "that's going to be in all the papers!" We all chuckled!
This evening, I had cocktails with lovely Lana Turner, and asked how she's faring up, so far.
"Very well, Jim," she replied. "Duke is really a big teddy bear! I won't say getting ready has been easy, but Vic McLaglan patiently answers any question I have, and Jimmy Stewart and Hank Fonda are like brothers to me."
"What's working with Marlene Dietrich like?"
Lana smiled. "She's amazing!" she replied. "No 'Screen Legend' airs, at all! She and Maureen have cooked breakfast every morning, and she can even beat the Duke at chess!"
So who is going to win the race?
"Well, I wouldn't bet against the 'Araner'!"
Hello, America, this is Lowell Thomas!
Well, the anticipated race is less than two hours away, and the Opening Ceremonies are, as I speak, concluding.
It's a picture-perfect day, with the high to reach 82 degrees, by this afternoon, and a brisk wind...perfect sailing weather!
This morning's Ceremonies were full of the pomp and glamor one has come to associate with Hollywood. A trumpet fanfare brought the 3000 spectators gathered to watch the race to their feet, and the crowd went wild when Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy introduced themselves! They performed a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted, for this special event, by Max Steiner.
Army Archerd then welcomed everyone to the race, and introduced the Judges, who will soon adjourn to the "Wild Goose", to perform their duties. Particularly striking were John Ford, resplendent in his Naval uniform, and Orson Welles, in a sweeping black cape! Welles introduced Naval hero Admiral Robert Byrd, the polar explorer, who will fire the flare that will start the race.
Johnny Grant, the honorary "Mayor of Hollywood", then took the stage, and pandemonium reigned, as the celebrity Captains were introduced!
In my years of broadcasting, the only event that generated this kind of near-hysteria was the Atlanta premiere of "Gone With the Wind"!
Joining the Captains on the stage, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale offered a prayer for a safe journey, then escorted the film stars off the stage.
Concluding the Ceremony, Grace Moore sang "America, the Beautiful".
I will be returning to the air in approximately an hour and a half, with colleague John Cameron Swayze, to give you up-to-the-minute race news!
This is Lowell Thomas...See you then!
May 12, 12:55 PM
Hello, America, this is Lowell Thomas, broadcasting aboard the "Wild Goose"! We've reached the hour, nearly the minute, of the opening of the highly-anticipated Celebrity Yacht Race from Long Beach to Catalina...The start has been delayed for a few minutes, as the Coast Guard moves the dozens of small boats hoping for a close-up view, out of harm's way. This will give me an opportunity to introduce my colleague for today's race, John Cameron Swayze, aboard the Coast Guard cutter "Sea Witch"...
Swayze: Good afternoon, Lowell! This is John Cameron Swayze, brought to you by Timex, "The Most Trusted Name in Watches". There are nearly forty Coast Guard vessels patrolling the route of the race, maintaining a mile-wide perimeter on each side of the course from uninvited guests. I've been told that the contestants will be well-protected during the run!
Thomas: I'm sure we all appreciate that! You're a veteran sailor...can you explain a yacht race to us 'landlubbers'?
Swayze: Today's race is a combination of two classic yacht races, the 'closed-course', which usually follows a triangular course, and the 'ocean race', the usual format of a longer race on the high seas. The route will not take a straight course to Catalina, which would run 22 miles, but will sweep outwards, with two sharp turns, making the run about 26 miles to Catalina.
Thomas: Like the song!
Thomas: What is the strategy of the ships, for the race? Any ideas?
Swayze: It's pretty simple; with Errol Flynn's giant schooner, "Zaca", carrying the most sails, it's size must be used against it. The other ships must get out of the harbor as quickly as possible, and reach the turns before the "Zaca" can; the larger ship will take longer to depart, and to make the turns, which is the only chance the others have. The race finishes with a long 'straightaway', and if Flynn's ship isn't far enough back, it will simply blow past anything in it's way!
Thomas: A flag was hoisted, here, a few minutes ago...another was just raised. What is the significance?
Swayze: It means the race is about to begin! Since you can't 'line up' yachts on a 'starting line', they are moving into a starting area...the pennants show the participants how long before the race starts. Then, when Admiral Byrd fires the flare, the race will begin.
