May Britt is spotted in Triunfo magazine.
The Spanish magazine Triunfo wasn't the most graphically beautiful of magazines, but it did publish rare celeb photos, such as the colorful cover at top of an amazingly freckled May Britt, and the centerspread of Italian star Anna Karina. Elsewhere in the issue are shots from Marilyn Monroe's funeral, Paola de Bélgica's shopping spree, Ava Gardner's bullfight, and Catherine Deneuve's wedding, plus Betsy Drake, Cary Grant, James Dean, and current fashions. We've shared several of those rare Triunfo centerfolds in the past, and they're all worth a look. You can see them here, here, here, and here.
Who’s that knocking at my door?
This issue of Confidential from this month in 1955 was one of the magazine’s high points (or low points, depending on your perspective). In this issue the world learned about the infamous Wrong Door Raid in which a group of men that included Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra broke down an apartment door in West Hollywood in an attempt to catch DiMaggio’s ex-wife Marilyn Monroe in bed with another man. We’ll let Confidential describe the delicious scene:
The human battering ram backed up and struck again—four or five times in all—before the hinges gave, the door toppled with a terrible crash, and his momentum carried him sailing inside. The rest of the amateur raiders tumbled right after him. A faint light coming from the window told the private eye they were in a bedroom. Any further confirmation he needed was coming from the bed in the form of shrill screams. The investigator had a camera slung around his neck and—without waiting for the lights to be turned on—he blasted away with his flash bulbs.
At some point, DiMaggio and Co. realized that it wasn’t Monroe in the bed and that they had invaded the wrong apartment. Cue panicked retreat, overturned furniture, broken glass, the works. The story is well known today and you can read full accounts on various websites, butwe thought we’d share this cover anyway because we love the photo Confidential chose for Monroe, and the entire episode is a reminder of how bland modern day celebrity scandals really are.
Confidential basked in the glow of its exposé, but events turned sour rather quickly. Even though DiMaggio, Sinatra and the rest were the ones who had broken the law (or several laws), and Confidential had merely reported the truth, Hollywood was fed up. The stars and studios mounted a concerted push in the state legislature, which resulted in indictments against the magazine. With the constant threat of lawsuits hanging over Confidential like a cloud, publisher Robert Harrison made a deal to refrain from writing about stars’ private lives. One of his biggest scoops had helped lead to his magazine’s de-fanging.
What do you say to a naked lady?
This Confidential from December 1963 offers up several great stories, including an item on a supposed feud between Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra over Marilyn Monroe, who had died the previous year. Confidential contends that DiMaggio considered Sinatra to be part of a too-fast crowd from which Monroe had picked up numerous bad habits that eventually contributed to her death. DiMaggio also supposedly hated Sinatra because Monroe had moved into Sinatra’s Las Vegas house after her marriage to DiMaggio fell apart in 1954. According to most biographers, Monroe and Sinatra became sexually involved around then. The most repeated story concerning the actual genesis of the affair has Sinatra waking one morning and entering his kitchen to find a nude Monroe peering into his refrigerator. According to the story she turned, startled, and said, “Oh Frankie, I didn’t know you got up so early.” From that point forward he was getting up pretty much constantly. Is this tale true? We don’t know, nor does anybody else, probably. But we want to believe.
For Sinatra, every year was a very good year.
The publishers of The Lowdown went for titillation overload on this screamingly bright November 1961 cover, managing to hit several of the hot button issues of the day, from birth control to lesbianism. Frank Sinatra gets the star treatment here, and The Lowdown actually gets one right—Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe (bottom left) were involved in 1961, around the same time her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio (second from left) was growing concerned about the people around her and asked her to remarry him in hopes of stabilizing her life. Was Sinatra one of the people DiMaggio distrusted? Perhaps, but Monroe said no to Joe's proposal and was dead the next year.
As for Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot (bottom right), we can’t find any references to the two being involved, but they did meet during 1959 to discuss co-starring in a film to be helmed by Bardot’s ex-husband Roger Vadim (second from right). After the three of them talked about the project for a couple of days the idea fell through because Bardot didn’t want to work in Hollywood and Sinatra didn’t want to work in Paris. Did Sinatra and Bardot manage to sneak off for some international relations? We tend to doubt it—in addition to traveling with her ex-husband Vadim (who surely would have frowned on her cheating), she was married to actor/producer Jacques Charrier. Still, you can’t really put anything past Sinatra. But short of reading every Hollywood tell-all ever published, we just can’t say whether he and Bardot got together. The Lowdown hints yes, but take it for what it’s worth.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1954—Communist Party Outlawed
In the U.S., during the height of the Red Scare, President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act into law. The new legislation bans the American Communist Party, and prohibits people deemed to be communists from serving as officials in labor organizations.
1968—France Explodes Nuke
a two-stage nuclear weapon, codenamed Canopus, on Fangataufa, French Polynesia.
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
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