HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD
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.
WHEN YOU COME TO HOLLYWOOD, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
Let me know and I’ll work on it.
Don’t leave out the Hollywood Sign. It’s one “H” of a Hollywood icon.