After a quick Las Vegas wedding that came just four months after his release from a Japanese POW camp, famed World War II flying ace Gregory "Pappy" Boyington brings his new bride to the
Newhall home of his attorney, Arthur C. Miller. Judging from the news articles below, some legal questions may have arisen from the nuptials.
6x8-inch International News wire photo. Cutline (below) reads:
INP SOUNDPHOTO / G-15 WATCH YOUR CREDIT ... INTERNATIONAL NEWS PHOTO
SLUG .. (BOYINGTON AND BRIDE)
"ACE OF HEARTS" WITH HIS SURPRISE BRIDE
Newhall, Calif. ... Lt. Col. Gregory (Pappy) Boyington, famous Marine Corps air ace, is shown with his surprise bride, the former Mrs. Frances Baker, 32,
at the ranch home of his lawyer, just outside Los Angeles, where they are honeymooning. Boyington and Mrs. Baker were wed at Las Vegas, yesterday, while newspaper
readers from coast to coast were specualting whether or not he would wed Mrs. Lucy Malcomson who had announced her coming marriage to him at Reno where she was
awaiting divorce from her present husband. Boyington had denied that he and Mrs. Malcomspon planned to wed.
B-1-9-45 [sic; s/b 46]
The couple's Newhall stopover was brief; they weren't honeymooning here. Boyington and the former Mrs. Baker divorced in 1959.
Lt. Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (Dec. 4, 1912 - Jan. 11, 1988) was an American fighter pilot who shot down 26 (he claimed 28) Japanese warplanes, first as a member of the volunteer
Flying Tigers and then as commanding officer of the Black Sheep Squadron (Marine fighter squadron VMF-214). He was shot down and held as prisoner of war for more than a year and a half.
He received both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. The two-season NBC television series, "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (1976-1978), was based extremely loosely on Boyington's autobiography
of the same name.
It starred Robert Conrad as Pappy Boyington and filmed regularly at Indian Dunes in Valencia. Boyington had a short walk-on role in three episodes. He was married four
Judge Arthur C. Miller was justice of the peace of Soledad Township and a prominent Newhall citizen in the 1940s-50s. His law practice was located in a 1941
building at the southwest corner of (now) Main and 6th streets that he shared with the dentist, Dr. William D. Ross.
Miller lived at 23021 8th Street,
the "second house from the top" built in 1930 by vaudeville actor Charles E. "Charley" Mack. This is where Boyington and his new bride, Frances Baker, visited him.
Note: The article is correct but the caption erroneously says they were married in Newhall. Click to enlarge.
The Associated Press
As published in the Davenport (Iowa) Democrat and Leader
Thursday, January 10, 1946.
Hollywood. — (AP) — Rugged, stocky "Pappy" Boyington was honeymooning Thursday with the blond former Frances Baker, after a fast-breaking romance which left his attractive bride "happier than I can tell" and "stunned" the brunet who asserts he jilted her.
Pappy, otherwise Lieut. Col. Gregory Boyington, marine corps air see who spent 20 months as a prisoner of the Japanese, said the affectionate terms of a series of telegrams and letters he had sent Mrs. Lucy Malcolmson were the result of "overseas nerves."
The colonel, at a press conference, gave his version of the romantic mixup.
He said he met Mrs. Malcolmson about June, 1942, on the SS Brazil as he was returning to the states from Bombay.
In December, 1942, before he returned to combat, he continued, he entered into a legal trusteeship which made her guardian of his children by a previous marriage, Gregory Jr., 10, Janet Sue, 8, and Gloria, 6. They are now with his parents in Brewster, Wash.
The flyer said he went to Reno New Year's eve to discuss dissolving the trusteeship, under which, he declared, she had received between $16,000 and $18,000 in salary and allotments while he was overseas.
But he wound up giving her a "sort of" engagement ring. However, he added, he told her there would be no marriage between them.
"Mrs. Malcolmson had no reason to announce we would be married," he declared.
In Reno, Mrs. Malcolmson — her divorce suit from Stewart Malcolmson, Australian production manager for General Motors, marked "off Calendar" — went into seclusion.
The 35-year-old officer, at his bride's Hollywood home, said he welcomed a chance to "get this thing cleaned up." Mrs. Boyington is an ex-film actress, well known socially in Hollywood, and the former wife of Russell Baker, San Francisco restaurateur.
The Boyingtons were married Tuesday in Las Vegas. The flyer embarks Jan. 17 on a lecture tour which will occupy most of a three-months' leave.
Col. Boyington Marries as 'Other Woman' Waits
Click to enlarge.
