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3 articles around the time of the Kennedy assassination
originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News
Action Keys to Daily Life of
by Tony Zoppi
November 22, 1963
“I must keep active,” said Joan Crawford, and that just about summed up the theme of Thursday morning’s interview with filmland’s glamour queen.
“I get up around 6 in the morning and plan my day – mentally and spiritually. I never rush. Getting an early start enables me to do things in detail. I do my best work before 9 a.m. with the help of three secretaries.”
Well into her 50s, Miss Crawford has the energy of an ingénue.
Keeping “active” involves such diversified tasks as movie-making, a new TV pilot with Charles Bickford (the most expensive pilot in the history of the medium), a place on the board of the Pepsi-Cola Corp. and numerous charities.
“There is no such thing as an ordinary day for me,” she cooed. “An ordinary day would bore me to death.”
Miss Crawford is in town for a Pepsi meeting. She flew in Wednesday night, aboard a company plane whose passenger list included former vice-president Richard Nixon. He is now legal counsel for Pepsi-Cola.
“No, I don’t think either of us will attend the luncheon here for President Kennedy,” she smiled.
The chic star said she will be back in Dallas in January to help promote her new film, which is entitled “Strait-Jacket.” It’s her first since “?” the fantastically successful thriller which revived her Hollywood career.
In a reminiscent mood, she said Clark Gable was her favorite leading man.
“The King was the greatest,” she smiled. “I’m so sorry I never had the opportunity to work with Cary Grant or Gregory Peck or some of the others. They are fine actors.”
The future never loosed brighter for the glamorous beauty who was born in San Antonio.
“They want me to do a picture called ‘What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?’ and there’s the TV thing and this divine job with Pepsi-Cola. I owe my success to my training in films. Hollywood educated me in so many ways – it was the only education I had.”
Asked to comment on the new cultural look at the White House, the interview took a curt tone.
“Although I’ve known for years, I never discuss religion or politics in public.”
The onetime hoofer who became an intimate of royalty and politicians had one parting word of advice for youngsters in search of a break.
“Nothing comes easy,” she declared. “Work at your trade and give your best. I still do my exercises and design my own clothes. I knew many women who weren’t overly endowed with intelligence, but they looked so good they were able to get by.”
And one more piece of advice to women – quit talking and learn to listen.
“Now, let’s all have a .”
Guard Not for Nixon
November 22, 1963
A Dallas police officer guarded the Baker Hotel suite of actress Thursday.
But there were no police outside the suite of former Vice-President , who almost became president, on the same floor of the downtown hotel.
Both flew here for a meeting of Pepsi-Cola bottlers and a spokesman for the firm explained why it had requested a police guard for Miss Crawford’s suite:
“There have been a lot of jewel thefts in New York hotels and we didn’t want to take the chance of having her jewelry stolen here. There was also the matter of autograph seekers.”
Nixon apparently felt that he didn’t need a special officer to protect him from jewel thieves or autograph hunters.
"Dallas After Dark" column
by Tony Zoppi
November 25, 1963
Less than 24 hours before President Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas, was telling a group of newspapermen of a meeting with the chief executive in his White House offices.
“I’d known for years, and that’s why I couldn’t imagine why my knees kept trembling when I approached his desk," she said. “It was the magnitude of his office, and the position he holds, I guess. But he had a gift for putting people at ease. There were several other people in the office, but he came around his desk and said ‘I want to see Joan.’”
There are dozens of similar stories concerning the late President and show business personalities. He and Mrs. Kennedy were true patrons of the arts. It had been decades since people in every phase of show business had been so welcomed at the White House, and they cherished that call from Washington to “come to dinner and entertain.”
IT STARTED that memorable night of the inaugural when Frank Sinatra put on a show in a drafty Washington armory. He lined up a show of stars which was probably unprecedented in the history of the trade. Everyone cooperated but the weatherman, and the affair was a dismal flop.
Yet it set a sort of precedent and the First Family took show business to its heart and elevated its image to a place of unprecedented respect in cultural circles.
Carol Channing was one of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy’s favorites, and she spent several evenings at the White House doing her zany portrayal of that calculatin’ gal from Little Rock.
When his travels took him to the West Coast, the President passed up the lavish suites at various hotels in favor of Bing Crosby’s comfortable digs in Palm Springs. The secret service crowd occupied songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen’s home next door.
THE INVITATION LIST knew no bounds. ’ taste in entertainment ranged far and wide. Those who entertained represented every facet of show business—from Pablo Casals to Louis Armstrong.
The first family loved the theater and many times, during visits to New York, they viewed Broadway on the spur of the moment to take in a current hit.
The president’s association with show folk came naturally. His father once headed a major Hollywood studio, and there is hardly a star in filmland who doesn’t know and respect Joe Kennedy.
will have occasion to remember his frequent visits to the White House. His last time there, JFK awarded him a special congressional medal in recognition of Hope’s wide travels to entertain American troops. It was typical of the President that he flew in Hope’s wife and children for the occasion.
BOB MAKES no secret of Republican leanings, but he admired and respected .
“He could take a joke. and you can’t say that for too many peopIe in Washington,” said Hope.
Night club comics got a lot of mileage out of their devastating impersonations of the President’s Harvard-accented broad-A. One literally made a fortune with a satirical album entitled “The First Family.” It was a best-seller at the White House.
[Thanks to Norman for providing these articles.]
The Best of Everything