Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

Architecture: Hotel del Coronado


The Hotel del Coronado, opened back in 1888, was selected 18th in the AIA's survey of America's Favorite Architecture. Uploaded by wayfaring.info.

The “Hotel Del,” as it’s colloquially known, isn’t just one of Southern California’s inspired architectural masterpieces. It holds that honor for the entire country. The American Institute of Architects’ survey of America’s Favorite Architecture, placed this National Historic Landmark at number 18. That ranks higher than such national treasures at Monticello and any Frank Lloyd Wright creation.


The Hotel Del and Marilyn Monroe were both featured in Some Like it Hot. Uploaded by travel.latimes.com.

The Hotel Del, located in Coronado, California (just across the bay from San Diego), is one of the last surviving examples of the Victorian wooden beach resort. Built in 1888 from architect James Reid’s plan, it was at the time the largest resort hotel in the world. And it was the first to use electric lighting. In fact, Thomas Edison came out to supervise the installation of the hotel’s wiring.

Today, the mammoth property contains 680 rooms and suites, many of them beachfront. It offers many of the activities and luxuries you’d expect from a luxury resort named one of the Top 10 Resorts in the World by USA Today, and the number two best place in the world to get married by The Travel Channel.

The Arts: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol recognized the commercialization of the culture in the 60s, and helped create the Pop Art movement in response. This painting by Vladimir Gorsky imitates Warhol’s style. Uploaded by loganfinearts.com.

I don’t think Andy Warhol would like being remembered as “The Campbell’s Soup Can Guy.” Or the guy who said that everyone would have 15 minutes of fame. He was involved in so many things – painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author. But more than anything, Andy Warhol was one of the first people to realize the power of celebrity.

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He was a leader in the pop art movement that sprang up in the 1960s as a reaction to the increased commercialization of the culture. Warhol saw it first-hand as a successful commercial illustrator. His iconic image of the soup can is memorable, as are the portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe.

Warhol moved from painting to silkscreen process for creating his art in the mid- 60s, and his work polarized the public. Even now, the New York Times says, “Depending on your point of view, Andy Warhol is the greatest American artist of the second half of the 20th century or a corrupter of art who destroyed painting and took us down the slippery slope of postmodernism.”

I think he was a brilliant man who bought into his own hype. But the marketplace may disagree. Warhol’s painting “Eight Elvises” sold for $100 million. I think that would have struck Andy Warhol as just hilarious.

Sports: Joe DiMaggio

The romance that had America enthralled led to a marriage that was over in 274 days. Uploaded to Flickr by shadees.

When Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio were processed at Ellis Island (Great American Things, November 24, 2009) near the turn of the century, they expected they’d raise a new generation of fishermen. That’s what the DiMaggio men had done in the old country, and what Papa took up in California upon his arrival in America. His first two sons obliged – but the last three gravitated to baseball instead. Vince, Giuseppe, and Dominic all became major league center fielders.

As you’ve probably deduced, Giuseppe the younger took the American nickname “Joe.” Good thing. “Joltin’ Giuseppe” just doesn’t cut it.

He burst onto the baseball scene batting ahead of Lou Gehrig, and helped lead the Bronx Bombers to four straight World Series titles. All in all, his Yankees earned nine championships in Joe’s thirteen seasons.

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How good was DiMaggio? Well, his 56-game hitting streak is one of the enduring records in sports, and may never be broken. He was named number eleven in the Sporting News’ list of all-time greatest baseball players. He made the All-Star team every season he played, and was the American League MVP three times.

We can’t talk about Joe without mentioning Marilyn. Their courtship was a national obsession, and they eloped on January 14, 1954. The Yankee Clipper’s career had just ended, however, and Marilyn’s was just taking flight. He was jealous, and didn’t handle being out of the spotlight well. She filed for divorce after only 274 days of marriage.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Music: The Rat Pack

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Dean Martin. And Sinatra was the Chairman of the Board. Uploaded by writeonnewjersey.com.

They called themselves “The Summit” or “The Clan.” Everyone else called them something else – The Rat Pack.

While those five were the heart of the Pack, membership was somewhat fluid. Lawford was the brother-in-law of President John Kennedy, and Sinatra thought he’d have some influence on the administration as a result. The Government was wary of his perceived mafia connections, however, and never allowed him the access he desired. As a result, Lawford was never part of the group again after 1962.

Uploaded to Flickr by popartdks.

A still developing Las Vegas was their headquarters, and their popularity was a significant factor in the city’s growth. When one member had a concert, the others would often show up for an impromptu group show. The Sands Hotel even put on their sign “DEAN MARTIN – MAYBE FRANK – MAYBE SAMMY.”

The five appeared together in two films, the original Oceans Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962). At least two of the group appeared together in six other movies.

Of course, women were a major part of the Rat Pack as well. Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, Angie Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland all had their times hanging out with the guys. They didn’t perform with the Pack, but definitely partied with them. As they might have said, “They were broads and they were barn burners, baby, but they were always the end.”

Actor: Clark Gable

Yep, regardless of all the other movies he made, he'll always be Rhett Butler to us. Uploaded by assets.nydailynews.com.

Admit it. When you hear “Clark Gable,” you think “Rhett Butler.” Gable was an excellent actor who appeared in many movies and won lots of acclaim, but he’ll always be Rhett Butler to us.

Most actors have a career role, but seldom has there been a man so prominent in a movie as successful as Gone With the Wind. Gable had already won the Oscar for Best Actor in It Happened One Night (1934), in which he and Claudette Colbert made a delightful team. And he received another Best Actor nomination for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). So he already was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars when GWTW came along. But as great as those performances were, Clark Gable is Rhett Butler.

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Gable’s career actually began in silent movies and lasted until 1961’s The Misfits, in which he co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in her final film. He worked opposite Joan Crawford eight times, Myrna Loy seven times, and Jean Harlow six times. But it’s that one movie opposite Vivien Leigh that has stayed with us.

He appeared in 81 movies in all, and you really can’t say he had a huge hit after 1939. Maybe he just became a bad judge of scripts. Maybe he just had bad luck. Or maybe it’s that even Hollywood producers always saw him as…you know.

Doris Day summed up Clark Gable this way: “He was as masculine as any man I’ve ever known, and as much a little boy as a grown man could be – it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women.”

Americana: “Happy Birthday To You”

Probably the most famous performance of the song ever, Marilyn Monroe to John Kennedy. Uploaded by marilyn.superhost.pl.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that this is the most recognized song in the English language. (The runners up, according to the Guiness Book of World Records: For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow and Auld Lang Syne.)

Sisters Mildred and Patty Hill were kindergarten teachers who wanted a simple melody that children could sing, so they came up with this tune and called it “Good Morning to All.” (“Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning dear children, good morning to you.”) It’s not really clear how the song morphed into the most common birthday song, but the words and music appeared together as early as 1912.

Isn't this better than showing kids singing around a cake? Uploaded by zulva.com.

Today, the song is copyrighted. Probably. Maybe. Sort of. The fact is that Warner Music Group claims a copyright, and enforces it to the tune of $2 million in royalties in 2008 alone. Copyright scholars (if such a term is appropriate) say that if disputed in court, the copyright might not hold. But no one wants to take on that battle, so films and television shows either pony up the dough or avoid the song.

Well, it’s sad when the most you can say in discussing a song is that its trademark is in question. You can’t talk about the many outstanding cover versions recorded, the subtleties of phrasing, or the fresh and inspiring melody. Even so, sing Happy Birthday To You all you want.

Just don’t let The Man catch you.

Wonder if royalties were paid for this performance?