Sunday, October 4, 2009

Propping up the Bar

I wasn't there, of course, and so can't be entirely certain, but I'm going to guess that this little group was snapped sometime not too early in the evening. Not too late, of course - they're all still presentable - but in that sometimes dangerous stretch when everyone is still more or less coherent, but it's not at all clear that things are going end well.

Miss Kendall, for example, would appear to have had just about enough of whatever it is Miss Bacall is going on about, and there's something ominous in Viv's (surprisingly jowly) look of discontent. Were I Noël Coward, I might suddenly remember an appointment, or perhaps claim to spy poor Princess Margaret all on her ownsome on the other side of the pub. However charming, individually, the ladies involved, this is one conversation from which the getting is good.


  1. ah, to have been one of those cigarette butts......

  2. What we have here is a gathering of Condomines from Blithe Spirit.

    Noel is, of course, the play's author and was a sometime player of leading character, Charles Condomine.

    Kay played ghostly first wife Elvira in a 1954 touring company in England.

    Betty played Elvira on TV in 1956 with Noel as Charles (and with help from Claudette Colbert as Ruth, wonderful Mildred Natwick as Arcati, and a just-starting-out Marion Ross as the maid).

    Maybe Viv - who I must admit I thought was Vivian Vance on first glance - was starring in Coward's London production of Look After Lulu! at the time of this snap (or maybe not). It was a critical flop but a box office success. Leigh's friend Kendall died a month or two after the play opened.

  3. Normadesmond: Or as the British would say, "ah, to have been one of those fag butts"


  4. more's the pity....should've said it mj's way.

  5. Bette was telling Kay what a brilliant comedienne Carole Landis was. She then nodded to the bartender, Scotty Bowers, and said "Scotty tell Kay what a bang up lady she was".