Flashback to 1955

Army Archerd has the day off. This column originally ran Aug. 1, 1955.

GOOD MORNING: Mario Lanza is in a rest home — presumably to take off weight — after completing most of the recordings for WB’s “Serenade”… Sheree North nixed “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter” because, sez she, the play slaps Marilyn Monroe, whom, incidentally, she has never met. Orson Bean, however, Sheree’s leading man in “Very, Very Popular,” will be in the B’way show … Elizabeth Montgomery’s divorce, due to be granted in Las Vegas last week, won’t come thru until Friday — she lost Nevada residence time remaining in town for “Court Martial of Billy Mitchell”… Jerry Lewis was behind the cameras again yesterday — grinding film at son Gary’s 10th birthday party … Dean Martin, meanwhile, was aboard H. Bogart’s boat, with Catalina the destination … Incidental intelligence: Burt Lancaster, fearless film hero who flies through the air with the greatest of ease in “Trapeze,” will not travel by plane … Scribes are in receipt of notes of apology from Disneyland — because of the “press preview” foul-up … Prosperity note: the publicity entrance at WB, closed for over two years, is once again open and manned by a studio cop … Jack Webb’s Mark VII’ers have moved off the Warner lot and back to Disney’s while Webb’s beating the drums for “Pete Kelly’s Blues.” He’ll probably shoot “Dragnet” at Republic this fall … Esther Williams and Ben Gage sell their Mandeville Canyon home before leaving for Europe in Jan. They’ll build a new place at Malibu when they return … Betty Furness will femcee La Williams’ pool benefit at the BevHilton, Aug. 12, for the Nursery School for the Visually Handicapped … Ben Cole takes Ava Gardner’s Welsh Corgi to her in Spain this week … Call sheet for “Tambourine”: “Part of man to be thrown thru window.” Which part?

MAIN REASON FOR EDNA FERBER’S Hollywood visit to see her “Giant” grow: she wants to be sure the book’s message remains on celluloid. The message: beware of prejudice and intolerance, not only in Texas, but everywhere in the world … We sat with Ferber as she watched “Giant” footage. She admitted she’s a critical gal — but couldn’t find praise enough for the job being done by all … She calls James Dean a “genius.” And explains his attitude as “success poisoning,” a disease she had when she had two smash hits on B’way — within a week of each other! “For months,” said Miss Ferber, “I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone”… Dean’s found himself a home in Sherman Oaks. A unique house, it has no bedrooms. He’s leased it for a year. Sounds like he’ll get mighty sleepy! … Ferber returns to sweltering NY next week — to start her new novel about Alaska.

BOB WAGNER’S PITCHING TO SING the title tune in “A Kiss Before Dying”… Hope Emerson, climbing aboard a hoss, via ladder, for “Ox Bow Incident”: “They didn’t have horses on 45th St.”… Raymond Burr, who’s toured 46 service hospitals, has eight more to go! Burr’s also planning another tour to Korea … Ann Stebbins is WB testing … First Warner exec to be lensed in the Burbank “Behind the Cameras” series was Walter MacEwen. First time in 30 years he’s donned pancake! … Sign on San Vicente Boulevard: “We repair do-it-yourself jobs.”

GEORGIE JESSEL, BACK IN TOWN for a few days and dating Arlene Miles at the Encore. About those eastern marriage rumors, Jessel sez he’ll get married “when Judge Crater performs the ceremony!” Jessel plays Cannes on the 20th, a 90-min. TV show in London on the 24th, then off to Ostend … Barbara Ruick and Bob Horton, back together, also at the Encore … Linda Darnell and Philip Liebmann at the Mocambo. And the Ralph Bellamys (he’s here for “Billy Mitchell”) at Ciro’s … Kay Brown and Maynard Ferguson phfft again; and this is probably final … Jeff Chandler, supposedly on complete vacation from UI chores — was on the lot visiting the sets! … On UI’s “Red Sundown” set, Dean Jagger was feted for his 30th year in show biz … Jane Withers is happy the Four Freshmen bounce into town for a date at the Crescendo Aug. 12. She dates Ken Errair, one of the group … Roger Moore and Dorothy Squire detour to the Fontainebleau on their return from England in September. She’ll chirp here for a fortnight … The Hollywood gang at Del Mar last week cleaned up on “Mama King” of the King Bros. stable … Lucille Ball signs autographs at the track on her losing tix … Lloyd Nolan looks like a “House of David” member with his “Last Hunt” beard … Thalian officer Jimmy Durante: “I thought ‘Thalian’ was a fancy word for Italian!”

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