Courtesy: Weird Hollywood
Readers seemed to like the recent story about Robert Mitchum on the Eastern Shore.
Many wanted to share their own memories of encounters with the iconic tough guy movie star, while others had questions.
It was brought to easternshorebrent.com ‘s attention that the reason given for the Mitchum’s move to the Eastern Shore seemed more from the perspective of a wife who’s husband was almost as famous for his affairs as he was his image and acting. The question was: what reason did Robert Mitchum give for choosing to live on the shore.
From the biography, Baby, I Don’t Care by Lee Server, Mitchum explained thusly:
“I asked this real estater what the natives did in these parts. He said, ‘We don’t do nothing but go crabbing and drink.’ I knew he was telling the truth because right after he said that he fell on his ear. Man, he was stoned. I said, “This is it! We’ll dig in here.”
Many readers of the original post remembered meeting Mitchum unexpectedly.
“I met him, his wife, and two sons when I was 12,” Connie Schutz, wrote on esternshorebrent’s Facebook page, MEMORIES OF THE EASTERN SHORE.
“They drove up to our house to ask directions to our neighbor’s house who had a horse for sale. It was very exciting as our parents had just taken us to the Super 50 Drive-in to see Thunder Road. So we recognized him right away!”
A reader named Kathie Bishop remembered “the day he strode into Hobby Horse (photography store) to pick up his developed photos. I was cleaning a showcase, leaning down when I looked up and all I could see was a very wide “M” on a belt buckle. So as I straightened, and was very surprised to see the popular actor. Big thrill.”
John R. Lloyd ran into him one time. “Literally, at the corner of Goldsborough and Washington (Streets). I was in a hurry…probably to get to Traders Drugstore. Rounded the corner and ran into him. He knocked me to the ground, reached down and helped me up and asked if I was alright. He was headed to the Regent Barbershop.”
And Sharon Clevenger Cropper, someone I’ve has known since I was a little kid, told me in a comment that she remembered “being in Easton, and Mom was backing out of a parking place, and saw Robert Mitchum. She stopped to let him go by and he touched the trunk of the car. He waved and went on by. (Mom) was thrilled.
“I thought she would never wash that car.”
Some readers knew the Mitchums well, or knew others who knew them well, or had information from another source, some going back to the early years when a young Robert Mitchum first passed through here.
Debbie Hill Elliot shared this: “He attended Caesar Rodney HS (when he lived in Rising Sun) where he met his wife Dorothy. A 1983 Wilmington Morning News article reported he “used to sit with Dotty on the grass outside Caesar Rodney High School (now the junior high). It was considered quite scandalous at the time, recalled a classmate.(Dorothy) graduated from Caesar Rodney High School in 1938, was the May Queen, and in everybody’s eyes, was “too good for that bum from Rising Sun.”
Ellen Trice Andrews met him several times after his family moved to Trappe. She took horseback riding lessons with his daughter Trina. “I saw more if Miss Dorothy,” wrote Ellen, “but both were very nice,” she commented on the group page for EASTERN SHORE MEMORIES.
On a repost by DELMARVA HISTORY
Sheree Godwin commented that, “Mr. Mitchum was exactly as the characters he played. My dad was good friends with his nephew and had the pleasure of being shown around California by Mr. Mitchum during his Hollywood years. He says he was a great guy!”
John Wayne with mother , Mary, and Robert Mitchum with mother, Ann credit Weird Hollywood
Nancy Morris‘ Uncle Bill “hung out with him when he was in town. Uncle Bill talked about the time Mr. Mitchum came in and asked him to look at his car. When Uncle Bill went out and opened the car door he said all he could see were these long beautiful legs that belonged to Lana Turner. He enjoyed being friends with Robert.”
Lana Turners legs courtesy http://hollywoodhistoricphotos.com/
Bea Firth attended Easton’s Country School with the Mitchum children. “Memories!” Bea wrote. “My parents (would have) them for dinner, and he would come in the door, Mom always had us greet the guests, take their coats, and Bob would put his cowboy hat on me! Then we would go play cowboys and Indians! He’d get so drunk that he had to spend the night one night!
A lot of readers expounded on the drinking.
“He threw amazing parties.” wrote David Wright, “My cousin David, attended one, (and Mitchum) was an amazing partier! Mitchum dined often at my Dad and Uncle’s restaurant “Rose Hill” at the foot of the Emerson Harrington bridge in Cambridge.”
Rita Kerr: “My mother worked at the Avalon theater in Easton. She always said she saw him all the time roaming the streets.”
Hank Phillips: “I worked at the gas station across from the Tidewater Inn when I was a teenager. On two occasions he stumbled across the Inn looking for Calvin to get him a couple of “5ths” from Port St. being it was Sunday and all the liquor stores were closed.”
Marguerite Bowman: “My husband fished him out of Eastern Bay once. Oh yes, he was feeling no pain!”
Eastern Shore Mitchum restaurant sightings occurred everywhere from The Circle and Holly’s in Queen Anne’s County to Dover’s Blue Coat Inn. There were many reports of encounters at the aforementioned Tidewater Inn located in historic downtown Easton.
From farmhands to pickle makers, a number of readers knew of someone who had worked for the Mitchums and liked the actor very much. My longtime friend Teri Robin Insley told me that her grandfather, “Joseph Paul Robinson from Toddville, helped paint (Mitchum’s home). Papa said he was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.”
Many readers mentioned Mitchum’s, a popular steakhouse located in Trappe for a decade or so, and is now rumored to be perhaps returning to the local restaurant scene.
As a blogger, its always nice to get positive feedback on your work, and just knowing people are reading it can be positive enough.
When readers respond and have a lot to contribute, that’s even better.
In the end, and in the case of Robert Mitchum, the responses ranged from people who never met the man, yet have a life long memory attached to him, like Lisi Ruczynski, who “skipped school in Bethesda with a friend in 1962 or 63 and drove to Trappe to see his house,” to Diane Robertson, who as as teenager visited Belmont Farm several times while dating one of Mitchum’s sons, occasionally to go horseback riding with the family.
“They were good people,” said Diane, having the last word.
There were many responses on many different pages, and easternshorebrent is sure to have missed a few. Feel free to leave a thought here if there’s information or pictures you’d like to share, or you would like to be sure are included in another update.
And thanks for reading!
Courtesy Look Magazine, 1960
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Remembering Kent Island: Stories from the Chesapeake and A History of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department published by Arcadia Publishing & The History Press: