Monday, October 24, 2011

The Gilded Lily, behind Maybelline doors.

Tom Lyle avoided a public life, but in private, everything was fit for a King.
A simple country boy from Morganfield Kentucky, Tom Lyle clung to his roots, but, had them Gilded!  Why Not!!

Notice the passerby doing a double take at the flashy car and the man in the Lama skin coat.  Tom Lyle finally moved to Hollywood, where he no longer stood out, during the Depression.


Maybelline colors - Red and Gold.

Tony Williams, (Preston's son,) with Bobby
and Ches Haines.
As a little boy, Bobby Hains,  (Eva and Ches Haines, son and Tom Lyle's nephew,) remembers his uncle Lyle. 

"Dad brought me into uncle Lyle's, office at the Maybelline building to show me the 24K, Gold Leaf wall, that had just been finished."

The story goes:  Tom Lyle thought the plain mahogany paneling behind his ornate, hand carved mahogany desk, with it's red leather executive chair, looked too plain.  He complained about it to his brother Noel, who took the intuitive and called in a craftsman to cover it with 24K Gold Leaf.  When Tom Lyle returned from California, he walked into his office and was thrilled that his office looked like a showplace.  After all Maybelline colors were red and gold?

Bob also remembers when The Villa Valentino was taken in eminent domain, for the Hollywood freeway and Tom Lyle bought the lot at the top of Bel Air, to build his steel and glass estate. 

The story goes.  Emery told Tom Lyle to go to Hawaii, while the home was being finished, because it was too stressful on TL to work, and deal with contractors.  When he returned, rested and tan, Emery couldn't wait to show him the finished product.  Tom Lyle took one look at the steel beams, between the panes of plate glass, and wrinkled his nose.  "it looks terrible" he said, "I can't  live with it."  Emery was perplexed and didn't know what to do.  Tom Lyle knew exactly what to do.  He had them plated in 24K Gold.

Bob's favorite memory of his uncle took place in Chicago, when he was 15 and just got a learner's permit. 

The story goes:  Tom Lyle pulled up in front of the Haines home in a new cream colored Packard Convertible, while Bobby was sitting on the porch.  He ran down the steps, amped with excitement, only to be stunned when Tom Lyle, handed him  the key's and said "why not take it for a spin around the block."  Eva and Ches ran out and tried to stop the joy-ride, but uncle Lyle insisted Bob to have the thrill of his life.  He did and still remembers it today, at almost 80 years of age.

Read more about Tom Lyle and his love of beauty in any form, in The Maybelline Story.

Stay tuned for In The Kitchen with Maybelline this week when Sharrie makes Frances' Chocolate Icebox Desert on AZTV.  Also Bill's Clenet will be on the way to Santa Barbara's Concours D' Elegance next Friday, so check in for all the excitement.

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