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reprint from Modern Screen, Feb 1942
Mexico City, January 8th
Saw my first bullfight. I didn't particularly want to. Rather see a good football game any day. Knew I wouldn't understand the fine points. You can't unless you're born to it or make a thoroughgoing study of it like Hemingway. "If I don't like it," I told Annabella, "I'll get up after the first bull and go out." She smiled. The smile that means she's not saying all she thinks. She was keener about going than I was. She's seen bullfights abroad.
Well, it's true I didn't get the fine points. All the time the crowds were yelling olé olé, I wondered what the devil they were yelling about. I did enjoy the color and pageantry, though, and felt no impulse to leave. But even if I had, I'd have stuck.
We'd been seated where the crowds couldn't miss us, and apparently all twenty-five thousand knew we'd come to Mexico to shoot scenes for Blood and Sand, with me as the matador. Which made me their personal concern. They smiled, waved, shouted advice, information, encouragement, and when something especially exciting happened in the ring, they'd rise as one man -- or so it seemed to my self-consciousness -- pointing from the ring to me and yelling their heads off. After one such mark of attention, my wife leaned over. "What would they think if you left?"
I grinned. "You tell me."
"'Sissy! He can't even sit and look at a bullfight. How can he look a bull in the face when he plays?'"
Off Mazatlan, January 31st
We've had three perfect days on the 2island. Annabella kept recognizing spots from the endless diagrams I've drawn. "This is the cove --", "Here is the clump of palms -- "
"You have been here before?" asked the boatman we hired to run us over.
"No, but my husband has talked and talked -- "
After hearing so much about it, I was afraid she might be disappointed. But she fell as hard as I did that day I first clapped eyes on it and leased it from the Mexican government.
Ever since we were married, I've been crazy to show it to her, but we couldn't get away. Even this time we weren't sure till the last minute that we'd be able to make it. But they finished the Mexican scenes a day early and gave me a few days leeway at the other end. So we dashed out for some camping equipment and hopped a plane from Mexico City to Mazatlan. They drove us out to the water front where we found this old fellow who owned a fishing smack with a broken-down gas engine. "Sure she can make it?" I asked him.
"Señor," he said, "she cough and she choke and she maybe lay down to sleep for little while, but she make."
She made. Next day the builder came over from Mazatlan, and we picked a spot for the shack -- couple of rooms against rain, a porch toward the sunset and a little storehouse for fishing tackle . "This will be your fishing island?" the builder asked, very serious and polite. Fishing, loafing and inviting-the-soul island. Shangri-la, for short.
So long, island. We'll be back. What's a thousand miles between you and Hollywood? Just five flying hours.
Brentwood, February 17th
Sometimes I've wondered why I bother trying to learn French. Now I know.
Meeting Annabella got me started. Seemed silly to be in love with a girl and not know her language. I reached the point where I could use words of one syllable and even get the tense right if you didn't mind hanging around till I doped it out. This led to occasional awkwardness. The general idea seems to be that if you're married to a Frenchwoman, you ought to be able to rattle it off. Words would be poured at me, and I'd come up with a feeble oui, oui.
I don't encourage Annabella to talk French to me. It's more important for her to perfect her English. But every once in a while I'd spout my piece. She used to look puzzled. "Ty, your teacher is French? -- You have no grand-grand-grandmother from Spain? Then I will never understand how it comes you speak French with a Spanish accent."
That went on for a while, then one day she started to giggle.
"Now what's the matter? Still my Spanish accent?"
"Much worse. You talk now like a little boy of the streets. It's as if I should talk English with the accent of those Dead End Kids."
But I stuck it out, being careful not to air my Dead End accent in public. Once -- "Darling," she said, "I don't know where you get your accents or where you leave them. But hold this one tight. It's pure Parisian."
3Haven't been so puffed up since the gold star I got from my kindergarten teacher.
Hollywood, March 8th
Had a painless interview with a fan mag writer.
Brentwood, April 5th
Been thinking it was time little 4 Anni owned her own horse. No human being has ever been crazier about anything than that child about horses. I realize that takes in a lot of ground, but let it stand. She owns every book about a horse that was ever written. She carves saddles and shoes out of cardboard for her toy horses and spends hours in her room turning old boxes into stables. She rides bareback, Western, and probably upside down. I have no doubt she could take a horse apart and put it together again. Where she gets it nobody knows. Annabella thinks a horse is something you've got to be polite to so it won't bite you.
Anni's birthday was coming, so I asked Jimmy if he had something in his stables for her. We agreed on a white mare, really a beauty. I told Annabella, but not the youngster. We thought it would be fun to surprise her.
