Friday, August 24, 2012

My Favorite Wife, Randolph Scott, Marilyn Monroe, The Green Jacket and discrimination

My Favorite Wife is on TCM this afternoon. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Irene Dunne has been lost at sea and after 7 years her lawyer husband (Cary Grant) has her declared dead and marries another woman. Of course, Dunne is rescued and returns in time to find her husband on his honeymoon with his new wife.

This picture was remade in 1963 with James Garner and Doris Day. The picture was to be remade with Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin in 1962 under the working title of Somethings Gotta Give. Monroe's problems forced the production to shut down and was eventually scrapped. Shortly afterward Monroe died. It was then remade and released with James Garner and Doris Day under the title of Move Over Darling.

Randolph Scott plays the 'other man' in My Favorite Wife. Dunne and he have been stranded on a deserted island and of course Grant is suspicious of what went on. Scott eventually tells Grant that he wants to marry Dunne. There are all sorts fo screwball comedy complications, but of course it works out in the end.

Scott is most usually associated with westerns. In the over one hundred films that he did, sixty were westerns (including the great Ride The High Country). He was tall and handsome and the very image of the strong, stoic silent type.

Scott is notable for something else. For many years he was the only actor allowed to join the Los Angeles Country Club. Recently, it has been reported that for the first time in its history, the Augusta National Country Club is finally going to admit two women – a big deal has been made of the fact that Condi Rice will get a green jacket.

It has to be remembered that for many years country clubs routinely discriminated against all sorts of people. In Los Angeles, regardless of the economic value that motion pictures brought to the LA area, actors were not deemed socially acceptable. Moreover, Jews were even less acceptable. Despite the fact that the major movie studios were owned by Jews: the Warner Brothers, Sam Goldwyn, Harry Cohn, Leo B Mayer, they were not acceptable at the 'elite' country clubws.

That is why the Hillcrest Country Club in LA was created. For years it was known as the Jewish Country Club. Its members were the Hollywood moguls noted above and the likes of the Marx Brothers, George Burns, Jack Benny and others.

Given a choice that is the club I want to be a member of.

This has all changed now, of course, but watching Randolph Scott I was reminded of that time, not so long ago.

Oh, the reason Scott was allowed in to the Los Angeles Country Club? He was perceived of and indeed was a 'southern gentleman' from Virginia - not like the other Hollywood rif raff.

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