Announcing the release of “THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: a novel of World War II Hollywood”

A funny thing happened on the way to writing my Humphrey Bogart-Maltese Falcon-Warner Bros-WWII novel, All the Gin Joints. I realized I wasn’t writing a novel at all; I was writing a trilogy. The people who stayed behind at the home front survived through a lot of changes and upheavals in a short amount of time. Too much to contain in one novel. And so I am now very excited to let you know that

THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS
a novel of World War II Hollywood

Book 2 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

is now available.

~oOo~

Martin Turnbull with “Thank Your Lucky Stars”

~oOo~

BOOK DESCRIPTION

After waving her sweetheart, Luke, off to war, Nell Davenport encounters an unexpected entanglement that will change Hollywood forever.

With combat raging across Europe and the Pacific, jobs of all kinds are now open to women on the home front. Nell sets her sights on the publicity department of the Warner Bros. movie studios as she develops a surprising bond with star Humphrey Bogart. But when a captivating 19-year-old is cast opposite Bogie in To Have and Have Not, the newcomer’s arrival threatens to alter the course of Nell’s blossoming friendship.

When momentous news arrives, Nell must track down Luke—a seemingly impossible feat in wartime. Hope appears on the horizon, but did it have to come from Hedda Hopper, a nasty gossip queen intent on ruining Bogie’s reputation? Maybe Nell’s best way of finding Luke is to unveil a secret she has kept ever since she landed in California. It’s caused only trouble in the past, but finding Luke is her top priority and the clock of war is ticking.

From the author of the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels comes book two in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy—a story set against one of Tinseltown’s greatest true-life love stories.

~oOo~

THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS is now available through these retailers:

Amazon US Kindle

Amazon US Paperback

Amazon Canada Kindle

Amazon Canada Paperback

Amazon UK Kindle

Amazon UK Paperback

Amazon Australia Kindle

Amazon Australia paperback

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Apple ebook

Kobo ebook (US)

Kobo ebook (Canada)

Kobo ebook (Australia)

Scribd

Goodreads

BookBub

Overdrive

Audiobook – COMING SOON

~oOo~

Thank Your Lucky Stars on MartinTurnbull.com

You can read Chapter 1 on my website.

~oOo~

Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

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Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel Jigsaw Puzzle Kickstarter campaign

We never really know what’s going to land in our email inbox on any given day, do we? Case in point:

Recently I heard from Stephen Sasser, co-owner of the Nance-Sasser Studio in Portland, Oregon, who approached me with an idea. They’d recently run a successful fundraiser for the Oregon Historical Society, using a limited-edition, purpose-designed jigsaw puzzle and wondered if I’d be interested in working together on a similar project for the charity of my choosing. After tossing around a few ideas, we have come up with a new Kickstarter campaign to help raise money for the West Hollywood History Center, an organization dedicated to interpreting the unique history of the Creative City, presenting it to the public and preserving it for the future. You can check out their website here.

The image Stephen put together features an old promotional postcard from the Garden of Allah Hotel with a 1950s West Hollywood street map as a background, along with the covers of all nine of my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels along the bottom.

The Nance-Sasser Studio has used this issue on a range of items: postcards, a print to hang on your wall, and a 16 x 20 inch, 504-piece jigsaw puzzle.

JIGSAW PUZZLE BOX COVER

POSTCARDS

Here are the six pledge levels:

Pledge $15 or more 
Garden of Allah Postcards 
With this pledge you will receive five 5×7 inch Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel postcards, with the specially created image sustainably printed in full color.
Your friends will know that you supported Hollywood history when you send them one of these unique cards. And you will deserve a grateful thank you from us, and a shout out on our official website.

Pledge $30 or more 
Garden of Allah Archival Pigment Print 
Nance-Sasser Studio is known across the nation for our art prints. We’re making an archival pigment print of the new Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel image. With this pledge you will receive the print, matted at 11×14 inches. It is ready to be popped into an off-the-shelf frame and will brighten any darkened corner in your home. 
And you will deserve a grateful thank you from us, and you will receive a mention on the contributors page on our website.

