Monday, August 30, 2010

Norman Rockwell and the Movies

In 2008, Norman Rockwell was named the official state artist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but he brought his finely detailed illustration technique far beyond his famed depictions of small-town America. He sometimes tackled Hollywood as a subject.

Currently at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts an exhibit called “Rockwell and the Movies” displays the artist’s work on original paintings, along with posters and lobby cards for films such as “The Magnificent Ambersons”, “The Song of Bernadette”, “The Razor’s Edge”, and the 1960 version “Stagecoach.” The collection includes 25 works on Hollywood subjects.

This exhibition also coincides with one currently shown at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. This collection displays 57 paintings and drawings done by Norman Rockwell on the movie themes, called “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.”

For more on the Norman Rockwell Museum exhibit, including photos of samples of his movie work, have a look at this website. For more on the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit, have a look at this website.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enter the Screenwriter

An article printed in The Scientific American in June of 1909 heralded a new change in American popular culture. The screenwriter. This blurb was reprinted in the magazine in June 2009.

Moving pictures are exhibited in about ten thousand theaters and halls in the United States. With the rapid spread of this new amusement has also come a marked change in the public taste. Spectators were once quite content with a view of factory employees going to and from their work, the arrival and departure of railway trains, and similar scenes. Nowadays, a more or less coherent story must be unfolded, for which reason the makers of moving pictures have been compelled to write plays (or at least to conceive them) and to have them acted before the camera.

“More or less coherent” is a quality which seems to have remained with screenplays a century later.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Cement, Take Two

For Jean Harlow, whose stardom seemed cemented after her soon to be nationally released “Dinner at Eight” (1933), it was case of “try, try again” when getting the star treatment at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

On September 25, 1933, she was the main attraction on stage at the Chinese Theater for a live ceremony before a paying audience to watch her plunk her hands and her high-heeled shoes into a slab of wet cement. Presumably flashbulbs, presumably applause, and presumably a handy towel to wipe the gunk off her hands and shoes.

Not presumed at all was the quick-drying cement, which had dried so quickly that when the slab was attempted to be moved, it was dropped. Smashed to smithereens.

Take two. Four days later, a very game Jean Harlow repeats the ceremony, this time outdoors on the sidewalk, on September 29, 1933. “To Sid in Appreciation - Jean Harlow” she signed the new slab of wet cement, and presumably Sid Grauman appreciated her return engagement.

Jean Harlow, sadly, did not have too many more second chances in her young life. She died four years later in 1937, at 26 years old.

For more on the footprints in cement occasion, have a look at this website.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roz Russell's Waterbury Premiere

Rosalind Russell experienced a very special, but precarious, movie premiere when her comedy “The Girl Rush” (1955) premiered in her hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. What began as an exciting and poignant celebration of, as the newsreel narration put it, “hometown girl makes good”, ended in a frightening disaster when an unforeseen flood nearly obliterated Waterbury that night.

She wrote in her autobiography, “Life is a Banquet” (with Chris Chase, Random House, NY, 1977) “Nineteen fifty-five was my year for attracting natural disasters.”

Mayor Snyder, Rosland Russell, and Gloria DeHaven.

The festivities were scheduled for August 18th. Roz (as she was referred in the local paper), was due to arrive by train along with her co-stars from the film, Fernando Lamas, Eddie Albert, and Gloria DeHaven (who we last saw in this post on “Summer Stock” - 1950)

According to author Bernard F. Dick’s biography, “Forever Mame - The Life of Rosalind Russell” (University Press of Mississippi, 2006), Miss Russell arrived the day before, visited with siblings and her elderly mother, and prepared to take on the public mantle of hometown hero.

Miss Russell remarks in her autobiography, “Waterbury authorities explained that I was the only motion picture star to have a theatre named for her (I don’t know whether they meant in Waterbury or in the United States or in the entire world, but how could such a declaration not go to a girl’s head?)”

In “Life is a Banquet” she puts us right in the middle of the scenario, “Before the rains came, I rode in a parade in a white satin dress that was all beaded, with a matching little thing that sat on my head, being Princess Grace all over the joint.”

The stars, along with the flock of Paramount newsreel men, the inevitable publicity department, and some 10,000 townspeople straggling on the sidewalks to watch the parade, would be taken from the railroad station to the Elton Hotel, the swank spot in town.

