Truth or Dare

A day in the life of Maureen;

I spend many a summer day with my cousin Robin. We go to the beach at least once a week on the bus straight down Washington or Culver or Venice. All roads lead to the beach for 25 cents each way.

We mostly “lay out”. Most days aren’t even sunny. We don’t care. We lay out anyway. It’s mostly about napping and yapping. Sometimes we don’t even go in the water. Especially since “Jaws” came out this year.

Occasionally, Robin’s neighbor invites us over to swim in their pool. Super nice! We have a game we play. We go underwater, then pop out with our eyes open and smiling perfectly like Esther Williams does in the movies. This is next to impossible and makes for lots of fun laughing at each other’s attempts. How does she do that?

Another game we play is Truth or Dare. Truth you have to tell the truth to the most embarrassing questions ever. Dare you have to go through with a dare the other conspires.

Today she rides her bike to my house thinking we’ll both catch our bus from here. But I don’t have bus money. She’s ready for the beach but it may well turn into a TV game show day. Ug!  Match Game doesn’t come on until later. We pour root beer in slushee making mugs and pop them in the freezer. There is no place to lay out at my apartment so we play Truth or Dare.

“Truth or Dare?” She asks. “Truth.” “If a boy asked you would you?…” “Only David Cassidy” I answer.

Her turn. “Truth or Dare?” “Dare” she says.  Heh heh heh. I smile an evil smile. She laughs a nervous laugh. “I dare you to sneak into MGM with me and lay out at Esther Williams’ swimming pool.” “OK!” she answers all too quickly. “Wait,” I tell her, “there’s no water in it and the guard on patrol may shoot us with salt rocks.” “OK” she repeats.

In Bathing suits, t-shirts, cut-offs and tennis shoes, toting towels and Coppertone, I introduce Robin to the barb wire ladder. I hope they will become good friends. The only stumbling block being, that Robin is umm… a clutz. “It’s more about nerves than agility” I lie to her. I surmise that if she was getting chased and full of adrenaline, she’d climb the hell out of that sucker. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out. Just one more leg over and an all too familiar sound “Ow! Shoot!” She presents an impressive little scrape. “Well,” I say “you’re officially initiated.”  With that she turns her pout into battle scar pride.

We arrive fashionably late to the Celebrity pool party and position our towels in full view of the mansion which we call our “Country Club” but away from the annoying noise of flashing cameras and Directors yelling “Action” and “Cut!” A lot of (imaginary) pool scenes being filmed today.

Yes Elvis, more tanning lotion please. He’s sucking it in for his pool scene from Jailhouse Rock. Paul Newman taking a dive for the movie Sweet Bird of Youth. His technique is perfect. Esther must have given him pointers. She’s a leading lady and pin up girl that’s a real champion with a champion figure. Not like the teeny-tiny gals that are usually cast as the ingenue. Bet she eats her Wheaties and has seconds! She and Fernando are the perfect couple. And of course, there’s Kate Hepburn and Cary Grant filming their pool scene for The Philadelphia Story. I continue narrating to an audience who is clearly in her own little world. She comes to life every 5 minutes as she turns herself over. Even tanning.    

Well, our slushees are probably ready by now and the cement ground is not as comfy as the sandy beach. Time to say our goodbyes. They hate to see us go. Especially Aunt T. She is waving us over to the Bewitchin’ pool. It’s so inviting. A nice place to visit but I wouldn’t wanna live there. Or would I?  The last Twilight episode was filmed right here I explain as Robin politely ignores me. Robin thinks I’m nuts for knowing so much backlot history. But, I gotta keep up with Donnie & Jimmy.

Back at the apartment, I administer Bactine and a band-aid. “Remember, mum’s the word to your mum about how you got that one.” With a mouthful of slushee she picks up as though we haven’t missed a beat.  “Truth or Dare?”…

Here’s a shot of the pool from That’s Entertainment during the same timeframe I visited. This set was built in 1935 It is featured in : Bathing Beauty with Esther Williams, Jailhouse Rock, Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Twilight Zone to name a few. All filmed right here in this very spot across the street from me in MGM Lot 2. I love this set the most in all the backlot. I feel a special connection with Esther Williams. I am a swimmer too. Donnie and I used to skateboard at the bottom of this pool.

My private pool and mansion are shown here in Bewitchin’ Pool

Written and lived by Maureen Miller…

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