A boiling Labor Day weekend to bust thermometers everywhere in Southern California. Temperatures spike over 100º in Los Angeles, 105º in Pasadena and 115º in Palm Springs. We’re reminded of the Irving Berlin song lyrics. How many other sweaty old geezers cooling off in pools remember it as recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Linda Ronstadt and Patti LuPone?
The movie star, who died 55 years ago at age 35, was then at her glamorous best. She performed with USO shows in Seoul, South Korea, for U.S. soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors. It was in 1954, just as the war ended with a cease fire.
I was with a group of Navy guys who were at Daegu Air Force Base in Seoul when we heard Marilyn was scheduled to entertain there that night. We convinced the pilot and crew to find something wrong with our R4D Navy transport, so we could delay the return flight to our base in Tokyo Bay for 24 hours.
It was a great evening for all the yearning, homesick GIs who were dazzled by the movie star’s sexy performance. We Navy guys managed to get seats near the stage, and I imagined the glamorous movie star, only a few feet away, was performing just for me. The sight and sounds of blonde Marilyn singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” created memories I still cherish today.
My recent unposed foto captured a moment that just begged for a scatological, biological caption. Cop: I’m ticketing you for excessive gas emissions.
Seriously, Barney’s Beanery has always been the place where famed movie and music stars came to mix, relax and hang out. And they still do, while enjoying today’s extensive food and drink menu that goes far beyond basic bean platters.
There are now six branches of Barney’s gastropubs throughout the Los Angeles area. This one on Route 66 and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood is the original with a colorful history that goes back to the Jazz Age.
Included in the famous silver screen faces that once beamed over a platter of Barney’s beans are Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and James Dean.
Later, rock legends Janis Joplin, Bono, John Lennon and Jim Morrison cavorted at the famed gastropub. Rumors are that Janis died one morning in 1970, just hours after spending a druggy evening with pals at Barney’s.