Why Marilyn Monroe Endures in Palm Springs

Nov 03

For over 50 years, Palm Springs has enjoyed close ties to Hollywood and remains a favorite spot for celebrities today. The biggest names in movies, television, stage and music have been drawn to the tranquility of our fair desert. Perhaps the biggest Hollywood icon who frequented Palm Springs was the legendary Marilyn Monroe, whose presence is felt here more than ever before, thanks to the ‘Forever Marilyn” statue in downtown Palm Springs. The painted bronze statue was created by artist Seward Johnson, capturing the iconic visual of Marilyn Monroe from the 1955 comedy “The Seven Year Itch” where her dress blows upward.

The backdrop of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains against the azure blue sky provides the ideal setting for Marilyn Monroe. After all, she was somewhat of a fixture here in Palm Springs. She was known to spend time here early in her career at the direction of her agent and manager, and later at the specific direction of the movie studio bosses. Palm Springs was a mecca for directors, producers, writers and other actors who escaped the hectic pace of Los Angeles to frolic in the sun and relax.

As a young Hollywood starlet, Miss Monroe knew how to mix and mingle with elite crowd who frequented hot spots like the Palm Springs Racquet Club. Here in this photo, Marilyn is perched on the end of a diving board at the pool. She certainly knew how to make the camera work for her. The influential studio bosses from Hollywood were also known to spend time in the desert, many owned homes here as seasonal residents. The combination of a relaxed resort community with idyllic weather, with plenty of “power players” spending time here afforded ample opportunity for many starlets to be seen by the people who wrote, directer and produced film projects.

Photo is from an article featured on SF Gate.com about Susan Bernard, daughter of Bruno Bernard, the photographer who “discovered” Monroe in July 1946, is the author behind “Marilyn: Intimate Exposures.

Hollywood works a bit differently today, but it is safe to say that Palm Springs has enjoyed a resurgence of Hollywood attention, in part due to the incredible Palm Springs International Film Festival which has attracted mega-watt stars back to the desert. Palm Springs caught the attention of a new generation of Hollywood filmmakers, from studio execs to Independent filmmakers as well.

Legends like Marilyn Monroe are part of the fabric of Palm Springs history in more ways than one. Visitors often ask to see the homes Marilyn Monroe lived in or visited. They want to walk Palm Canyon Drive and see her star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. And now, of course people come to see the famous ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue that has its temporary home here in Palm Springs. Marilyn Monroe endures in Palm Springs because she brought the type of glamor and star power to this community that people never forget. Celebrities of every generation are still drawn to Palm Springs and enjoy doing exactly what Marilyn loved to do most while she was here, enjoy life and live in the moment.

Marilyn Monroe star has its home on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars

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Beautiful Palm Trees of Palm Springs

Oct 28

In my view, there are few things that send a clear message to me about relaxation. For example, visualize a hammock. It conjures up images of a nice long comfy snooze on a warm day, right? Maybe add a novel in hand, or swinging in the hammock with a Klondike ice cream bar perhaps? But never-the-less, a hammock represents RELAXATION to me. The most potent sight for relaxation to me are palm trees. I think it goes back to the first time I ever saw a palm tree when I was a kid. It was an early family vacation to a warm climate. It was magical. The trees were so majestic, swaying in the breeze, tall and proud. Ever since then, whenever I see palm trees I feel relaxed.

Here in Palm Springs, palm trees are everywhere! Palm trees greet you at the entrance to the city. They line our streets.We have them along our beautiful downtown Village of Palm Springs, with the unique Palm frond “skirts”

I took this photo here in downtown Palm Springs. These trees were quite tall, but I was staring up at them and found them to be so elegant. Whether or not you can get to Palm Springs to enjoy our myriad of palm trees, (or some other warm climate), I hope you enjoy this photo of palm trees here in downtown Palm Springs.

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Palm Springs: A few things to see

Oct 28

Here is a bit more information about our beautiful desert. Palm Springs is a world-renowned city with the culture of a large city combined with the relaxing desert atmosphere and ambiance. It serves as a peaceful retreat to escape from the daily grind of working life elsewhere.

Located at the base of Mount San Jacinto, one of Southern California’s most magnificent mountains, it has retained the ‘30s,‘40s and ‘50s charm that established it as a recreational destination and Hollywood star hideaway.

