Say Goodbye To Hollywood: revealing the 9th and final Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novel.

The first book in my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series – The Garden on Sunset – came out in January 2012. Back then, my planned 9-novel rollicking ride through golden-era Hollywood still stretched before me like the yellow brick road through the advent of the talkies and then Technicolor; the search for Scarlett O’Hara; the fight over Citizen Kane; the war years at the Hollywood Canteen; the postwar rise of anti-Communism and its resulting blacklist; the decline of radio and the rise of television; movies going widescreen and 3-D and stereophonic, and anything else they could come up with to forestall the inevitable breakdown of the studio system.

There was so much story to tell, so much history to explore, and I was excited to plunge into it all. And now six years have flown by and suddenly we’re close to the end of the rollercoaster. This coming November (2018) I will be releasing the final novel in my series, but for now, I am excited to offer you a preview of what is coming.

CLOSING CREDITS

Book 9 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels

by Martin Turnbull

DUE FOR RELEASE IN NOVEMBER 2018

"Closing Credits" - Book 9 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah series by Martin Turnbull

This final book stretches from late 1955 to summer 1959 and is about the end of everything:

  • this series of novels
  • the 1950s and everything it represented
  • the restrictive Production Code
  • Hollywood’s golden-era studio system
  • the Garden of Allah Hotel

I wanted a cover that would represent all that, and decided that the Garden of Allah’s closing night party in late August 1959 symbolized it perfectly.

You can see a collection of photos taken that night HERE. As you’ll see, it was quite the merrymaking event.

I asked my cover designer, Dan Yeager to come up with an amalgamation of those images, and I think he’s done a marvelous job. It is also my hope that Closing Credits gives us a taste of what we missed out on, and a fond farewell as we come to that final, bittersweet THE END.

~oOo~

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Sometimes the end is only the beginning.

Kathryn Massey thought a long-forgotten secret was dead and buried—just like the 1950s are about to be—but when a mysterious list circulating Screenland ignites salacious rumors about the gossip columnist, it’s her life that now falls under the magnifying glass.

Marcus Adler is a rare survivor of the Hollywood blacklist. Beset by writer’s block, he’s intrigued by an abandoned box in the basement of the Garden of Allah Hotel. Its contents could rejuvenate his career—but cost him his reputation.

Gwendolyn Brick stumbled into the blossoming television industry. No fan of the spotlight, she’s conflicted by the opportunities coming her way. Things are about to change, and when she teams up with Lucille Ball, she won’t let the network stop the rapid march to progress.

On busy backlots and in quiet basements, secrets and lies dance with fame and failure amid Hollywood’s dying golden era. Nobody knows how this movie’s going to end . . . but it’ll be one for the ages.

Closing Credits is the ninth and final installment in Martin Turnbull’s Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga.

~oOo~

The Garden of Allah Hotel as seen from Sunset Blvd, circa late 1940sThe Garden of Allah Hotel as seen from Sunset Blvd, circa late 1940s. (colorized)
It opened in January 1927 and closed in August 1959.

~oOo~

CHAPTER 1

Kathryn Massey wished she had a button on her desk labeled “SILENCE.” In the twenty years she’d worked in the Hollywood Reporter newsroom, she’d grown inured to the incessant shrieking of telephones, lewd comments thrown around like clay pigeons, and barking laughter at the expense of some studio peacock whose weekly salary exceeded the gross national product of a small European nation.

The zip and zing of sixty-five people battling to meet a collective deadline usually galvanized her into a feverish blur of fingertips pounding typewriter keys. But there were days when the din drowned her thoughts and she wished she could hit her SILENCE button and make the racket fade away.

This was one of those days.

She fell back in her chair and reached for her Chesterfields. The pack was empty, the ashtray filled to overflowing. She had worked hard to build Window on Hollywood into the read-first column that had filmland denizens asking, What is Kathryn Massey writing about today?

Tomorrow’s column addressed a subject that could point the way for a brand-new future for Hollywood. But only if she worded it exactly right.

She had just come from a press preview for The Man with the Golden Arm. The movie had everything going for it. Starring Frank Sinatra, directed by Otto Preminger, and based on a National Book Award–winning novel, it was about an ex-con’s attempt to kick his heroin habit. Stirring stuff. Gritty. Unflinching. And likely to be at the front of the line when it came time to hand out shiny awards—except for one little detail: the producers planned to release the picture without Production Code approval.

Preminger had done it with The Moon Is Blue, and that brave shot across the bow had paid off handsomely by pulling in eight times its budget. But this Sinatra movie, with its ex-cons, card sharks, strippers, and heroin addicts did more than break the Code’s rules; it was a double-fisted, middle-finger salute to the sacrosanct Code and the bluenosed puritans whose morality was stuck in Victorian-era quicksand.

This was 1955, for crying out loud. What could and could not be depicted on screen needed to be overhauled—or better still, overturned. If The Man with the Golden Arm was the hundred-pound bowling ball to knock over those carefully arranged wooden pins, Kathryn was all for it.

And if she could word her column to persuade rather than browbeat, she might set the whole town talking. But she needed to say it right, and at the moment, the squall around her served to distract rather than ignite.

She dropped the empty cigarette pack into her trashcan and cast around the office for a catalyst to kickstart her juices. What caught her eye, though, was the Reporter’s honey-blonde receptionist stomping toward the women’s bathroom. Deadline or not, the sight of this one-woman Sherman’s March to the Sea was worth investigating.

Her telephone buzzed.

“This is Kathryn Massey.”

“Are you free to talk discreetly?” Darryl Zanuck sounded as though every syllable was being throttled out of him.

“I’m sitting in a roomful of people all within spitballing distance.”

“I want to come see you.”

In the usual course of events, men like Zanuck issued summons and people like Kathryn broke the speed limit to accommodate them.

“When did you have in mind?”

“Tonight. Your place.”

The “OH!” rocketed out of Kathryn before she had a chance to smooth away its sharp edges. “How’s about eight o’clock? I’m in number twelve.”

“Be sure Nelson Hoyt is there.”

He hung up, leaving her to wonder what the blue blazes had just happened. For Zanuck to request a meeting at the Garden of Allah was puzzling, but to ask that her private-eye boyfriend also be there was intriguing.

Kathryn’s mind returned once more to the vision of Cassandra beelining for the ladies’ room, and she got to her feet. She found the girl seated at the farthermost mirror repairing her watery mascara and parked herself at the neighboring vanity. “You okay?”

Cassandra reached into her purse and pulled out three sheets of paper that had been stapled together. She crumpled them in her fist like the bouquet of a bride jilted at the altar. “Mr. Wilkerson had me paw through yesterday’s trash to look for a memo he accidentally threw out.”

“Is that it?”

“No. This is a list of employees and their salaries.” Cassandra thrust the papers into Kathryn’s hand and told her to check the name at the bottom of the third page.

