In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.
On Page 2 (I warned you this would be tedious) Scotty Bowers begins the tale of his first Hollywood encounter – purportedly with Walter Pidgeon. I spent the last two posts gathering the raw material for a timeline of Pidgeon’s life in 1946, the year the encounter allegedly occurred.
This time I’m going to expand on the last post to add information from The Times on when the local beaches were crowded. Recall that Bowers says:
It was a lovely, clear sunny day and I wasn’t expecting much traffic. In that kind of weather folks usually headed for the beach; they weren’t going to spend much time riding around in hot, stifling automobiles. I resigned myself to a potential day of boredom.
Next, I’ll try to figure out what it all means and how the historical record compares to the account in “Full Service.”
Here’s a graph of Los Angeles temperatures for 1946.
|January: Final production for “Holiday in Mexico,” according to TCM database.
Jan. 3: Times movie columnist Edwin Schallert notes that Pidgeon was cast in “The Beloved Stranger,” starring Greer Garson and Robert Montgomery.
Hedda Hopper noted that George Cukor was preparing to take Pidgeon, Garson and Montgomery up to Point Lobos to shoot background shots for “Beloved Stranger” but that he was unable to get permission from the national park.
Jan. 20: Fred Stanley reports that MGM is scouting locations in Washington for “Beloved Stranger.” Two-thirds of the production was to be filmed on location, Stanley says.
|High for the month is in the mid-80s.Jan. 27: Sunday Crowds Jam Beaches (more than 230,000), temperature 80, Jan. 28, L.A. Times|
|Feb. 11: The NYT’s radio listings include Cavalcade of America: “Remembered Day, Abe Lincoln’s Answer” with Pidgeon and others on WEAF
Feb. 14: The NYT also writes about a movie star junket – including Pidgeon – on TWA’s nonstop service from Los Angeles to New York.
On Feb. 15, The Times noted that Pidgeon was among 35 film people flying to New York for the weekend on TWA’s new nonstop service. The pilot was Howard Hughes!
|High for the month in the mid-70s|
|March 20: Brief mention in the NYT of Claudette Colbert and Pidgeon in “The Secret Heart.”
March 25: Walter Winchell reports:Walter Pidgeon staying up until half-past eleven again with the Waldorf’s Theodore Sauciers. A passing half-wit, discovering the star, exclaimed: “Oooh, Ray Milland!”
March 26: Another brief on “The Secret Heart.”
March 28: Schallert noted that Robert Mitchum is making “A Woman of My Own” with Garson while Pidgeon, once discussed for the cast, would be shooting “The Secret Heart” with Claudette Colbert.
March 31: “The Radio Hall of Fame” on ABC; Walter Pidgeon, Jean Sabion, Martha Tilton, Minerva Pious.
|High for the month in the mid-80sMarch 10: July Crowds Jam Santa Monica Beach, temperature 65-70, March 11, L.A. Times|
|April 1: NYT’s radio listings include “Information Please,” with Pidgeon, Fred Allen and Walter Dietz, WEAF.
April 12: Brief NYT mention of “The Secret Heart.”
April 14: “Theater Guild on the Air” with a production of “Seven Keys to Baldpate.”
April 30: The Times noted that the Mexican government had invited Pidgeon and Ann Sheridan to Mexico City’s Cinco de Mayo celebration.
|High for the month in the high 80sApril 13: Lifeguards Rescue 35 at Beaches, April 14, L.A. Times.
April 14: Lifeguards Rescue 45, Including 11 Children, April 15, L.A. Times.
April 27: Fifty-Four Saved at Two Beaches, temperature 76, April 28, L.A. Times
April 28: Guards Busy as Thousands Go to Beaches, temperature 71, April 29, 1946
|May 5: Pidgeon attends Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico City.
May 27: “The Secret Heart” begins production, according to TCM database.
May 28: Schallert notes that Pidgeon had attended the Vienna Night party, given by Alex-Thurn Taxis and Lily Messinger. The party featured “a large yet select group of guests,” Schallert said.
|High for the month in the mid-70sMay 5: Fine Weather Lures Thousands to Beaches, temperature 78, May 6, L.A. Times.