Los Angeles Times | Thursday, January 10, 1946.
While the "other woman" in Reno protested that "Pappy truly loves me," Lt. Col. Gregory (Pappy) Boyington, marine ace with 28 Jap planes to his credit, yesterday disclosed that he and Miss Frances Baker of Los Angeles were married at Las Vegas, Nev., last Tuesday.
Boyington's marriage to the 32-year-old former film actress proved a bitter pill for Mrs. Lucy Malcolmson, who had announced in Reno that she was to be wedded to the 35-year-oid Congressional Medal of Honor winner as soon as she divorced her husband, Stewart Malcolmson, Australian motor executive.
"I am so stunned I have nothing to say," declared Mrs. Malcolmson when informed of Boyington's marriage. But after giving the marriage some thought she came up with a couple of quotable "quotes:"
"I think he might at least have waited a few weeks — until I received my divorce and the publicity had died down. I haven't seen Frances Baker. I don't believe Col. Boyington has known her for more than a month. I honestly believe that Pappy truly loves me," she tearfully told reporters.
Mrs. Malcolmson, who was virtually left waiting at the church, according to her story, said their "romance" is definitely ended.
"He can't come back to me now," she said, "He is a married man. I don't want anything more to do with him."
Boyington was divorced in 1941 from Mrs. Helen Clark of Seattle. Their three children now are with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Hollenbeck of Brewster, Wash.
Socially prominent in Hollywood, Miss Baker was divorced in 1932 from Russell Baker of San Francisco. They had no children. She is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Reiman of San Francisco.
Boyington and Miss Baker drove to Las Vegas Tuesday and were married by Justice of the Peace M.E. Ward, with employees of Ward's office acting as witnesses.
Matron of honor was the wife of Maj. Frank Walton, public information officer at Camp Miramar, at whose Los Angeles home Boyington and Miss Baker met during a dinner party last Nov. 14. Walton was to have been best man, but was unable to leave last-minute duties at camp.
It was practically love at first sight, Walton said, and soon after their first meeting the couple, accompanied by the Waltons, visited Maj. Reuben H. Fleet, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. executive, in San Diego, and sailed on his cabin cruiser during a week-end holiday.
Boyington and his bride returned from Las Vegas yesterday and went to the hillside home of Judge Arthur C. Miller in Newhall. Later they motored to the Walton home at 2206 Panorama Terrace, where they will remain until Monday. Boyington reports at Camp Miramar Monday and on the following Friday begins a 90-day leave.
Walton disclosed that Miss Baker accompanied Boyington to Reno on his New Year's Eve mission to break off his "engagement" with Mrs. Malcolmson. She returned to Hollywood but Boyington remained in the Nevada city.
Mrs. Malcolmson was to have gone into divorce court the same day that Pappy was getting hitched, but the suit was withdrawn when Pappy announced that he was not going to marry her.
Col. Boyington Meets Issue of 'Other Woman'
Click to enlarge.
Los Angeles Times | Thursday, January 10, 1946.
Lt. Col. Gregory (Pappy) Boyington, the terror of marine aviation, brought back to Hollywood yesterday a beautiful new blond wife and a critique on events which linked his name with that of Mrs. Lucy Malcomson, an unsuccessful suitor for his hand.
The bride, a onetime film actress, was carried three times across the threshold of their apartment to satisfy newspaper photographers. Pappy obligingly performed the traditional ritual, and then sat down to talk.
"Tell us how you met the wife (nee Frances Baker,") a reporter began. Pappy took a long breath.
"I met her last Nov. 14 at a party in the home of Mrs. Carol Walton, 2206 Panorama Terrace," the husky, broad-faced pilot declared. "She's the wife of Maj. Frank Walton, intelligence officer in our Black Sheep squadron."
"It was love at first sight," he sighed. "Just one of those things. We became more and more in love as time went on."
From there it was only a hop, skip and a commercial airplane ride to Las Vegas Tuesday with Mrs. Walton as guest, for the couple's marriage by Justice of the Peace M.E. Ward.
"We stayed there overnight and drove back, then drove to Newhall, to the home of Judge Arthur C. Miller, my attorney," Pappy continued.
He absently fingered his silver oak leaves while completing the discourse on plans for him and his bride. "We're going to leave Jan. 17 for the Middle West where I am due to begin a three-month lecture tour in Cleveland."
The missus will go with him and the couple hope to be back on the Coast in about three months.
These amenities discussed, a reporter turned to other topics, clearing his throat. "Now about Mrs. Malcomdson, is it true you proposed marriage?"
