Saturday, September 5, 2015

Grand Finale Day One - The Prince Arrives

Act III – Episode – The Prince Arrives

Unlike the unassuming arrival of Princes Grace, Prince Rainier III of Monaco was greeted with much fanfare, and security, as a visiting head of state his bullet proof limo had a motorcycle escort that was given special dispensation by the governor to use the Atlantic City Expressway since motorcycles were prohibited from these state highways.

The Prince is an agreeable enough chap, the heir to a castle, kingdom and casino by the sea that’s guaranteed, secured and endorsed by the King of France in perpetuity, as long as there is a male heir, something Grace provided Rainier after two rambunctious daughters. One of Rainier's ancestors and his gang of thugs took over the Monaco castle in a coup and disguised as monks. Now, hundreds of years and dozens of generations later, the kingdom was passed to Rainier, who rather late in life, met Grace Kelly – American actress was her byline then, while she was in Monaco making the Alfred Hitchcock movie. Rainier first came to Ocean City to meet John B. Kelly and ask him for the hand of his daughter in marriage, and John B. leased a first class passenger steam ship to take his family and friends to Monaco for the storybook 

“Wedding of the Century,” as they called it.

Once in Ocean City the Prince was taken to a private residence on the beach that belonged to a friend and neighbor of the Kellys who was traveling overseas and offered his home to the Prince that afforded him much more privacy and security than the Kelly Compound that was overrun by the kids.

The Prince was met by John B. Kelly, Jr., Grace and Lizanne’s brother, who everyone called “Kell.”  
Kell had been a Ocean City lifeguard on this very beach, rowed single and double sculls on the Schuylkill River, was a Silver medal Olympic champion and famously won the Diamond Sculls at Henley after his father was denied entry because he was a “working man” and not a “gentleman,” as a gentleman was considered in that era.

Like John B., Don Levine was a horseman, and Margaret - now the head of the household, was gym teacher at the University of Pennsylvania where she instituted most of the athletic programs for women.
The Prince cut muster as he too was a “Man’s Man,” unlike some of the other dates that Grace had brought home – like the gay fashion designer, who was shunned and ignored by the Kelly men.

The Prince on the other hand, was a betting sportsman who immediately won over the Kelly men by asking to go to the race track while the women were on the beach. Since John B. built the track, was co-owner (with Bob Hope, Hap Farley and Sonny Fraser) and Lizanne’s husband Don was a horseman and Steward at the track, the Prince was the guest of honor in the owner’s box at the Atlantic City Race Track.

While Lizanne and her sister and mother kept the kids and cousins busy back at the Kelly Clan Compound on the beach, Grace went to the track with her husband Prince Rainier, her brother Kell and brother in law Don Levine and Cousin John Lehman. The same group had gone together to the Kentucky Derby in May, flying on a private jet, keeping a John B. Kelly annual tradition, so they knew how to have a good time together and did. The Prince actually fit in well with this group and after a few drinks was just one of the guys, as was Grace.

The Prince took a liking to a particular jockey who went on to win six of the races that day, giving the Prince a nice payout, especially on two long shots his jockey came in to win, so the Prince picked up the tab at dinner at Zaberers restaurant that night.

“Good luck had just stung me, to the race track I did go. She bet on one horse to win and I bet on another 
to show. The odds were in my favor, I had ‘em five to one, when that Nag to win came around the track, sure enough she had won. I took up all my winnings, and gave my Bessie half, but she tore it up and threw it in my face just for a laugh.” 

– “Up on Cripple Creek” – The Band

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