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 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.