After a luncheon, the Hollywood contingent were then to be whisked away to City Hall where Mayor Raymond E. Snyder, Sr. (who incidentally had bought Rosalind Russell’s parent’s home a couple of decades before and turned it into a funeral parlor, which it remains), would present her with the key to the city. They were also to get a tour of town, including some of the Brass City’s famous industries, and Roz’s birthplace.

Dave Garroway (who is mentioned as having a problem with chimpanzees on the set of The Today Show in this post from Monday), showed up with his Today Show crew to film the festivities live on television from the Elton Hotel.

Roz’s take: “There was a big dinner at the great snob Waterbury Club, and my brother had to make a speech, and everything was to be televised - crews had been there for a week, setting up cameras all over the Waterbury green.”

They were in the right place to broadcast an even bigger surprise story the next day.

The evening of the 18th, they all headed over to the State Theater, which had just been re-named the Rosalind Russell State Theater, to watch the premiere of “The Girl Rush.” The Mattatuck Drum Band and a U.S. Marine Color provided escort.

Roz writes in her autobiography that, “there was a drum and fife corps - that’s very big in Connecticut; they always wear tricorne hats.”

The shots of Roz accompanying this post are all from a newsreel. Here is the plaque Roz unveiled marking the occasion.

Limos downtown, and powerful spotlights sweeping the cloud-covered night sky. Nothing like it had ever been seen in this factory town. Nothing ever would again. By morning, the Rosalind Russell State Theater, like much of the downtown, would be under several feet of water.

That cloud-covered sky. It had been raining pretty steadily all day during the celebrations on the 18th. By late that evening, smaller brooks in the Naugatuck River valley would jump their banks. The mighty Naugatuck itself, which powered so much industry in Waterbury, would morph in the wee hours to a monstrous thing that scraped factories, stores, and homes to rubble before morning, and leave some 30 people dead in Waterbury and over 90 people dead or missing and presumed dead total in the towns of the Naugatuck Valley.

Astonishing was the suddenness of the event. To be sure, Hurricane Diane had spent a couple of weeks sliding up the Eastern seaboard, but it made a sharp right turn out to sea before ever entering New England. It, and Hurricane Connie, dropped more rain than the already sodden ground could take, and what had begun as a gloomy day became a fearful night of torrential downpour, causing destruction no one could have predicted.

Roz fortuitously left right after the premiere, rented a car with her maid and a driver, and they made their way to New Haven while the bridges were being washed out in Waterbury.

From Roz’s autobiography: “I directed the driver - ‘Go up this hill, go down that lane, I know this town’ - because I realized if we could get to New Haven, we could get from there to New York. There was no hope of driving along the Naugatuck Valley toward Bridgeport; the Naugatuck River had overflowed.”

Her intention was to make it to the next publicity chore, the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City on the 21st, for an appearance with co-star Gloria DeHaven to promote “The Girl Rush.”

According to Mr. Dick's book, Miss DeHaven, however, got stuck in Waterbury temporarily until train service resumed.

Recovery took weeks, months, even years for some people. Some businesses, and people, never did recover.

According to this Cinema Treasures information, the State Theater had at various times, been called the Broadway, the Bijou, or the Rialto. It was torn down a couple decades ago. Currently, it is a parking lot.

This remarkable event was the last time Rosalind Russell ever visited Waterbury. Truly, the dual theatrical masks of comedy and tragedy were worn on this night.

For more on the New England Flood of 1955, have a look at tomorrow’s “New England Travels” blog.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lester Colodny's Hollywood Memoir

Lester Colodny learned many things in the course of his career, such as Frank Sinatra did not like to rehearse. Mr. Colodny found this out by attempting to direct him in a commercial.

Mr. Colodny also found out that several chimpanzees let loose on live television is not a happy situation. He discovered this as an associate producer for “The Today Show”. Host Dave Garroway, whose idea it was, must have seen his error immediately as the chimps assaulted Mr. Garroway and the rest of his stunned cast, including Frank Blair, Jack Lescoulie, and a very young, beautiful, and horror-stricken Florence Henderson.

