My Lost Moment With Marilyn

By Doug Draper

If you are movie buff, you may know that a film called ‘My Week With Marilyn’ is hitting screens around North America.

My father Doug Sr. with me and Casey Adams, starring in the Hollywood film 'Niagara' from 1952. Marilyn Monroe, another star in the film, was greeting fans in the Table Rock restaurant in the background. And why wasn't I there???!!!!

My wife Mary and I first saw it at a wonderful independent theatre on Cape Cod late this November and liked it so much that we went to see it again the week before Christmas at another great old independent theatre in Buffalo called the North Park.

The movie is about a young guy in his early 20s who managed to get a job working as a third-string producer on a film being made in England in the mid-1950s by the late great actor Lawrence Olivia and co-starring Marilyn Monroe, who was on the verge at the time of making her mark as one of the greatest sex symbols in films in such hits as ‘Some Like It Hot’, ‘The Seven Year Itch’, ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘The Misfits’.

We saw the movie and loved it, but what kind of left me in a blue funk on the way out of those theatres was my lost minute with Marilyn, when I may have been nestled in her arms for just one magical moment. That moment came and went this coming June, almost 60 years ago in 1952 when Marilyn Monroe, was in Niagara Falls, Ontario with Joseph Cotton and fellow actors Jean Peters and Casey Adams to film the 1952 now-classic movie ‘Niagara’.

My parents, who live in my birth town of Welland, Ontario, travelled the 20 or so minutes back and forth then to follow the stars during the filming of Niagara, and they only had one kid at time, and that was me, who was barely a year old. They saw o Joseph Cotton and they had my picture taken with Casey Adams, who was a good guy, by all accounts, but never made it past the stage of a b-movie actor who didn’t even quite make the cut in a pilot for a hit TV series from the late 50s and early 1960s called ‘Leave it to Beaver’.

So there I was in front of Niagara Park’s Table Rock restaurant with Casey while Marilyn Monroe was somewhere in the restaurant and people were coming out, saying to my parents how nice Marilyn was and ‘you should go in to see her’. My parents said maybe we should not go in with the baby – Meaning Me!!!!!

And all I am thinking, all these many years later is – ‘Please go in with the baby. Marilyn, who apparently always wanted a baby of her own, might quite likely have been willing to hold me – maybe even cuddle me (wow) – for just one moment for a picture from my dad. And what a picture that would have been, and I’ve never stopped making my poor parents feel guilty about this. And sorry for any offence to Casey Adams.

At the end of it all, I consider it my first real regret in life when it comes to opportunities, even though I had little say in that one. I almost feel that it has set a pattern for my life ever since that has left me at the b-movie end of journalism and whatever else. Then maybe not.

Link on to the following for a trailer on the film ‘My Week With Marilyn’ –

(Feel free to share any views you may have or memories of Marilyn in Niagara below.)

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