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Meanwhile, the inquest went on. Irving Thalberg, top MGM exec, and other movie bigwigs were questioned. Even Bern’s private physician was flown back from Hawaii to testify.

The doctor declared publicly that “Bern had suffered a physical handicap that would have prevented a happy marriage . .

But this did not entirely explain the mystery, especially since Jean had known about Bern’s infimity all the time. What was she holding back? What w’as making her suffer these silent agonies? What did the note really mean?

The “second” note mentioned by gardener Clifton Davis, who later denied its existence, is the key to the mystery.

Davis secretly admitted when • the tumult was over that after talking to family friends and MGM executives, he was convinced it would be “better not to say anything about it,” since the contents were so sensational and scandalous.

“That second note,” declared one of Bern’s close friends (who insists on keeping the information off-the-record because he is still a top Hollywood director), “left no doubt as to what the ‘comedy’ was that had caused Paul’s ‘abject humiliation’.

“On that fatal night,” (and part of this is in the Shulman book), “Bern, hoping to keep his wife from roaming, brought home an artificial male organ but he had it made so large that all it did for Jean when she saw it was to make her laugh uncontrollably. Then, feeling sorry for her husband, she tossed it away and turned on everything she could to try to arouse him. And if any woman who ever lived could arouse a man, it was she!

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Hollywood was in an uproar. The stunned 21-year-old bride wept real tears. To police and reporters she insisted she did not know what the note to her meant, nor the reason for her 42-year-old groom’s suicide.

There was no doubt Bern had shot himself, but the strange note led the police to press an investigation.

Even Hollywood insiders puzzled over the cryptic note. What did he mean by “last night was only a comedy” ? What had happened that Jean Harlow would not even hint at?

The Bern gardener said there was a second note from Bern, even offered to sell its contents to a movie magazine.

But when police investigated the gardener, Clifton Davis, said he was “mistaken.” He knew “nothing.”

The Coroner summoned Jean Harlow to the inquest, but her doctor said she could not attend. The distraught Venus, hollow-eyed, leaden-voiced and listless, as though caught in a nightmare, was hiding out at her mother’s Beverly Hills home.

One afternoon a high MGM executive, who was visiting Jean’s mother, looked up to see Jean climbing the rail of an upstairs balcony that overhung a deep canyon.

With a yell of warning he and two other friends leaped forward to stop the suicide attempt of the million-dollar beauty.