By R. E. McDONALD
From the pages of Confidential
ALMOST ANYONE who’s ever been to the movies knows about Hollywood’s famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater. That’s where the stars go to get their footprints recorded in cement. That’s where they stage some of movieland’s gaudiest premieres.
But you’d have to be an usher to get the real low-down on what goes on in this celebrated movie house. Garbed in your flashy uniform and equipped wish your tiny flashlight, you’d discover something to make your eyes pop. Because Grauman’s is also the theater where the stars go—not to watch the movie but to bundle in the balcony. And the show that goes on in the back seats often beats anything that’s flickering on the screen.
No one can predict when an act along the aisle is going to produce more steam than the advertised attraction. For instance, a gentlemanly assistant manager at Grauman’s didn’t give it a second thought one November evening not so long ago when he greeted lovely, green-eyed Maureen O’Hara at the head of the main aisle.
Usher Got the Shock of His Life
Escorted by a tall and handsome Latin American, she looked as dignified as a queen. Politely murmuring that he hoped they enjoyed the picture, the manager turned them over to an usher, who led them to their seats toward the rear of the orchestra.
He’d had his share of troubles with over-amorous couples in Grauman’s, but such a problem never entered his mind as he watched red-haired Maureen sweep down the aisle into the darkness. O’Hara necking in a public theater? It just couldn’t be.
He got the shock of his life an hour later, though, when the usher in charge of aisle “C” came rushing out to report that there was a couple heating up the back of the theater as though it were mid-January. Easing down the aisle, he saw the entwined twosome. It was Maureen and her south-of-the-border sweetie.
His eyes accustomed to the darkness, he saw even more than that. Maureen had entered Grauman’s wearing a white silk blouse neatly buttoned. Now it wasn’t.
The guy had come in wearing a spruce blue suit. Now he wasn’t. The coat was off, his collar was open and his tie was hanging limply at half mast in the steam.
Maureen Made Movie-Viewing History
Moreover, Maureen had taken the darndest position to watch a movie in the whole history of the theater. She was spread across three seats—with the happy Latin American in the middle seat
This is going to the movies?
The assistant manager coughed. Then he coughed again. For all the reaction he got from Maureen and her rumpled boy friend, he could have had double pneumonia.
What to do now? He was embarrassed at the prospect of having to walk over and tell them to break up the unadvertised love scene. On the other hand, what they were doing threatened to short-circuit the air conditioning system.
Luckily, the area they were capering in was surrounded by a wilderness of empty seats. Inspiration set in and he rushed back to the theater’s foyer for a flashlight. Then, groping his way down the aisle as though searching for something, he kept flicking the light on the two until Maureen suddenly sat up, snuggled into one seat and the pair started to watch the movie.
Well, that was enough of that and the agitated assistant manager figured he’d seen the last of such goings on, But was he wrong! So far as Maureen was concerned, this was double feature night and she was giving away more than dishes,
The manager had hardly returned to the candy stand out front before the usher from aisle “C” was on his heels with the breathless announcement, “They’re at it again!”
They Were Really in a Cloud
This time, when he went to investigate, he found Maureen occupying one seat—her boy friend’s. That is, they were both in it, and if she’d come to watch a movie she was wasting a lot of time and money. So was her sweetie. She was sitting on his lap, facing the back of the theater. Naturally, he couldn’t see through her.
But neither seemed to mind. In fact, the kids were really in a cloud.
That was too much. The assistant manager turned his flashlight directly on Maureen and her Latin Lothario. Impaled by the beam of light, they froze—right in the middle of their clinch.
Flicking off the light, he marched over to the romantic duo and suggested, “Perhaps it might be best if you left the theater.”
Well, Maureen and her petting papa were in no position to argue. They did as requested, but only after Maureen borrowed the guy’s flashlight to help her back seat buddy find a diamond cuff link he’d lost during their torrid session.
Then, adjusting her blouse, Maureen led the parade to the little red sign marked “Exit.” And to tell the truth, the manager was sad to see them go.
She Starred in Row 35
He’s seen Maureen in Grauman’s since - on the screen, that is. And he can tell you there’s nothing she ever did for the camera that can match her antics in Row 35.
Matter of fact, there’s something unfair about it. Because Grauman’s has never even bothered to immortalize Maureen in cement outside the lobby. And her prints should be there ahead of everyone.
Of course, we don’t mean foot prints!