Nikita Khrushchev Goes to Hollywood

Lunch with the Soviet leader was Tinseltown’s hottest ticket, with famous celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin

The Soviet leader makes his entrance at 20th Century Fox on September 19, 1959. He would call Can-Can exploitive and pornographic. (Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images)
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Sergei Khrushchev, the premier's son, wasn't so sure. "Maybe father was interested, but then he started to think, What does this mean?" he recalled. "Because Skouras was very friendly, Father did not think it was some political provocation. But there was no explanation. It was just American life." Sergei shrugged, then added: "Maybe Khrushchev liked it, but I will say for sure: My mother did not like it."

A few moments later, Khrushchev slid into a long black limousine with huge tailfins. Lodge slipped in after him. The limo inched forward, slowly picking up speed. Having put the kibosh on Disneyland, Khrushchev's guides were compelled to come up with a new plan. They took the premier on a tour of tract housing developments instead.

Khrushchev never did get to Disneyland.

Peter Carlson spent 22 years at the Washington Post as a feature writer and columnist. He lives in Rockville, Maryland.

Adapted from K Blows Top, by Peter Carlson, published by PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Book Group. All rights reserved.


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