Feeling Hot Hot Hot in Chicago

That platinum blond hair.  Those red-lacquered toenails and bright lipstick.  A white halter dress… and matching panties.

Yep, that’s Marilyn Monroe looming over passersby in Chicago’s Pioneer Court.  The 26’ tall statue by artist Seward Johnson was revealed  last week as the sweltering day gave way to a more comfortable summer evening.  It received both criticism and acclaim.  Is it sexy or sexist?  Public art or a tourist ploy?  And why Chicago?

Photo by: Joshua Melin

“Forever Marilyn” captures the iconic moment in Billy Wilder’s 1955 The Seven Year Itch in which Monroe stands over a New York subway grate, enjoying the breeze created by passing trains below.

While the scene was actually filmed on a soundstage in Hollywood, movie stills were taken at Lexington and 52nd Street creating a great deal of publicity.  Stories about Marilyn had dominated the news for days.

When she arrived in town to begin filming, one paper ran the headline, “Marilyn Wiggles In.”

Another announced, “There won’t be any admission charge when Marilyn appears for the shooting of street sequences for her new film… Miss Monroe’s costume is expected to be more revealing than the one she wore yesterday to stop traffic.”

Not surprisingly, fifteen hundred fans showed up, including her husband, Joe DiMaggio.  He had followed her from Los Angeles to the Big Apple, concerned about her welfare, as well as being disturbed by the commotion she was causing.  He was the jealous type.

Dropping by Toots Shor’s, a hangout for celebrities of the day, he met up with columnist Walter Winchell who induced him to check out the scene.  And what a scene!

The crowd was whooping and hollering, cheering and shouting.  “More, more, Marilyn,” they chanted. “We want to see more.”  With the aid of a wind-blowing machine, her skirt whipped around and flew up and down, exposing not only her bare legs but also her dark pubic hair through two pairs of panties.  The spectacle continued for  five long hours.

The media hype disgusted DiMaggio, as did his belief in his wife’s willing participation in the promotion.  “I’ve had it,” he shouted and left.  There were reports that he knocked her around later that night.

Two months later Monroe filed for divorce.  The marriage of the movie star and the Yankee Clipper had lasted less than ten months.  The lustful leering goes on forever.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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