THE BLOG
04/03/2014 11:59 am ET | Updated Jun 03, 2014

The Jet Set

"The passenger jet was, and still is, one of the wonders of the world, a world whose other wonders the jet makes accessible." So writes William Stadiem.

•If they keep getting super bad publicity for the coming movie Grace of Monaco, they are going to create an underground demand for this outrageous movie, which I hear my friend, the producer Harvey Weinstein, would rather downplay than play up. But how can he, when the movie will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 14th? (Word of mouth is it's not even "campy fun;" that would at least guarantee some interest.)

Meanwhile, the Prince of Monaco, Albert, is saying the film portrays his late father, Prince Rainier, as "some kind of putz." Or so he complained to the New York Post.

•AN actress I like and admire, Nicole Kidman, stars in this movie and is said to bear very little resemblance to the super glamorized Grace Kelly, who deserted films back in the 50's to become Prince Rainier's fairytale "princess." At the time, Grace gave up an already very sexy and entertaining life, kissing the likes of Clark Gable and Bing Crosby, and winning an Oscar. She was at the peak of stardom when she gave up her acting career and became a princess. Hollywood had been a snap for the demure looking blonde from Philadelphia.

At the time, the Golden Greek Aristotle Onassis (pre-Jackie Kennedy), owned the Societe des Bains de Mer, which meant owning Monaco itself. It was a little tiny enclave on the edge of the French Riviera that had been created for escape from taxes. And everybody began to go to Monaco to gamble and shop and join what was coming to be called "The Jet Set."

I keep telling people that the family in place at the Monaco Palace was Johnny-come-lately among many European titles. The press always refers to them as "Royalty," but they were about as royal as Royal Crown Cola.

If they were anything, they were mere Serene Highnesses, as my then boss, Igor Cassini, always told me. His brother, movie costume designer, Oleg, had almost married Grace Kelly himself. The Cassinis knew history and titles. Both brothers spent a lot of time helping to further the glamour of Monaco and Igor feathered his own nest as an international columnist for the then powerful Hearst newspapers. (I was just a ghost writer for him.)

You can read all about these realities in the coming June book titled The Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the Glamour and the Romance in Aviation's Glory Years. William Stadiem's work is comprehensive, all about when folks began to really fly around in a hurry. This booming air era facilitated both advertising and publicity and everybody began to worship The Jet Set and tried to become a part of it.

Included in this coming book are par examples of the then successful man, the aforesaid Igor Cassini, who used the nom de plume of Cholly Knickerbocker. He created and helped popularize "The Jet Set" phrase. This book shows us how society changed with the coming of rapid air travel and as the "social" or "society" world began to lose its polish, events took on the false glamour of "celebrity." That is exemplified in today's world where push, shove and getting attention hold sway.

What a book Mr. Stadiem has written for Ballantine! The Kennedys, the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra himself and early financiers like Eddie Gilbert are dealt with in depth. It was a beginning for the sort of frenetic desperate world we now seem to be living in.

If you think yesterday's glamour and appeal was for people trying to be rich and famous, well, that wasn't a patch on now. I lived intimately through it all in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90s and I am yet to find a mistake in author Stadiem's amazing book. Order it now. All the players are here, Bobby Kennedy as a menace to much of the fun...Joe Kennedy, his father, having young ladies procured for him...lawyers making millions getting "socialites" out of hot water...the creation of disco and rock and roll... the rise of Great Britain's popular music and fashion appeal...and on and on...plus New York as the so-called "400" became the 4 million.

• You could think now about how you will wish a Happy 90th Birthday to that huge star of the 50's, Doris Day.

It won't do any good to expect the Academy to do anything. And she probably wouldn't accept an honorary Oscar now, after observing how they treated Mary Pickford, and more recently, Kim Novak.

But fans can still celebrate by sending Doris birthday wishes to www.dorisdayanimalfoundation.org and maybe sending her a check for the many homeless animals she supports.