Kathryn smoothed out the papers on the vanity and flipped to the last page in the sheaf. Her eyes narrowed. The number wasn’t much but she guessed it was probably the going rate for a seventeen-year-old mailroom boy.

“Now look at my name, top of page two.”

Kathryn turned the page over. “You earn seven dollars a week less than the mailroom boy?”

“Yup, the one who’s been working here eleven months.”

“But you’ve—”

“Nearly ten years.”

Kathryn checked her salary against her own name on the list. The amount was accurate. “You want me to take this to Wilkerson?”

“Look at Mike’s figure.”

From the day Mike Connolly had arrived at the Reporter, Kathryn had suffered through a love-hate relationship with the guy who wrote the other high-profile column. He had pushed The Rambling Reporter to admirable prominence, but his snide tone and underhanded tactics left her wishing he’d creep back to Daily Variety, from whence he’d slithered.

She stared mutely at the number beside his name until Cassandra asked, “Do you feel like puking?”

“I’ve been here for twenty years. I had a radio show. I helped elevate the Hollywood Reporter name to national prominence. I—I’m—”

“—paid a whole bunch less?”

Kathryn sat motionless, transfixed by a whirlpool of emotions. It was outrageous. Stupefying. Downright insulting was what it was. “Do you mind if I hang onto this?”

“You can cut it up and make paper dolls, for all I care.”

On the hike back to her desk, Kathryn counted seven women, including herself and Cassandra. Of the ten lowest-paid staff members, eight of them were women. She was the only one on a decent salary.

She picked up the phone and buzzed Billy Wilkerson’s secretary to see if he was available. Vera told her he was at Santa Anita and wouldn’t be in the office until tomorrow. Kathryn inserted the papers into the zippered side pocket of her handbag. “One campaign at a time,” she told herself, and turned back to her typewriter.

* * *

By the time eight bells chimed on her mantle clock, Kathryn had decided it was just as well that her boss had been at the racetrack. If she’d roared over there, guns blazing like Annie Oakley, she might’ve ended up shooting herself in the foot. Taking the time to consider all approaches might result in a more equitable outcome—and not just for her, but for every female employee at the Reporter.

“Am I fooling myself?” she asked Nelson.

“About what?” He knew as well as Kathryn did that this was likely to be no ordinary meeting, so he had stirred up a pitcher of martinis.

“Men are paid more because they have families to raise, kids to send to college, Elks Lodge fees to pay.”

“You don’t actually believe that, do you?”

Even as she’d said it out loud, she knew she was regurgitating all the drivel Wilkerson would give her. “No, but I’m not sure which way to play it.”

“Are you asking for advice, or do you just need an ear to bend?” He moved aside the vase of pink and mauve peonies she’d arranged in order to distract her anxious hands.

“You’re a guy, too,” she said drily, “so your loyalty is questionable.”

He kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Do I get extra points for being a guy who’s one hundred percent on your side?”

She smiled. Their rock-strewn trail to romance used to feel like the plot of an over-baked Ida Lupino picture. But once they’d dropped all pretenses that the relationship couldn’t work, everything had fallen into place.

Their summer of 1955 had been a glorious kaleidoscope of candlelit dinners, Sunday picnics on Malibu Beach, holding hands at the movies, and splurging on expensive champagne that neither of them could sensibly afford. But the first bloom of a new love was not the time to be sensible. Not even if that new love was on its second go-around.

“Yes,” she told him. “You get ten extra points.”

A soft tap-tap-tap wasn’t what Kathryn expected from a movie mogul. Then again, a home visit was unprecedented too. Kathryn pulled at the cuffs of her blouse before she opened the door.

Darryl Zanuck usually held himself like a Roman general. Tonight, however, he looked every inch the sort of five-foot-six guy who wished he was six-foot-five.

He stepped into Kathryn’s vestibule with a reticence she wouldn’t have believed possible if she wasn’t witnessing it firsthand. “Thank you for making the time.” He threaded the brim of his Homburg through his fingers.

Kathryn made the introductions and led Zanuck into the living room, where she gave him the choice of sofa or dining room chair. He threw the hat onto the dining table.

As Nelson poured the martinis, she took a seat beside Zanuck. “I assume you’re here for something that ought not be discussed at the office?”

He reached into his jacket and pulled out a sheet of paper folded into thirds. “I received this in the mail.” Zanuck hadn’t looked her in the eye yet. “It came to the house marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential.’” He unfolded the paper and laid it in front of her.

None of the twenty names that filled the page in a neatly typed column sounded familiar. “Who are these women? Ex-girlfriends?”

“Jesus! How many women do you think I’ve had?”

She threw Zanuck a look that said, Don’t make me answer that.

He chugged a mouthful of martini that must have burned his throat. “I don’t have a clue who they are, but you’re as well connected in this town as anyone I know. Probably even better.”

“I suppose that’s true.”

“Are you sure you don’t know any of those names?”

She read it again. One of them near the bottom—Lorelei Boothe—looked familiar, but only in the vaguest way. Or was she thinking of Lorelei Lee, the character Marilyn Monroe had played in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? “Sorry, but I don’t.”

Zanuck turned to Nelson. “I want to hire you to look into these women.”

Nelson took the paper from Kathryn. “I can certainly do that. My daily retainer—”

“Christ only knows where your investigations might lead—” he pressed his forefinger to the table “—so it goes without saying that you must exercise the utmost discretion.”

“Of course.”

“And that goes for you, too,” Zanuck told Kathryn. “If you promise to keep this on the Q.T., I can offer you the scoop of the decade.”

No word in the English language possessed the power to set Kathryn Massey’s heart fluttering like the word scoop. Especially when followed by those three delicious qualifiers: of the decade. She sipped her martini, then sipped it again for reinforcement. “I’m all ears.”

Zanuck let a moment tick by. Two villas away, Doris Adler was holding a cribbage party, although given the loud chatter punctuated with bursts of laughter, Kathryn doubted that much cribbage was being played.

“I’m moving to Europe to start a new life with Bella Darvi,” he said.

During her time in Hollywood, Kathryn had witnessed the careers of czars like Zanuck come to an end. Virtually every one had had to be dragged from his office, fingernails raking the carpet.

“That’s quite a step,” she said evenly.

His eyes came to rest on Kathryn’s reproduction of a Maxfield Parrish painting called “The Garden of Allah”—a neoclassic image of a languid trio of gauze-draped women lounging at the edge of a pool. “I’m following my heart for once.”

“Thank you for trusting me with this.” Her mind was whirling: she had been planning how to confront her boss about the insulting pay disparity, but she knew she would need as much firepower as she could muster—and this earthquake had landed in her lap right when she needed it.

“I have a condition,” Zanuck said, interrupting her thoughts.

“Name it.”

“You have to sit on this news until I’m ready to announce it.”

“And when—?”

“February at the latest.”

Three months. News this big was like smoke in a wicker basket: likely to leak out at any time. It’d be a miracle if Louella Parsons or Hedda Hopper or Sheilah Graham didn’t catch wind of it first. Or worse, Mike Connolly.

