ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue80

Pasadena Heritage Discover Madison House in 1976 Film!

This summer, Pasadena Heritage staff discovered that the Madison House, bequeathed to us by the Madison family and used as our offices, made an appearance in Goodbye, Norma Jean. This 1976 film by Larry Buchanan is based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, played by Mistella "Misty" Rowe. The film opens with a scene depicting the Madison House as a foster home, one of many that Monroe spent her
childhood in. Both the exterior and interior of the home are captured in the film, and Pasadena Heritage staff were amused by what has and has not changed since 1976! Many of the Madisons' possessions remain, as they were donated to us along with the home.

The Madison House has had a long history and many different owners, the Madisons being the last. It was originally designed by Harry
Ridgeway, one of Pasadena's first recognized professional architects, and built in 1883 by contractor J. S. Blick for $3,500. The original owners were James H. Cambell, Sr., a retiree, and Caroline "Carrie" Cambell. Both were prominent in the local temperance movement. Their son, James Cambell, Jr., lived in a Ridgeway-designed home next door, built at the same time. 

(At the time of this writing, Goodbye, Norma Jean can be viewed on Amazon Prime. Please note that the film contains some nudity and violence and is only suitable for mature audiences.)

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