Although an intended starring vehicle B ABOVE HIGH C never materialized, MGM offered her the lead in National Velvet. Suzanne, whose family allowed her to manage her own career (It isn’t any wonder....), couldn’t see herself in the part finally played in the ‘44 release by Elizabeth Taylor, turned it down because she couldn’t sing in it. The studio appalled by her decision, dropped her at contracts year-end, in February of 1938. “When MGM let me go, I went up to the office of producer Nicky Lafack, who was married to singer Lynne Carver, chewing on a cigar and sounding like Mugsy Malone, he says, ‘Kid, you can’t sing. Go back to Minneapolis, your through- your finished.’ ‘I wanted to cry so badly, but I didn’t. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I was crushed but determined. I marched down those stairs to my mother, who was waiting in the car. “Mom,” I said, “I’m fired”. Then she started to cry, and at that moment I grew up--at thirteen years old.”
Their one source of income cut off, the Larson’s were left marooned in their modest home in Beverly Hills. The denouement was swift. Creditors descended on them; repossessed the car, carted away the furniture bought on the installment plan. There was nothing left for Les to do but gather up his family and move to a two-room flat at nearby Venice where the rents were cheap and the vegetables plentiful. The next few months were…tenuous at best.
Suzanne remembers: While living in Beverly Hills, she would frequent a Five and Dime down the street from their newly provided ‘modest’ Beverly Hills home, Vera, the woman behind the counter, had a small sign on the wall that had an Egyptian looking ominous “eye” on top with an “I AM” in the center. Suzanne would often wonder what that sign was all about. A day or two after the Creditors descended and the Dodge was repossessed, Suzanne learned all about the “I AM” sign.. She stopped by the store, bemoaning the Larson fate and the heartrending loss of their brand new Dodge. Vera says in a blustery affected English accent, “Now just believe that that car is in the garage,” and in a hot air over-the-counter blast spouts…. “ Just say this, OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY, AND BELIEVE THAT THE CAR IS THERE, BACK IN THE GARAGE!” “Say this over and over on your way back home and the car will be there.” This is exactly what Suzanne did running up the hill to her Dodge-less garage, saying over and over, ‘OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY,’ ‘OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY’…. I BELIEVE MY CAR IS BACK IN THE GARAGE…. Yes. I BELIEVE MY CAR IS BACK HOME… It wasn’t. It turns out that the I AM Order was a 1930’s Los Angeles ‘cult’. Maybe the seedling of the omnipresent Scientology…?