Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gilda Goes To Disneyland

I'll let the breathless caption of this vintage July 1955 publicity still do the talking:

Like a child at the circus, actress Rita Hayworth dashes around the exhibits at the fabulous new Disneyland, in California. She gives an urging glance over her shoulder at husband Dick Haymes and daughter Yasmin, who seem to have trouble keeping up. Yasmin is Rita's daughter by ex-husband Prince Aly Khan. Singer Haymes recently won his lengthy battle against deportation with the U.S. Government.

Actress and legendary screen goddess Rita Hayworth was married to Haymes for only two years (1953-1955). The two met while he was still married to Nora Eddington, ex-wife of Errol Flynn. Not only was his career on the skids, but he was deeply in debt, thanks to having to pay alimony and child support to two previous ex-wives. Things seemed to be improving when he met Hayworth, as the publicity of the couple appeared to help his career (not to mention the fact that she paid off most of his debts). As if that wasn't bad enough, Haymes was in trouble with the U.S. Government. He was born in Argentina and lacked solid proof of American citizenship. With deportation imminent, he attempted to get Hayworth to use her influence (I wonder if she did "Put the Blame on Mame" for J. Edgar Hoover?). When she assumed responsibility for his citizenship, a bond was formed that led to marriage. The two were married on September 24, 1953 at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, the bloom of new love wore off quickly.

Doing a little research on the web, I found this interesting (and colorful) tidbit on the website BoxRec

In the early 50's my dad was flush doing his odds and ends (I'll call it that) for the Outfit in Chicago. Disneyland on the coast was going to open up and us kids wanted to be there for that one. So my dad sent my mother and sisters and my "nana" on the Super Chief out to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

It was the first time I'd seen palm trees, but was dissapointed when they told me no coconuts grew on them. But us kids weren't into seeing the local vegetation as much as going to Disneyland and seeing some movie stars.

Well Disneyland for me was a two edged sword. I was in wonderment the whole time seeing the different "lands" and going on the rides like the Safari Trip. But after I got off the Mad Hatter Teacup Ride all I wanted to do is kick Walt Disney in the balls. I never was so sick in my life.

We were out in California for two weeks. We went to one of the missions, the Farmers Market, and I remember eating at the Brown Derby. Leave it to my grandmother, Diamond Joe's wife, she orders spaghetti. The waiter says they don't have spaghetti, so my grandmother tells him the place ain't a real restaurant because they don't have spaghetti. She makes a fuss and finally I think someone went out and bought a can of Chef Boy R Dee and served it to her. She saw the ruse and said to the waiter the joint has no class and they wouldn't have any of this in Chicago.

I really liked the time at the Ambassador Hotel though. The swimming pool reminded me of a small lake and for lunch we ate at the Coconut Grove. They had palm trees on the tables with coconuts, but the coconuts were phony.

But I did see a few movie stars. I saw Rita Hayworth because her husband at the time, Dick Haymes, was singing there. I guess they had a big brouhaha in the lounge and afterwards I heard they got a divorce.

Shortly after the trip to Disneyland, this bit appeared in the papers:

HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 29.—Crooner Dick Haymes announced today that he and Screen Star Rita Hayworth "have separated" after nearly two years of marriage. The trouble- beset singer, who recently won final victory from the U. S. Government against his deportation to his native Argentina, declared through a representative: "I am very unhappy about it. I can't even tell you what caused it. All I know is that Rita was not home last night. "She took the children and I don't know where she is at this moment. "I am so distraught I can hardly even talk but I love her and I know we will get back together." Intimates of the couple said that Rita and Dick had a "violent argument" late yesterday, climaxed by their parting. Friends said that Rita remained in the couple's Malibu Beach home while Dick had moved to the Ambassador Hotel, where last Tuesday he had opened a three-week singing engagement. Dick left his clothes at the hotel and then disappeared. A servant at the Malibu home said 'that Rita refused to come to the telephone.' She appeared at Haymes' Hollywood nightclub engagement at The Grove, again at ringside. Dick sang all his love songs to her. Rita was conspicuously absent on other nights during the first week of her mate's local engagement. She explained that she had a cold, but during the week she showed up at Disneyland with her two children, Rebecca (born of her marriage to actor Orson Wells) and Yasmin (born to her spectacular marriage to Moslem Prince Aly Khan). The breakup came as a complete surprise to Hollywood. The two had planned to make films together later in the year. Dick returned to the night club circuit as a singer after he settled his alimony suits with Ex-Wives Nora Eddington Flynn and Actress Joanne Dru and won his final victory against deportation last May.

According to stories, Haymes struck Hayworth in the face in public at the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel, shown below:

Hayworth dumped the louse and divorced him. Both went on to other marriages; she had one more, he had two. At least they had Disneyland.

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K. Martinez said...

I don't know if it's supposed to be serious, but those stories you found from your search on the web about Rita Hayworth cracked me up. I needed a chuckle this morning and this did it. Thanks, Dave!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a story. I love that account of riding the SuperChief, staying at the Ambassador and dinner at Coconut Grove.

Seems like the celebrity set is still the same...


beachgal said...

The Coconut Grove was a great place to go - ranks up there in my childhood memories for night life. They served my Shirley Temples in the 50s with paper umbrellas AND plastic monkeys that sat on the side of the glass! My folks went there for date nights a lot but took me now and again especially if someone was playing that night they thought I needed to see. I saw Frankie Avalon there for the first time live in 1958 - he was a huge new hit then.

Going on any train in the 50s was a big treat. If it had an observation car on it, it was even better! I had to wear a hat and gloves and good shoes when we went to Union Station just to pick up someone coming in on the train!

Todd said...

In the publicity shot of Rita and Dick, you can see he has a Stereo Realist camera under his arm. You can tell it is a Realist by the rectangular lens cover. I would love to see the pictures he took with that camera! There must be so many of these missing gems out there sitting in someones basement, forgotten, and waiting to be discovered.