“Can I have your word on this?” Zanuck asked.

“Absolutely.” She pointed to the list. “Can I keep it?”

“All yours.” He followed Kathryn to the front door. Stepping outside, he said, “I’ve always heard about this place. It’s nice. Cozy. Got atmosphere.”

“You should have been here in the twenties and thirties.”

His eyes sparked with long-dormant memory. “Prohibition! Those were the days, weren’t they?” He jammed his hat on his head. “But nothing lasts forever.”

She listened to the sound of the gravel crunching under his Mullen & Bluett shoes and watched him dissolve into the shadows.

~oOo~

CLOSING CREDITS is due for release in NOVEMBER 2018

~oOo~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
Book 8 – City of Myths
Book 9 – Closing Credits (due out November 2018)

~oOo~

The Hollywood's Garden of Allah series by Martin Turnbull - all 9 titles

~oOo~

http://martinturnbull.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=62c973885c7e930d8b9a754aa&id=e5f41676a2~oOo~

 

 

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Releasing the audiobook of “City of Myths” (and other tidbits)

I am very happy and excited and all-things-tingly to announce the release of a new audiobook in my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

BOOK 8: CITY OF MYTHS

I have a new narrator for this one. His name is Price Waldman and oh boy, did he have a challenge on his hands. Not only did he have to contend with the usual rigors of giving voice to Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn, but part of the story unfolds in Italy, so he also had to come up with a number of Italian accents, as well as some Italian dialogue. In addition to that, he had to voice Romanian film director Jean Negulesco, Polish actress Bella Darvi, Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, and Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe. He has done a superb job and I’m sure all you audiobook fans out there will agree.

"City of Myths" by Martin Turnbull, narrated by Price Waldman (audiobook cover)

The City of Myths audiobook is available through:

Amazon

Audible

iTunes

Links to the paperback and ebook versions are on the City of Myths page on my website.

~oOo~

CITY OF MYTHS

When you live in a city built on shifting sands of myth, it can be hard to know which way is up.

Kathryn Massey spends her days spreading rumors and keeping secrets. Losing herself one headline at a time has left Kathryn’s personal identity scattered—and dumps her at the narrow end of the bargaining table with the man she trusts the least.

Gwendolyn Brick has simpler aspirations. As a costume designer, her sights are set on glamour, not heights of fame. But her friendship with Marilyn Monroe puts her directly into the crosshairs of studio head, Darryl Zanuck—and he’s someone you don’t say no to.

Marcus Adler is stuck in a much more precarious situation. Exiled in Rome but under the spell of an unexpected romance, he’ll have to learn to say goodbye to everything he’s accomplished in order to give love a chance.

The road through Hollywood bears sharply to the right as those who dare to play its game can easily become lost in its intoxicating glow.

~oOo~

HOLLYWOOD’S GARDEN OF ALLAH NOVELS – BOOK 9

For those of you who are wondering, the first draft of the 9th (and final!) book is progressing well. In fact, I’m working on the second-to-last chapter right now. It takes place at the Garden’s closing party, which means it all comes down to this night. Come the morning, there shall be no more Garden of Allah Hotel…

(For photos of that night, see my collection of shots taken during the party.)

~oOo~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
  • Book 8 – City of Myths
  • Book 9 – Due out November 2018-ish (emphasis on “ish”)

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels by Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels on FACEBOOK

Martin Turnbull’s audio books on Audible.com

~oOo~

 

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Now available! Book 8 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels: “CITY OF MYTHS”

Those of us who are fascinated by all things golden-era Hollywood can sometimes forget that it wasn’t the only city in the business of myth creation. When I started writing my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels, my focus was entirely on Los Angeles. But as my series and research progressed into the 1950s, I was reminded that there was another city in the process of creating its own myths: Rome.

Via Veneto, Rome, 1950s

Via Veneto, Rome, 1950s

It wasn’t the only place, of course. Paris, London, and Scandinavia were also busy reviving their post-war cinema, but in the course of my reading, I came to see that Rome in the 50s was much like LA in the 30s, which is to say an effervescent ferment of creativity where the right people with the right skills and the right look rose to the surface. Together they created the legendary careers of people who we still talk about today: Lollobrigida, De Sica, Rossellini, Loren, De Laurentiis, Fellini, Zeffirelli.

And not just people, but places, too, like Via Veneto, the home of café society and paparazzi (originally called scattini) centered at the Café de Paris, and the vast studio facility, Cinecittà, where the Italians were filming their own mythic Roman Empire stories, and where Hollywood studios came to shoot productions like Quo Vadis (1951), Roman Holiday (1953), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Helen of Troy (1956) and Ben-Hur. (1959)

By the mid 50s, Hollywood filmmaking could no longer take place on back lots. 1952 saw"Three Coins in the Fountain" movie poster the inauguration of the first commercial jet services, which gave rise to faster air travel, which in turn birthed the “jet set.” This development brought the world to Hollywood, and Hollywood to the world. This meant that it was no longer the epicenter of filmic mythmaking. I struggled for a while to find a title that straddled both Hollywood and Rome until I had a head-slapping “DUH!” moment. The perfect name had been staring me in the face all along.

I am very happy to announce that my new novel

“CITY OF MYTHS”

is now available.

~oOo~

"City of Myths" by Martin Turnbull (book 8 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah series

When you live in a city built on shifting sands of myth, it can be hard to know which way is up.

Kathryn Massey spends her days spreading rumors and keeping secrets. Losing herself one headline at a time has left Kathryn’s personal identity scattered—and dumps her at the narrow end of the bargaining table with the man she trusts the least.

Gwendolyn Brick has simpler aspirations. As a costume designer, her sights are set on glamour, not heights of fame. But her friendship with Marilyn Monroe puts her directly into the crosshairs of studio head, Darryl Zanuck—and he’s someone you don’t say no to.

Marcus Adler is stuck in a much more precarious situation. Exiled in Rome but under the spell of an unexpected romance, he’ll have to learn to say goodbye to everything he’s accomplished in order to give love a chance.

The road through Hollywood bears sharply to the right as those who dare to play its game can easily become lost in its intoxicating glow.

City of Myths is now available in the following formats:

Martin Turnbull with
“City of Myths”
Book 8 – February 2018

Amazon (US) Kindle ebook

Amazon (US) paperback

Amazon (UK) Kindle ebook

Amazon (UK) paperback

Amazon (Australia) Kindle ebook

Amazon (Canada) Kindle ebook

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Barnes & Noble paperback

Apple iBook ebook

Kobo ebook

Overdrive

Book Depository (free shipping worldwide for all paperbacks)

Audiobook – COMING SOON!

For more information, see the CITY OF MYTHS page on my website.

~oOo~

And when you have read City of Myths (assuming, of course, that you enjoyed it), if you have the chance and inclination, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on whichever website you bought it. Rate it as many stars as you see fit, and give your honest opinion. Just a couple of lines will do! The more reviews a book has, the higher its profile rises. Thanks!
Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

THE HOLLYWOOD’S GARDEN OF ALLAH NOVELS:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
  • Book 8 – City of Myths
  • Book 9 – details to be announced
~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

~oOo~
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“The Ranch” – a Hollywood boyhood reminiscence

Winston Churchill said “History is written by the victors.” I’d like to append that with this corollary: “History belongs to those who record it.”

As a history buff–and especially as a Hollywood history buff–I love to hear about it all. “No detail too small” is my way of thinking. And I’ve found that those fine details can only be recalled by people who were there. And those of us who weren’t around at the time can only hear those stories if people take the time to write them down.

Recently, Richard Dixon contacted me to tell me how much he enjoys my daily Photo Blog posts and to share with me a reminiscence from his boyhood spent in Los Angeles. I enjoyed it so much I asked his permission to reproduce it here so that it, too, can become part of the public record.

THE RANCH

by Richard Dixon

“Lady, if you don’t get your boy back out of the shot I will be forced to cast him in this movie”.

It was LeRoy Prinz, the Hollywood movie director, speaking. Everyone laughed, I turned bright red, and my Mom pulled me way back. The film being shot was A Boy and His Dog; the year was 1946. I was 11 years old and already fascinated by everything about the movies. This Warner Bros. production which, by the way, went on to win an Academy Award for Best Short Feature of 1947 was filming on location and I couldn’t help myself from being as close to the action as I could possibly get. You see, I was now living on a movie ranch. It had once been The Lasky-Paramount Movie Ranch back in the very early days of Hollywood film-making.

Poster for "The Squaw Man" (1914)Cecil B. DeMille shot parts of Squaw Man there. DW Griffith shot scenes for Intolerance and Birth of a Nation, too. The studio had moved most of the standing sets up the coast to Agora in 1924 and opened the new Paramount Ranch there, but this entire area remained a film-shoot location and on this day, the movie was being shot, literally, right in our front yard.

Our family had been living in Burbank when my father was offered the position of manager of a part of this movie ranch, which was in the Hollywood hills just across the LA River from the Warner Brothers studio. We were on the east side of Mt. Hollywood facing the San Fernando Valley. It was the end of my Catalina Street adventure and the beginning of a very special time of my childhood.

The entire area was later bought by Forest Lawn and became Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. It covered a thousand acres of wilderness and forest with standing sets here and there. Dry stream beds ran down deep gullies and there were mountain lions living in the caves up on the bare face of Mt. Cahuenga to the west. Although Hollywood was only a 20-minute drive over the Cahuenga Pass from our place, coyotes howled in the gully outside our house in the night creating the feeling that we were many miles from civilization. It was a boy’s living fantasy—and I was that boy.

You entered the ranch through a wooden gate on Hollingsworth Drive, which ran along the Los Angeles River just across from the Warner Brothers Studio. The roads from this point on were all dirt. Suddenly you would find yourself in a wilderness, removed from the clatter of the city. The remains of the old Lasky racetrack were on the left as you entered, and up ahead a ways was the Hudkins Brothers Ranch. This Ranch was mostly made up of stables housing movie horses.

Hudkins Stables - Burbank - Roy Rogers - Trigger Hudkins Stables - Burbank - Roy Rogers - Trigger

Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Silver from a personal appearance booking at Pleasure Island, amusement park, Wakefield Massachusetts

Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Silver from a personal appearance booking at Pleasure Island, amusement park, Wakefield Massachusetts.

Some of the most famous horses in film history had been boarded there over the years. Included among them was Trigger, who was purchased by Roy Rogers from the Hudkins Brothers back in, I believe, the early 1940s. Also Silver, of Lone Ranger fame, Smoky, and a lot of amazing stunt horses like those owned and ridden by Fred Kennedy, the great stunt rider of movie westerns.

There were also big barns housing all kinds of wagons, buckboards and stagecoaches just beyond the stables. We would drive through this area about three quarters of a mile up the road through a forest of mountain oaks and sycamores to our house situated at the foot of Mt. Hollywood.

My father was back in his element. Having been raised on a West Texas cattle ranch and possessing a true love for horses, he did not hesitate to leave his conventional job in Burbank to take up a position where he would be around horses every day. This was his real calling: to wake up in this beautiful setting every morning and work with horses all day long. A lot of the western stars of that time were friends of my father: Preston Foster, Bill Williams, Ken Curtis, and others. Some of these folks would visit us at the Ranch and it was exciting for me to see them in person.

On this property, there was a stable with about ten horses and a small heard of around thirty cattle that we kept fenced in an area of several acres. The horses were owned by wealthy businessmen and western actors who boarded them at our stable and rode mostly on weekends. The cattle were used in film shoots. We also had a paddock for exercising the horses, and were surrounded by beautiful, rolling woodlands where I would ride my beloved Idaho, a gentle bay mare that was my constant companion.

Each day after school, most Saturdays and Sundays, and every day during summer vacation, Idaho and I would venture out in search of film crews shooting in the area. Sometimes we would just wander through the lush oak woods, dreaming of being in an adventure movie among standing sets left from the old Lasky-Paramount days.

One summer day we headed over to Gopher Flats, a large open area about three quarters of a mile long and had a dirt track that was suitable for stage coaches, buckboards and horses to travel on.

Running parallel to the track was a paved road, which ran its entire length. This road was used by a camera car to film running horses or stage coaches. The camera car, usually a Woody station wagon with a camera and a couple of chairs mounted on top, would travel along with the action, a camera man and director sitting in the chairs on top filming the scene. What a thrill to witness these people work. I would watch these activities for hours on end and only leave when the sun was sinking, the usable light lost and the crew was packing up to head back to the studio.

As we approached The Flats that day, I saw that a large location shoot was under way. ItPoster for Stallion Road" starring Ronald Reagan, Alexis Smith, and Zachary Scott (1947) was a Warner Bros. crew and they were setting up to film an unusual scene. They were shooting Stallion Road (1947) starring Ronald Reagan and Alexis Smith. Rounding out the other parts was Zachary Scott and Harry Davenport. Harry was the consummate character actor of his time but is best remembered for playing the old family doctor or the friendly country squire.

So, why was Gopher Flats chosen for the scene being shot? The script called for a scene at the beach, and believe it or not it made sense to use this unlikely location.

When I saw the film some time later I realized why they chose this place. The scene starts with Reagan and Smith riding in the shallow surf of Santa Monica beach. They save a small boy who is caught in deep surf and they come out of the water carrying the boy up on the sand and play out the scene at the water’s edge. The script called for a wilderness background, and because the beach at Santa Monica had a city background with cars whizzing by on the highway, the reverse shot had to be filmed at Gopher Flats. My lucky day!

Perhaps because I was riding a horse, I was always able to get right up to the edge of everything that was going on. No one ever asked me what I was doing there. This was all right with me because I was in a different world as I witnessed the magic unfolding before my eyes.

