Reincarnation Ball Puts Filmland Egos on Display
January 9, 1969
by Joyce Haber
It was the Reincarnation Ball (“come as the person you would like to have been in a previous life”), and Hollywood's egos were out.
Groucho Marx came as Groucho. Polly Bergen and Raquel Welch knew how to surprise: Polly by not coming as a turtle, and Raquel by showing up fully clothed—indeed, wrapped to her high cheekbones in scarves.
Raquel was Katharine Hepburn in plaid slacks, white socks, and Buster Brown shoes, wisps of red hair showing below the scarf around her head.
Polly was Queen Elizabeth I (not Bette Davis) in a short, brillo-coiled wig, and one of those gowns with a neck-like waist and a skirt coming out like shoulder blades, and just as solid.
The affair was admittedly a publicity stunt—a party to publicize Paramount's multi-million dollar musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, which started shooting this week with Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand.
The place was supposed to look like a Nineteenth Century ballroom but, with its lace tablecloths and planted urns, it looked more like one of those dining rooms you still see in the Twentieth Century in hotels in Southampton and Newport.
The recreation of a resort took two weeks, 15 men, and cost close to $10,000. That included the night show, but not the Hilton filet mignon.
Alan Jay Lerner came dressed as a character from the Moulin Rouge, but he confused everyone by wearing a 10-gallon hat. His lovely, dark-haired Karen was Jane Avril, of Toulouse-Lautrec time.
Miss Streisand was dressed as Colette in a short blond brillo-coiled wig and dress resembling the lace tablecloths, but oh, so turn-of-the-century.
Barbara Perkins was there in a high-throated dress (as Eliza Dolittle), but she wasn't with either Bob Evans or Omar Sharif. Omar came alone, wearing his Che Guevera costume, beard and all. He was accompanied by a blonde in a see-through dress.
Looking devilish was producer Howard Koch, in wide leather gaiters and buckskin. Howard was Tom Mix, hero of his childhood. His wife, Ruth, all but stole the show in flapper chiffon and bee-stung lips as “it” girl Clara Bow.
Director Vincente Minnelli cut a dashing, all-but unrecognizable figure as Garibaldi.
[...] Guest of honor Yves Montand wore a top hat and carried a cane as the infamous French thief Arsene Lupin, and designer Cecil Beaton was a standout, all in white, as a French pastry chef, with penciled eyebrows.
Related Pages: Barbra-Archives' “On A Clear Day” movie pages >>