Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Sex Goddess' Thumb

While researching the preceding post (on the Battle of Chipyong-ni, 1951), I spent some time scrounging the Internets for illustrations. While doing that I found this, a snapshot taken of the three-day USO tour Marilyn Monroe did in February, 1954.As I was looking over the picture (and, quite unexpectedly, oogling La Monroe in a sadly goatish fashion of a man of my age and weight) I noticed an odd little thing.

Her right thumb is bandaged.

Enlarge the picture and look for it. See it?

I don't know why that struck me as so odd and interesting. Possibly because I'm accustomed to the current seamless ability of the entertainment industry to make boo-boos like that disappear. Have you ever seen a current star, or even a starlet, with band-aids, bruises, bad hair (seen outside of the paparazzi sections of the checkstand rags, I mean)?

I was fascinated. What had happened? Fight with new hubby Joltin' Joe? Slipped on a microphone cable? So I went back to the 'Net, and...

Turns out that the Sex Goddess of the Fifties was cutting a cake for some soldiers when the knife slipped and she cut herself, quite badly, by the look of it.But no matter - the show went on and, apparently, went like free beer. Both the troopers, and the star, loved each other. It's kind of a nice story.

And Heaven knows if anyone needed a nice story it was Norma Jean, whose short life contains entirely too much unhappy drama.Nothing deeper than that; just a tiny bit of trivia for a Thursday evening.


Lisa said...

A nice little bit. To me, a more interesting time. Actresses like Monroe had something special, an intangible that so frequently seems to go missing today, IMHO.

mike said...

Lisa: She did have something special, and not just as a sex symbol. She was a real life Rosie the Riveter working in a defense plant during WW2 for a short time. And she survived a horrendous childhood and rose to the top of her profession.

FDChief said...

I've always had a soft spot for Norma Jean. She seems like a decent woman who should have been a second grade teacher with a nice husband and a couple of kids who appeared in her local Little Theatre shows. But she had the itch for fame, and it overcame her common sense and her survival instinct, and she paid for it.

And I think that she, like a lot of the actors and actresses of the Studio Period, were shaped by the tough apprenticeships they had to go through on the way to stardom. A lot of them never lost the "common touch". I've also always had a real fondness for gals like Marlene Dietrich and Martha Raye, who never forgot what the guys at the dirty end were going through, and never stopped trying to give them whatever they could.

Lisa said...


The "common touch" is a good way to put it. Though Monroe was a sex icon, her reality was evident. Of course the studio system groomed and packaged, but today something seems very sterile about the whole business.

Most of the sex goddess are not very sexy and most of the tough guys aren't believable. There is a deep gulf separating them from us, as though "they" are something other.

FDChief said...

Lisa: I think you've put your finger on the biggest difference between the "then" of Monroe's time and ours. The starmaking machinery (to cite Joni Mitchell) has become so huge, so's very hard to get a sense of the people behind these glossy images on screen or page now that the publicity/celebrity business is so seamless and the nation so large that it just seems to subsume anything human-scale like the odd little detail of Marilyn's owie thumb.

Lisa said...

"it's very hard to get a sense of the people behind these glossy images on screen or page"

True that. Vulnerability is not for the faint of heart, nor the superficial persona. We seem to like antiseptic things today. Perhaps as people grow more disorderly they seek for some impossible beacon of perfection.

But I think it was Bacon who said, there is no great beauty that hath not some imperfection. Hence, Sophia Loren, et. al.

mike said...


Sophia Loren imperfect????? I think not. At least not back in the fifties when I was a 15-year(?)old film buff and saw her on big screen for the first time.