In his recently published memoir, “A Funny Thing Happened - Life Behind the Scenes: Hollywood Hilarity and Manhattan Mayhem” (SciArt Media, publisher) written by Mr. Colodny with Susan Heller, an amazing career of twists and turns, often under the silliest of circumstances, is chronicled by this now 85-year-old gentleman who currently directs community theatre in New England.

Lester Colodny has been a writer of plays, ad copy, of news précis, and screenplays. He stumbled into acting and stumbled into Mae West, touring with her show “Diamond L’il”. He worked as a literary agent, a talent agent, and director of television commercials. He won an Emmy Award for a special with Jack Benny he wrote, directed and produced. He won several “Clio” awards for his unique “Xerox” commercials. He created the television show “The Munsters”.

He recounts a Hollywood party where Rod Steiger and Lee Marvin endured a spectacular fistfight. Colodny worked with, and partied with, and shares his memories of such Hollywood luminaries as Lana Turner (whom he dated), Cary Grant, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (and several other party crashers that would be a name-dropper’s paradise), Jerry Lewis, and the Beatles, among a score of others.

He would also direct another commercial with a very young Richard Dreyfuss.

For more on my interview with Mr. Colodny, have a look here at my New England Travels blog, and here at my Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog. To order your copy of this unique memoir by a very funny guy, have a look here at the SciArt Media website.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stanwyck Sings!

We mentioned a few days ago in the post about “The Man with the Cloak” (1951), that Barbara Stanwyck sings in one scene where she entertains at a party.

This former New York showgirl may not have had the range or vocal power of Ethel Merman (few did), but because Stanwyck is a delight to watch in everything else she did, her singing scenes are also a pleasant insight into the can-do attitude of this gusty actress.

Author Ella Smith notes in her “Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck” (Crown Publishing, Inc., NY, c. 1985) that Miss Stanwyck also does her own singing in “Banjo on My Knee” (1936), “This is My Affair” (1937), and “Lady of Burlesque” (1943).

She is dubbed by other singers in “Ball of Fire” (1941), and “California” (1947). Ella Smith also writes that her “The Man with the Cloak” is dubbed, but I’ve read differently elsewhere. If she is dubbed here, it’s an awfully good match-up to her voice. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows more and can set us straight.

Below are a couple of clips of Barbara Stanwyck singing, first in “Banjo on My Knee” in a duet with Tony Martin, followed by “Lady of Burlesque”. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page first and mute the music so you can hear these clips.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Man with the Cloak - 1951

The Man with a Cloak (1951) is a deft melding of equal parts historical drama and film noir. Set in New York City in 1848, we follow the cloak-(literally) and-dagger schemes of a wealthy, aged, and dying rapscallion played with superb aplomb by Louis Calhern, and the sycophantic but secretly devious household staff.

Joe De Santis plays his thuggish-looking butler with the threat of violence beneath a thin veneer of servitude. Margaret Wycherly is the comically frumpy, ineffectual but surprisingly knowing cook and housekeeper. Barbara Stanwyck, yes, Barbara Stanwyck, is Louis Calhern’s hostess and most prized possession. She is a former actress whom Mr. Calhern has collected, now reduced to playing the role of devoted dogsbody to a man she despises. All three are tired of playing the waiting game for their exasperating master to die, and are plotting to hurry him along to his final reward.

Enter Leslie Caron, in her second film after An American in Paris, with her wide waif’s eyes and determination to appeal to Louis Calhern for his financial support. She has just arrived from Paris, where her lover, who is Calhern’s grandson, leads a revolt against the current Orleans monarchy to establish the Second Republic. Grandpa Calhern, however is on the opposite political side, having fought for the Emperor, escaping to the United States when Napoleon was ousted. He has been estranged from his grandson, but his heart is softening as he realizes he has little time to live.

And Calhern, still the rogue, is captivated with Mademoiselle Caron, which drives Miss Stanwyck up a tree.

On the outskirts of this mélange, but soon to be an integral part, is Joseph Cotten, the man with the cloak. Though he gives his name to the affable bartender played by Jim Backus, we nevertheless come to understand early in the film that he is a man of mystery, and that this is likely not his real name.

In this film, Mr. Cotten plays a real historical figure. We get a few clues throughout the movie about his identity, but his name, finally revealed at the very end of the movie when his signature is scrawled on an I.O.U., may still come as a poignant surprise.

