Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Monday, March 31, 2008


The relatives came to visit. They arrived with questions. Can we see the star’s homes? How about the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Where can we go to see the Hollywood Sign? What else can you show us?

The problem is that when you have lived in Hollywood most of your life, it is rather hard to figure out what it is people from Toledo, Ohio (my original home town) would find exciting.

For the purpose of this story, I’ll call my visitors Brynn and Carly. The fact that this is their real names is coincidental. Brynn is my sister’s son’s daughter (Great niece?) and Carly is her daughter (great great niece?)

Carly kind of set the stage (pun intended) for the day. She wanted to see the Hollywood Sign. I can understand that. The sign is Hollywood's Eifel Tower. Actually Hollywood's Eye-full Tower. And, it has a great Hollywood story.

I remember years ago when I used to ride my horse from Griffith Park right up to the sign. It was in disrepair in those days not famous at all. I used to ride up with friends and point out where Peg Entwistle plunged to her death from atop the “H.”

This was a suicide filled with ironies. According to the story, Peg was depressed because she was failing to get parts as an aspiring actor. At her lowest point, she scratched and clawed her way up the slope to the base of the sign, took off her coat and folded it neatly. She then climbed up the workman’s ladder on the back of the 50 foot “H.”

Peg then performed a perfect Swan dive into the ground. She was only 24 years old.

Editor’s note: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

Editor’s second note: If a women dives from a Hollywood sign and no one is around to see it, does she really make a swan dive?

One irony here is that Peg left a note for her favorite kin, Uncle Harold (“H”) The second irony is that shortly after her death a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse offering her a starring role in their next production. Third irony: The play was about a young girl who commits suicide.

Now that alone, put the Hollywood Sign on Brynn and Carly’s must-see list. Especially, the “H.”


Brynn and Carly were very disappointed in Hollywood Boulevard and the, “Hollywood Walk of the Stars,” Carly wanted to see real stars and all she saw were a lot of names on the sidewalk that she didn’t recognize plus a lot of live performers dressed like stars asking for money. They found it all kind of seedy. Carly, being a teen-ager, was looking for someone she had heard of under 25 (at the least). Another irony: Carly will most likely come back in twenty years or so to see her favorites on the walk of fame and then HER kids won’t know who they are.


The obvious thing to do was to take them on my own version of the “Homes of the Stars” tour. First we started in my own neighborhood. I pointed out Alex Trebec’s house, which is just down the street. Carly said, “Who’s he?”

Next: I drove them a little further up the street to Gene Autry’s house with the big Flying “A” on his gate. That always impressed me. But, to Carly, nothing. However when we got to George Clooney’s house, there was instant success. The real winner was when I pulled into the gated community at the top of the hill and announced, “This is where Britney Spears lives.” When I saw Carly glancing around for the paparazzi, I knew I had scored one for the home team.

I did discover one trick that I will pass on to all you future visitor tour guides. Take your guests through Beverly Hills and just keep pointing at houses and announcing, “This is where Brad Pitt lives,” or “This is the home of Lindsey Lohan.” In other words, just make up names to fit addresses. Who would know. Even the tour buses use that routine. Their maps are many times out of date.

For example, this map I found on the Internet gives MY celebrity bus tour address. Problem is, I moved out of that address over 50 years ago (I whited-out the house number to keep the neighborhood free of paparazzi).

To make my point, I pulled up behind a tour bus. You know, the kind that has people sitting up on a top deck? The tour driver pointed to a house and everyone started taking pictures. Now I don’t know who the bus driver was referring to, but I happen to know who lives in that house. Nice people, but they have nothing to do with Hollywood show business. But, so what? Everyone on the bus was thrilled and they were all having a great time.

After my tour was over I really felt that Hollywood needs some truly extravagant displays of our famous town. A little more showbiz pazazz. Especially Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood Walk of Stars could be made so much more exciting if they just made a few changes.

I've said this before. Supplement the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the Hollywood Heads of Fame. In the 60s I was honored to have my wax figure in the Hollywood Wax Museum (on Hollywood Blvd).

Years later while shooting a segment for “Fight Back! with David Horowitz,’ in front of the museum, one of my crew members went inside to see if they still had my figure.

