Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lighthouse: An Oscars Exposé!

Its Oscar night! And oh, what sad and bitter-sweet memories this haunted night brings! A few days ago, as I listened to this deceptively cheery song, I thought once again of the 1944 silver screen classic Lighthouseand the legacy of shame that taints the film to this day

If your mobile device wont allow you to see this carefree, happy song, go to

Ah, the song, the song! Sung by once-famous actor Lana Hayworth, with actor Clark Peck assisting, the songs lyrics do not foreshadow the tragic events to come - lost love, missed chances, and skipped swimming lessons. 

Embroiled in controversy, the film soon became a Hollywood legend. With Peck and Hayworth in starring roles, Lighthouse told the tale of a boy, a girl, and the lighthouse that illuminated their love. The original film is unrelated to the 1999 flick of the same name. 

Alas! In an unexpected twist of fate, the cruel sea rips Hayworth from Pecks arms as the picture approaches its conclusion. Desperately rowing against the waves, Peck sees the revolving beacon of the lighthouse fix on Hayworths waving hankie. Frantically trying to row to her side, Peck watches as the lamp of the lighthouse dims and swivels away. 

In the film, Hayworth tragically drowns before Peck can say goodbye (or even hello). The film gained Peck and Hayworth twin Oscar nominations. Each was so confident they would win that -  as they walked the red carpet - Hayworth wore a life jacket over her evening dress and Peck wore a sou’wester. 

In a scandal that still reverberates 70 years later, Academy politics triumphed over talent as a marginal little flick called Casablanca swept the Oscars. Peck and Hayworth were silent about the travesty, though Peck never again rowed and the traumatized Hayworth never again swam, bathed, or took showers.  

From that point on, the few films that featured Hayworth were all stinkers. Lonely and embittered, she blamed the loss of her film career on swimming star Esther Williams. 

Unable to hide his fury, Peck sent each member of the Academy a splintered oar with a note telling them where to shove it. He, too, never acted again, and the tragic legend of Lighthouse was born.

Amazingly, every member of the cast died in their 70s and 80s - the most recent at the age of 93. These sad events cemented the film’s reputation as “cursed.” Because of that, it is seldom shown today. 

So that is the heart-wrenching saga of the motion picture the Hollywood clique spurned at the Oscar ceremony. In the pristine, stainless steel kitchens of Nicole Partons Favorite Recipes, we want to make it right. 

Here’s how: A dish known as Veal Oscar was all the rage in the 1940s. Just as the magnificently written, acted, and directed Lighthouse fell out of popularity, so has veal. For that reason, I present to you Beef Tenderloin Oscar, the kinder version of Veal Oscar. I promise that this recipe is not a stinker. It and the beautiful Béarnaise Sauce served with it follow this post.

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