Together at last! I have had the Golden Dreams calendar in my collection for many years but it never felt complete until now. I always hoped that one day I would find the rarer pose, A New Wrinkle, that was also used as a calendar top. These calendars are both the larger 16 X 33 inches with all the months intact on the pad. I had them both framed using a black velvet matting and I am thrilled with how they look together.
The following excerpt is from "The Marilyn Encyclopedia" :
Before posing for her famous calendar shots taken by photographer Tom Kelley, Marilyn had turned down many offers to pose nude. It seems she accepted only when her need was dire and immediate; her contracts with 20th Century Fox and Columbia had not been renewed, she was out of work, and had a certain level of lifestyle to maintain. The $50 she was paid was exactly what she needed to get back her car which had been impounded.
The photographs that became the infamous "Golden Dreams" calendar were taken on May 27, 1949. Kelley's wife Natalie helped to prepare the red velvet backdrop and the cameras. The shoot lasted two hours while Kelley shot a sequence of photographs from a ten-foot ladder. Only two of the twenty-four shots Kelley took actually made it to print. "A New Wrinkle" graced one Braugarth Company calendar, but the picture that captured a nation's imagination was "Golden Dreams".
The story that Hollywood's hottest new property Marilyn Monroe was in fact the girl in the nude calendar was broken by wire journalist Aline Mosby in March 1952.
The studio's initial reaction was to deny everything. No Hollywood star had ever been proven to have done such a thing; the early fifties was a time of strait-laced public morals. Biographers agree that Marilyn was instrumental in persuading the studio that their natural inclination to deny the whole thing was the wrong way to handle it. An exclusive interview was arranged and the following confession ran in U.S. newspapers on March 13, 1952.
MARILYN MONROE ADMITS SHE'S NUDE BLONDE OF CALENDAR
A photograph of a beautiful nude blonde on a 1952 calendar is hanging in garages and barbershops all over the nation today. Marilyn Monroe admited today that the beauty is she. S he posed, stretched out on rumpled red velvet for the artistic photo 3 years ago because "I was broke and needed the money".
"Oh, the calendar's hanging in garages all over town," said Marilyn. "Why deny it? You can get one any place. Besides, I'm not ashamed of it. I've done nothing wrong."
The beautiful blonde now gets a fat paycheck every week from an excited Twentieth Century-Fox studio. She's rated the most sensational sweater girl since Lana Turner....she lives in an expensive hotel room...She dines at Romanoff's. But in 1949 she was just another scared young blonde, struggling to find fame in the magic city, and all alone. As a child she lived in a Hollywood orphange. She was pushed around among twelve sets of foster parents before she turned an insecure sixteen.
"I was a week behind on my rent," she explained. "I had to have the money. A photographer, Tom Kelley, had asked me before to pose but I'd never do it. This time I called him and said I would. Tom didn't think anyone would recognize me. My hair was long then. But when the picture came out, everybody knew me. I'd never have done it if I'd known things would happen in Hollywood so fast for me."
In the aftermath of the calendar confession, Marilyn was harangued by journalists. In typical fashion, when asked if it was true she had nothing on when she posed, she replied "Oh no, I the radio on."
In December 1953 an asute man named Hugh Hefner bought the rights to reproduce the "Golden Dreams" photograph as the first centerfold in the first ever issue of Playboy magazine.
SEEKING INFORMATION: I have been reading about the original release of the Golden Dreams and New Wrinkle calendars. It seems like the details change depending which Marilyn book you are reading. I've read in a few that the original calendar released was actually "A New Wrinkle" in 1951. However, I have never seen one of these from that year - only a 1952. It then goes on to say that the Golden Dreams pose was released after the news broke that Marilyn was the calendar girl. This doesn't make sense either. Why was Golden Dreams the more popular pose and more importantly how could it have been released after the story broke?. It was March 1952 when Aline Mosby broke the story. I have a 1952 Golden Dreams calendar so does that mean they were made and released after the year had already started? Does anyone have any more information or documents about this?
If you are interested in purchasing an ORIGINAL calendar here are some things to watch out for. First of all, be aware that the golden dreams pose is the one that is used for reproductions. I haven't seen a repro featuring the new wrinkle pose yet. By reproduction, I mean a calendar that has a date on the pad earlier than when the calendar was actually made.
You will see lots of them on Ebay. Here is an example of a reproduction calendar next to an original.
1. LOOK FOR HER NAME
As you can see in this close-up of a reproduction the words "Posed by MARILYN MONROE" appear on the calendar. If you are looking for a true original that is dated 1952 Marilyn's name will not appear anywhere on the calendar. The Golden Dreams calendars were produced throughout the 1950's and later versions did have Marilyn's name on them. So it is true that you can pick up a vintage calendar with her name shown, however, you will NEVER see this on a 1952 issue.
Both originals and reproductions always have "Golden Dreams" written under her feet. The new wrinkle calendar does have "A New Wrinkle" on the left hand side.
2. COMPANY ADVERTISING
The most desirable calendars feature company advertising. In my case, Hoffman's Motor Transportation and Midwest Tape Corp. Old phone numbers and addresses help to confirm the age of the calendar. Reproductions do not have this. Also, look for the name of the calendar company and the words "Made in the USA". The new wrinkle calendar has "Tom Kelley Studios" on the left hand side.
I highly recommend spending your money on a calendar with the advertising intact. They usually cost more but then you are assured to have something that is vintage and not a reproduction. Advertising adds to the charm of these calendars.
3. METAL STRIPS
Obviously, the calendar will look aged. In particular the staples holding the calendar pad on may be rusty and the back looking yellowed. A tell-tale sign that it is original is if it has metal strips running along the bottom and top of the calendar. The photo shown here is the bottom of my calendar that has a black metal strip. The top also had a strip with a loop for hanging.
4. SIZE AND PAPER
Originals did come in various sizes. Obviously the larger ones (16 X 33 inches) are worth the most. Reproductions tend to come in 11 X 22 inches. Reproductions are printed on heavier stock than the originals.
In summary, look for a large calendar that has metal strips. The calendar pad should be intact beginning with January. Anything dated 1952 -1955 would be a nice addition to your collection but obviously the 1952 version without her name is worth the most. Make sure there is company advertising, as well as a calendar company and made in USA on the calendar. Sometimes on places like Ebay it is not clear from the photo whether all of these signs are there. Be sure to ask the seller before you bid.
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