Saturday, December 6, 2008

Daphne's Pearls

George Hamilton and William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008), pp. 190-91.

[Hamilton was in Spain for the shooting of L'Homme de Marrakech (1965).]

All the action in Madrid seemed to take place in bordellos. At another house of mirth I got into a scrape on behalf of the actor John Ireland[.] [...] Times had gotten tough in Hollywood for John, so he too was in Europe trading on his noir reputation. John took me to a brothel[.] [...] Because of my Spanish skills, John asked me to translate to his obscure object of desire what his specific desire was. I blush to tell you, so I won't, but it had something to do with a rare set of pearls John had bought for his wife, Daphne, in Majorca.

The next morning, John called me in a panic. He had left the pearls at the brothel, Daphne was flying in imminently from London, so could I go and retrieve them for him? Let me tell you that there is no place sadder than a Spanish brothel in the dead of morning. Bodies were everywhere; it looked more like Gettysburg than an orgy. There was no trace of Daphne's pearls. Surely the girl had absconded with them. But as I played my Inspector Clouseau act, I discovered that the girl in question was the consort of the owner. The owner called her to task. She was still drunk, but then she woke up. Of course the pearls weren't in plain sight. They were still in the unmentionable orifice where John kinkily had placed them. I got them back and left a huge tip. I arrived back at the hotel with the pearls just as Daphne was arriving. Daphne was never the wiser, but for John and me, "Daphne's pearls" became a running joke that had us laughing for years.