Monday, June 25, 2007


Story contd.

After the Morecambe fiasco I was sitting outside Paula’s office; waiting to do my accounts. Often the studios would pay me direct and I would settle up with Paula later, but with the bigger jobs, payment would be sent to Paula and then she would have to find time, in her non-stop schedule, to pay me.

I was also going to give her a run down of what had happened with the Pickles, and discuss my future. I thought it was time she knew that I didn’t consider this to be a job for life, and I should start to wind down preparatory to starting a family. It was becoming clear to me that one had to develop a carapace to protect one from the slings and arrows and I didn’t think I could do it. Jamie’s rejection had been enough for one lifetime; the cake wasn’t worth the candle.

Rehearsing what I was going to say I noticed a youngish man waiting. He didn’t look like either a model or an actor and when Paula herself ushered him in, I was even more curious. At last the secretary popped her head round the door and asked me to go in. To my surprise the mystery man was still there, sitting alongside Paula.

‘Pat dear, I want you to meet Mr X of X nylons.’

This was Paula at her most charming. Mr X stood up and we shook hands. It appeared that Mr X was starting an advertising campaign, had observed me in the waiting room and decided he wanted to use me for his ads. I nearly laughed out loud. I had always had a thing about my skinny legs which tended to be a bit knock kneed. The fashion then, was for more muscular, curvy legs and mine didn’t cut the mustard.

One of my modelling friends had recently been on the town with a party which included the ‘leg’endary star Marlene Dietrich – her legs were insured for thousands of pounds and according to my friend, the precious pins were encased in the palest, sheerest nylons which blended seamlessly with the colour of her high heeled shoes. The result was her legs seemed to go on for ever. This seemed like a good idea to me and I was trying it out this very day.

The result was a contract – Mr X was happy, Paula was happy and I decide to carry on for a while longer. Fortunately Paula had already worked out my cheque so I didn’t need to hang around and my future plans were put on hold for now. When I spoke to Paula that evening there were lots of bookings and Paula said it was time to get a photo in Spotlight. Spotlight was founded in 1927 and has since become world-famous for its casting directories. It was expensive but as William said it was another ‘speculate to accumulate’ instance.

At the age of 78 Marlene was still performing on stage, although a shadow of her former self. Sadly she fell, broke a leg and was bedridden in Paris, for the last twelve years of her life. Her legs were no longer insured.


zoe said...

what a lovely story about getting a contract. if only everything could be that easy ... if you have what it takes :)

R. Sherman said...

"Mr. X?" We must have names, dear.


PI said...

Zoe: t'weren't easy walking in those dratted shoes:)

Randall: I honestly don't remember his name and as for the nylons - no names - no pack drill!

Eryl Shields said...

So, were your nylons the same colour as your shoes? I need some tips on leg lengthening being only five foot three.

PI said...

Eryl: very pale beige shoes and stockings (it would be tights now)to match and the shoes were high heeled, very plain courts. You can experiment with the length of skirt that suits you best. I found a pencil skirt, just on the knee suited me best but I tend to go with what I like, rather than fashion. Can you believe it- we used to wear roll-ons with a straight skirt, so they wouldn't get 'seated'. Running for a bus felt like wading through treacle.

R. Sherman said...

Pat, can I use your advice to Eryl. I'm only 5'6"?


Kanani said...

I love these photos and your recollections!

Okay, so matching hose... like blackish hosiery and black shoes. Right?

PI said...

Yes Randall - as long as you're sure you can manage the heels. And don't forget to defuzz.

Kanani: if you are trying for a longer effect, yes; just as a contrasting belt breaks up your body line. But always go with what you are happy with.

AndrewM said...


Stick with the hiking shorts and boots.


PI said...

andrewm:Tsk tsk!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I felt so grown up when I first got to wear proper tights at secondary school, rather than the wooly ones of primary school days.

It took me ten years after that to realize how much better stockings felt, and about another half hour to find out how treacherous they can be.

PI said...

Sam: I think I know where you're coming from. I believe stockings are healthier although you can get crotchless tights; but most of us can get by without either - most of the time

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Glad we're back in 'good news' territory. Pity about Marlene, though; I didn't know that. Just goes to show you should always pay your insurance premiums!