The Siren has had a busy holiday season that has included, in addition to the usual hoo-ha, many unexpected household tasks. She's kept up her spirits via activities like seeing Playtime in 70-millimeter and replacing Jingle All the Way in the Barnes and Noble DVD Christmas display with Auntie Mame. We all have our little holiday rituals.
Posting has been more than usually spotty, a situation that may alter a bit in January (we can only hope), but the Siren simply can't leave her blog bare for Christmas, although Myrna is doing her best for the banner. The Siren has posted a summary of this splendid, heart-warming Christmas story once before, but she assures you that of the many versions out there, the one to read is Brian Aherne's.
It is (probably) Christmas 1953, and the storied, brain-stumping marriage of the lovely Zsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders is on the train to Reno, you might say. Zsa Zsa has begun to comfort herself with the attentions of "a famous international charmer" (probably Porfirio Rubirosa). Sanders reacts as any ordinary husband would; he decides the situation offers the perfect way to reduce his potential alimony payments. And here Aherne takes up the tale of Sanders:
Late at night on Christmas Eve, wearing dirty blue jeans, a sweatshirt and a beard...
[Pause. Chew on that image for a minute. Pour yourself a Christmas cocktail. Down it in one. Can you picture it yet? Me neither. Carry on.]
...wearing dirty blue jeans, a sweatshirt and a beard, accompanied by two detectives and carrying a brick that he had carefully gift-wrapped, he stealthily crossed the lawn of Zsa Zsa's house and placed a ladder against the wall. Followed by the detectives, he then climbed to the balcony outside her window. All was silent and dark inside when abruptly he shattered the glass with the brick, opened the catch, stepped into the room, turned on the light and, holding out his gift package, said "Merry Christmas, my dear!" Zsa Zsa's companion sprang up and rushed into the bathroom--too late, for the detectives had got their incriminating photos before the sleepers could realize what was happening.
Zsa Zsa behaved with perfect aplomb. Smiling and putting a lacy dressing gown, she said, "George darling! How lovely to see you! You are just in time to get your Christmas present, which is under the tree. Let's go down and have a glass of champagne and I will give it to you." She led the way downstairs, laughing gaily, gave George his present, gift-wrapped, and poured champagne for the detectives, who were enchanted with her. Indeed a good time seems to have been had by all on that festive occasion, except by the gentleman in the bathroom.
When the impending divorce was announced, their statements to the press were brief and typical. "George is a wonderful man and I shall always love him," said Zsa Zsa. "I have been cast aside like a squeezed lemon," said George.
The Siren thinks it's the detail of gift-wrapping the brick that really makes this anecdote. During the holidays, a time of stress for many, may we all behave with the grace and good cheer of this weirdly well-matched couple.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Joyous Festivus, Happy (post-) Hanukkah, Gleeful Kwanzaa and a generally loving, warm and gentle-spirited holiday to all my patient readers. You make this occasionally rather cobwebby corner of the Web so very, very worthwhile.