Thomas: What do you think...wait a minute...I see Admiral Byrd...He's firing the flare! THE RACE HAS BEGUN!
Thomas: What a beautiful sight, ladies and gentlemen! Seven yachts, moving majestically towards the mouth of the harbor!
Thomas: With my binoculars, I can see Flynn, Bogart, and Wayne, shouting instructions! There's Clark Gable on the "China Seas"...his ship was a question mark, today...and Ronald Colman, smartly directing the "Dragoon"!
Thomas: Cary Grant's "Lonely Heart" is gathering speed...and pulling up the rear are the "Zaca" and the "True Love"...Bing Crosby's going to have his hands full, today!
Swayze: What is most important, now, is who will leave the harbor first; that ship will get a real jump on everyone else!
...And it's the "Araner"! John Wayne and his crew have beaten everyone out of Long Beach! I see the "Santana" and "China Seas" coming out, now, with the "Dragoon" and "Lonely Heart" close behind, but the "Araner" has the early lead!
May 12, 2:51 PM
Thomas: Lowell Thomas, reporting...
As the yachts are preparing to make the first sharp turn on the course, some exciting changes have occurred; Clark Gable's "China Seas" and Ronald Colman's "Dragoon" have passed the rest of the field, and are in first and second place!
Swayze: That's right, Lowell; in a dramatic, even miraculous turn of events, Gable's yacht, which was considered doubtful to even be in today's race, has out-maneuvered the "Lonely Heart", "Santana", and finally the "Araner', to grab the lead!
Thomas: Colman's seamanship has been nearly as impressive as Gable's; he has perfectly 'read' the wind, according to the experts on the "Wild Goose", and has gotten the most out of every inch of his sails...
Swayze: Absolutely! We're seeing two performances for the record books, here!
Thomas: WAIT! Something's wrong! The "China Seas" is swerving off-course, away from the marker buoy! This is a tragedy, ladies and gentlemen...I'll see if we can listen in on the ship-to-ship radio...
GABLE (on radio): Yeah, that's right, the rudder split! Bill Powell tells me it probably first cracked back when the ship ran aground in Monterey...it was just too small to see, when we made repairs...we're adrift, and stuck!
COLMAN (on radio): Clark, it's Ronald...we're going to tie lines on you, and get you to Catalina for repairs...we're pulling up to you, as I speak...
GABLE (on radio): Ron, are you crazy? You're in the lead! Get the hell out of here and win the race!
COLMAN (on radio): Friends always come first, old chum! We can take the direct route to Catalina, and have you there in no time! Don't make me say, "It's a far, far better thing I do..."
GABLE (laughing, on radio) : Spare me! Okay, Ron, you're on! And as far as I'm concerned, you've won the race, too...
Thomas: Well, ladies and gentlemen, we've lost two ships early in the race! This will put Cary Grant's "Lonely Heart" in the lead, followed by "Santana", the "Araner", the "Zaca", and, moving up quite nicely, the "True Love"...
Swayze: This is an amazing turn of events, and what makes yachting so exciting! The race is wide-open, now, as the remaining ships move into a sprint towards the next turn...
Thomas: Wait, John, I'm being told there is an announcement...
"Good evening, I'm Alfred Hitchcock. I regret to announce there has been a disqualification...The "Lonely Heart" has exceeded the maximum allowed crew members, and is no longer a participant in the race..."
Thomas: John, can you see anything?
Swayze: I'm looking at the ship, right now...uh-oh, there's a girl with her arms around Fredric March...it's Sarah, his girlfriend!
Thomas: Oh, dear...let's listen in, and hear what Cary has to say...
GRANT (on radio): ...she's been hiding since the race began...I guess she just found Freddie irresistable! Freddie is feeling pretty awful, but it's not his fault...Irene, go cheer him up! I'm leaving the course, and will meet everybody at Catalina...
May 12, 4:26 PM
Lowell Thomas, with a race update...
In this most unusual of yacht races, we've seen the lead change on several occasions...as we approach the second, and final, turn, Errol Flynn and the "Zaca" have taken the lead, followed closely by John Wayne and the "Araner", and, further back, Humphrey Bogart's "Santana" and Bing Crosby's "True Love"...