The movie’s film noir aspects include a score by David Raksin that at some points sounds almost like it would belong with a 1950 police drama. However, Raksin also wrote the 19th century-flavored tune “Another Yesterday” which Barbara Stanwyck sings. It’s her own voice, low and with limited range, but very smoothly and pleasantly done. Mr. Raksin also wrote the tune “Laura” for the other famous detective drama, so he’s no stranger to mood pieces.  We discussed his work in this previous post on The Next Voice You Hear (1950).

The bulk of the 19th century is carried on the shoulders of costumer Walter Plunkett. The costumes and sets seem both spot-on for the period.

The mood of Dickensian grimness and 20th century noir is woven together as well in the damp nights on cobblestone streets lit by gaslight, the layers of deception, the bungled plot that results in not one dead body but two, and a very crisp and literate script that concludes with a surprisingly wordless and violent fight scene.

Perhaps the signature of film noir is represented in this costume drama in the character played by Joseph Cotten, who is the original anti-hero, the man down on his luck, a slave to drink, who roams with bitter failure on his back, his own worst enemy, and yet who with cunning and cynical savvy, becomes Leslie Caron’s knight in shining armor.

Leslie Caron, however is not the typical damsel in distress. Here she plays a courageous young woman who is Cotten’s intellectual equal and together they solve a few riddles before the game is done. Mademoiselle Caron, in this and in many of her films, seems to exude a unique serenity, a confidence and sureness despite her youth that results in her characters looking completely natural. There is no staginess, despite the precision of her speech and her movement.

Mr. Cotten’s relationship with her is not romantic, nor is it particularly fatherly, but there is a comfortable confidentiality to their scenes together.

Another fine aspect of this film is that it manages to be an ensemble piece. Jim Backus, as the philosopher bartender, who remarks, “Some men leave good will. Other just a will,” is as important to the plot as the brutish butler, and as important as Miss Stanwyck, who with her customary professionalism, seems content to be a team player. She also has the guts to play a woman of a certain age with fading charms, who desperately uses everything left in her arsenal.

To be sure, however, she takes center stage easily when sparks fly in her scenes with Joseph Cotten, when the tension builds and the stakes are higher. They size each other up like they are about to have a knife fight instead of kiss. Stanwyck is as still and cold as a statue, playing the grand lady and every inch a woman of another era. One can see early shades of her Victoria Barkley character from The Big Valley television series here, only evil. And no horse. But, boy howdy (as Heath would say), she can descend a staircase with the best of them.

Cotten remarks of Louis Calhern, “He was a roué in the grand manner. A connoisseur of wine, women, and wit. Now he’s an ancient ruin with one arm paralyzed and one foot in the grave.” Cotten, who sees through just about everybody, makes cutting, sarcastic remarks, but is a foremost gentleman who after each dig mumbles a perfunctory, “Forgive me” in between sips of wine.

One of my favorites is when he brushes by the hateful butler and murmurs, “Try to get the murder out of your face.”

While Joseph Cotten and Leslie Caron are attempting to protect the old man’s life against his murderous household servants, the old man pulls a fast one on everybody, writes a new will, and then attempts to end his life with poison.

In the grand manner of a horror tale, the poison is consumed accidentally by another, while Calhern, silenced by another stroke, must watch helplessly.

In the end, the reluctant hero solves the riddles, and the Parisian waif may return home triumphant, and the household staff…they receive a most ironic and fitting legacy from their master.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drive-in Theater, Rhode Island

Not much but the sign of this drive-in movie theater if you’re driving northbound on Route 146 in Rhode Island. But that’s the way it is with drive-ins, you have to enter the inner sanctum to see what’s there. What’s there is just nothing but a big screen, and the big black night sky, and maybe the soft glow from the snack bar.

In the daytime, there’s no magic.

This drive-in theatre, now called the Rustic Tri-view, was opened in 1951 in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. As mentioned in this previous post on drive-ins, there aren’t a lot left in New England, but this one’s managed to survive the decades. It is now the only drive-in movie theater left in the state of Rhode Island.

