NY -- NYC -- Marilyn Monroe's Subway Grate (Lexington Ave and 52nd St):
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Partially Reviewed: Rough draft. I've gone through these pictures once, removing the worst ones, some duplication, etc. I usually take sequences of 4 or 5 pictures at a time and there are lots of near duplicates. I'll be doing a final review later which will cull the pictures down some. To be honest though, I'm way behind on doing final reviews.
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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by Bruce Guthrie who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
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Description of Subject Matter: Marilyn Monroe's Subway Grate
This unmarked and unloved Manhattan subway grate created one of the most iconic images in American cinema.
It was on this spot, at one in the morning on September 15th, 1954, that Marilyn Monroe had her white halter dress blown up over her hips by an uptown 6 train while filming The Seven Year Itch, creating not only one of the most iconic images of American cinema, but of Marilyn herself.
Billy Wilder’s romantic comedy starred Tom Ewell as a frustrated publisher of pulp fiction, whose wife and children escaped the Manhattan summer heat for Maine. Left alone in the simmering city, he befriends his upstairs neighbor, played by Monroe in one of her defining roles as a ditzy glamour model. For the subway scene, the unlikely couple had just been to the Trans-Lux theatre on Lexington, to see the “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Hearing an approaching subway train, Monroe stepped onto the grate, having her skirt blown high by the train passing underneath, saying “ooh do you feel the breeze from the subway, isn’t it delicious.” Minds across the country were simultaneously blown.
In reality, the scene was a publicity stunt orchestrated by 20th Century Fox’s marketing department. Leaking the time and location of the event to the press, somewhere between 3-5,000 spectators showed up to catch a glimpse of Marilyn’s legs. The resulting noise made the shot unusable to Billy Wilder, and the street and scene was recreated later on a Hollywood set. But the nighttime shoot created the desired effect, the photographs from Lexington Avenue were used to publicize the film, and made their way onto the movie poster.
Watching amongst the baying crowds that night was her husband, Joe DiMaggio. Less than impressed with the exhibitionist scene, they argued violently back in their suite at the St. Regis. Weeks later Monroe filed for divorce.
The Trans-Lux theatre has long since gone, and today the French restaurant Le Relais de Venise is the b ...More...
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2018 photos: Equipment this year: I continued to use my Fuji XS-1 cameras but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
(February) a Civil War Trust conference in Greenville, NC,
(May/June) an American Battlefield Trust conference in Newport News, VA,
(July) my 13th consecutive trip to San Diego Comic-Con via Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,
(August) 2 two-day trips to New York City,
(September) an American Battlefield Trust dinner in Chicago, IL with on-route visits to Charleston, WV, Louisville, KY, Saint Louis, MO, and Toledo, OH,
(October) another two-day trip to New York City for the New York Comic Con.