Swayze: Yes, Lowell, and this was the scenario none of the other yachts wanted to see...
The "Zaca", with it's huge sails, could turn this race into a one-ship affair, if it can navigate quickly enough through the next turn!
Thomas: What about the "Araner"? It is fairly close to the "Zaca"...
Swayze: Well, it would be a long shot, but if it could make the turn more quickly than Flynn's ship, and the winds die down, a bit, I think Wayne could pull off an upset!
Thomas: And the "Santana" and "True Love"?
Swayze: Realistically, they're too far back! Crosby has a lot to be proud of, with his novice crew, and Bogart has been unfortunately caught in the wake of the other ships, far too often, but it would take an 'Act of God' for either ship to have a chance...
Thomas: John! Wait! What's that object moving towards the "Zaca"?
W.C. FIELDS (on radio): Ahoy, ahoy! Yoinks! Yoinks! This is Commodore Fields in the "Bottle o Rum", here to win the race!
Thomas: Good heavens! It appears to be W.C. Fields, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and Mortimer Snerd, in some kind of little dinghy! How did they slip past the Coast Guard?
Swayze: With that nose, they probably thought he was a marker buoy!
W.C. FIELDS (on radio): Leave ME off the crew, you ungrateful Tasmanian tulip? Gangway, boy, I have arrived!
FLYNN (on radio): Bill, you idiot! Get out of here! We'll capsize you, if you try to pass us!
W.C. FIELDS (on radio): Godfrey Daniels, I've become vision-impaired! How will I mix my drinks?
JOHN FORD (on radio): Not the "Araner"!!!! Fields, you MORON, get away from my ship!!!!
W.C. FIELDS (on radio): Egad, I'm hearing voices in the darkness! Have I reached the Great Beyond?
Swayze: John Wayne is waving, and trying to turn the "Araner", and Victor McLaglan is shaking his fist, furiously, but I don't think it's going to work...
May 12, 6:27 PM
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, this is Lowell Thomas, reporting on the conclusion of one of the strangest yacht races in history!
The race began with seven ships, manned by Hollywood's brightest stars...Clark Gable and the "China Seas", Ronald Colman and the "Dragoon", Cary Grant and the "Lonely Heart", Errol Flynn and the "Zaca", John Wayne and the "Araner", Humphrey Bogart and the "Santana", and Bing Crosby and the "True Love"...and over the course of the last several hours, we've seen the "China Seas" drop out due to a broken rudder, the "Dragoon" forfeit to provide it assistance, the "Lonely Heart" disqualified for too many people on board, and, in the latest developments, both the "Zaca" and "Araner" wrecked by W.C. Fields!
Swayze: John Cameron Swayze, here. In the remarkable final leg of a remarkable cruise, only two ships remain...one that everyone expected to see here, Humphrey Bogart's "Santana", and one that nobody thought had a chance, Bing Crosby's "True Love"...
Thomas: Honestly, John, does the "True Love" have any hope of winning?
Swayze: Lowell, I, and nearly everybody in America, wishes it did! Truthfully, though, it doesn't. Despite a game crew, it simply doesn't have enough sail to beat the "Santana", on this last sprint.
Thomas: The "Santana" is quite a ship, as is it's skipper, the redoubtable Bogart! He has slowed his ship down, to only a few lengths ahead of the "True Love", as if to toy with Crosby!
We've been following the radio communications between Bogie and Bing...
BOGART (on radio): Aw, come on, Bing, just concede! You know everybody will love you for just making it THIS far!
Thomas: Do you mean...Rita Hayworth...Grace Kelly...Dorothy Lamour...
Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Lauren Bacall look completely livid!
I see Edward G. Robinson talking to Bogart...Bogart just tossed his cigarette to the deck, and is shaking his head...now he's starting to smile, and is shrugging...THE "SANTANA" IS CONCEDING THE RACE!!!!
Crosby's crew has lowered their erstwhile sail, and have adjourned, below, as Johnny Holiday slips into a pair of trousers to help Bing moor the ship. A HUGE crowd have gathered, to greet the race winners, and Crosby is acknowledging their cheers with a tip of his captain's hat!
