Saturday, June 18, 1949

Baby darling: Your telegram happily received, and how come no second mortgage? By this time you have undoubtedly talked to Valparaiso and heard how Phiddy and I were met by Jess and Miss America 1951, etc, etc. The plane ride from Chicago on was good enough. We didn't fly over the Grand Canyon but the scenery was interesting. At Tucson I stepped off the plane into heat of 107 degrees, at Phoenix 110, but so dry that while the white wave of heat that hit me practically gave me sunstroke, not a drop of perspiration. I got to the hotel here about 7:30  (11:30 New York time, because they don't have daylight saving) and went to bed immediately, so I was up at 5 yesterday morning, took a long walk for about an hour between 6 and 7, then came back and had the biggest breakfast in years, and have been busy ever since.

First reason was that I walked into Jacoby in the hotel. He was here with Mary Zita and his oldest boy, Jim, who is about 16. Ossie is promoting Canasta. His book, he told me, will be listed as number one on the nonfiction bestseller list in a couple of weeks (the lists run two to three weeks behind, so the publisher and author know in advance). He was as surprised as I was, but apparently he and I are the closest of friends at present so I spent some time with him yesterday, went to the luncheon they were giving him at the May Co. , heard the first few minutes of his talk, and then ducked out. My appointments lasted fairly late last night, after which I had dinner and went to a movie with the Stoddards. Apparently Jacobi said some complimentary things about me, in his talk, after I had left, and called on me to say a few words, not knowing I had ducked out. Mrs. Bourne was in the audience (a big one, about 400 people) and called me here, but I had intended to call her (them) anyway. I did call this morning and learned that Mr. Bourne died in November. Mrs. Bourne sounded very old and very unhappy. I rented a car this morning and will go to see her a while I'm here. Ethel Jacobsen was leaving yesterday, when I called her, for three weeks vacation (which I knew about, because she said so in her last letter, and I called just on the chance that she hadn't left yet). We talked for a while and she said she was sorry she couldn't see me while I'm here. She isn't coming to New York, as she said she was in her last letter, because the trip was to see her father and he died very suddenly a few days after she wrote. Lou Lawrence is coming up tonight and taking me to a poker game afterwards. Tomorrow I have a date with the Stoddards and Monday night the Jacobys are giving a dinner to which I'm going (they’re leaving Tuesday) so my social life, so far, has been full. I'm busy all day, too, busier than I expected to be so soon — appointments solidly from around 10:30 through 5 or so. The publicity offices out here are very high pressure and efficient.

Yesterday afternoon I went to Paramount for a four o'clock appointment with Edith Head, the designer, and a five o'clock appointment with Charles Brackett. I hope you remember the team of Charlie Brackett and Billy Wilder; they were the zany writing team who were burlesqued in Boy Meets Girl. I hope you remember Boy Meets Girl; the following story loses its point if you don't. Anyway I suppose it does. Having finished with Miss Head I was escorted to Brackett's office. He greeted me very informally and we exchanged whatever small talk we exchanged. In his office are a card table with four chairs, a pile of bicycle cards, and a set of Kem cards; on the wall a framed broadside of c.1700 giving the rules of Cribbage. I mentioned Kem cards, that led to bridge, and he got a sudden idea and asked me if I wrote the bridge column and I said yes. Without another word he got up and dashed out of the office. The office is in a bungalow, on the first floor, and I was sitting at a window beside the entrance. He went to the front door and shouted “Billy! Come here! We've got a bridge game.” In two minutes he dashed back in with Billy Wilder and a man named Shore or something, a member of their company, we sat down at the table, and we played bridge for the remainder of the interview, which for that reason didn't come off. At 6:30 the bridge game ended, and Brackett drove me to the hotel. We talked off and on about Fontaine-de H. on the way back, but now I have a date with him during the week for lunch, bridge, and maybe the completion of our talk. Bracket-Wilder (now a producing team) produced Olivia's picture Hold Back the Dawn, on which she won the Academy Award (and which I don't remember seeing), and several Fontaine pictures, including the Emperor Waltz. Edith Head designed Fontaine's costumes in the Affairs of Susan (and if I'd remembered that Fontaine was in that picture, I would have been on her side of the argument all along. As it is, I've heard so much that I'm still neutral, and gradually coming to the conclusion that both the girls are wrong not to like each other, because other people seem to like them both).

Anyway, please airmail me a couple of copies of Bridge the Expert Way [they’re in the backroom] and if Ely happens to be in town get him to autograph a copy of C. B. For Everyone (the Winston edition) for Brackett, with something like “to Charles Brackett, Al Morehead's favorite partner” in it. You'd better call Paramount and get the correct spelling of Brackett’s name, because I could be wrong, but look in Who's Who first. It's on the top of the bookshelves in the front room, where there's a line of books.

This morning I had time to work, so I wrote up my notes and read about half the solitare ms. I hope to get it into the mail to you tomorrow (Sunday). I'm going out now to see a couple more people. I love you.

[Brand new Royal portable lent me by Tom Stoddard. I'm sending a carbon copy of this to Glenside.]