Monday, July 2, marked the 75th anniversary of Jean and Paul Bern's wedding. Of course, their union was tragically short-lived, but that's a post for Labor Day. The 4th of July holiday is a time to recall happier days.
As I mentioned earlier here, I commemorated the 70th anniversary of Jean's passing this year with special friends. The events included the opportunity to see inside the Club View home where Jean and Paul were married, and to stand in the living room (the very spot, actually) where this famous wedding photograph was taken:
Many thanks to Dr. Charlie for his incredible hospitality! He and his family purchased the home in 2005 and I'm happy to report that they truly appreciate the Harlow-historical significance of the place they now call home.
I took some snapshot that day but for privacy reasons will be keeping those off-line for now. I hope to file a more in-depth story about Dr. Charlie, the Club View house history and to show-and-tell you more about the interior in a separate post later this year.
Speaking of Harlow houses, I'm sad to report that my friends Mark & Nancy have completed the sale of Jean's (well, their) Palm Drive home. They will be leaving soon to be nearer to family in South Carolina and will be greatly missed.
Mark & Nancy on second floor landing overlooking the living room (Jan'07)
Fortunately, they tell me that while the new owners have assured them that while they will do some remodeling, they will not be tearing it down (as is the trend in Beverly Hills these days, like what happened to Jimmy Stewart's house, ugh!)
Mark & Nancy threw a "last hurrah" party there on June 6th to say goodbye to friends and also to honor Jean on the anniversary of her death. It was an incredible evening, highlighted by the appearance of Jean's 1932 Packard, courtesy of its current owner, Cliff.
I doubt that any previous owners of the Palm Drive cared about Jean as much as Mark & Nancy did. While there was a tinge of sadness in the air, realizing how sick Jean was during her last hours in the home, but there was also a lot of love generated that night. I choose to believe Jean was there in spirit, and appreciated the festive way in which she is still remembered and loved.
Yes, it was an honor and a thrill to be able to visit with Mark & Nancy inside the last house Jean lived in, it was incredible to stand in Jean's room for the first time and visualize how sad it must have been back then, but what I will truly miss is the opportunity to spend time with this wonderful, generous and fun couple. Happy landings in your new home, Mark & Nancy! I look forward to your return visits to Los Angeles.
And speaking of that Packard...wow, is it gorgeous! Many thanks to Cliff for sharing his treasure with us, not only that evening at Palm Drive, but the following day when a few of us met up at the Club View house to recreate this MGM publicity portrait of Jean taken on the day that she bought the car:
Jean and her 1932 Packard at her Club View home ~ April 1933
(Colorized print, gifted to me by a generous friend and fellow Harlow fan who wishes to remain anonymous)
Here's the result....
Me & Jean's Packard at her Club View home ~ June 8, 2007
The car, which is in pristine condition and purrs like a kitten, has been repainted since Jean's day when it was cream-colored. It's been seen by fans over the years at car shows and at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Cliff told me it's even been to Paris! It's a beauty.
That's it for this post. Stay tuned for more installments of (what I guess I'll call) "Harlow's Hollywood Today!" :)