(August 16, 1957)
THE LYONS DEN
Yachts Symbolic of Show Business
By LEONARD LYONS
Few men in our time ever mastered the art of grand living as graciously as did Sir Alexander Korda, the late movie producer. Neither Nazi rockets nor disastrous film reviews ever could swerve him from his London - penthouse suite at Claridge's, his mansion-office at Belgrave Square, his fleet of Rolls-Royce cars or his yacht. When, inevitably, came the toll of time, television and taxes, Korda's auditors suggested retrenchment. The prime and most obvious target was his yacht, the largest in the Mediterranean until the recent Greek invasion. "I am a practical man," Korda said. "When I spent all that money on my yacht, people said I was extravagant. But look at this." He displayed a letter from a British merchant-prince, offering him a vast sum for a 3-month charter. "Fine, fine," said the pleased accountant. "You're accepting it, of course."
"Rent my yacht?" Korda replied. "Certainly not."
When Tommy Dorsey heard Walter P. Chrysler lament: "I don't think I can afford my yacht these days," the bandleader immediately bought it.
Dorsey bought a tiny Crosley car, and kept it aboard his big yacht in lieu of one of the lifeboats. He explained: "If, during a storm, I should have to dock somewhere with this car aboard I won't have to wait in the rain for a taxi."
Frank Morgan, the screen actor, bought a 71-ft. sailboat and invited his friends for a ride. The boat raced through the shallow water, then was grounded on a sand bar. Another boat came by, to take
passengers off. "Women first!"' Morgan screamed. Then he watched Mr. and Mrs. Otto Kruger doing a 5-minute tender farewell love scene, as if this were the Lusitania instead of a
boat in three feet of water. Mrs. Kruger refused to leave her
husband. They were only 5 minutes from shore. "But don't tell the Krugers," said Morgan. "They can't cut the scene."
On their 19th wedding anniversary Charles MacArthur's gift to Helen Hayes was a yacht he appropriately named, "Patience and Fortitude." They once hired a captain to pilot the boat on a long cruise and, despite their protests, the captain spread the word in each port
that his employers were the famed couple. In one port he invited news photographers aboard, and couldn't resist getting into the picture. The published photo was seen by the captain's wife, who had him
locked up for desertion.