Today was the day. The 5René Clairs came to lunch, and Anni opened her presents at the table. I'd arranged with Jimmy to get the horse over at two and cooked up a signal with the maid to announce their arrival. The Clairs were in on it. I'd catch René squinting at his watch, I kept eyeing the door, Annabella eyed me, Bronya tapped her foot. A fine foursome of adults!
We were just about through eating when the signal came. I told Anni there was another present out front, and we all trooped out. There sat Jimmy on the mare, and the pare prancing. Anni looked delighted and puzzled -- delighted that the premises should be blessed with a visit from a horse, puzzled as to the whereabouts of the present. She must have thought Jimmy had it concealed on his person. Never seemed to enter her head it could be the horse. When I told her, she went white. I've never seen such a look as came over her face -- like light breaking and flooding the place. Didn't say a word, just went over and touched the horse. By that time Jimmy was off and wanted her to get on. After hugging the breath out of me, she ran back, climbed up and sat there whispering to it. "My horse," she kept saying over and over again, "my dear little horse." Which made us laugh, considering their relative sizes, and broke a certain emotional strain. The kid's reaction must have affected us. She's such a quiet little kid, so controlled about her feelings as a rule --
She dubbed the mare Moonlight, washed her, curried her, spoon-fed her and put her to bed. When Annabella went up to tuck her in, she said: "Now I know how you feel about me. As I feel about Moonlight --"
Brentwood, April 8th
One of those things happened today that, even after it's happened, you don't believe.
I'd gone down to that secondhand bookshop on Main Street where I've already dug up a couple of finds and was rummaging around in the theatre section. An old binding caught my eye -- it was so obviously the original binding -- and I pulled the book out, a little brown volume whose backbone read "Impressions of America," Vol. I. I asked the bookseller about the other half of the pair, and while he was hunting it up, opened Vol. I to find the publication date. 1836 it said at the bottom of the title page, under the publisher's name. My eye traveled upward and stopped and popped. There was my own name staring up at me from the middle of the title page. "By Tyrone Power." From the whoop I let out the dealer must have thought I'd gone nuts. I suddenly realized it was a book my father had told me about -- the one his grandfather wrote when he got back to England after his tour of the States in the early 1830's. The dealer's a sympathetic soul. 6He turned the place upside down till he found Volume II.
I've been spending the evening with great-grandfather Power. Odd, to read his impressions of Philadelphia, for instance, and compare them with my own. So many landmarks are still unchanged. He seems to have been a nice old guy. Old guy! He may have been younger than I am now when he wrote this. I'll have to find out. Wish I'd known him. Almost feel that I do. He liked this country. 7I think he'd be pleased to know that an offshoot of his was a citizen. Good night, sir. Glad to have you with us. Hope to keep you a long time.
New York, July 28th
Went backstage to see the Lunts after the show. Asked Jack Wilson to come along with us to 21. Never thought of asking 8Lynn and Alfred, knowing them well enough to know they don't go out. Jack said, "Ask them anyway, all they can say is no." To our surprise and pleasure, they said yes.
We went on ahead to get a table. Clare Boothe and Noel Coward were at the next table, deep in war talk. Her "Europe in Spring" had just come out. Bob Sherwood, in from Washington, appeared after the Lunts got there, so we pushed our tables together and sat till dawn. I could have sat forever. I've never experienced such intense and varying emotions in a single evening -- pity, horror, pride, humility, rage. I left drained but uplifted by their quiet conviction -- a conviction never stressed, hardly expressed, yet implicit in all they said -- that the human spirit would fight through this darkness and come out on top.
Long Shore Country Club, Westport, Conn., August 11th
Up early this morning for a final run-through of the play. Then Annabella went downtown to have her hair done, and I came back here to the bungalow. Wish there were some masculine equivalent for having one's hair done. Wish it were eight tonight. Wish it were twelve.
Funny. For five years I've dreamed of doing 9Liliom
and for two years of doing it with Annabella. Tonight the dream's coming true, and here I sit in a lather, wondering what the devil I'm doing here. Nobody asked me to come. I could be home in the garden, nice and peaceful, laying bricks for the path. But no, I had to do Liliom. It's six years since I played for an audience. Wonder if I'll remember my lines. Wonder if my legs'll hold up. Wonder how Annabella's feeling now. I know. Jittery. I won't see her again till we get to the theater. We both wanted to be alone. Don't ask me why. Nothing to do when you're alone but listen to your pulse thump. Look, Power, at worst they won't stand you against a wall. They'll just say you stink.
Went out to eat at six-thirty. Met some of the others and sat with them. Ordered chicken broth, sliced chicken and salad, which sounded light enough to slip down a constricted gullet. It wasn't. Reached the theater at seven-thirty. Annabella had been there for hours. She hadn't eaten, so I sent out for a sandwich. Found it behind her make-up box after the show. Wires and flowers started coming. Made you realize people you hadn't thought were thinking about you were thinking about you. (Untangle that one.) Gave you a nice warm feeling but keyed you up higher.
