Monday, March 14, 2011

Three Days With Yvonne De Carlo

Robert Wagner

In the 1950s, actor Robert Wagner was an upcoming star, a teen heartthrob, and quite the ladies man. Before his long on-again-off-again relationship with Natalie Wood, Wagner was making the rounds with the women of Hollywood. Some were young starlets and some were already notable stars. On one occasion in the 1950s, Wagner had a brief fling with the star actress Yvonne De Carlo

Yvonne De Carlo

De Carlo had already made a name for herself in films like Criss Cross and Brute Force. She was still a few years away from starring in her most famous role, that of Lily Munster, in the 1960s television show, The Munsters.

Sometime in the 1950s, Wagner was on his way to the Santa Monica drive-in restaurant, Jack's at the Beach.  When Wagner pulled his 1950 Ford convertible into the restaurant parking lot he noticed in the car next to him was De Carlo. He looked her over and she nodded for for him to come over to her. Wagner then parked his car in the back of the restaurant and hopped into De Carlo's car. According to Wagner, in his book "Pieces of My Heart," their exchange went like this:

"I'm Robert Wagner."
"I know. I'm Yvonne De Carlo."
"I know. I'm such a fan of yours."

The two left Jack's at the Beach and headed for De Carlo's house. It wasn't until three days later that Wagner went back to get his car.

Wagner doesn't exactly say what happened over those three days, but like watching early movies, we can use our imagination.

A week later Wagner ran into fellow actor and playboy, Tony Curtis.  According to Wagner, Curtis said, "You can't imagine what just happened to me. I pull into Jack's at the Beach. Yvonne De Carlo pulls up next to me! She looks at me, I look at her. Well, to make a long story short..."

Jack's at the Beach (1975)
Photo: Santa Monica Public Library

Jack's at the Beach was a restaurant that started in 1917, in Venice, California, by Jack Compselides. In the 1940s, he teamed with Til Hecht, and the restaurant relocated to the Pacific Ocean Park Pier in Santa Monica, where it stayed until March 1975. Above is a photo from the Santa Monica Public Library image archives showing the restaurant as it appeared in 1975. 

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