I’ve met many Ohio farmers who recall the days of Louis Bromfield and his conservation sermons on Mt. Jeez at Malabar Farm. His thoughts on resource stewardship live on in his many books about the subject including Malabar Farm, Pleasant Valley and Out of the Earth. Most attended as small boys accompanying their fathers and grandfathers.
Of course Bromfield authored books of other kinds before he became enamoured with agriculture. His 1927 novel Early Autumn won the Pulitzer Prize. Later novels Green Bay Tree, The Rains Came: A Novel of Modern India and Night in Bombay gained him fortune and fame and earned him a place in Hollywood. That success enabled him to establish Malabar Farm and his personality made it a gathering place for Hollywood celebrities in the period following World War II. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, James Cagney, William Powell, Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Alice Fay, George and Gracie Allen and many more movie stars of the day came to visit Bromfield at Malabar.
While it was stewardship and improved farming practices that brought farmers to Malabar, it was the Hollywood connection that made the farm a point of interest to many other Ohioans.
No doubt they will once again feel that pull in June when “Hollywood Returns to Malabar Farm” June 1-3. Stephen Bogart, son of 1940s film legends Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and Tyrone Power Jr., son of leading man Tyrone Power will be on hand to headline the event. Bogart and Power both have family connections to the farm. Malabar was the site of the May 21, 1945, wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The twin beds where they shared their honeymoon are still in a second floor bedroom. Bromfield was best man at the wedding. Power starred with Myrna Loy in the movie version of Bromfield’s “When the Rains Came.”
Special tours of the Big House where the wedding took place will be offered during the Hollywood Returns weekend. Most of the furnishings are just the way they were on the day of the big wedding. In addition to meeting the children of the stars, you can enjoy film clips from the era. There are dinner shows, celebrity look-alikes, vintage cars, film memorabilia and an auction of items from the era including promotional materials.
Tickets are available at eventbright.com or you can contact Malabarfarm.org for more information. Malabar Farm State Park is located at 4050 Bromfield Road, Lucas, Ohio 44843.