On a slope of the Flats thirty miles from Santa Monica, the Warners crew had spread sand over a large sloping area and scattered wet seaweed around. A fire truck was standing by with several large hoses that were fitted with nozzles that produced soapy water. When the director, Raoul Walsh, called “Cue water,” the hoses gushed forth and a mountain of foamy “waves” roared up the slope. As the water retreated, he called “Action!” and the players moved into frame carrying the small boy. The result was stunning to me—they were emerging from the surf! It was completely believable.

When this shot was cut together with the previously filmed ocean footage, the audience would never think for a moment that they had been visually “taken.” A year or so later, I saw Stallion Road in a movie theater and was thrilled to see the beach scene that I had witnessed being shot and, yes, I was taken in just like everyone else.

Over the next several weeks I watched other scenes being shot at various locations on the Ranch for this film, both day and night shoots. Returning home from a visit to my grandparents one evening, we drove right through a night shoot on the Ranch near our house. I remember looking through the car window at what was going on and wishing I could hang around to take it all in.

I have come to realize that this aspect of motion picture making is visual “fraud” in which the director and his team take bits and pieces of film footage, usually shot out of sequence, in locations far apart, then hand them over to a talented editor who in the darkness of the cutting room cuts and splices these various bits of business together into a seamless motion that glides across the screen. Yes, all of this is what makes me helplessly enamored with every aspect of movie making.

Over the three years that my family lived on the Ranch, I watched many films being shot on location there. Some I never knew the names of, but among the ones I do know are The Boy With Green Hair, The Perils Of Pauline, Hoppy’s Holiday, It Happened on Fifth Avenue and So Dear To My Heart.

After three years on the Ranch, Dad took another job, managing a riding academy and I said a sad farewell to some of the most wonderful years of my youth. Those experiences were magical and unforgettable, and have, in some ways, influenced my entire life. Whenever I am in a nostalgic frame of mind, I can, even today, relive moments that made a young boy love every waking hour of the day.


Learn more information about the Lasky Ranch, see:

The Three Stooges, Birth of a Nation, Forest Lawn Trees



UPDATE: CITY OF MYTHS (book 8)

"City of Myths" by Martin Turnbull (book 8 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah series

 

Yesterday, I got the manuscript for City of Myths back from my editor, so we are still on track for a release date of late February 2018.

For those of you who keep telling me “The longer the book, the better!” you’ll be pleased to know that she said it was such a tight manuscript that she only lost about 1000 words, which mean this one will definitely be the longest one yet.


UPDATE: MAREM PERFUME

Marem perfume artwork (Caswell-Massey)

A while ago I announced an exciting project that I and the Alla Nazimova Society have become involved in. New York perfumer, Caswell-Massey announced that they were releasing a new fragrance based on a personal perfume they formulated for Alla Nazimova in 1914. They sent me a sample of MAREM (which is Alla’s original name in Russian) and I am glad to report that it’s delightful. Recently they sent me this artwork so that we can see can get an idea of the bottle and the box. I’m excited to share it with you all today and will keep you posted about their launches, which are planned for sometime in the spring of 2018.

~oOo~

http://www.MartinTurnbull.com

For tons of photos and information about the places and people mentioned
in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels, visit Martin Turnbull on Facebook
and/or go to his Photo Blog on his website.

~oOo~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
  • Book 8 – City of Myths (due out February 2018)
  • Book 9 – Watch this space for future announcements

Martin Turnbull's Hollywood's Garden of Allah novel 10 book banner

~oOo~

http://martinturnbull.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=62c973885c7e930d8b9a754aa&id=e5f41676a2

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Keep your footing on the shifting sands of myth: revealing the 8th Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novel

A fellow Hollywood researcher and writer recently moaned to me what a challenge it is to tease fact from fiction in a place built on fabrication. The product of this town – the movies – was born of imagination, and the people who made them – stars, moguls, directors, writers, craftspeople of all kinds – became obscured behind a gauzy curtain of (usually) self-serving fairy tales.

Cover of Photoplay magazine featuring "The Life and Loves of Ava Gardner"“What is the accurate story?” wasn’t the question that sold tickets, newspapers, and fan magazines, but “What is the most interesting story?” The daughter of a laundress becomes a Boston debutante. A Romanian refugee is now a member of European royalty. A shoeless kid from rural Georgia metamorphoses into the scion of a cotton plantation owner.

People moved to California in order to reinvent themselves in an attempt to leave their "California Here I Come" by Al Jolsonoften-wretched past behind. And where better to do it in a city whose stories, myths, and legends were created?

I was surprised when my friend expressed his frustration. While I certainly understood it, my reaction was the opposite. What makes this an endlessly fascinating topic to explore is that the truth about how Hollywood movies were made is so hard to know. In real life, it’s difficult to live with “fake news” and revisionist history, but deliberately obscured truths are all part and parcel of the allure of golden-era Hollywood, if you ask me.

And that’s why I decided to call my eighth and second-last Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novel:

CITY OF MYTHS

Book 8 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels

by Martin Turnbull

DUE FOR RELEASE IN FEBRUARY 2018

"City of Myths" by Martin Turnbull (book 8 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah series

For the cover of this book, I wanted to incorporate the symbol that has come to represent the film industry: the Hollywood sign. But I asked my cover designer, Dan Yeager to give us a view of the “H” from the rear. I wanted it to represent the underbelly flipside to all the glamorous portraits, the razzle-dazzle dance numbers, and the sweeping romantic music as the screen fades to black. The tension between what was put on screen at odds with the human cost it took to get it there is something I find endlessly fascinating and is the overarching theme of my novels. I think that the backside of the “H” in the Hollywood sign symbolizes that struggle perfectly—what do you think?

~oOo~

BOOK DESCRIPTION

When you live in a city built on shifting sands of myth, it can be hard to know which way is up.

Kathryn Massey spends her days spreading rumors and keeping secrets. Losing herself one headline at a time has left Kathryn’s personal identity scattered—and dumps her at the narrow end of the bargaining table with the man she trusts the least.

Gwendolyn Brick has simpler aspirations. As a costume designer, her sights are set on glamour, not heights of fame. But her friendship with Marilyn Monroe puts her directly into the crosshairs of studio head, Darryl Zanuck—and he’s someone you don’t say no to.

Marcus Adler is stuck in a much more precarious situation. Exiled in Rome but under the spell of an unexpected romance, he’ll have to learn to say goodbye to everything he’s accomplished in order to give love a chance.

In City of Myths, the road through Hollywood bears sharply to the right as those who dare to play its game can easily become lost in its intoxicating glow.

~oOo~

CHAPTER 1

Marcus Adler vaulted onto the stone balustrade at the eastern rim of the Trevi Fountain and twisted the zoom lens on his camera. Louis Jourdan sharpened into view as the early afternoon sun reflected off the white marble, highlighting the actor’s aristocratic face. Marcus waited for a movie-star smile and knew right away his photo was a keeper.