May 30: Ideal Holiday Weather Pays Southland Visit, temperature 82, May 31, L.A. Times.
|June 1 – 30: “The Secret Heart” in production, according to TCM database.
June 17: The Times reported that Pidgeon was among the Screen Actors Guild delegates who would attend a five-day convention of the California State Federation of Labor in San Francisco.
June 18: Hopper reported that Pidgeon was hobbling after spraining his foot dancing the Big Apple with Claudette Colbert in “The Secret Heart.”
|High for the month in the mid-80sJune 16: Record Beach Crowd Estimated at 1,300,000, temperature 84, June 17, L.A. Times.
June 23: Million Visit Beaches; Temperature Up to 76, June 24, L.A. Times
|July 1-31: “The Secret Heart” in production, according to TCM database.
July 29: Schallert reported that Hal Wallis was trying to negotiate to get Pidgeon for “The House of Mist.”
|High for the month, 90.July 4: Southland Throngs Join Festive ‘Fourth,’ temperature 73, July 5, L.A. Times.
July 14: Lifeguards Kept Busy at Crowded Beaches, temperature 88, July 15, L.A. Times.
July 16: Mercury Rise Stops at 87, refers to weekday crowds, July 17, L.A. Times.
July 21: Perfect Surf Finds Million at Beaches, temperature 86, July 22, L.A. Times.
|Aug. 1: Last day of filming for “The Secret Heart” with retakes through early August, according to TCM database.
Aug. 2: Hedda Hopper reports that Pidgeon attended a party given by Dolly Walker at her Italian villa.
Aug. 11: “Holiday in Mexico” is playing in New York, the NYT says.
Aug. 16: Bosley Crowther reviews “Holiday in Mexico.”
Aug. 18: Hopper reports that “Walter Pidgeon, as soon as he finishes his present picture, will hop to the River Cliff ranch outside Denver.
|High for the month, low 90s|
|Sept. 12: NYT says Pidgeon is cast in MGM’s “If Winter Comes,” set to film in late October or early November.
Sept. 12: Hopper reports that Pidgeon would be playing the lead in “If Winter Comes.”
Sept. 16: “Radio Theatre” “Madame Curie” with Garson, Pidgeon and others, WABC.
Sept. 23: The Times reports that Pidgeon had played an exhibition doubles tennis match with Frank Shields against Mickey Rooney and Yvon Petra.
Sept. 23: “Screen Guild Theater,” “Susan and God” with Bette Davis.
Late September, retakes filmed on “The Secret Heart,” according to TCM database.
|High for the month, mid-90s|
|Oct. 3: The Times reports on the Screen Actors Guild’s attempts to end a motion picture strike, saying that Pidgeon, Montgomery, June Allyson and Jane Wyman would be attending the American Federation of Labor’s convention in Chicago the next week.
Oct. 10: The Times reports that Pidgeon was among the Hollywood figures attending the AFL’s convention in Chicago.
Oct. 24: Hopper notes that Pidgeon had broken a small bone in his foot.
Oct. 29: Schallert reports that Pidgeon would be cast in “If Winter Comes” as MGM began production in Britain.
Oct. 30: The Times reports that Pidgeon would present the award for Miss Hat Box Girl of 1947 at the Photographers and Models Ball on Nov. 30 at the Biltmore.
|High for the month, 90|
|Nov. 16: Hopper announced the engagement of Pidgeon’s daughter Edna to John Aitkens.
Nov. 25: “Radio Theatre”: “Mrs. Parkington,” with Garson and Pidgeon, WCBS.
Nov. 30: Pidgeon presumably presents Miss Hat Box Girl of 1947 award.
|High for the month, low 80s|
|Dec. 6: “The Secret Heart,” starring Pidgeon and Colbert, opened in Los Angeles.
Dec. 22: “The Secret Heart” opens Christmas Day in New York.
Dec.26: Bosley Crowther reviews “The Secret Heart.”
|High for the month, low 70s|