Our dressing rooms adjoined, so we talked back and forth between the wall and even went over a couple of short scenes. Don't know what good we thought that would do us. Out in the wings we held hands. Must have looked like a couple of contenders in a shaking contest. Curtain cue. I kissed her and walked on. I was dying. They applauded the entrance which took me aback some more. My voice sounded the way jelly looks, but after a while I got it to go my way. The rest was a dream. I didn't wake up till after the final curtain. Then we fell on each other's necks. The crowd was swell. Our friends were swell. The prettiest sight of all was 10 Elsa Maxwell when she came back with 11 Clifton Webb, her eyes red from crying. What more could a couple of actors ask?
Brentwood, September 9th
Took Princess to the mutt show this morning. Figured she ought to rate somewhere in the half-cocker, half-Labrador retriever class. Anyway, a dog who goes round eating salad and oranges and picking persimmons off trees is entitled to her day. Anni spent hours dolling her up, a little impeded by the fact that no sooner was the dog's coat brushed than she'd roll over, stick up her paws and ogle. Invitation to a belly-scratch. She took the blue ribbon for best clown in the show, and loped back looking smug. "She thinks she got it for being beautiful," Anni whispered. "Don't tell her she got it for just being crazy."
Brentwood, September 24th
Too stimulated to sleep. Read the script of 12This Above All. The most adult script that's ever come my way. Thought I wanted to go to New York after Son of Fury. Now I wish we could start this tomorrow.
Hollywood, October 3rd
Beat the pants off 13Johnny Carradine at gin rummy.
Brentwood, December 4th
I like the institution of maid's day out. I like my wife with a dab of flour on her nose. I like the way she cooks.
Tonight we had soup, roast, fresh green peas, browned potatoes, salad, and a pastry. Anni shelled the peas and whipped the eggs for the pastry. They say the French can't brew good coffee. Exception. Annabella brews nectar. We ate in the patio. Anni carried the dishes back, Annabella washed, I dried. The lady looked charming in flowered apron and rubber gloves. The gentleman looked foolish in gingham tied under the armpits.
We'd planned to cut Johnny Apollo after dinner. I'm having all my films reduced to fit the sixteen millimeter projector Annabella gave me last Christmas. But just before we sat down, the bookshop sent Blithe Spirit over. So Johnny had to wait on Noel Coward. I read aloud, Annabella knitted, with time out for hysterics. Reading the play was like drinking champagne, so we took a sedative in the form of a couple of games of gin rummy. I won nine cents. A thoroughly satisfying evening.
The end of a year. May tomorrow start a better one for Annabella's France and the world and everybody in it.
Movieland, Mar 1948 issue Annabella reveals that she did spend five or six months away from Ty when she appeared in Blithe Spirit in Chicago. This would most likely have been shortly after this article was written.
Screen Guide May 1939 issue mentions this island, where he said that he hoped to live one day. Upon entering the Marines, Ty gave up the island.
3Ty actually became quite fluent in French. Often people spoke of how well he did speak the language. From the accounts of Ty that I've read, it was
typical Ty to downplay his own abilities.
4 Anni was Annabella's daughter, adopted by Ty after he married Annabella.
5René Clair was a French director, writer, producer.
6Ty eventually was finally able to collect several sets of these books, giving a set a time or two to friends.
7 Ty was first generation American on the paternal side of his family. His father was born and raised in England and came over to the United States as a young man.
8Alfred Lunt was a stage director, producer, and star of Broadway. His wife, Lynn Fontanne, was a famous stage actress. The two often appeared together on stage.
9Liliom is the stage play on which Carousel is based.
10Elsa Maxwell, who would have been 53 in 1941, was a hostess and celebrity columnist of that era. She also wrote and appeared in the 1939 movie, Hotel for Women.
11 Clifton Webb was a famous actor, often in character roles but sometimes starring roles. He played Elliott Templeton in 1946's movie, The Razor's Edge , which, of course, starred Ty.
12 This Above All was released about three months after this article was published.
13 John Carradine appeared with Ty in several movies: Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), Jesse James (1939), Brigham Young - Frontiersman (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), and Son of Fury (1942). They were probably filming Son of Fury when Ty wrote this note.
14 Interesting that Ty skipped from December 4th to December 31st. No entry for December 7th, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Ty, just like other young American men, was very upset when America was attacked and decided to enlist in the military. Ty later served in the Pacific theater of operations, with the U. S. Marines. It's anyone's guess as to why he didn't write about that awful day in his journal for '41.
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