I didnt really know what I was going to feel not having the show.
Strangely, it was a feeling of relief. The last shot went into the can toward the end of
February. We were always eight to ten shows ahead when the season began airing, and since
we took a week and a day, sometimes two days, to make a segment, by seasons end we
were breathing down our own necks. Extra cutters were hired and the post production crew
went on seven day workweeks.
I decided to take a long-needed vacation with my girlfriend Pat Nelson.
Id met her in the middle of divorcing Shirley, when Id been living in my own
guest house. It was on July 4th.
The Culver City fire department (where MGM was located) always had a
fantastic fireworks display for the 4th of July on the high school football field. I was
asked to be the Grand Marshall that year. They brought a huge trailer out to the edge of
the field for me and my guests, and stocked it with a large buffet and a bar with
After the festivities and fireworks, we repaired to the trailer, as it
was getting a little chilly out there in the dark. I was about to close the door and
looked out to see, about fifty feet away, a very pretty, very slim red head, dressed in a
light-weight, white lace frock, standing alone, and shivering to beat the band. I walked
over to her and asked, "Date leave you flat?" Lovely as she looked, I
couldnt really believe anyone would leave her flat.
"N-n-nooo," she shivered through her teeth, "I was
supposed to make an appearance here. They brought me out and I g-g-g-g-uesssss forgot
I took Patricia by the hand. "You just come along with us and have
a wee bit of the creature to warm you up."
By the third drink she was comfortable and having a good time with all
the guys and gals around her. Everybody was coupled, so it fell to me to take her home.
She had a good sense of humor, was very intelligent, and obviously well educated. She was
in something called the MGM training program, which was a set of acting classes that went
on for about three months, after which the students auditioned and there was a chance of a
contract. It was MGMs last quivering grasp at the old studio system.
I thought she was too young for me. She was twenty-two and I had
recently passed my forty-third year. After a week or so of thinking it over, I decided age
is only in the mind. I still felt like I was in my early thirties, was in excellent
physical condition from four years of running up and down hills and jumping into all sorts
of large excavations, plus my daily twenty laps in the pool. I telephoned her and we
started seeing each other.
This is what caused Shirley to demand I get off my property; she realized the marriage
was finally over. I was spending a few nights a week at Pats apartment in Beverly
Hills, and I found out Shirley had a private detective tailing me. It was obvious where I
was when I wasnt at Benedict Canyon. My Jaguar was parked across the street from
Pats apartment, or right outside the front entrance. Shirley filed a complaint with
the Beverly Hills police that Pat was operating as a prostitute. It caused her a few
problems until the department realized the whole thing had to do with a marriage on the