Swayze: Ronald Colman just appeared, at dockside, and tossed a bundle aboard Crosby's ship, which Holiday is taking below. It appeared to have a clothing label on it, so I assume the crew will be dressed a little more appropriately for the press!
Thomas: I just asked the judges if the actions of the "True Love" might constitute 'unsportsmanlike conduct'...Preston Sturges laughed, and replied, "Heavens, no! But somebody will use that trick in a movie, someday, I guarantee it!" Orson Welles then offered a strange comment; "Rita Hayworth looked quite...beautiful, dancing in her lingerie...I think I'll marry her..."
Swayze: The crew of the "True Love" is coming ashore...certainly better-dressed than the LAST time I saw them! They are posing for pictures...
Swayze: Bogart is coming up to Crosby...He's pointing a finger at the singer, and shaking his head, and Crosby is shrugging...Now they're both laughing!
Thomas: And so, America, there is a new King of the Sea...everybody's favorite singer, Bing Crosby! There will be lavish entertainment, tonight, starring the legendary Al Jolson, before everyone returns to the mainland, tomorrow...One second...John has managed to get through a police escort to speak with W.C. Fields...
Swayze: Well, have you anything to say about your actions?
Fields: Actions? What actions? Where am I? Is this Philadelphia?
Swayze: Marlene Dietrich hit you pretty hard...Are you alright?
Fields: Indubitably! In the excitement, I thought I might have damaged my timepiece, but this Timex takes a licking, and keeps on ticking!
Swayze: 'Takes a licking'...say, that's very GOOD! Thanks, Fields!
Thomas: John? John? Any idea what will happen to Fields, John?
Swayze: 'Takes a licking'...hmm...uh, happen to Fields? Timex is about to make him a whole lot richer! '...and keeps on ticking...' WOW!
Thomas: So, that wraps up today's special Race broadcast! From the deck of the "Wild Goose", this is Lowell Thomas...So long, until tomorrow!
THE CATALINA POST-RACE BANQUET!
as reported by JOHNNY HOLIDAY
Last night's party at the Casino Ballroom on beautiful Catalina Island will go down in history as one the greatest gatherings of stars of all time! Let me give you the low-down on the entire night...
After the race ended, many of us changed aboard ship, or at one of the homes owned by Mr. Wrigley. I opted to change from jeans into my dinner clothes (which Ronald Colman delivered), aboard the "True Love", the winning yacht, captained by Bing Crosby.
Many of us arrived at the "Casino" early for the banquet, which was held for all of the race participants, as well as a few guests and friends.
Dinner was prepared by the staff of Mike Romanoff's posh eatery, and music was provided by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra, which now includes a 9 piece string section, which Tommy got from Artie Shaw (who announced earlier that he was taking a break from performing). I counted 31 musicians! Now that's a payroll to make!!!
The ballroom was beautifully decorated for the evening with flowers and glowing candles on all of the tables (set for 10 each). Behind the bar was Cosmo, and several of the bartenders that Mike had sent over--and I saw Barbara Stanwyck and Bob Taylor making drinks for some of the guests, as well. Barbara knows how to shake a mean martini!
In one corner I found Pat O'Brien, Bing, and Jimmy Cagney talking with Frank Capra...
...while in another area I saw Errol Flynn holding court along with John Barrymore, Bill Fields, Edgar Bergen, David Niven, and John Ford, who seemed a bit tipsy, thanks to John Wayne bringing him scotch after scotch after scotch . Happily, Ford only tried to strangle Fields for wrecking his ship, the "Araner", once!
Dorsey's band played for us starting about 6pm, when the cocktail hour began, and the music was perfect for dancing as I watched Ronald Colman moving across the floor with his lovely wife Benita, along with the Dick Powells, Marlene and Robert Montgomery, and yes even Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
I danced with Greer Garson, and told her how glad I was that Gene Raymond, Jeanette's husband, and Ann Eddy, Nelson's wife, were not with us. Most of the "in the know" crowd is acutely aware of how miserable Nelson is with his wife, as he adores Jeanette, and that her marriage to Gene is a mess. Mr. Mayer, I am told by sources at Metro, can't stand Nelson becase he pushes and yells back at the boss. Louis B. never wanted these two to marry, as he thinks it will hurt the box office. But as I spied them as they held each other on the dance floor, they looked so happy and simply perfect together.
