19 July 2009

A Random String of Thoughts

1 (6)

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?
1 (2)1 (3)
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!
1 (4)1 (5)

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.


Emily said...

That first picture is unbelievably fabulous! Where did you find it?

Sally Jane Vintage said...

Google image search.

Hanne said...

My Grandparents live only a mile from Hearst Castle, in San Simeon. We used to always go there as kids. It is breathtaking!

Amelia Kate said...

My grandmother's name was Marion Davies! Once we were at an estate sale and found this collection of little collectible spoons with movie stars of the 20s & 30s on them. Of course we bought the Marion Davies one!

Kelley Anne said...

That's so funny! My husband and I were talking about the Santa Monica beach house yesterday. I guess its now a community beach house, but all that's left is the club house and the pool. There's a short article in Vanity Fair this month.

Beautiful pictures, especially the first one. Do you know if she actually lived in the Hearst castle? My husband seems to think that Hearst's wife lived there.

Anonymous said...

that's usually how my brain works too haha ;)

that place looks like an LA Versailles!

AlicePleasance said...

Try these books:



and this one, of course :



Anonymous said...

these are gorgeous
so much beautiful inspiration here
i love every bit of it
keep it up!

check out my blog @

Anonymous said...

My friend's mom used to work at Hearst Castle and really has been swimming in that pool (it was an employee perk that is no longer permitted).


Katie Burry said...

Oooh! Those cabinets are cool! And I love the pictures of Marion Davies! I have a fascination with the 20's, lately! <3

~ Caitie

Crystal Ball said...

Marion Davies is so incredibly beautiful. The first picture is amazing!

Lisa said...

Haha, that first picture is hilarious! I've been dying to go to Hearst Castle, definitely need to make the trip some time

Laura McLaws Helms said...

She is definitely the definition of glamour- just so gorgeous and fabulous. I love the pictures of her house- I was just thinking I needed to try to find some (I'm working on a art grant proposal for the Annenberg Beach House so have been reading all about the history), but you've done it for me! Thanks!

Jules said...

Awesome photos. =D Looking forward on your next post. Have a great day. =D

Hannah said...

Gosh look at that silk dress she's wearing... a-mazing!

Rachel said...

oooh, I love the little rounded cabinet on the corner.

St├ęphanie said...

Beautiful pictures !

Gastronomy Club said...

Hearst Castle is one of my favorite places. i love the two guest houses and both pools!

reckless daughter said...

I LOVE the Hearst Castle! I haven't been since I was like 13 but I have been trying to persuade my boy that we should make the drive.

did not know about Marion Davies Santa Monica residence. but I did like Kirsten's acting in Cats Meow. not so much in Spiderman 3 (at all ;) ).

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I love Hearst's Castle, it's amazing! I have to check out that house in Santa Monica! Thanks for sharing!

lovintrash said...

love the first photo!!
Hearst's Castle it's fantastic!!



Charlotte Drene said...

Doesn't it just kill you that you weren't born in an earlier era?

Wanderlusting said...

Thanks for this...I am a big vintage buff, a fan of Marion and the whole Hearst legacy.

(also can't stand Dunst :P)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love Marion, too! FYI TCM is having A Marion Davies day on Aug 3rd. All Marion movies all day! Enjoy!