Thursday, March 01, 2018

"I Think this is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship."

Madeleine Carroll was born on February 26, 1906.  She was a classic beauty, if on the icy side, which earned her the title of the "iceberg maiden".  She was Britain's top female performer during the 1930s, chosen by Hitchcock to star in his 1935 classic, The 39 Steps.  Yes, the first of Alfie's blonde leading ladies.  Her success continued in Hollywood, earning $250,000 in 1938.

      Madeleine Carroll in 1936 (in black dress with pink carnations)

Ms. Carroll had a feature in my favorite Bob war story.  As you probably know, Bob joined the American Field Service and drove an ambulance in France beginning June 6, 1940.  His "tour" was brief (as was France's defense against Germany), lasting just a few days.  Not being able to replace the damaged ambulances, resulted in Bob and others being sent back to Paris.

As it became evident that the Germans would soon reach Paris and conquer France, Bob and thousands of others scrambled to escape.  While Rick and Ilsa are planning on taking the last train out of Paris, our Bob finds a pilot with a private airplane who will fly him to Lisbon, Portugal on June 12th (maybe the 13th).  On June 14th, Paris falls to the Germans ... as in getting out in the nick of time! 

Meanwhile, before Bob left Paris, he heard that Madeleine Carroll was stranded in Nice, France.  Bob, our hero, of course made a flight detour to rescue Ms. Carroll.  From Lisbon, Bob was able to fly back to New York City on the last commercial flight of the Trans Atlantic Clipper, which was taken over by the military for the duration of the war.  A most fortunate, and extremely expensive escape it was for Mr. Montgomery. 

                            Bob and Madeleine in January, 1950

Ten years later, Ms. Carroll returns the favor, agreeing to star in the first broadcast of Robert Montgomery Presents on January 30, 1950.  This was at a time when big name Hollywood stars would not dare appear on television.  It had to have been a scary experience for her to do a live drama in the strange medium.  Probably scarier than that flight with Bob!

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