Sep 10th 1952 // THE TIMES TRIBUNE

Scranton, Pennsylvania





HOLLYWOOD—Behind movie headlines: What about this Marilyn Monroe? How did this attractive blonde actress who had been skirting the fringes of picture-making for nearly six years suddenly zoom into giddy prominence?

Fans all over the country are asking this question and here in Hollywood, where they are supposed to know the answers to such phenomena, the reason for Marilyn’s skyrocketing is just puzzling.

No question about it, Marilyn is one of thos super-glamour-packed personalities who drop into the eager arms of a film studio about once every 15 years—certainly no oftener. First comparisons of a similar bombshelling go back to the Jean Harlow days and not until this gala year of Monroe, 1952, has the town come up with a character to match. Some may remind us that Hedy Lamarr occupied such a niche, but her reign was short-lived and while her name became synonymous with “Hollywood Glamour,” it is doubtful if Hedy ever possessed the all-age appeal of Monroe. Lana Turner, too has had her innings, but more as the proponent of tight-fitting sweaters.

The careers of Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow turn up some surprising parallels, especially as to the sparks that set them burning in fan favor. Like Harlow, Marilyn was an extra and a bit player before the big break came. Harlow bridged the gap from extra to star through the bawdy publicity explosion set off by Howard Hughes’ “Hell’s Angels” of 20 years ago. When Jean excused herself from aviator Lyon in her apartment, saying “I want to change into something more comfortable,” and then returned in the almost altogether, the hue and cry raised throughout the nation forced drastic censorship changes in the Harlow wardrobing. That was the one punch Jean needed.

Likewise, it seemed to be a job of photogenic undressing that jet-propelled Marilyn from the so-so status into the greatest boxoffice bet of modern times. In Marilyn’s case, it was a nude calendar she had posed for while out of work back in 1949, and which was brought into circulation only this year.

Continuing the similarity, Marilyn seems to have much the same disposition and attitude toward life and people as did Jean Harlow, who was believed by all her associates. Marilyn is soft-spoken, mild tempered and, so far, has handled her sudden elevation to the No. 1 female movie spot with a modesty and a keen awareness of its responsibilities unmatched since Harlow’s rule.

Don’t let anyone tell you Marilyn Monroe is simply the successful result of a shrewd and calculated publicity buildup, such as the many that have boosted Hollywood lovelies to the front. The first man to put an emphatic “no” to this is Harry Brand, the talented and experienced 20th Century Fox publicity chief. Marilyn has been ably handled by Brand, who, in 20 years of ballyhooing for his company, has furthered the careers of scores of top figured,notably of the fostering of baby Shirley Temple into the most popular personality of that day.Brand insists Marilyn has come through it all by herself.Like others in the business, he is frankly astonished at the wild excitement she has created.