Jean Negulesco, the director on Three Coins in the Fountain, had kept a sure hand through long days toiling in the relentless Roman summer. But September was around the corner, which meant that in four days the cast and crew would be boarding a Pan Am flight back to the States.

Everybody else would be resuming their lives and tackling the next film, but for Marcus, it meant picking up his life again.

Goodbye blacklist.

Goodbye graylist.

Hello Garden of Allah Hotel.

Hello career.

Today they were shooting the final scene where the three couples reunited around a deserted Trevi Fountain to what Marcus guessed would be the swell of the movie’s theme song—the on-set rumor was that Frank Sinatra was going to record it.

But two rolls of film and only one usable photo was not a great ratio.

Negulesco walked out from behind the enormous Technicolor camera and approached Jourdan with a beckoning hand. As Marcus lifted his Leica to readjust the zoom, he heard a metallic clattering at his feet. One of his cufflinks bounced off the stone and plopped into the water swirling eight feet below.

It wasn’t just any cufflink; it was half of his favorite pair, two gold studs embedded with three tiny emeralds apiece. Strictly speaking, they weren’t his; they belonged to someone he’d been avoiding ever since he arrived in Italy.

Not that Marcus wanted to see Oliver Trenton. Of course, he wanted to, but Marcus knew it wasn’t healthy, so he’d avoided walking past the seminary where Oliver had enrolled in the Jesuit priesthood nearly three years before.

Filming had taken them all over the city, but never near Piazza Colonna. They were there right now, a couple of blocks from it.

Four more days, Marcus told himself, then you’ll be out of here and you can put this behind you.

The cufflink glinted on the concrete bottom of the fountain. He jumped down from the balustrade and skirted around the fountain’s edge until he was close enough to dip his fingers; the water was refreshingly cool in the stifling August heat. Marcus thought of the pool at the Garden of Allah, and how this time next week he’d be able to dive in any time he wanted. God, how he’d missed that.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Negulesco announced to the crew gathered around the Piazza di Trevi. “We have dust in the camera. Mr. Krasner and his team will need several hours to clean it all out, so I’m calling an early lunch until two o’clock.”

Marcus turned back to the water. It didn’t look too deep. Knee height, maybe? Waist deep at most. With any luck he could slip off his shoes, wade in, collect the cufflink, and wade out again before anyone objected.

“Marcus?” Negulesco curled a finger. “May I have a word?”

He joined the director in the doorway of a gelato store. “I got a great shot of Louis, and another of you two just before the camera clogged.”

“We need to talk.”

Jean Negulesco was an urbane Eastern European who eschewed shouting in favor of expressing himself with an air of genteel authority that brooked little opposition. However, in Marcus’s experience, no pleasant conversation ever started with the words “We need to talk.”

“Sure. What’s up?”

Negulesco took a long pause, heavy with apprehension. “Let’s walk.” He led Marcus out of the piazza and into one of the narrow lanes that made up the labyrinth of Rome. “River of No Return has been a rough shoot. Otto Preminger and Marilyn Monroe have not gotten along very well and evidently it shows. Zanuck has decided that a number of scenes require reshoots, and he wants me to step in.”

“For no screen credit, I assume?” Marcus asked.

“‘Take one for the team’ is how he put it.”

They turned onto a wider thoroughfare, Via del Corso, where a long newsstand hawked an array of European and international newspapers. The headline straddling The New York Times was about the Korean war. Marcus ached to find out what was happening back home, but Negulesco pressed on. This was no casual stroll.

“Does this mean you want me to accompany you on the set when we get back?” Marcus asked. “Kathryn Massey wrote to me the other day. She told me that Monroe—”

“Zanuck has plans for you.”

“Some other movie?”

Demetrius and the Gladiators and Prince Valiant were currently shooting on the Fox lot. Did either of them have a troubled script?

Negulesco remained silent for half a block. “He wants you to stay in Rome.”

Marcus halted out front of a basket store. “Nope.” He shoved his hands down his pockets and rattled the loose change inside. “I took this job so that I could get off the graylist. And when we’ve finished, I get to go back to LA and start my life over.”

“I know,” Negulesco replied quietly.

“I’m getting on that Pan Am flight and neither you nor Zanuck can stop me.” The edges of the lira coins dug into Marcus’s fingers. He pressed them harder until they hurt. “I’ve been counting the days since we got here. He can’t snatch this away from me.”

Negulesco wrapped an arm around Marcus’s shoulders and pulled him farther along the sidewalk. “There are worse things in the world than having someone like Darryl Zanuck owe you a favor.”

Marcus shrugged away the director’s arm. Its intended intimacy wasn’t lost on him, but it felt like a heavy yoke. The two men veered into a side street. It was a relief to step away from the unsettling bustle. “What were his words, exactly?”

“It was a P.S. at the end of his telegram. He said that he had extra duties for you to complete.”

“But he didn’t say what?”

“You’re to expect a telephone call sometime next week.”

“Don’t those trans-Atlantic calls cost a fortune?”

“They do, which means it must be important. And that means he trusts you. Trust is not a quality that comes easily to the Zanucks of this world.”

“So I’m supposed to wave you off at the airport, then sit around until the telephone rings?”

“Think of it as enjoying the Eternal City on someone else’s dime,” Negulesco advised. “And while you’re here, maybe you’ll have to run a few errands.”

They were standing at a pasta store window that held fifty different sorts, composed like a Picasso cubist sculpture. The arrangement was astonishingly clever, and must have taken hours to assemble.

I’m a forty-seven-year-old messenger boy.

“You won’t be off any list, gray or black, until Zanuck says so.” Negulesco pulled at Marcus’s elbow. “Let’s take a breather on that bench over there in the shade.”

It was noticeably cooler on the south side of the street. Marcus felt the tension slip from his shoulders. “If you were to take an educated guess about what these errands might be . . .?”

The director watched an old lady dressed from bonnet to shoes in widow’s black shuffle past, dragging a shopping cart behind her. Every dozen steps or so, she stopped to fan herself with her purse or nod to a storeowner she knew.

“Movie audiences are getting more sophisticated. Fake backlot versions of the Spanish Steps and the Colosseum don’t cut it anymore. For pictures like Three Coins in the Fountain, the studio is selling Europe as an authentic shooting destination. I imagine Zanuck’s going to want lots of scenic pictures of Rome.”

“That’s not something he needs to place a trans-Atlantic call for.”

“I know, which is why I’d put my money on Bella Darvi. She’s one of his new protégés. Her name came up a few times in that telegram. With The Robe poised to clean up at the box office, I think he’s looking at casting her in The Egyptian.”

The Robe was Fox’s first picture in the new widescreen CinemaScope format and was set to premiere in LA the following week. In her most recent letter, Kathryn had told Marcus that Zanuck was expecting the movie “to out-DeMille DeMille.”

