Friday, June 10, 2011

In Her Shoes

Marilyn's Custom-Made Ferragamo shoes.

When I was working in L.A. in publicity, I lived on a compound in Pasadena that was originally built by a set designer back in the '30's.  My landlords--who were lovely people--were also Hollywood vets from the 50's-60's era who had worked with the major studios, including Desilu and Fox.  Between their own personal collections of memorabilia and things they had found in this amazing property they owned, they had a mind-blowing treasure trove of Hollywood History.

Anyway, one night we were sitting out on the veranda having a glass of wine (this was when I was still drinking), and landlady said, "I have something to show you." and she forthwith went into the house, returning a few minutes later with a small bag wrapped in plastic.

She knew of my interest in old Hollywood, and smiled at me knowingly as she placed this bundle in front of me on the table, indicating that I should unwrap it.  I opened it carefully, knowing it was likely a rare set or costume piece. Inside were a pair of size nine, red sequined heels - about 3 inches.

"Try them on," she urged, and I didn't argue. I popped my own shoes off and began strapping on the heels. A chorus girl's? A Follies dancer?

I stood up and tottered carefully around our cobbled patio, surprised to find that the shoes fit me perfectly. My landlady smiled. "Those were Marilyn's," She said.

I stood, struck dumb, staring at her insensibly. "What?" I managed to stutter.

She nodded. "Yep. Those were her shoes from 'Some Like it Hot'."

I suddenly didn't dare move. I was wearing Hollywood gold on my feet and they were the same size as MARILYN MONROE'S?!?

"Take a look at the soles," my landlady suggested. So I walked--carefully--back to my seat and lifted my foot up to see the bottom.The soles had been scored several times with a razor blade--a trick dancers used back in the day to give them traction on slick floors.

My landlady was beaming at the utterly awestruck, gobsmacked look on my face. "I thought you would enjoy seeing them."

See them? I was literally standing in Marilyn's shoes. That's something not a lot of people will ever be able to say.

It was one of the most amazing moments in my L.A. career. I'll never forget it.


Some Like It Hot. She was pretty cool.

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