Is there really no such thing as bad publicity? In the 1930s Cary Grant and Randolph Scott posed for a series of photos that highlighted their domestic lives together as room mates. In one picture Grant is wearing an apron in another they sit close together on a diving board. In the most suggestive of the photos, they are shown in silhouette with the ocean in the background. Scott reaches over to light his cigarette from Grant's. I'm sure that the intention of the publicity campaign was to show how Hollywood stars are just regular people who do normal every day things and to show the camaraderie between their contract players. Over the years the photos have popped up repeatedly usually as evidence of a gay relationship between Grant and Scott. I'm not sure whether the photos actually started the rumors that Grant and Scott were lovers but it's safe to say that they've done nothing to quash them. A book came out last year that maintained that the studio publicity machine actually deliberately created that subtext in order to give the actors a gloss of free-living bohemianism.
My reason for posting this is not to drag up the controversy again since I feel like it's been done to death. I just happened upon this picture and it reminded me that many of the pictures in this infamous photo shoot are among my favorites of Grant. Many of the pictures have an absurd quality such as the one where they are tossing a giant medicine ball around and those who can tear their eyes away from the beefacke long enough will note that Grant is wearing white bobby socks on the beach. I put one of the photos in my book, not only because I felt like it needed to be addressed in as honest a manner as I could, but because I couldn't imagine a compendium of pictures of Grant's life that didn't include some of those photos. They are part of his image, good, bad or indifferent.
Grant spent a fare amount of time in the last twenty years of his life denying as politely as possible, rumors that he was gay or bisexual and Scott's family have come forward also to deny them as recently as last year. Books on Hollywood continue to state Grant's bisexuality with point-blank authority when his more thorough biographers are convinced that at most it is still an open question but more likely to be a case of guilt by association. The fact that these pictures were printed as recently as last year in a major English newspaper makes me think that that more than twenty years of after his death, Grant is still making news, and that there really is no such thing as bad publicity.