Ann Miller showed up with Fred and Phyllis Astaire...one of the rare times Mrs. Astaire has been seen in public, lately... and I saw Joan Crawford walk by in a lovely gown, with sort of a peach color to it, along with her handsome husband Franchot Tone who looked swell in his dark suit and silver tie.
Laine was dancing with Tyrone Power, Alan Ladd, with Myrna Loy, Orson Welles danced, briefly, with Rita Hayworth, and I saw Basil Rathbone dancing with Olivia DeHavilland. It seemed like everybody from every studio was there.
At 8pm KHJ began broadcasting live from the ballroom, and Dorsey introduced Frank Sinatra who sang "In The Blue of Evening". It was hard to see him when we stood behind the microphone, because he's such a skinny kid....Dorsey really should feed that boy!
The band then did "How Am I To Know", "East of the Sun" and "Blue Skies", and everyone danced. At 8:30pm, dinner was served, and Orson Welles introduced Admiral Perry, who presented the winner's Loving Cup to Captain Crosby. Bing then spoke for a few minutes...
Bing: I just want to say that my team and I are delighted, but we want to share this award with all the other teams. Sort of seems only fair, since some of you had some tough luck on the way over. Let me also say to you and to all of you listening to this broadcast, that we need everyone to dig down deep, and help with the second war loan drive. We have some mighty big bills to pay, and if we all chip in and do what we can, we can reach that million dollar amount that is necessary until its over, over there!
The applause was terrific. Everyone on our team stood with Bing, who was also presented with a little tin crown (which he quickly removed)
Bing: Let me also say that I plan on also doing my part for the scrap waste drive by donating Bob Hope...at least Paramount can write off its loss and get something back for all of his flops....
Hope: Look Dad, that's pretty rich coming from the centerfold for National Hog Farmer. Say, does Farmer John own a piece of you?
Bing: Look, if you keep this up, I'll let everyone in the audience know that if it were not for me, you would still be plucking chickens at your Uncle's delicatesen.
Orson Welles: Gentlemen we really must move along, so thank you, Bing, and again, congratulations to you, your team and all of the other participants...Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now very happy to tell you that Johnny and Lever Brothers have arranged for a very special treat for all of us. In this room is a man who has done more for the motion picture industry, if not the entire world of entertainment. I can only think of two words to introduce this very talented gentlemen-----Al Jolson!
The audience stood and applauded, as Jolie took to the stage, looking very tanned.
Jolson: Thank you very much! I am very happy to be here... and at my age....I am happy to be anywhere! You know...the song that the kids like today seem pretty strange to me, and I know people's tastes in music has changed....but if you don't mind, I would like to do a couple of tunes that you might remember.....
The audience offered great applause as Jolson went right into a chorus of "Avalon", followed by "Is It True What They Say About Dixie". The audience kept asking for tunes, and Al sang for nearly 35 minutes straight. He had told me he planned to do 2 to 3 numbers, but that wouldn't sit with this crowd. They wanted more and more Jolson!
Jolie then invited Bing on stage to "Alexander's Ragtime Band", which they had just done on the Kraft Music Hall two weeks ago. As they finished, we watched Hope quickly walk up to the mic.
HOPE: Al, this must be a real thrill for you...I mean, here you are singing with the man whose voice you heard when yo were just a baby....Crosby!
JOLSON: Bob, you shouldn't say such mean things about Bing, after all he is your pal.
HOPE: Pal? Are you kidding? I have carried this old man in every picture we've done. It's gotten to the point where I have call Abbey Rents for a wheel chair, just to get him on and off the set.
BING: OK, that's it, fender hips! I think its time for the people to know that your first camp show was at Gettysburg, and I am told you laid a large egg there. President Lincoln banned you from performing for the army.
HOPE: That's rich, Grandpa...especially when you were the one Washington asked to rub down his horse at Tarrytown.