Palm Springs is enjoying a renewed appreciation in classic mid-century modern style, with authentic new mid-century construction, and the restoration of mid-century structures from its heyday. The concentration of mid-century structures is not commonly seen elsewhere, and adds an air of contemporary sophistication to the Palm Springs landscape.

The city boasts a plethora of antique resale shops, as well as the Uptown Design District, which now serve as a destination to interior designers seeking authentic modern furnishings. A new generation of year-round residents, as well as an influx of weekend hipsters from LA, San Diego and as far away as Chicago and Denver are reveling in the desert resort lifestyle.
There are some great websites with additional information about what to see and do in Palm Springs. One site to check out is Palm Springs Area 360.com
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Houseguests in Your Home

Oct 28

When you live in a popular vacation destination like Palm Springs, you tend to have more than your far share of house guests during the season. (Incidentally “The Season” here in Palm Springs runs from November through May). Part of being a gracious host or hostess is to make guests feel completely welcome, to feel as if it were their own home. Whether you have a guest room or a guest house, or even a hide-a-bed sleep sofa, let your house guest know that your home is their home. Depending on where you live, here are a few tips when you have house guests in your home:

  • Provide a welcome basket with snacks, bottled water, and nuts or raisins for late night snacking
  • Have body lotion, soap and sun screen lotion available
  • Extra supplies (Umbrella, baseball hat, extra blanket)
  • Map of city & local attractions
  • Free pass to local art museum or other attraction
  • Gift T-shirt from a local attraction

Here at the Memento Gift Shop, we carry a great selection of high quality, Palm Springs logo hats and t-shirts in premium designs. Many local residents drop in to pick up a hat and t-shirt for their house guests, we help them create a welcome basket of sorts. One customer’s mother was coming to visit for a month. We selected hand lotion, a t-shirt, several Palm Springs post-cards, and a local cookbook for her to try out while visiting. Since we also have a See candy shop next door to our downtown Palm Springs store, this particular customer also included a box of chocolates to the welcome basket for his mother. This is exactly the sort of service we aim to provide. So if you live here in the Palm Springs area, stop by and let us help you prepare a welcome kit for your next house guest. If you don’t live locally, I hope these ideas are helpful to you.

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Elvis & Priscilla Presley Homes in Palm Springs

Oct 27

Palm Springs is famous around the world for many things. Our desert paradise has nearly perfect weather year round, winter temps around 70, Spring and Fall in the 80’s, and Summer in the 100’s. With activities like golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding, there is plenty to do here. It is a short driving distance from Los Angeles, which during the Golden Age of Hollywood attracted famous singers, movie stars, directors, movie studio moguls and various members of the Hollywood elite.

To this day, Palm Springs continues to see its share of Presidents, Royalty, and titans of the business industry vacation here in our lovely desert. It has been said “there are more stars in Palm Springs than stars in the sky” which is ridiculous of course, but it makes the point. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Elvis and Priscilla Presley to name a few are part of the celebrity lore that people still associate with Palm Springs. There are a few Celebrity tour groups that drive around the desert showing visitors the vacation get-away homes of the stars. Speaking of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, I thought I’d mention that there has been more excitement regarding their residences here in the past few years. There are two homes whose owners now promote as places Elvis and Priscilla spent time in Palm Springs. Both are accurate. It just depends on what type of experience you are seeking.

One is the Elvis and Priscilla Presley Honeymoon Hideaway home, where they spent time after they were married. The other is a home Elvis actually owned and lived in, called the Palm Springs Elvis Estate. Neither home is a grand palatial estate.

They look nothing like Elvis’ Graceland home; but nevertheless they are places where Elvis and Priscilla spent time here in Palm Springs. There are plenty of Elvis fans who want the chance to spend a vacation living in the very place where Elvis walked. Luckily for those folks, these two homes offer that experience. Let’s face it, you can’t do that at Graceland.

So Palm Springs is the next best option if you are a crazy Elvis fan.

The celebrities of today are very low-key when then visit Palm Springs. Some stay at private home of a friend, others stay at a spa resort and enjoy the healing hot mineral waters of our desert. But many rent homes here, seeking a secluded, casual experience of being in a home where they won’t be bothered by hotel staff or peering tourists.

A new generation of celebrities are coming to the desert more frequently- perhaps some day those homes they rented or stayed in will be promoted as destinations to rent. Perhaps one day people can stay in the place where George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Zac Efron or Matt Damon stayed. You never know.

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