Tuesday, December 27, 2016

River of no Return

This post is a little dedication to the recently closed Grant Boys, since 1949 & my favorite Marilyn Monroe film, River of No Return, 1954. Set in the 1870s, the 20th Century Fox, American Western Adventure, was made in Technicolor & CinemaScope, and also starred Robert Mitchum. Grant's Guns, and a Gold Rush film equals a match made in heaven...Shot in the beginning of Fall with golden leaves and sunsets, the Golden West was alive again! 
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Though the film was shot in Calgary, Canada, its Old West theme is ever present in the Costa Mesa vintage landmark, The Grant Boys Gun shop. The Grant Boys was founded in 1949 by Edward "Buddy" Grant, and had remained family owned and operated. "I don't think too many other businesses have had the kind of thing, which you'd see on movie sets and things like that," said a Costa Mesa Historical Society member. Grant's sold guns, camping gear, and clothing, and was one of the only places to buy Levi's jeans. Levi's 501's sold for $3.49 a pair!

The River of No Return is sentimental and special to me for many reasons, and Marilyn impresses and inspires me in this gritty role, like no other. Filming was very dangerous, as she broke her ankle and almost drowned while on location. This was not a simple role, and her dedication to her craft and passion to go beyond her typecast, was beyond admirable. I loved her character Kay (also my grandmother's name) as the sultry saloon singer, with a love for the bad boys, but a maternal heart of gold, that she gives to a young boy and his father. My favorite Marilyn roles are those that reflected fragments of her true self. Another highlight to the film is watching Marilyn on the guitar, playing my particular favorite, "One Silver Dollar," along with the dreamy, but melancholy theme song, River of No Return. Wail-a-ree!

Now let's discuss Marilyn's styling..

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We rarely see Miss Monroe with long extensions in her career, but her gorgeous, long, blonde, locks are stunning in the film, flowing, or braided, each equally as beautiful. There were mainly three outfits in the film, since for most of the duration she is stuck traveling the River with no belongings, as her bag containing her Showgirl costume, gets lost in the stream. (It was a beaded beauty!)

Kay Weston's character wore jeans, stamped Foremost JCP Co., and the pair eventually fetched $42,550 at an auction. Today I'm appropriately wearing some rolled up Freddies of Pinewood, "Jeanies," however they also have some "Norma Jeans," inspired by our golden girl. Marilyn wore an iconic floral button up shirt, and later changed into a cotton, peasant, scoop neck blouse, always accompanied by boots. 

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She was also seen in a buckskin fringed leather jacket, in which I'm wearing from the 1950s by, "Pioneer Wear, Albuquerque." Underneath, i'm wearing a floral embroidered Stetson snap shirt, and a tooled leather floral belt from Vivien of Holloway. To finish, I'm wearing some brown, with red, inlay pee-wee boots from the 1940s - Saloon style!

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 Recently, I was lucky enough to meet the producer of River of No Return, Stanley Rubin's once wife, film star Kathleen Hughes, at Marilyn's Memorial. 

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The ultimate cowboy John Wayne used to shop here..
You will be missed Grant Boys!

"If you listen you can hear it call...
There is a river called the river of no return
Sometimes it's peaceful and sometimes wild and free!
Love is a traveler on the river of no return
Swept on forever to be lost in the stormy sea"

<3 Ashlyn

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