WELLES: Gentlemen, the hour is late, and we need to move on, but thank you for your fine efforts. And now we will close tonight's activites with some dance music provided by Mr. Bob Crosby and his orchestra, and we wish all of you a pleasant night.
The music of Bob's band filled the room, and the dance floor was very crowded with the likes of Fredric March dancing with Sarah, Ronnie and Benita Colman, and so many others.
Ann Miller and Joan Crawford told Bob they wanted to hear "The Charleston", and it was as if it were 1927 again....The band faked it well and all of us watched Joan and Ann dance, to be joined by Fred, Ginger, and even David Niven (who actually is a good dancer). Everyone got into the act, dancing, as if it were another era, and the band kept playing the song over and over.
KHJ wrapped up the broadcast at 11:30pm, and by midnight the banquet and night's festivities were completed.
To say the least, it was a swell affair!
Monday morning began, peacefully enough...after a delicious breakfast, Benita and Juliet went downtown, to shop, and then attend a radio rehearsal at CBS; I had an early afternoon meeting with the 'Atlantic Monthly', to discuss an article on the British film community's war efforts. Bing Crosby dropped in, enroute to record a new album, to discuss a fishing trip we're planning, in a few weeks. We were casually enjoying 'fish stories' when there was a knock at the door.
It was the notorious studio press liason, Howard Strickland! "Dixie told me you were here, Bing," he said, without preamble. "Ronald, Bing, we need you at the Metro front office, now."
"Metro?" I asked. "Why?"
"I'm just supposed to get you both there. I have a car waiting."
Looking at each other quizzically, Bing and I went with the diminutive 'errand boy'.
We were quickly passed through the MGM gates, and soon found ourselves in the waiting room outside L.B. Mayer's office, with Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and Errol Flynn.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Hmmm...It has to be about the race, Ron," Bing replied. I stared at my friends; yes, we all had paticipated in the yacht race as competitors, Saturday, but it had ended, and, I assumed, life had returned to normal.
"Dammit," Clark exhaled, and shook his head.
Errol grinned, and said, "It was a great time, wasn't it? Even if my "Zaca" did get plowed by Fields!"
We all nodded. Flynn's yacht had, of course, suffered the greatest damage during the event, but he was having it repaired, and we all had enjoyed ourselves, immensely, nonetheless.
Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne arrived, still in costume and makeup, obviously pulled from their sets.
"Together again, eh?" Bogie laughed, lighting a cigarette. "Pals, I think we're in trouble!"
"Why?" Duke Wayne asked. "Everything turned out okay, right?"
"First-rate," I answered. "My biggest concern was what Pappy Ford was going to do to you...you did bring the "Araner" back, damaged!"
"Am I back to 'B' westerns?" Duke said, with a grin. "No...Pappy was proud we got out of Long Beach first, I think..."
Mayer's door opened. Strickland waved us in, and the seven of us entered the darkened, foreboding opulence of the L.B. Mayer office.
The carpet was a deep plush you sank into...walls filled with awards and photos surrounded us...in the distance (the office is very large), was the huge, raised desk of the studio head. "I hate this place," Gable whispered, and we all nodded in agreement, as we walked towards the individuals gathered behind the desk.
In throne-like seats were my ex-boss, Sam Goldwyn, Mayer, Bogie and Flynn's boss, Jack Warner, Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck, and Columbia head, Harry Cohn.
It was a gathering none of us had ever expected to see, outside the Oscar banquet!
Normally, there are low chairs for visitors to sit upon, but they had been removed...we were, apparently, expected to stand, before the 'kings'!
Cary was a picture of bravado! He lit a pipe, and asked, nonchalantly, "Morning, chums, what's up?"
"PUT OUT THAT PIPE!" Mayer snapped, and Cary, momentarily losing his composure, quickly shoved it back into his pocket.
Sam Goldwyn glared at us, but his voice was surprisingly quiet. "Did you boys have fun, on this weekend?"
Flynn grinned at him. "You bet! You should have joined us! I was certainly with some 'Goldwyn Girl' candidates..."
"Oh, shut up, Flynn!" Jack Warner interrupted. "Bogie, you put together this hair-brained scheme...what's your explanation?"
