Elsa Maxwell and Edgar Bergen
Elsa Maxwell Time Laughing By MARION BURSON Of the Hertld Staff "If I had not learned to laugh at myself I would have been dead in -my grave long ago a brokenhearted woman." It was Elsa Maxwell speaking Elsa Maxwell, the two-ton party giver from Manhattan and Hollywood. "It seems that whenever I pick up a newspaper, in every play, when I tune in the radio, somebody' is talking about how much I weigh," Miss Maxwell told 650 persons at a dinner given in the Masonic temple last night by the Business and Professional Women. "The other night I was listening to one of these quiz programs--I started them, you know. The question was: What motion picture would you be reminded of if you saw Gary Cooper. Elsa Maxwell and Robert Montgomery coming down the street together? No Chivalry Shown '.'You would think chivalry would have prevented the men on the program from giving the correct answer. But, no, they jumped to their feet at once and cried, "High Wide and Handsome." Miss Maxwell added, "So I'm just telling you what you have to put up with when you weigh over 116." This business of laughing at herself she had to learn early. She's always been able to laugh at the circumstances of her birth. Born In Opera Box "I was born in an opera box while Mignon was being performed," she said and vowed it was an actual fact. "It spoiled th; evening for the prima donna. I made my appearance rather pre-cipitatedly at the beginning of the second act." This delighted her audience, which became hysterical when she added the gag line, "I came with my. mother but went home with the doctor." Miss Maxwell is 57 years old, and has tried to follow three rules laid down by her father: Don't be afraid of anything: don't collect inanimate objects; take light things seriously and serious things light. She loves jokes about herself. "I've becyj. having a delightful talk this evening with a charming member of your club Dr. Viola Bell. Several times I've caught her looking very intently at me. Finally. I asked iier. 'What do you do?' She replied "I'm a professor of dietetics'" Her philosophy of life seems to Has Good at Herself work. "I spend fiv months a year in Hollywood, making perfectly horrible pictures," she said. "They pay me $35,000 for each picture. I pay the government half and I spend the rest having a good time. "I've been everywhere and seen everything. I've been with everybody from cutthroats to kings. I've dene everything no, not quite marriage is still the great unexplored." Among the vital statistics on Elsa Maxwell is that she has given 2,-867 parties that she c?n remember. From one of them, she recounted. Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy vaunted to almost immediate fame. Bergen Sought Aid Bergen had spent 17 years playing in small theaters, making onlv $35 a week, often less. Driving Miss Maxwell's secretary out of her wits by his incessant calls begging for an appointment he wrs finally ushered into Miss Maxwell's presence, "a thin, emaciated looking man, his sleeves out at his elbows but, otherwise, meticulously dressed." Miss Maxwell asked, "Do you sing?" "'No, I'm a ventriloquist'." "My jaw fell then, because I thought ventriloquists were a thin? of grandfather's day." When Bergen told her he wanted her to meet Charlie McCarthy. Miss Maxwell expected another ventriloquist though from the wild look in his C3'e she also feared a bomb. "Charlie was a success from the start and I got down on my knees to Rudy Vallee to give him a spot on his program." . No Drunks at Parties Night clubs Miss Maxwell deplores as "the last refuge of people with nowhere to go, nobody to invite and nobody to invite them." At her parties, which often begin at 10 p. m. and end with ham and eggs at 7 a. m., she has never seen a drunk. "Only bores drink to excess, and the people who come to my parties are not bores." If, by chance, a bore does slip in on' one of Miss Maxwell's fests. his stay is brief. She quietly taps him on the shoulder, motions him toward the door, helps him on with his overcoat, and says, "You're not enjoying yourself here and, though you don't know it. you're ruining my party. Here's a mysteFy thriller. Take it and go home for a nice quiet evening." Before he knows it. the bore is in the elevator headed for the street level.