This was a very special weekend here in Richland County.
The Malabar Farm Foundation held a special weekend to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The wedding took place on May 21, 1945.
The Foundation held “renewal” ceremonies for couples who wished to renew their wedding vows in the exact spot where the famous couple were married. One couple celebrated 59 years of marriage and renewed their vows at Malabar. Malabar Farm is the home of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Louie Bromfield. He was a friend of Humphrey Bogart so Malabar was the perfect setting for the wedding.
Malabar Farm | courtesy Malabar Farm Archives
It was May 21, 1945, when 45-year-old Humphrey Bogart married 20-year-old Lauren (Betty) Bacall at Malabar Farm.
A good friend of mine has the original marriage license and gave me a copy.
Local police worked to keep intruders off the property as the couple went through the required blood tests and trip to the courthouse to get their marriage license
Bacall wrote in her biography: “My knees were knocking together, my cheek was twitching – would any sound come out when I had to say ‘I do?’ We turned the corner. When I reached Bogie, he took my hand – the enormous, beautiful white orchids were shaking themselves to pieces; as I stood there, there wasn’t a particle of me that wasn’t shaking visibly.”
Bogie and Bacall | courtesy Cyn Harris, blacklilackitty.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-grateful-games-leads-to-memories-of-bogie-and-bacall/
She also wrote that Bogart, whose trademark film persona was that of the hard-boiled cynic who ultimately shows his noble side, had “tears streaming down his face.”
Bacall wrote that Bromfield had to get out of his confining suit and “changed into his dirty, old man of the soil corduroys as newsreel cameras followed us around the farm.”
The couple savored the day: “We eked out every last drop of Midwestern air and sky – of farm and cooking smells – boxer dogs.” Bromfield gave them a puppy and one acre of Malabar land. They left the next day.
Bogie and Bacall | courtesy Malabar Farm Archives
On Saturday, the Malabar Farm Foundation held tours of the beautiful “Big House” where the couple married and also had a car show on Sunday, with vehicles from that era on display all around the farm.
Among the “guests” for this weekend's event were Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, the Bromfield’s, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, W.C. Fields and Groucho Marx, all portrayed by local impersonators.
A cake decorating contest was also held with all proceeds from the event being used to maintain the beautiful “Big House” at Malabar Farm.
It was a wonderful weekend as the famous duo were fondly remembered at Malabar Farm!