19 July 2009
This morning I turned on the TV and it happened to be tuned to a station that was playing Spiderman 3. The scene was one in which Kirsten Dunst’s character is on stage singing in a Broadway musical. This made me think of how even though I don’t particularly care for Dunst’s acting, I do think she has cute style for a Hollywood actress and I especially loved her costumes in The Cat’s Meow, which made me think of Marion Davies which made me think of William Randolph Hearst which made me think of the time Tom and I stopped in San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle on a drive from San Francisco to LA a couple of years ago. How’s that for a random train of thought? From Spiderman 3 to Hearst Castle in less than seven seconds.
Though I haven’t seen too many of her films, Marion Davies is one of those glamorous old Hollywood types that fascinates me. Her life seems like it was all scandal and parties and drama and, well, glamour. I’m sure it wasn’t really like that all the time. People who appear to have wonderful, glamorous lives are often the most miserable ones when left alone to their private thoughts. I’ve put it on my to-do list to learn more about her life, both public and private. Can anyone recommend a good book?
photos from Flickr
It was in 2007 that we stopped in San Simeon on the way back from a weekend in San Francisco to visit Hearst Castle. The place is, um, impressive to say the least. I remember that before the tour started we sat down to watch a little documentary about Hearst and the process of building the castle. I don’t remember too many details about the film except that it made us feel a bit like we’d come to worship at the church of Hearst as if he was some sort of benevolent demi-god. I think we may have actually left the theater chanting “William Randolph Hearst is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life” just like something out of The Manchurian Candidate. Whatever he was like, the man knew how to build a castle!
photos from our trip (I do remember having to restrain myself from taking a dip in that pool)
And if all that’s not random enough for you, in my search for photos I ran across a set from Marion’s Santa Monica beach house. It was also built for her by Hearst – seriously, the castle wasn’t enough?! As soon as I saw the photos of her kitchen I saved them to my house-renovations-inspiration-photos-folder. Those cabinets! That floor!
P.S. The house is now known as the Annenberg Community Beach House and is open to the public.