Thursday, March 1, 2018

Maybelline founder, Tom Lyle Williams, fondly remembered by his young nephew, Bob Haines, in the 1940s

Tony Williams, with Bobby and his father,
Ches Haines.

 Bob Haines, remembers a few telling stories about his uncle

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, Tom Lyle's partner,  asked TL to go to Hawaii, while the new Bel Air home was being finished, because it was too stressful on TL to work 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 and had them 24K Gold plated.

Bob's favorite memory of his uncle took place in Chicago, when he was 15 years old and just got a learners permit to drive a car.  

The story goes:  Tom Lyle pulled up in front of the Haines home in a new cream colored, 1940 Packard Victoria Convertible, while Bob, was sitting on the porch.  He ran down the steps to examine the car, when Tom Lyle, handed him  the key's and said, "why not take it for a spin around the block." Bob's parents, Eva and Ches ran out of the house, yelling "no it's too risky."  But uncle Lyle insisted Bob be allowed to have the thrill of his life.  

Read more interesting and entertaining stories, in my book The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Behind It. 

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