This is my entry in the Madeleine Carroll Blogathon hosted by the lovely ladies at Tales of the Easily Distracted and Silver Screenings. Click Here to read more about the beauteous Miss Madeleine.
Many years ago I had a friend named John. John was an elderly gentleman who grew up poor in the Bronx and became something of a self-made man, while he lived in obvious comfort, he loved to tell stories about his youth in the Bronx, growing up with many brothers and sisters and making do with very little. As we got to know one another better, we discovered that we shared a love of classic film, or, as we called them back then, old movies. He would sometimes call me in the middle of the day to try to stump me with a trivia question or to identify the name of an actor or actress whose name he couldn't remember.
|Madeleine casts her spell|
One of John's favorite movie stories to tell (and when he liked a story he told it many times) was about his first crush - Madeleine Carroll. John was very proud of his Irish heritage and never let anyone forget that Madeleine was a (half) Irish lass, herself. As a boy, the vision of love and romance that was Princess Flavia from 1937's "The Prisoner of Zenda" never left him and formed his image of a desirable woman.
Around this time I made my first trip to Hollywood. This was right before the days of EBay, so movie memorabilia was not so easy to come by if you didn't go out of your way for it. while diving through treasures at the Larry Edmunds Bookstore, I came across a press photo of Madeleine and knew it was something John would love. He was delighted and grateful and immediately found a place for her on his desk next to his wife and children and grandchildren. I was so happy that I could add a little Madeleine to his daily life.
This got me thinking of of how those first movie crushes shape our desires as we sail forth into the real world and into adulthood. In 1963 my Mom and I went to see "Charade" and forever after Audrey Hepburn has been my ideal of the woman I would like to be and Cary Grant as the man I wanted to love me.
|The photo that sat on John's desk|
So, here's to you, my old friend John. Thank you for sharing your story of your young love for this beautiful actress and how her perfect image always lingered in your dreams.