Pappy met the issue squarely. "Well, I'll tell you. I met her not in a canteen, as she says, but on a ship from Bombay bound for the United States in June, 1942. I had a couple of cases of Scotch in my cabin and she was just one of the people who came in and helped me drink it."
Admitting he saw Mrs. Malcomson several times after they reached New York, Col. Boyington said that in December, 1942, she was placed in charge of a trust created for his three children, Gregory Jr., 10 Janet Sue, 8, and Gloria, 6, by a former marriage.
During the ensuing three years — including the period of his incarceration by the Japanese in a prison camp — any romance between them was strictly by mail, he said.
Upon his liberation and return to the States last Sept. 12, he saw Mrs. Malcomson one evening for dinner in San Francisco, and again twice in New York.
"But she was never in a position where she could assume that I had offered her marriage," he continued.
Finally he went to Mrs. Malcomson to "break it off" but was rebuffed and finally wound up buying her a ring.
But, "after two days of heated battle about money matters I told her 'as far as I'm concerned it's good-by.' I took a rat-hole out..." began the lieutenant colonel, but a reporter raised an objection to this description.
"Well," corrected Pappy, "I made a 'strategic retreat.'"
Boyington said that he had received a distressing letter from Mrs. Malcomson. "She called me everything under the sun." And he took this to be a repudiation of any affection she felt for him and a definite parting of the ways.
"I'm very happy with Frances."
The bride nodded fondly.
'Pappy' and Sudden Bride Stop Off at Judge Miller's
Click to enlarge.
The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise | Thursday, January 17, 1946.
Judge Arthur C. Miller got into the big town papers last week in connection with the love affairs and sudden marriage of Marine Ace Lieutenant Colonel "Pappy" Boyington.
Wednesday afternoon "Pappy" and his bride showed up at the home of Judge Miller on Upper Eighth street, where they were interviewed by reporters and camera men. Judge Miller is "Pappy's" attorney.
The following account of the episode is reprinted from the Los Angeles Examiner of last Thursday:
During the war, the Jap flyers never could figure what Marine Ace Lieutenant Colonel "Pappy" Boyington was going to do next. That's how he got 27 of them.
Yesterday "Pappy" demonstrated his war techniques as applied to his peace pursuits.
He popped up in Los Angeles — married! But NOT to the wealthy matron, Mrs. Lucy Malcolmson, who was in Reno getting a divorce to wed him.
Instead, the wife he showed up with was lovely, undulating Mrs. Frances Baker, Los Angeles and San Francisco divorcee, as blonde as honey.
They were married, they revealed, in Las Vegas Tuesday — while up in Reno Lucy Malcolmson was waiting at the telephone or peering up into the sky, hoping against hope that her hero would burst back into her life to marry her, as she said she had every reason to expect, in view of the things he'd said.
Last night, in the Los Angeles home of Major Frank Walton, who had been intelligence officer of "Pappy's" Black Sheep Jap-killing air squadron overseas, Lieutenant Colonel and his new Mrs. Boyington were honeymooning happily.
And in Reno, Mrs. Malcolmson, whom he had called his "apple duck" in fervent telegrams she had already given her lawyer, stammered and stuttered that she was "completely amazed" at Boyington's sneak power-dive into matrimony — with the other girl.
News of Boyington's marriage to Mrs. Baker, leaving Mrs. Malcolmson to her lonely Nevada amazement, broke early yesterday when a news wire from Las Vegas revealed that the air hero and Mrs. Baker had showed up there on Tuesday, quietly obtained a license, and just as quietly had been married by a Justice of the Peace. A couple of the J.P.'s clerks were witnesses, and Major Walton's wife was matron of honor. The newlyweds left immediately afterward.
Yesterday afternoon, after an overnight honeymoon trip from Nevada, they showed up first at the Newhall home of Boyington's attorney, Judge Arthur C. Miller.
They were radiant, as a handful of newsmen greeted them.
"Come on, boys; I'll buy a drink," said Pappy.
The boys came on and Pappy did.
He was wearing a snappy uniform, with the silver leaf of his lieutenant-colonelcy gleaming, and the ribbons of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Navy Cross, bright on his bursting chest.
Then, a few minutes later, Mr. and Mrs. Pappy drove off for Hollywood, where they will honeymoon until the end of the week. Then Pappy has to report back to the Marine Air Base at Miramar, near San Diego, whence he will start a 90-day leave.
"I'm going on a cross-country lecture tour," he said. "My new wife will go with me. Reno is NOT included in the itinerary."
News stories courtesy of Tricia Lemon Putnam.
BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP (1976/78)
Ep 1.09 (1976)