Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Three Bathtubs

The story goes that Cecil B. DeMille and W.C. Fields were neighbors. DeMille lived at the summit of DeMille Drive in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Fields' home was just below, connected by a path that was seldom used since they hated each other.

During World War II, DeMille was a Volunteer Air Raid Warden. He had an official white helmet, flashlight, and first aid kit, and he'd scurry about his mansion turning off lights and draping windows during blackout drills. Please recall that Angelenos lived in fear of a Pearl Harbor type attack in those days.

One night, his home all secure, he looked down the hill to see Fields' house lit up like a Chinese lantern. Furiously he stomped down the path and rapped on the door with his nightstick. Fields, who lived alone, came to the door.

"I'm Cecil DeMille and this is a blackout!"

"A what?"

"A blackout. Turn off all your lights, close your windows, and fill your tub with emergency water."

"DeMille, can't we have a blackout without one of your bathtub scenes?"

I thought of this story first when I tried out my Jacuzzi tub, and again when I came across this painting by Albert Stevens. He was a remarkable artist who painted elegant, bored Parisian women. Many find a social criticism in his art of a male dominated society that relegated such ladies to trivial, unchallenging lives. Perhaps, but I can't muster much sympathy for a class that has too little to do. Rather, I see in their faces deep mystery and sexual longing, that beckons me to join them in their woolgathering.
Le Bain, Albert Stevens, 1892. Click on the picture for a closer look.


DUTA said...

The story about the two hollywoodian figures and the bathtub is very funny. The painting displaying an obviously bored ,young, sensuous woman in the bathtub, is quite eye-catching.

Here's a little joke about the bathtub:

New ladyteacher asked the pupils to introduce themselves by name and hobby. She started with the boys.
First boy: My name is John and my hobby is to see bubble in the bathtub.
To the teacher's surprise and confusion all the boys claimed to have the same hobby: to see bubble in the bathtub.

She then turned to the girls:
First girl: My name is Julie and my hobby is to watch birds.
Second girl: I'm Sandy and I like to collect perfumes.
Third girl: I'm Bubble and my hobby is to take a bath three times a day.

Paula Slade said...

Ah, Jacuzzi under the stars - now that's fun!

TallTchr said...

Duta, oldie but goodie. Thanks. Paula, my jacuzzi is indoors, but next to a big sliding window with no neighboring houses in sight. But I've only used it twice; I'm a shower guy.

dragonfly said...

When I was young, my father built a hot tub & sauna behind our house. We lived in a wooded area, and it was lovely to lounge in the hot tub on a cool September night (and September in Alaska is pretty cool). I remember looking up at the stars through rising steam and the tree tops overhead- it was very tranquil.

I do like this painting...it's been a long week, perhaps a good book and a lavender scented bubble bath is in order.

Shower guy- a shower and a jacuzzi serve different purposes! I hope you take the time to enjoy it :)

TallTchr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TallTchr said...

Dragonfly, thank you for the memory. A friend of mine is building a solar hot tub which makes a lot of sense to me considering how expensive they can be to heat. Bet it would work for a sauna, as well.