Also known as the House of Tomorrow, the property hosted The King and Priscilla for an extended getaway five years after the Alexanders’ Look shoot.

Remembering the House of Tomorrow in “Look” Magazine

In 1962, "Look" magazine ran an article about the futuristic House of Tomorrow. This is the story behind the image of all those fabulous dancers.

David Lansing History, Home & Design

Also known as the House of Tomorrow, the property hosted The King and Priscilla for an extended getaway five years after the Alexanders’ Look shoot.

Also known as the House of Tomorrow, the property hosted The King and Priscilla for an extended getaway five years after the Alexanders’ Look shoot.

The society editor for The Desert Sun called them Palm Springs’ “Beautiful People” — Barbara Marx (later Sinatra), Hazel Kunody (Miss Television, 1950), Lionel and Louise Steinberg (art collectors and owners of the biggest grape ranch in the Coachella Valley), Norm and Minnette Haber (organizers of various local charities), and of course, Bob and Helene Alexander, the King and Queen of Palm Springs’ social scene.

The women — Helene, Barbara, Hazel, Minnette, and Louise — were often photographed together in the local paper: at tennis tournaments at the Racquet Club, as kangaroo court deputies for the Desert Circus, at charitable fashion shows. So when a photographer from Look magazine called Helene early one summer morning asking her to put together an impromptu pool party at their futuristic-looking, William Krisel–designed home in Vista Las Palmas, Helene got on the phone and asked her beautiful friends to put on their finest party outfits. 

And everyone showed.

Armando’s Bar

The scene in its entirety spotlights the exterior architecture of the House of Tomorrow.

The resulting image for Look shows Barbara (who’d posed for the photographer the day before with Helene, both wearing bikinis) in the middle. She’s the tall blond in the elegant blue designer dress doing the twist with Norm Haber, husband to her best friend, Minette. To her left is Louise Steinberg, the dancer wearing pearls, also in a blue dress. She and her husband, Lionel, who lived just down the street in a house also built by Bob Alexander, brought their young son, Billy, to the party. Billy and the Alexanders’ daughter, Jill, were responsible for changing the albums on the stereo console hidden in an end table in the circular living room.

Jill’s dad, Bob (that’s him on the far right, doing his best to keep up with the woman in the frilly blue go-go dress), had stacked the albums in the order in which they were to be played, starting with his favorites — Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” and Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” — and running through modern hits like Dick Dale’s “Let’s Go Trippin’ ” and The Beach Boys’  “Surfin’ Safari.” In between was Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii album. All things Hawaiian were huge in Palm Springs in 1962, from the cocktails inspired by Don the Beachcomber that Helene served in glassware embossed with guests’ names to Waltah Clarke’s Hawaiian Shop on Palm Canyon Drive, where she and her friends bought sarong dresses for luaus at the Riviera and the Racquet Club.

Jill had a big crush on Billy (who would form a band a few years later at Palm Springs High called The Fables before going on to pen instant classics including Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”), so she didn’t object when he ignored her dad’s playlist and put on The Everly Brothers’ “All I have to Do Is Dream.” It was his favorite song, he told her, singing along: Dream, dream, dream, dream …

Then Candy Johnson rushed in, telling them to change the music; they needed something more upbeat. Candy was perhaps the most important guest at the party. Billed as “Queen of the Twisters,” she taught revelers at the El Mirador Safari Lounge how to do the twist as well as the frug, the shimmy, and the bossa nova. Later she’d appear in a succession of Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Mostly, Candy, who Helene had hired before for her pool parties, was asked to help “get the party started.” Which she did this time by putting on Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again.”

She shimmied and clapped her hands to the doo-wop song with the fat sax tones of Buddy Savitt, encouraging the glamorous couples at Bob and Helene’s pool party to twist again like they did last summer. “Round ’n’ around ’n’ up ’n’ down we go again/Oh baby make me know you love me so and then/Come on twist again like we did last summer.”

And, oh baby, they did. In the summer of ’62.