He came out with my head. You see, when a star’s light dims, they remove the figure, keeping the head in The Hollywood Museum head shop.

Here's the deal. Rescue all those heads on a shelf and put them on lamp poles along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and call it “The Hollywood Heads of Fame.” Think of the possibilities. When each head is raised to the lamp-post, mobs carrying flaming torches could gather. They would chant, “Hooray For Hollywood.” Now this would be the real Hollywood for tourists to see.

Don’t like that idea? Well, I’m going to throw it right back at all you future tourists and tour guides.


Let me know and I’ll work on it.

Don’t leave out the Hollywood Sign. It’s one “H” of a Hollywood icon.

Stay tuned.


Blogger Gary said...

I used to visit LA all the time in the 80s and 90s. I think the last time I was there was about 1998, though. Man, I sure miss it! Several things I always did was set aside different days for certain things. I would usually arrive on a Saturday and just take it easy. On Sunday, I would take the rented car and just cruise around, pretend I was a local, and just drive like a maniac on the freeway. When I was hungry I would search for either Sonic, Carl's Jr., or In 'n' Out (we don't have them where I come from). If I was in the Burbank area it was always Bob's Big Boy.
On Monday, it was cemetery time! I would go to all of the cemeteries and visit the latest stars who have passed since the last time I was there. Now, this will tell you when I was there last......Carl Wilson (Beach Boy) died in Feb. 1998. When I was there in March of '98, his marker was recently put in and it looked like it was put in that day. It was so fresh, compared to Marilyn's and Natalie Woods'. I also got to visit with Dean Martin and several other stars at Westwood. I also went to the two big Forest Lawn's and several others. I may have taken two days for the others.
Then I go and do the studio tours. Nope, not Universal. Too trendy and commercial for me. I do Warner Bros. and Paramount. Good walking tours. Those are each about a 2 hour tour, but they seem longer and very informative. If time permits, I usually take in a taping of a sitcom. By this time it's Thursday, then it's the old GraveLine Tours (plug plug). I wanna see the SCANDALOUS side of Hollywood! Where the murders were, where people died, where the secret affairs know, THE JUICY STUFF!! After that tour I hop in the car and go on my own tours and drive through Beverly Hills, Bel-Aire, Holmby Hills....the fancy shmancy places and see if I can find somebody famous. I've seen pix of the REAL stars homes, so I go drive by the ones I've heard of (Playboy mansion, Ronald Reagan's 666 home, George Burns, Lucille Ball, etc.) I've even found the home that was used for the outside shot for the Cunninghams on HAPPY DAYS, the houses used for HALLOWEEN, the "Brady Bunch" house, and others. Robert Blake lives not far from the Brady house (Mata Hari was painted on Blake's house when I was there). Friday I take in an NBC tour and a Leno taping and Saturday I'm on my way back home. Never enough time in a week for me to do everything I want. Since it's been so long since I was there last, there's TONS of new graves to visit and other new places to check out! I would love to meet up with Uncle Lloyd sometime, just to say...THANK YOU.

7:42 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

Sometimes I think it's cooler being a fan than a celeb.
No one really cares if I walk into Safeway unshaven. I also happen to know that it's a helluva lot more exciting for a fan to meet a celebrity than visa versa.

8:08 PM

Blogger Brynn said...

Uncle Lloyd,
Kudos to you on your version of the "Homes of the Stars" tour. We really enjoyed your personal touch and we were so excited to see where Brad Pitt lives!! It's a shame everyone doesn't have a "great" uncle to show them around!
We look forward to reading everyone's input on sprucing up Hollywood.
Brynn (and Carly)

10:15 AM

Blogger Tom said...

Hello Lloyd:

I remember seeing the LTS on Chicago television around 1966. I would have been about nine years old. I LOVED the show because you quite obviously had no budget and would get audience members to lip-synch, which I thought was hilarious.

I also seem to remember (correct me if I'm wrong here) first witnessing the phenomena that was Bo Diddley. He came on your show and lip-synched "Bo Diddley's a Gun Slinger," along with the Duchess, his female guitar counterpart.

I went on to become a HUGE Bo Diddley nut. I saw him in concert many times and it was truly sad to hear of his passing this year.

Thanks for the memories!

Tom Tuerff

12:55 PM


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