"Jack, it was just a little boat race between me and my friends, here. No big deal," Bogie shrugged.
"No...big...deal?" Harry Cohn snorted. "Over five thousand spectators, the United States Coast Guard, national press coverage, the damned Hollywood Bowl Orchestra..."
Bogie grinned, sheepishly. "Well, it did get out of hand, a bit..."
"Out of hand???" Zanuck interrupted. "The 'Titanic' was 'out of hand'...Pearl Harbor was 'out of hand'...this wasn't 'out of hand', it was a...a...SPECTACLE!"
Mayer chimed in, "Clark, my boy, what would have happened if anyone had gotten hurt?"
"Dana Andrews and Bob Mitchum would make it to the 'A' list?"
"NO! Don't make a joke out of this! Productions would have been delayed! Projects would have been cancelled..."
"You'd have lost money," I finished.
"What's so bad about that?" Goldwyn snapped, and we all had to hold a laugh on his choice of words! "No good would it mean!" he finished.
"Look, fellas," Bing said, reassuringly, "Maybe the boat race was a poor judgement on our parts, but we all have lives outside the studio, and you run the same risks with us, whether we're on a boat, in a car, or even in bed..."
"More risk for me, in bed," Flynn smirked.
"Quiet!" Bing ordered. "What I'm saying is, you can't control our lives, every minute!"
"Can't we?" Cohn said, threateningly.
"Gentlemen, let's all calm down," I said, trying to diffuse the situation. "May I ask, did our little misadventure hurt your box office totals, last weekend?"
The executives all looked uncomfortably at each other.
Duke Wayne looked at me, then joined in. "I was told," he said, with his soft growl, "that I had my biggest opening, ever, this weekend."
"That's true," Warner replied. "Yates called me, to gloat."
"That has nothing to do with this," Mayer said, seeing the momentum shift. "The point is, WE run Hollywood, and you didn't go through us!"
"You run Hollywood?" Bogart sneered. "WE run Hollywood! Without us, you all would still be peddling fish and plugging nickolodeons in Brooklyn!"
"You're both wrong..." Gable said, quietly.
We all turned, surprised. Clark isn't big on making profound statements, and this was as deep as anything we'd ever heard him say.
"The people run Hollywood," he continued. "Those average joes shelling out hard-earned cash to watch movies."
"Clark's right," Cary said, nodding. "Without their support, we're all finished. If they accepted, no, approved our race, it helps the studios, it helps us, it helps everybody."
There was a silence, as we all stared at one another. Finally, I offered a compromise. "What if we apologize, and all promise to never do this again, without securing your blessings, first?"
The executives looked relieved. "That...would work," Mayer said, and the others nodded in agreement. "No more adventures!" he added, shaking his finger.
"Hey," Gable said, with a grin, "Gary Cooper has a little 'big-game' hunt in Montana planned...why don't we all..."
"NO!" all the executives shouted, in unison, and everybody laughed!
THE RONALD COLMAN SAGA
"The Dinner Party for Erich von Stroheim"
"The Misadventures of John Barrymore's Cheeky Monkey, Clementine"
"The All-Star Surprise Party for Laine"
"The Classic Hollywood Long Beach-Catalina Yacht Race"
"The Ronald Colman Seance"
"My "Lost Horizon" Surprise!"
"A Night at the Hollywood Canteen!"
"But I Thought You Were..."
"The People vs. Ronald Colman"
"The Epic Hearst Costume Party..."
"The Monkey on Ronald Colman's Back Saga" (A 9-Part Adventure):
"A MAN, A MONKEY, the MOB, and RONALD COLMAN!" (A 5-Part Adventure):
"Introduction: Broadway, 1920..."
"Chapter 1: A LONG Memory..."
"Chapter 2: Barrymore's Reply..."
"Chapter 3: Barrymore in Cement!"
"Chapter 4: A Desert Grave..."
"SURPRISE PARTY for RONALD COLMAN!"
"The RONALD COLMAN Banner Collection"
Finally, if you'd like to 'go to the source', with over 200 photos of Ronald Colman's life and career, please visit Myspace.com/Ronald Colman...the page that started it all!