But it was Marcus who had originally planted the idea for The Robe in Zanuck’s head. Hope warmed his chest as clues started to fall into place.

“Does Zanuck want to film The Egyptian at Cinecittà?” he asked Negulesco.

“The studio still has a mountain of frozen funds locked up over here—but that might be an excuse.”

“For what?”

“If they film in Italy, he might have to make a trip to ensure the cast and crew are happy.”

“He didn’t do it for Three Coins.”

“Ah, but our picture doesn’t feature Bella Darvi.”

Another puzzle piece. “She isn’t just a protégé, is she?”

“You asked for an educated guess, Marcus. And if life has educated me about one thing, it’s that men like Darryl F. Zanuck can think with only one part of their anatomy at a time.”

Halfway down the block, a church bell announced that it was one o’clock.

Negulesco got to his feet. “There’s a place not far from here that serves the best saltimbocca alla Romana in the whole city. Care to join me?”

“Thanks,” Marcus said, “but I need time to think. I’ll see you at the Trevi.”

Negulesco headed back the way they’d come, dissolving into the crowd of hungry locals emerging from doorways in search of lunch. “Ciao!” and “Benvenuto!” echoed off the walls as cafés and bars started to fill.

Marcus stood up and pulled his shirt away from the sweat that coated his back. He thought more clearly when he was in motion, which usually meant swimming laps, but the Garden of Allah pool was 6,327 miles away, so he’d have to make do with walking.

He turned left and headed toward the church. The bell was silent now; it had done its duty for another hour. But as he drew closer, a growing sense of trepidation rose in his throat.

Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle built for two, you’ve got to be kidding me.

For more than a month, Marcus had done everything he could to avoid standing in this exact place. Every time he’d found himself close by, he’d gone out of his way to steer clear of the Jesuit seminary off the Piazza Colonna. And yet here he was ten steps from the matching pair of ornately carved doors that separated him from Oliver. His fingers instinctively reached for the edge of his left sleeve to fiddle with the gold-and-emerald cufflink that now lay at the bottom of a fountain.

A burly man wearing a dark blue suit swept past Marcus; their shoulders brushed as he marched toward the church door. He grasped the circular brass doorknocker and pounded it against the wood.

“APRA QUESTO PORTELLO!”

During his time in Rome, Marcus had picked up a fair smattering of Italian. Open this door!

“ORA!”

Now!

The man tightened his grip and assaulted the door. “APRA QUESTO PORTELLO!” His bellowing brought no response. He pulled off a shoe and struck the door with the heel. The sharp sound made café patrons look up and pigeons take to the air.

“DEVO PARLARE CON QUALCUNO! OGGI! ORA!”

I must speak with someone! Today! Now!

He struck the door again and again until a chunk of weathered wood broke off and fell at his feet. The man gathered it up off the cobblestones, took a couple of steps back, and threw it at the doors.

“NON SIETE UN SANTUARIO! SIETE UNA PRIGIONE!”

You are not a sanctuary! You are a prison!

His face now flushed bright, he turned and stomped past Marcus, muttering a stream of Italian too heated for Marcus to catch. The lunchtime crowds parted for him as though his fury were a contagious disease. Soon he was out of sight and the street gradually resumed its customary hubbub.

Marcus walked to the doors of Oliver’s seminary. The chunk of wood was an angel, about the size of his palm.

Three years ago, when he’d first arrived in Rome to work on Quo Vadis, Marcus had been a refugee. He had seen the Eternal City as an escape hatch from the Hollywood blacklisting that had killed his career.

But now it felt different.

Dusty. Dirty. Decaying.

The magazines might have dubbed it the center of the burgeoning jet set, but to Marcus it felt like a city stuck in its Roman Empire glory. It was the past, and he wanted to get on with his future. He felt like taking off his own shoe and banging it against the doors. That nutty guy was right. You are not a sanctuary. You are a prison.

~oOo~

City of Myths is due for release in FEBRUARY 2018

~oOo~

http://www.MartinTurnbull.com

For tons of photos and information about the places and people mentioned
in the Garden of Allah novels, visit Martin Turnbull on Facebook
and/or go to his Photo Blog on his website.

~oOo~

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
  • Book 8 – City of Myths (due out February 2018)
  • Book 9 – Watch this space for future announcements

Martin Turnbull's Hollywood's Garden of Allah novel 10 book banner

~oOo~

http://martinturnbull.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=62c973885c7e930d8b9a754aa&id=e5f41676a2~oOo~

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Announcing the release of the audiobook of “Tinseltown Confidential” (and other news)

It’s a little amazing to me that I am announcing the release of (the audiobook version of) the 7th novel in my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series, but here we are. Just two more novels to go! I’m deep into the writing of book 8, so the 9th book is now looming on the horizon. In some ways, I feel like a marathon runner who has just turned into the final straight. The finishing line is still a way off, but it’s juuuuuuuust in sight.

Meanwhile, we’ve still got the 1950s to experience and Tinseltown Confidential opens in 1951 just as a new tell-all-spill-all-take-no-prisoners magazine called “Confidential” is ramping up to turn Tinseltown upside down.

So with that in mind, I am pleased to announce the release of the audiobook version of Tinseltown Confidential.

Tinseltown Confidential Audiobook Cover

 

My audiobook narrator – Daniel David Shapiro – has done a wonderful job breathing life into the ups and downs of our three heroes, Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn.

The Tinseltown Confidential audiobook is available through:

And all the links to the paperback and ebook versions are on the Tinseltown Confidential page on my website.

~~~oOo~~~

TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL

(Book 7 in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah series)

by Martin Turnbull

As America embraces the 1950s, that brash upstart called television is poaching Hollywood’s turf, inch by inch. If the studios don’t do something drastic, they may lose the battle.

When screenwriter Marcus Adler fell afoul of the blacklist, Europe offered sanctuary. Hollywood lures him back, but the specter of Joseph McCarthy forces Marcus to fight for a final chance to clear his name.

A charismatic figure rises to intimidate the entire film industry, and Hollywood Reporter Kathryn Massey realizes that she knows a secret that just might topple this self-appointed savior. If Kathryn fails, will her neck land on the chopping block instead?

A new kiss-and-tell magazine splashes onto the scene—but it isn’t playing by the rules. Gwendolyn Brick figures she doesn’t need to worry about a scandal rag until she spots someone lurking around the Garden of Allah during Marilyn Monroe’s birthday party. Suddenly, Confidential threatens to expose everything.

Tinseltown Confidential is the seventh installment in the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah saga. If you like richly woven details, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and characters who come to life, then you’ll love Martin Turnbull’s captivating historical fiction series.

~~~oOo~~~

I am also happy to announce that book 2 in my series – The Trouble with Scarlett – has now been translated into Portuguese by José Luiz Correa da Silva.