For more on the Rustic Tri-view (so named for its three screens), have a look at this website, and here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ruth Roman, Betsy Drake, and the SS Andrea Doria

Newspaper article from “The Boston Daily Globe” July 26, 1956, page 1.

In July 1956, the ocean liner SS Andrea Doria sank on the last night of its transatlantic voyage from Italy to New York City when another ocean liner, the MS Stockholm, collided with her.

It seems a watershed moment, almost as if morosely heralding the end of the leisurely elegance of ship travel (the first jet was to cross the Atlantic two years later), and the beginning of instant news as still photographers from  Life  magazine and others, newsreel cameramen, and reporters scrambled to the site to watch the vessel sink. Topping any newspaper “extras,” the film was developed and shown on television, a first.

Along with scores of immigrants making that journey, were the well-to-do and well-traveled, and two who made that fateful trip represented Hollywood. They were actresses Ruth Roman, (last seen here in our discussion of Invitation - 1951) and Betsy Drake. Their experiences on the last voyage of the Andrea Doria, along with the harrowing tales of many others, are told in Richard Goldstein’s fine book Desperate Hours - The Epic Rescue of the Andrea Doria (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., NY, 2003), from which much of the following information is taken.

Betsy Drake, and husband Cary Grant, had traveled on the Andrea Doria before, and other stars, as captured in the documentary Secrets of the Dead - The Sinking of the Andrea Doria (PBS 2006), include Kim Novak, Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Spencer Tracy, Joan Crawford, and Tyrone Power.

Hollywood has given us a glimpse of the ship, inadvertently, in the final moments of On the Waterfront (1954) when Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint are standing atop his apartment building. The ocean liner moving down the Hudson is the Andrea Doria, two years before the tragedy.

Her last voyage was to be a nine-day journey from Genoa, Italy to New York City in this era where travel was leisurely. Ocean liners had individual designs and décor (unlike planes which were stamped out pretty much one like another). Meals were extraordinary, and passengers dressed for dinner.

There were three classes on the Andrea Doria, 1st class, cabin class, and tourist class, each with its own gym, library, bar, dancing, movies, and swimming pools. The sumptuous ship was itself like an art museum with paintings and sculptures in airy solons with modern furniture, making it a most glamorous ship.

Ruth Roman, whose film The Bottom of the Bottle was released a few months previously, traveled with her three-year old son, Richard, called Dickie, as well as a traveling companion, Janet Stewart, and her son’s nanny.

Betsy Drake joined the voyage at Gibraltar, where she left her husband Cary Grant making a movie in Spain and pursuing Sophia Loren, much to his wife’s distress.

The trip enjoyed clear weather, and a peaceful crossing until its final night, when it entered the notoriously fog-bound waters south of Nantucket off New England. There were the usual last night farewell festivities, with champagne and streamers, and a roast beef dinner, and “Arrivederci Roma” played by Dino Massa and Orchestra.

Many cut the evening short to head back to their cabins and get some sleep before the early morning docking in New York. Betsy Drake did, never being much for socializing, and preferring to climb into her bunk in her cabin to read.

Ruth Roman and companion Janet Stewart enjoyed a last drink in the Belvedere Observation Lounge, while her son slept in the cabin a lower deck with his nanny minding him.

Some people watched the movie Foxfire (1955) with Jeff Chandler and Jane Russell.

A little after 11 o’clock that night, the MS Stockholm, leaving New York for Sweden, accidentally rammed the Andrea Doria. To some passengers it seemed like a dull thud, to others a great jolt, depending on where they were on ship, and then the screeching sound of ripping metal. Ultimately, 46 people on this ship, and 5 on the Stockholm, died.

Betsy Drake’s cabin on the Boat Deck shook, and she immediately put her stylish suit back on, grabbed a life vest, and headed for the upper deck. Her jewels, and a semi-autobiographic novel on which she’d been working, went down with the ship.

Ruth Roman ran from the lounge to get to her son, and ripped her form-fitting dress up the back so she could move better on the stairs that were already at a treacherous angle due to the listing of the ship on its side. She took son, and nanny, and life vests, and ditched her high heels to manage the climb to the upper deck.

Distress signals went out. First on the scene were a commercial freighter, Naval ships, and another grand ocean liner, the Ile de France.

The Ile de France had left New York City that morning and was heading to England, but turned around at the Morse Code distress call. 

