Why I Want To Be Haley Mills's Triplet



Ah, 1961. What a landmark year - first human in space (Yuri Gagarin, followed by Alan Shepard), the Peace Corps is created, the horrific Freedom Riders case tests a critical Supreme Court decision, the Berlin Wall is begun, and on a lighter note IBM introduces the golf ball typewriter (remember those?! So high tech at the time!)! Oh, and one of my favorite movies was made - Walt Disney's original "The Parent Trap".

This is one of those movies that for me that is the perfect fantasy. The perfect escape into a world I'd love to spend a little time in. I emphasize the word "little" because I don't really fancy living my whole life as a woman in 1961, but dropping in from time to time, especially in a world of cool, beach-side California ranches, high desert lake-side camps deep in the pines, and cocktails on the patio, would be fantastic!

In Disney's original film (I have no desire to see the remake) we are introduced to Mitch Ever's Monterey Ranch house-from-heaven when twin #1 Sharon switches places with her sister Susan at camp and comes home to meet her father for the first time. My dream begins when she pulls up in front of the long, low stucco house with its cool, inviting porch and a stable just behind. Sharon jumps out and meets Verbena the house keeper and Heckie the ranch foreman, and goes inside to unpack.

INSIDE THE HOUSE IS AMAZING. This is the kind of film for architecture and interior design buffs. And graphic design buffs, and clothing designers, and film fans and let's face it MAUREEN O'HARA AND BRIAN KIETH fans!!! Hubba-licious, both of them! She is drop-dead gorgeous as we all know, and her transformation from stuffy Boston matron to flirtatious, vibrant California goddess is worth the watch alone. Brian Kieth - well I could go on for hours about Brian Kieth. He certainly is, what my grandma would call "A tall drink of water". And then some.

Lanky, broad-shouldered, chisel-jawed-yet-kind-eyed, and looks KILLER in jeans and in a laid-back California gabardine suit jacket Brian Kieth also has one of the most recognizable voices on the planet. It's a voice that tells you everything is dandy, everything is cool, everything is funny and hip and cocktails are being served on the patio! I love everything about BK in this movie from the way he rides horses on the beach with his daughter to the way he changes from his ranch duds to a slick open-collared shirt and cardigan, brushing his hair with one of those handle-less man brushes in his dreamy 1961 bathroom. And he's funny! He has it all! In fact, believe Brian Kieth would be the perfect husband or the perfect father. When I was a little girl I used to wish he was my father, I wanted nothing more than to be the third daughter - Haley Mills's triplet. I mean, what a life to lead! A lake out your front door, horses in the stable, the beach down the road, two Haley Millses to get into trouble with, and Brian Kieth hanging around..sheesh!!!

The other reason to love, love LOVE this movie is THE HOUSE. Omg, this is house porn. This has got to be the swingin'est, most style-iest, 1960's mexican-hacienda-inspired ranch house in the world. As Mitch's soon-to-be-mother-in-law Mrs. Robinson exclaims upon entering "OH Mitch, isn't this beautiful!!! It's so masculine!!!"

And she's right - it is a fantastic vision of masculine line and texture - rock walls, tiled floors, the open feel of the house - there is direct access to the outdoors through an interior patio and courtyard! Creamy stucco is accented with old wood beams, and beautiful curving stairs sparkle with colorful California tiles. Add to the cool hues of these "masculine" elements all kinds of softer accents and bright colors - mustard pillows and orange lamps, beautiful blue and green stained glass windows and navy and grey modernist art on the walls. Upstairs the girls' bedroom is a dream of bright, modern design - curlicue details like the white bedstead and orange lamps look like mid-century illustration, and the bathroom itself is an aqua/stone/tiled masterpiece, One of my favorite things about the house is the courtyard, right in the middle of everything. The house wraps around the open space, with those cool pillars beckoning out, and even a raised outdoor passage on the upper floor - the perfectly hip hacienda!

Sigh. If only. Since this isn't my life, and actually isn't anyone's real life at all - and btw - I read on Wikipedia that the house isn't actually real either - it was only a front and an interior set built on a rich businessman's ranch in Carmel. At least the ranch is real!

In any case I plan on getting my own house some stained glass, and I think I'll add some pretty California tile on my own stairs, perhaps put a geranium or two in a terracotta pot and add some mustard couch cushions. And now that I'm middle aged maybe I can pretend to be Maureen O'Hara instead.

tip: if you want to see the amazing house yourself, "The Parent Trap" is streaming on netflix! Happy weekend!!! 

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