Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

More old movie mags 2: Dirk's & Rock's "romances" !

It is too easy to laugh now and make fun of those 1950s fan magazines - we all know the American ones, but the British ones are fascinating now too, particularly those ones where they had to concoct romances for closeted stars like Dirk Bogarde and Rock Hudson. Dirk and Rock of course both knew everyone, but how to explain they were still bachelors ...? Pity the (un-named) hacks who had to come up with these stories! and the fans who lapped them all up back in 1958, were they so naive then?

It seems Dirk was in love with Jean Simmons all along - who knew! (they made a film, SO LONG AT THE FAIR, in 1950) and was shattered when she went off and married Stewart Granger, so Dirk never got over it, as he posed for moody photographs on his various country estates ... and was comforted by his girl pals like Judy Garland, Kay Kendall, Capucine, Ava Gardner, Anouk Aimee, and later Charlotte Rampling and Jane Birkin, as he worked with all the new talent of the Sixties and Seventies. 

The Dirk Life Story in Pictures is a delirious 1950s comic strip, there is more of it at Dirk comic strip label ... Click on images to enlarge ...
These writers create imaginary dialogue exchanges between Rock and Phyllis Gates, the woman he married for a year (his agent Henry Willson's secretary), and concocted their own version of what when wrong in their troubled marriage. Phyllis it seems was too extravagant!
Lets quote some of this deathless prose:
"But, unfortunately, harmony did not reign in their mountain-side home for long. Soon the rumours started - Rock and Phyllis were not hitting it off so well. The marriage was cracking.
Hollywood know-alls said the trouble stemmed from Phyllis's extravagance. It was true that she loved to go shopping. And after all, why not, when Rock had so much money?
One night, Rock came home tired and hungry, from an exhuasting day at the studio. He pushed open the door. No Phyllis. He went through the house calling for her and at last he found her in the bedroom, trying on a black chiffon evening dress. 
She turned to him with stars in her eyes. "Look at it Rock" she cried. "Isn't it just the most stunning gown you ever saw?"
Rock raised a hand to his brow. "Wait a minute" he said, "you bought an evening gown last week. You haven't even worn it yet, and now this today".
The stars faded from Phyllis's eyes ... "But honey, don't you understand, soon I shall wear both of them. When we go out in public again". 
"I've told you before", Rock stormed, "I don't want us to start dragging round to nightclubs and premieres".
And so such a comparatively small thing as a new evening dress started off a first-class row.
It sparked off the other major difference between them. Phyllis liked the do the Town occasionally. Rock preferred to stay at home.
Perhaps he liked to have the chance because his film commitments so often took him away from home.
When he went to Europe to make A FAREWELL TO ARMS it was understood that Phyllis would join him. They both looked forward to this immensely for it would mean a second honeymoon.
And then a couple of weeks before Phyllis was due to leave for Italy, Rock received a letter.
"Rock, darling, I've just rented a beautiful house at Malibu Beach for us both. You can swim all day long ...!
Rock was furious. He rushed to the phone.
As soon as he heard her voice, he started to storm. "Phyllis, its me, Rock. Now what do you mean by renting a house without even consulting me?"
Phyllis's voice was cajoling at the other end of the line. "But, honey, its the loveliest house you ever saw. You'll adore it..."
Rock's voice was grim. "I'm not taking any house I haven't seen. Why didn't you consult me? I am the man in this family."
Phyllis's voice rose. "And I'm a grown woman. Why do I have to ask your permission for everything? A house is a woman's business. All I did was -"
Finally, they hung up on each other. Rows at home were bad enough, but rowing with thousands of miles between them - this was disastrous. 
It was also the beginning of the end ......"
There are pages more in in that vein. There was also a "vivacious" script girl named Betty Abbott whom Rock was captivated by, if Betty ever existed - they certainly deserve an award for artistic licence! Other stories in this fan mag are fictional accounts of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh at home, and Montgomery Clift's impossible love for Elizabeth Taylor, with lots of juicy dialogue scenes ! Its priceless.

At least Dirk never went through a sham marriage - he and Rock were both filming in Italy in 1957, and as I have posted here before, they met for a photo op, and no doubt amused themselves discussing the sizes of their respective closets .... AND Rock browses through Dirk's March 1957 copy of "Films and Filming"!

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