The Doria was taking on water and ominously threatening to roll over. There were plenty of lifeboats on the Andrea Doria, a lesson well-learned from the Titanic disaster, but an unexpected problem arose. Because of the lurch of the ship onto its side, half the lifeboats could not be launched, and were useless.

Fortunately the Stockholm, though it had sustained severe damage to its bow, was in no danger of sinking. Several of its lifeboats were sent to fetch passengers from the Andrea Doria.

Ruth Roman found a deflated balloon left over from the party. She blew it up and amused her little boy with it, plunking him in a barricade of life vests and blankets on the deck, telling him they were having a picnic. Around them, scenes of chaos, courtesy, panic, selfishness, and selflessness.

The ship creaked, and slipped some more. About 2 a.m., Miss Roman and her gang slid down from the higher end of the deck to the lower side where they hoped to catch a rope to a lifeboat below. A young cadet sailor from the Andrea Doria took her son and strapped himself to Dickie, and climbed down a rope ladder to a waiting lifeboat.

The boat pulled away before Ruth Roman could climb in. The boy disappeared in the fog with a group of strangers. She, and nanny, and companion, waited for another opportunity to escape.

By 2 a.m., three hours after the collision, there were still around 1,000 people left on board the Andrea Doria awaiting rescue, the two Hollywood stars among them. No more division into classes; it was egalitarianism at its most miserable. Betsy Drake clung to the high side of the ship, took off her shoes for traction, and waited.

About that time the Ile de France approached. With sensitivity mixed with perhaps a certain Gallic élan, the captain ordered all the festive lights on the ship turned on so that the Doria survivors would see that help was coming. Among its strings of lights, there was the name lit up between its two funnels in great block letters: ILE DE FRANCE suddenly piercing the black gloom. More than reassuring, it seemed like something miraculous, a finale scene out of a movie.

Ruth Roman was taken in a lifeboat to the Ile de France. Her little boy was not here, and she could not find out to which ship among the seven rescue ships he had been taken.

Betsy Drake was also taken to the Ile de France. She had previously sailed on this ship under happier circumstances. (She had met Cary Grant when they sailed together on the RMS Queen Mary.) So many survivors were trying to send cables from the ship to loved ones, that she was unable to send one to Cary Grant.

Newspaper article from “The Boston Daily Globe” July 26, 1956, page 1.

Many of the passengers on the Ile de France donated clothing to the Doria survivors. A tennis professional named Eddie Hand gave Ruth Roman a pair of trousers, a white polo shirt, and woolen socks. A Life photographer who happened to be traveling with his family, brought her to rest in his cabin.

The Ile de France managed to scoop up 753 of the Andrea Doria’s passengers. When she entered New York Harbor, other boats blew whistles in tribute, and cheers rose up from the crowds gathering at the piers. Just after 5 p.m. on the 26th, she docked at Pier 88 off West 48th Street.

Betsy Drake, met at the pier by a friend, was still wearing her suit but also a pair of white sweat socks a sailor had given her. Many of the survivors had no shoes. Many of the immigrants had nothing left but the donated clothes on their backs.

Ruth Roman finally learned that her son had been taken to the MS Stockholm, which initially had trouble leaving the scene of the collision because its anchor chains had become tangled. It was still at sea when she arrived at the pier with the other Ile de France passengers.

Late the next morning, on the 27th, Miss Roman finally reunited with her son, as the Stockholm entered the harbor. Now that the media had come of age, or at least catching on to its exploitive possibilities in the reporting of instant news, the moment she picked her child up and hustled through a mob of reporters and cameramen was captured with all its excitement and cruel lack of privacy.

Article from "The New York Times", July 26, 1956, p. 1

For both Hollywood stars, their connection to the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria would become a footnote of trivia, though Betsy Drake was reportedly traumatized by the incident for months. She ultimately left acting, and her husband, for a career in psychotherapy, particularly in the treatment of children and adolescents.

The most remarkable aspect of the sinking of the Andrea Doria is that so many were saved due to an impromptu, but terrifically successful rescue operation. For more on the event, stop by at my New England Travels blog.

For Mr. Goldstein’s excellent book, including an excerpt describing the arrival on scene of the Ile de France, have a look here at his website.

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