O Problema com Scarlett is now available at

~~~oOo~~~

HOLLYWOOD’S GARDEN OF ALLAH NOVELS – BOOK 8

I have now finished the first draft of book 8 in the series. For some reason, this draft came out much longer than most of my first drafts (like, 40,000 words longer!) so editing it down to a manageable length will take a bit longer (and involve a gallon or two more sweat) than I anticipated, but we’ll get there. At this stage, I’m anticipating a release date of February 2018 (…ish.)

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:

  • Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
  • Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
  • Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
  • Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
  • Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
  • Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
  • Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
  • Book 8 – Due out February 2018

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

~oOo~

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull~~~oOo~~~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)~~~oOo~~~

www.MartinTurnbull.com

Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels on FACEBOOK

Martin Turnbull’s audio books on Audible.com

~~~oOo~~~

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A summery fruit salad of golden-era-Hollywood-ness from a sweltery Los Angeles

Hello from an unusually sweltery Los Angeles where we can no longer say “But it’s a dry heat” because apparently we don’t have that anymore…

At any rate, I realized recently that I hadn’t blogged much of late, but that’s because I didn’t have any big news to share with the world. But then I realized that I have a whole bunch of little bits of news, so I’ve thrown them all together like a summer fruit salad and am offering it up for your delight and delectation for you to pick and chose however you’d like.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer (regardless of the humidity wherever your neck of the woods happens to be.)

Martin Turnbull


I recently appeared on the top-rating “HOLLYWOOD & CRIME” podcast that deals with true-live crime in Los Angeles from yesteryear. They invited me to talk about Hollywood scandals of the 1940s to give some context to their Black Dahlia season.

Episode 18 – Noir L.A. – ​ Hollywood Scandals


“TINSELTOWN CONFIDENTIAL” - Book 7 in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels

The EverythingZoomer website recently published an article called

A DOZEN WAYS TO GET YOUR OLD HOLLYWOOD FIX THIS SUMMER

and much to my surprise, my 7th novel – Tinseltown Confidential – was listed among them. I mention this not to say “Look at me! Look at me!” but to point out an article that lists a bunch of books and TV shows that vintage Hollywood fans would like to know about – whether it’s summer or not.


MAREM PERFUME

BY CASWELL-MASSEY

A while ago, the New York perfume company Caswell-Massey approached the Alla Nazimova Society to let us know that they were looking to relaunch a couple of fragrances from their archives. One of them was a perfume they formulated around 100 years ago for Alla Nazimova. They sent me a sample and – at least to my inexperienced nose – it smelled light, sweet, and delightfully feminine. I think Alla would approve. You’ll be hearing more about this as launch time approaches, but for now, I can send you to this landing page for Marem perfume – inspired by the great Nazimova!


A few people have asked me recently if anything became of the screen option deal that I announced a while ago. I can report now that the producer, Tabrez Noorani, has renewed our contract and is putting together a pitch which he will present to the various networks (and there are a lot of them these days!) as a television series. So we might yet still see Marcus, Kathryn, and Gwendolyn coming to our TV screens. You can see the original announcement on my website.


HOLLYWOOD’S GARDEN OF ALLAH NOVELS – BOOK 8

And to those readers out there concerned that Tinseltown Confidential was the final book in the series, you might be pleased to know that there is still book 8 and book 9 to come yet. The Garden of Allah Hotel didn’t close until the summer of 1959, so we’ve still got a whole lot of giddy goings-on to go. Currently, I am about halfway through the first draft of book 8. It’s coming along nicely and I’ll be releasing more details in the coming months.


I’ve read a number of interesting books you might like to know about. My three favorite are:

Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck

MEMO FROM DARRYL F. ZANUCK: THE GOLDEN YEARS
AT TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX
edited by Rudy Behlmer

Zanuck has emerged to become an important character in my later Garden of Allah novels, so I wanted to glean some insight into what he was like. I’m sure he was probably as egotistical as all the other moguls, but he really cared about story and structure, and delivering a satisfying experience to his audience, and worked very hard and very conscientiously to achieve that.

FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M. - AUDREY HEPBURN, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, AND THE DAWN OF THE MODERN WOMAN by Sam Wasson

FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M. – AUDREY HEPBURN, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S,
AND THE DAWN OF THE MODERN WOMAN
by Sam Wasson

What an unexpected gem! This is not just a book about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Wasson offers the theory that the casting of good-girl Audrey Hepburn in the role of bad-girl Holly Golightly was a turning point for nascent 1960s feminism, giving permission to good girls everywhere that being a little bit bad could be a little bit good.


THE REAL NICK AND NORA - FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT, WRITERS OF STAGE AND SCREEN CLASSICS by David L. Goodrich

THE REAL NICK AND NORA:
FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT,
WRITERS OF STAGE AND SCREEN CLASSICS

by David L. Goodrich

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett were a married couple that wrote the screenplays for some of the most beloved Hollywood movies, including the first “Thin Man” films, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Easter Parade,” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” They were also frequent residents of the Garden of Allah Hotel. This biography, written by Frances’ nephew gives, us a loving and well-researched look into what it was really like to be a writer swimming in the shark-infested waters of the Hollywood studio system and Broadway.


I post a vintage photo of Los Angeles, Hollywood, and/or California each day on the photo blog of my website. You can sign up to have them delivered to your email each morning. I also post them (and others) on my Facebook page.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

A LaSalle being attended to in "full service" at the Muller Brothers Service Station at 6380 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, 1938

You know you’re looking at a vintage photo when you’re watching five gas station attendants in pristine uniforms giving full service to one vehicle. This amazing event took place in 1938 at the Muller Brothers Service Station at 6380 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. These days, that location is occupied by the Cinerama Dome. Oh, and that gorgeous vehicle is a LaSalle, which is probably the car I’d hijack if they ever invent a time machine and I got to go back to late 1930s Hollywood.

One of the gems in LA’s architectural panoply is the Richfield Oil building that stood at 555 Flower St in downtown L.A. between 1929 to 1969. With its beacon-topped tower and striking black-and-gold tiling (even though it does look blue in this photo) it was a sight to behold. And let’s be honest, that ornate street lamp is a work of art in itself.

A traffic policeman stops for a tea break, Broadway and 11th Street, Los Angeles, 1927

I don’t know what sort of benefits that members of the Los Angeles Police Department get these days, but I doubt today’s traffic cops get a tea break delivered to them by a uniformed waitress—but they also don’t have to lug their own little wooden box to stand on. This photo was taken at the corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Los Angeles, 1927—that building behind them is still there.

Gloria Swanson by master photographer, Edward Steichen

Gloria Swanson by master photographer, Edward Steichen

Carole Lombard's final appearance at a war bond tour prior to her death in 1942

Carole Lombard’s final appearance at a war bond tour prior to her death in 1942.

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Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:
Book 1: The Garden on Sunset
Book 2: The Trouble with Scarlett
Book 3: Citizen Hollywood
Book 4: Searchlights and Shadows
Book 5: Reds in the Beds
Book 6: Twisted Boulevard
Book 7: Tinseltown Confidential

Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels, by Martin Turnbull

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