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Motion Picture (March 1959)

"The Wedding's Fine - Come On In!"

On November 2, James Gordon MacArthur married petite, blonde, green-eyed Joyce Collins Bulifant in Solebury, Pennsylvania. Wearing an ivory-toned silk satin gown, the bride wed her high-school sweetheart in the same 80-year old Trinity Episcopal Chapel they used to worship in when they were both students at the Solebury School. The reception was held at the bride’s home in nearby Pipersville. In short, it was a fine wedding in the tradition of all weddings with one exception -- the bride and groom had only a short one week honeymoon. However, Joyce and Jim didn’t mind because they had already had what almost amounted to a honeymoon last summer. It all happened this way.

Jim and Joyce became engaged last Mother’s Day. Weeks later, he had to leave for Switzerland to film Disney’s Third Man on the Mountain. Alone in Pipersville, Joyce dreaded the approaching summer and she thought of all those days and nights without Jim. But, she rightly reasoned, location shooting is part and parcel of an actor’s job. As an upcoming stage actress, she understood the problem, but as an engaged girl without her guy, she hated the whole situation.

Jim’s mother, the renowned actress, Helen Hayes, sensed Joyce’s loneliness and called her frequently to chat about letters they’d received from Jim. During one such call, Joyce couldn’t hold back her tears. “Oh,” she cried, “I’m so miserable, I miss Jim so much. It doesn’t feel right to be away from him.”

Moved by Joyce’s honesty, Helen Hayes said, “Joyce, I’ve been thinking what a hot summer it’s going to be. I say let’s take off for Europe! We’ll see some of the capitols, we’ll shop and we’ll see Jim. The trip will be on me, of course.”

All Joyce could mutter was “oh,” and over the long-distance phone (Jim’s mother was calling from her estate in Nyack, New York), the “oh” sounded like “no.” Needless to say, the misunderstanding was quickly corrected and in just about two weeks they flew to Paris. A week later, they went to Zermatt, high in the snow-capped Alps, where Jim was working.

When Helen and Joyce arrived, they were met by Jim’s buddy, Phil Glynn (Jim was working), who took them to the quaint Hotel Cervin. Jim’s mother went right to her room to unpack and suggested Joyce wait in the lobby for Jim. “Isn’t she wonderful,” said Phil. “She knew if you both were here to meet Jim, he wouldn’t know who to say hello to first.”

Minutes later, Jim arrived at the hotel and greeted his fiancee with a kiss and a hug, then ran upstairs to see his mother. That night, Jim took them out for a meal they’ll never forget: pate, chilled vichysoisse and fondue Bourguignon. The meal was topped-off with a generous sampling of some of the famous Swiss-chocolate cakes. Later that same night, Helen gaily chatted with the cast and Jim and Joyce went dancing. During the next few weeks they all had a ball.

When Joyce returned to Pipersville, she had no time to be lonely, she was too busy with wedding arrangements.

Today, Jim and Joyce are living in New York City where Jim busies himself with TV roles while waiting his next film and Joyce is making her Broadway debut in Tall Story. They’re two young thespians working hard at their careers, but working even harder to make good together.

Joyce Bulifant, James MacArthur

Joyce Bulifant, James MacArthur

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