• U.S.

People: People, Dec. 13, 1943

4 minute read


Katharine Cornell has “terrific stretch.” It was first noticed by Elizabeth Montgomery, the dressmaker who designed Cornell’s clothes for Lovers and Friends. “That is why her stage clothes must be tested in motion,” Miss Montgomery explained. “That is also why she does something for the clothes.”

Brendan Bracken, Britain’s Minister of Information, attacked by an irrepressible Leftist M.P., an irresponsible Manhattan columnist, verbally cracked their heads together. The M.P., Emanuel Shinwell, had been scandalized by the columnist’s report that Bracken had “found better British woolens” than London’s in Manhattan, ordered nine suits there. The columnist’s story was all wool but a good deal wider than a yard: actually, Bracken had brought some cloth given him by a “generous American” to nurses in London.

Ginger Rogers, rehearsing for Hollywood’s version of Broadway’s psychoanalytical Lady in the Dark, slipped into $6,000 worth of mink.

Bing Crosby, after five weeks on his Nevada ranch, made an unorthodox appearance at the microphone.

Life by Mail Order

Henry Miller, whose Paris-published novels Tropic of Cancer and Tropic ofCapricorn have stirred intelligentsiacs to as much prurient curiosity and as much sourcriticastery as any novels since James Joyce’s Ulysses, published an appeal for charity in the New Republic. He said he wanted contributions of old clothes (“love corduroys”) and watercolor materials. In Beverly Glen, near Los Angeles, the 52-year-old, free-loving, free-sponging American-from-Paris had been destitute for months. Recently he had taken up painting.

In a second open letter to the New Republic, Miller reported that his appeal had brought unorthodox seals of approval plus clothes, paints, brushes and money in sums up to $100 from Midwestern women, “a little businessman,” a WAC, soldiers, a 15-year-old boy and other admirers. He repeated his earlier refusal to take any regular job. “Why don’t I do as other men, other writers? . . . Because I am different, for one thing. . . . This may seem like quite a tirade . . . yet if tomorrow, by a decision of the Supreme Court, [a] half-dozen terrifying words were restored to currency, if I, like the great English writers of the past, were permitted to use them, I should undoubtedly be sitting in clover.”

In Los Angeles there was a growing demand for Miller’s watercolors. Soon he might be able to return to Air Conditioned Nightmare, his book-in-progress on the immitigable crassness of the U.S.

On the Axis

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini appeared in the first convincing evidenceof their September reunion in Germany. Three snips of a German newsreel featured: 1) Adolf’s onetime handyman, 2) Adolf’s handshake, 3) Adolf’s hand-dance.

Count Nova de Tajo, 26, glossy but genuine Spanish count, was arrested as a Nazi spy by the FBI. Among plushy U.S. gullibles, he possessed several assets besides his liquid eyes. The Duke of Alba is his cousin, Columbus was his reputed ancestor. He is the husband of Powers Model Wilma Baard, barge captain’s full-fashioned daughter who was launched in society in 1938 by such sponsors as Lucius Beebe and Cartoonist Peter Arno. According to the FBI, she never knew that the count was 1) unsuccessfully delving into U.S. war production, 2) unsuccessfully trying to feel out Congressmen on U.S. foreign policy. Bail of $7,500 soon gave him his chance to tell her all about it.

Leverett Saltonstall, lantern-jawed Governor of Massachusetts, was brought forward by local Red Cross workers as the champion gubernatorial blood donor. He had just tinted their bank with his fourth pint of some of Boston’s bluest blood.

Thomas Dudley Harmon was about to score again. The Army Air Forces pilot and peacetime All-American halfback, shot down by a Japanese Zero near Kiu-kiang, was safely on his way, escorted by Chinese guerrillas, to the advanced Lightning Fighter Base somewhere in China. Waiting for him there were his first lieutenant’s bars.

Niels Bohr, Denmark’s Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was back where he had done much of his famed work on the atom: in England. High-domed, shaggy-browed Bohr, according to a London paper, had reached England from Denmark by way of Sweden in an escape which “when . . . told in full will be one of the most thrilling of the war.”

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