Christmas, 1945 will find a huge, tinsel-draped, light-strung tree in the newly decorated Dana Andrews house. It will find David, Kathy, and Stephen hanging up stockings. It will find friends dropping in to exclaim over stacks of gifts, to warm themselves by quaffing a Christmas bowl and sharing the Yuletide mistletoe. There will be the scent of evergreen and of turkey in the kitchen; there will be laughter and song, and jubilation over the peaceful world and the hopeful sky.

And at the end of the blissful day, Dana will slide his arm around Mary's shoulder and grinning down at her, he will say, "Some difference from our nine dollar Christmas, huh?"

The nine dollar Christmas was the second since Dana and Mary's marriage, and it was a meager affair; Dana was under contract, and working on a picture, but his salary was moderate and he was saving every possible penny to pay back those who had believed in him and backed him during his building years.

During the first week in December, he said across the breakfast table to Mary, "Look, darling, let's be sensible about this. You and I want, most of all, to be out of debt. That would be the swellest Christmas gift two people like us could have. So, let's hang on to our dough -- let's agree on a price that each of us will spend on the other, and let's stick to it.
"OK with me," grinned Mary. She'd been saving a dollar or a dime, a few pennies or a quarter out of the household fund for months, with Dana's gift in mind.
"Well, I've thought that five bucks was a little too small -- it's hard to get something that I'd want to give you for that amount. Yet, ten bucks is getting up there. So how about our compromising on a gift to set us each back not more than nine bucks?"

On Christmas morning, Dana proudly presented his wife with a large oblong box. "I sure hope you like it," he said.
Mary loved it. The box contained a magnificent quilted housecoat. She modeled it, and they decided it did very flattering things for a girl who was going to have a baby in the spring.

Then she brought forth her gift for Dana. "A traveling bag!" he exclaimed. "A top grain cowhide traveling bag! You didn't get this for nine bucks."
"No. For thirty," grinned Mary, and told Dana how long she had saved for it, how eagerly she'd shopped, what fun it had been to make the final decision, ,to count out the stubbornly hoarded dimes and quarters, to bring the bag home and hide it until Christmas.


Modern Screen magazine, January 1946


Now that son Stephen is an old man of almost one year,
Mary was able to leave him and accompany Dana
on location for "Canyon Passage."
Busy Dana was borrowed by Universal
from Sam Goldwyn.


Mary was a happy about her robe as Dana was about his gift. She wore it every morning, and sometimes in the evening, too. It began to fade and grow threadbare. Said Dana one morning, "I wish you'd throw away that weary wrap, Mary. Look, just because I gave it to you for Christmas doesn't mean it must become a family heirloom."
"It's comfortable and I like it," she said cheerfully.

Three days later one of the swankiest stores in Los Angeles delivered a large package for Mrs. Dana Andrews. Eagerly she cut the string and investigated the tissue folds: Dana had sent her a satin robe, hand-blocked, hand-quilted, and bound with velvet. She didn't model the robe, she didn't even touch it. She simply circled it, as it hung on a hanger.
Finally she said, "The first time I'd hold the baby on my lap and she spilled some breakfast egg, I'd want to cut my throat. The sight of any mess on that creation would destroy me, but utterly."

So she bundled up the gift and returned it to the store. In exchange she selected a slim sports dress with dreamy lines and a pair of wool gabardine slacks.
"It's okay with me," Dana said, "only I'm getting darn tired of that old robe."

When Mary was shopping a month later, she saw a pair of dramatic hostess pajamas. When the salesgirl wasn't looking, Mary turned over the price tag. Then she walked swiftly away.
That night she said to Dana, "Don't ever let anyone tell you that I'm not the diamond tiara type. The way I select clothing is positively Rockefeller." And laughingly, she described the pajamas, topping the tale by whispering the price.

A week later, the hostess pajamas were delivered. Inside the box was a brief note: "I have instructed the store to refuse to exchange these. I want to see you wearing them. With all my love, Dana."

Not only is Dana a husband to have and to hold, but he is a pater par excellence, despite the fact that the stork has given Dana the run around whenever possible. At the approximate time when Kathy was due, Dana was working on "The Ox-Bow Incident." This was one of Dana's first really good roles and he was doing his level best to bring every ounce of ability to the part.
Mary became hep to the fact that something was wrong after the picture had been going a month. "Don't you like the part, honey?" she asked her husband.
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