View from Lodi, CA: Marilyn, Assorted Hollywood Stars, And Me

In an effort to distract readers from Iraq,

April 15th
, the California budget crisis,

Laci Peterson
and sundry other depressing news items
[Joe`s note to VDARE.Com

driver`s licenses

in-state tuition fees, free

heart transplants
] today`s column refers
you to a February 18th New York Times
story titled

“A Boy`s Film of a Day with Marilyn Monroe”
Jesse McKinley.

As the story goes, Peter Mangone, a 14-year-old
Marilyn Monroe fan, knew that the love of his teenage
life was living at the Gladstone Hotel in Manhattan
during her divorce proceedings from Joe DiMaggio.

Mangone, a kid from the Bronx, hung out in front of
the hotel everyday hoping for a wave, a nod or – if he
really got lucky – an autograph.

Monroe must have noticed him and admired his tenacity
because one day, just as she left the hotel for a
big-time shopping spree, she signaled for Mangone to
join her and her friend Milton Greene.

As very good fortune would have it, on that
particular spring day in 1955, Mangone carried an
eight-millimeter camera.

Mangone spent the day filming Monroe, dressed in a
black cashmere suit, at distances of five or six feet.
In the background were the vintage 1950s trappings: men
in fedoras, women in crinolines, and

Checker cabs

Walking backward along the New York streets, Mangone
captured Monroe in classic glamour shots. But he also
caught her yawning and cleaning dirt out of her eyes.

After the film was developed, Mangone whiled away many
a day watching his own handiwork at his Bronx home.

Said Mangone, “Once you saw her, once your eyes
fixed into her, she was burnt into your head. I haven`t
been able to look at a woman the same way since.”

About three years after Mangone`s day with Monroe,
the unthinkable happened. The film was lost. Fifty years
passed before Mangone`s brother found it tucked away among
some family possessions.

Imagine spending 50 years telling people about the

Marilyn Monroe
invited you to join her at Saks. Even
your dearest friends would be hard pressed to believe
you. Others would certainly ridicule you for outlandish
story telling.

Then, presto, one day the film—which you always
claimed existed—appears. What a glorious moment of

Of course, the Magone-Monroe story could only have
happened in the 1950s. Today, if you lurked around
Jennifer Lopez`s mansion, you would be arrested for
stalking before nightfall. And none of Lopez`s dozen
bodyguards would let you within 50 feet of her.

But take it from somebody who grew up in Hollywood
during those same 1950s. In those days many of the stars

—if you played your cards right.

Many a trip to Beverly Hills ended up with some primo

My mother, then in her 30s and quite a dish, went up
to all of the stars. “Oh, look,” she would say, “there`s
Gregory Peck. Let`s go say hello

Once face-to-face with Peck, my mother could really
turn on the charm: “I can`t tell you how much I love

`Gentleman`s Agreement.`
It is just my favorite
movie of all time

Peck had certainly heard this all before. But as I
mentioned, Mom was a looker. And she had personality to
burn. Within minutes, Peck was signing personalized
autographs at a rapid clip.

Although I was too young to totally appreciate my
experiences, I met many of Hollywood`s most famous by
tagging along with Mom.

My biggest star moment, however, came when my father
and I were window-shopping on Rodeo Drive. We were the
only customers in a swank men`s haberdashery on Rodeo

The proprietor, paying us no mind, had correctly
sized up my old man as a penurious sort who was not
going to spend ten cents.

Suddenly, the owner uttered one word: “Sinatra!
He raced to open the door and quickly locked it behind

Sinatra, renown for lavish spending, walked past the
display cases. “Send me three dozen of the white
shirts; two dozen of the blue. Don`t forget to monogram
the cuffs. I`ll take two dozen assorted silk ties, too.”

The owner couldn`t write fast enough. When the burst
of ordering ended, Sinatra realized that two other
people were in the store.

Now it was the old man`s turn to talk smooth. He told
Sinatra about what fans he and Mom were and how many
albums they owned.

Every word was gospel. Mom and Dad had danced to
Sinatra and romanced to Sinatra.

Dad must have caught Sinatra on a good day. Or maybe
Sinatra just wanted to get out of that locked store.

Whatever it was, Sinatra finally interrupted the
gushing to say, “I`m at the Palladium this week-end.
I`ll leave your name.”

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel