by Babs Carter
Submitted by milesadrift
She’s radiant . . . She’s a woman loved and loving . . . She’s a mother . . . She’s a star . . . She’s Rita Hayworth Welles . . .
YOU drive west from Hollywood, out Sunset, past Bel Air, out the long winding road past UCLA, on up the hills and down, and finally you come to pretty tree-lined Cannelina Street. Hopefully you scan the numbers on the gates. You are looking for La Hacienda de la Senora Orson Welles, professionally known as Senorita Rita Hayworth. For you have a date and a welcome there, you know.
You observe one gate, standing ajar. A glimpse inside reveals a girl wearing a blue checked peasant skirt, splashed with gay red gingham patches, a white Mexican blouse and blue sapatos on her bare feet. Her hair, a shade of pale topaz, hangs to her shoulders. There’s no mistaking, you have arrived. For the girl is the Rita you saw in “Tonight and Every Night,” the girl you will see in “Gilda.”
Rita is back just three days from a month in Mexico City. You know this, and her Mexican dress and the brace-let of silver coins jingling on her wrist brings out the Spanish in you. You show off with the few words you know, and Rita responds fluently in Spanish. (She says she’s going to teach Baby Rebecca Spanish right along with her English. Orson speaks Spanish, too.)
Rita looks beautiful, of course, but there’s more in her amber eyes. For the first time since you’ve known Rita she seems carefree and completely happy.
You cross the grass to the ultra ‘modernistic house with its glass walls and futuristic lines. And Pookles, Rita’s cocker spaniel, comes bounding from the door with a joyful bark. He picks up a tennis ball and he pleads for a lively romp on the lawn. “Later, Pookles,” Rita promises. “Pookles was a childhood name for Orson until he was about ten,” Rita remarks smilingly.
Then you are inside this charming house of the future—as all homes will probably soon be built. The walls are all windows to the East. You look down on beautifully landscaped gardens that descend to a Swimming pool. The pool is perhaps Oneof the longest in Hollywood. Actually it is a lake, for there’s a tiny grassed island in the center, and there’s a boat for rides.
A window seat with gay comfortable cushions runs the entire length of the windowed wall, and there’s a glass fish pond on the frescoed mirrors and a winding plastic stairway that lights with neon at night.
Then you go downstairs to the Welles playroom a semi-den and workshop. The walls are lined with rare posters of bull fights. Four announcing “Toros Sevilla. Pascua y Feria de Abril de 1931” were Rita’s birthday present to Orson,
“I bought them from a Spanish lady who brought them from Spain many years ago,” Rita said. “We are both crazy about bull fights, and everything Spanish and Mexican.”
“This was my first trip to Mexico City. The bull fights are very exciting to see. The movements of the fighters are very graceful. In fact,” Rita said, “we brought a young bull fighter back here with us. He’s teaching me how to fight a bull, although,” she laughed, “1 don’t know where we’ll find a bull. The steps are very much like dancing.
“I was impressed by the bull fights from ‘Blood and Sand.’ The picture version was much like it really is. Every Sunday and Wednesday 1 was there. How the people cheer and throw their hats, furs and flowers, and anything of value into the ring to honor the toreador.
“The boy who won the golden ear for 1945 said he would dedicate his next bull to me. ‘The bull was not noble or brave enough, Senora,’ he said after the fight. ‘I must wait for an honorable one.’ I was given the two banderillas with their gilt and colored paper.” Rita nodded toward them and also the scarlet cape, and the sword and the bull’s horns, with which she is learning the age old pattern of steps of the bull fighter.
“Orson was in Mexico City to cover the Pan American conference. I was along merely as a newspaper man’s wife,” Rita smiled. “It was exciting to attend some of the receptions, but only delegates and the press were permitted to the meetings at Chapultepec Castle.
At this point a silver tea service’ and dainty sandwiches were served on the red lacquered table in front of the hearth where a log was blazing. And we were joined by Miss Rebecca Welles, who arrived on the arm of her nurse.
Rebecca is five months of age. She has the bluest eyes, and the blackest hair that swirls becomingly on her shapely little head. And she “gooed” and “mmmmmhed” at her pretty arrived. So it was left in temmother. Rebecca was simply fascinated with her mother. Her blue eyes followed Rita’s every movement.
“This is your first social event, isn’t it, Rebecca?” Rita said to Rebecca. Rebecca responded by bringing her dainty little pink fist up to her mouth and looking at her mother with a coy turn of her head.
“I know what you are thinking,” Rita continued. “You’re thinking ‘Right now I am the center of interest, and in another ten minutes I’ll be pushed out on the porch for my nap and no one will take any notice of me at all.'”
Rebecca gooed encouragingly at her mother.
“And then what are your plans for the afternoon?” said Rita. “At four o’clock we’ll put on your new pink bonnet to match your little pink sweater and we’ll go for a ride in the garden.”
Having made her first social debut, prettily done up in pink, Rebecca was whisked away for her nap. It was needless to ask Rita’s current major interest. Her baby, of course!
The telephone rang. Now the ringing of a telephone is a normal daily occurance in the average household. But in Rita’s it’s an event.
“This is the first day we have had the telephone,” Rita said. “It sounds so exciting to hear it ring and know, that we are in touch with the world again.”
When Rita and Orson moved into this house shortly over a year ago, there was a telephone left by the former owner.
“The telephone company arrived and said they had to take it out,” Rita explained. “My doctor said it would have to be left until my baby arrived. So it was left in temporarily.
“After the baby arrived, the telephone company promptly arrived to take the telephone out. Again the doctor told them that until I was well they’d have to leave it in. When Rebecca was two months old they took the telephone out”.
“Today they brought it back, because Orson is a newspaper columnist, and he has to keep in touch with the world. A telephone is such a luxury,” Rita sighed.
The Welles seldom go into Hollywood or to the clubs. “We only go in if it’s for business. We are so happy here,” she said, glancing around the playroom with its long suede-covered divans grouped by the fireplace. And the tiny bar at the back and the pin-ball machine and all of the gay colorful posters and paintings on the walls. There was complete recording equipment, and a half completed oil (Orson’s work), and the secrets of magic in great boxes, that flare to reality at Orson’s fingertips.
Here the Joe Cottens and other of their various friends gather. “I don’t know exactly that we do anything special, but the evenings pass so quickly and it seems they are always full of things to do.”
Sometimes Rita and Orson go to Chasen’s or LaRue’s for dinner. More often dinner is right at home.
You have been visiting Rita for a couple of hours, and as it’s time to say goodbye Rita and Pookles, walk out to the gate and stand waving adios. As you turn with the road, you take one backward glance. You see Rita and Pookles romping over the lawns with the ball.
A sweet, happy girl you say, this Senorita Hayworth, who is Senora Orson Welles.