CHARLIE STEEN COULD THROW A PARTY…by Maxine Newell

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The clock on the mantle was set at 5:05, and the bar was always open. Charles relished the role of party-giver, M.L.’s role was hostess. She played it graciously and sometimes enjoyed it. Once, in defiance, she served a buffet of cold cuts to Elliott Roosevelt, E.L. Cord, and Joseph Frazer (Wall Street financiers and automobile manufacturing executives.) They declared it the best meal they’d had in years. The tycoons may have felt they received better treatment from M.L. than from Charlie; they offered him $10 million for Mi Vida and were turned down flat.

 

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July 28, 1956. Entertainment after dinner.

Hilarious incidents happened so close together at Steen Hill, some are hard to recall. At one party, Betty Bowen, a pretty lass from Texas, disrupted the festivities to salute her fellow Texan. She confiscated the two bands hired for the occasion, arranged them with the guests around the pool, then took a precarious position on the end of the diving board to lead them in song, “The Eyes of Texas…” Charles led the cheers.

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UTEX party at the old Moab airport. 1956

Steen Hill parties were lavish; guests often numbered in the hundreds. Expense was no object. Famous caterers were flown in for major events. Noted entertainers were brought in. Champagne flowed freely; guests danced the Tango and the Cha Cha. A Salt Lake City club owner “walked on water;” (someone was always getting dunked in the pool.” Entire filming casts cavorted. Susanne Paulson, Miss Utah of that era, signed the guest register. Joe Fitzpatrick of Walker Bank distributed harmless methylene blue pills “for hangovers” and created a bathroom panic.

–Maxine Newell

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CHARLIE STEEN’S 40th birthday, with his wife M.L., Andy McGill, Bill Hudson and Bill McCormick, In Moab, Utah

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CHARLIE STEEN and his faithful grubstaker, BILL McCORMICK. The last loan on the drill rig when Charlie struck uranium and Bill became a charter member of the UTEX Corporation.

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UTEX party at the old Moab airport. 1956

Maxine Newell lives in Moab, Utah.

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