"If Marcel becomes a gardener, I am in for selling rockfish !" Raimu
In 1941, Pagnol stopped shooting "La prière aux étoiles", starring Josette Day and Pierre Blanchar.
He managed to escape from Greven and Gœbbels emissaries who tried to have him involved in cultural collaboration, and sold his studios to Gaumont group.
Time was running past and his relationship with Josette Day, his companion at that time, were not as good as ever. On the way back from a trip to Monaco, he discovered in La Gaude village, the Domaine de l'Etoile. He bought this property and was delighted to realize that he had just purchased a horticultural farm.
Such experience presumably inspired Ugolin's infatuation for growing carnations a few years later, but, at the time, Pagnol saw in this an opportunity to hire his technicians back as farm workers, thereby sparing them the trouble of going to Germany and the Service du Travail Obligatoire (Compulsory Employment Service)!
Raimu would make the following comment on Pagnol's circumstantial change of profession: "If Marcel becomes a gardener, I am in for selling rockfish!".
The "Domaine", overlooking the hills and landscape of Grasse heights, remained for years the holiday home where the whole family would gather as soon as the first sunny days were back. Marcel was very proud to be the owner of an olive tree which, as he used to say, dated back to the birth of Christ.