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[aloha-donblanding] Re: Blanding/Joan Crawford connection

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  • Gayle Harrington
    To Larry et al: I have also heard of the DB/Joan Crawford connection. One day I was driving home from work listening to Paul Harvey s The Rest of the Story
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 30, 2000
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      To Larry et al:

      I have also heard of the DB/Joan Crawford connection. One day I was
      driving home from work listening to Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the
      Story" and the focus was on the story of a young girl who grew up to
      become a famous Hollywood actress who lived across the street from
      someone who would become a famous American poet. Of course he teased
      at their names until the very end, as is his style with the program,
      and then revealed that it was DB and Ms. Crawford. After hearing the
      story I was determined to find a copy of Memory Room so that I could
      read it again. (Happily I did.) He used the story of her cutting her
      foot and him rescuing her, if that validates that version any. So
      there is another vote for that one.

      To answer the location question - I live near Redding, CA up near the
      Oregon border. I would love to be able to wander through the libraries
      in Carmel or Hawaii for that matter researching our favorite author
      more. But my husband and I are happily busy raising 2 teenage
      daughters at this time, so our time is totally consumed with sports
      events, school dances, homework, etc. But I am content for now living
      vicariously through everyone elses searches and ventures. So please
      share with those of us who for now are "armchair vagabonds".

      It has been brought up that DB did live in his Vagabond's House in
      Carmel. Did he really get to build his dream house, and is this the
      one he refers to in the story of the house burning? Yes/no - or what
      happened to the house?

      Gayle








      tikiroom1-@... wrote:
      original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/aloha-donblanding/?start=
      175
      > Aloha Everybody
      >
      > I was reading a biography of Joan Crawford last night and I came
      across
      > what MAY be a roundabout connection to DB. Joan Crawford was born in
      either
      > 1904 or 1908 ,depending on who you choose to believe, in or near San
      Antonio,
      > Texas. Around the time she was six her mother married a second
      husband and
      > moved to live with him in (ready?...) Lawton, Oklahoma. This new
      stepfather
      > of Joan's was the operator of the local vaudeville theatre and,
      according to
      > this book, each day after school Billie Cassin (Her name back
      then...) "ran
      > to the theatre and stood in the wings, watching the comics and
      dancers
      > perform". Apparently she was quite the theatre bug, and saw her
      first motion
      > pictures in Lawton as well.
      > At age eleven her family then moved on to Kansas City and her
      story moves
      > on. The Internet Movie database (www.imdb.com) ,which is usually
      pretty
      > reliable, places her birth at March 23, 1904. This said, this would
      place
      > Joan in Lawton from 1910-1915. This begs the question... was Don in
      Lawton
      > then? What makes this question all the more interesting is that Don
      dedicates
      > a poem in "Memory Room" to her, "The Little Girl Across The Street".
      (Don't
      > just glance over it, its a poem wotth reading...)
      >
      > "She was just the little girl who lived across the street;
      > All legs and curls and great big eyes, and restless dancing feet;
      > As vivid as a hummingbird, as bright and swift and gay;
      > A child who played at make-believe throughout the livelong day
      > With tattered old lace curtains and a battered feather fan
      > She swept and preened, an "actress" with a grubby snub-nosed clan
      > Of neighbor kids for audience enchanted with the play
      > A prairie Bernhardt for awhile. And then she went away
      > We missed her on the little street, her laughter and her fun
      > Untill the dull years blurred her name as years have ever done
      >
      > A great premiere in Hollywood. . . the lights, the crowds, the cars,
      > The frenzied noise of greeting to the famous movie stars,
      > The jewels, the lace, the ermine coats, the ballyhoo and cries,
      > The peacock women's promenade, the bright mascaraed eyes....
      > The swift excited whisper as the limousine draws near,
      > "Oh, look! It's Joan. It's Joan. It's Joan!" On every side I hear
      > The chatter, gossip, envy. sighs, conjecture, wonder,praise,
      > As memory races quickly back to early prairie days.
      > The little girl across the street. . . the funny child I knew
      > Who dared to dream her splendid dreams. . . and make her dreams come
      true.
      > `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
      ``
      > NEWSFLASH!!!! NEWSFLASH!!!!! NEWSFLASH!!!!!
      > Well, in the course of writing this post, I have answered my own
      question.
      > I had thought about just deleting this post, but I figured somebody
      else
      > MIGHT be interested in reading my discovery... I can hope anyway....
      > I pulled out another Crawford Bio and looked in the index.. Lo and
      Behold!
      > a direct reference to Don Blanding! This is in a book called "Joan
      Crawford,
      > a biography by Bob Thomas" by, of course, Bob Thomas... on page 14 of
      the
      > paperback edition, this is stated:
      > "One day when Billie was six, she cut her foot. She had grown bored
      with her
      > piano lessons and decided to play on the front lawn. She leaped off
      the porch
      > and landed on the jagged piece of a bottle. The glass ripped through
      her
      > tendon and artery, and the pain was so acute that she lost
      consciousness. Don
      > Blanding, the boy across the street, was returning to his house for a
      package
      > he had forgotten and discovered the small figure on the lawn. He
      carried her
      > into the house and called the doctor."
      >
      > On page 16 of this book we read an aftermath of sorts....
      >
      > " The Lawton years exerted a profound influence over Joan Crawford.
      She never
      > escaped the guilt that she alone may have caused the family's
      downfall by her
      > discovery in the cellar. (Stepfather was a gold smuggler, Joan came
      across
      > his loot in the cellar...). Fearful remembrances returned to her in
      later
      > years: An unexpected surge of wind recalled the terror of waiting
      underground
      > for an Oklahoma cyclone to pass over. During a dance for "Our
      Blushing
      > Brides" she fell to the floor in excruciating pain, the same she had
      > experienced after she had leapt off the porch in Lawton......
      > Don Blanding, the Lawton boy who summoned a doctor when Billie
      Cassin
      > slashed her foot, became a popular versifier, and he wrote of his
      onetime
      > neighbor:
      >
      > She was just the little girl who lived across the street;
      > All legs and curls and great big eyes, and restless dancing feet;
      > As vivid as a hummingbird, as bright and swift and gay;
      > A child who played at make-believe"
      >
      > I guess that Don's association with celebrity came very early on..
      This
      > episode with Joan Crawford came about when Don was about 16 years of
      age or
      > so. Anyone else have any insights into this? Do you know if they
      ever met
      > again? This poem sort of paints Don as an onlooker and not a
      participant in
      > Joan's later years...
      > I'd appreciate comments and further information on this
      interesting
      > episode in Don's life...
      > Am I the only person in the Western world NOT watching the
      Super-bowl????
      >
      > Aloha
      > Larry
      >
      >
      >
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