Pledge $35 or more 
A Garden of Allah Limited Edition Puzzle
You will be the first to receive our special 504 piece, top quality jigsaw puzzle. Measuring 16 inches by 20 inches, it will contain 504 pieces, printed in full-color and carefully die cut out of sturdy backing board. With your contribution of $40 or more you will receive one of these beautiful puzzles. And you will deserve a grateful thank you from us, and a recognition on our official website.

Pledge $65 or more 
Two Garden of Allah Limited Edition Puzzles
With this pledge you will be the recipient of two Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel puzzles. One to keep and one to share with a Hollywood history buddy. They will be over the moon when you give it to them and you will be just as happy with yours to assemble at home with your loved ones. And you will deserve a grateful thank you from us, and a shout out on our official website.

Pledge $110 or more 
The Whole Hollywood Bonanza 
Get it all! With this pledge you will receive all five post cards, the matted archival pigment print, and two Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel limited edition puzzles delivered to your door. And you will deserve a grateful thank you from us, and be recognized on our official website.

Or if you don’t actually want anything, there’s something for you too:

$10 (pledge without a reward)
Back it because you believe in it.
Support the project for no reward, just because it speaks to you.

~~~

A couple of things to note:

  • This Kickstarter campaign runs through to July 30 2022
  • The estimated delivery will be September 2022
  • Shipping only to U.S. addresses

You can learn more about the Garden of Allah Hotel’s fabled history at the West Hollywood History Center’s website: A Place Called the Garden of Allah

You can help the folks who are dedicated to archiving and preserving a special history of Los Angeles by checking out the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah Hotel Jigsaw Puzzle Kickstarter campaign at:

https://bit.ly/GOA-Kickstarter

Thanks so much for your interest and support. It really means a lot.

Martin Turnbull

PS – And those of you who are wondering, I am currently preparing for publication my next novel. THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: a novel of World War II Hollywood is due for release some time next month, June 2022.

~oOo~

BY MARTIN TURNBULL:


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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

Thank Your Lucky Stars: a novel of World War II Hollywood
Book 2 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy
DUE FOR RELEASE JUNE 2022

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Pinterest

Facebook

~oOo~

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Chapter 1 preview of “Thank Your Lucky Stars” – a novel of World War II Hollywood, by Martin Turnbull

Hello fans of golden-era Hollywood, Turner Classic Movies – specifically Warner Bros., and lovers of WWII historical fiction! Last month, I revealed the title and cover for my upcoming novel, Thank Your Lucky Stars, which is book 2 in my Hollywood Home Front trilogy.

That novel is due to be released in June 2022, but meanwhile, I’m now ready to share the official book description, which will give you a feel for where this trilogy is heading after the events of book 1, All the Gin Joints. And if you keep reading, you’ll find the first chapter which, I hope, will leave you wanting more.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

After waving her sweetheart, Luke, off to war, Nell Davenport encounters an unexpected entanglement that will change Hollywood forever.

With combat raging across Europe and the Pacific, jobs of all kinds are now open to women on the home front. Nell sets her sights on the publicity department of the Warner Bros. movie studios as she develops a surprising bond with star Humphrey Bogart. But when a captivating 19-year-old is cast opposite Bogie in To Have and Have Not, the newcomer’s arrival threatens to alter the course of Nell’s blossoming friendship.

When momentous news arrives, Nell must track down Luke—a seemingly impossible feat in wartime. Hope appears on the horizon, but did it have to come from Hedda Hopper, a nasty gossip queen intent on ruining Bogie’s reputation? Maybe Nell’s best way of finding Luke is to unveil a secret she has kept ever since she landed in California. It’s caused only trouble in the past, but finding Luke is her top priority and the clock of war is ticking.

From the author of the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels comes book two in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy—a story set against one of Tinseltown’s greatest true-life love stories.

~oOo~

CHAPTER ONE

Nell Davenport peeked over the balustrade of the Warner Bros. pirate ship. She watched the white beam from the security guard’s flashlight whisk across Stage Sixteen and didn’t draw another breath until the murky shadows had swallowed him whole.

Finally, she was alone.

Wartime audiences searching for escape and romance ensured that studios were raking it in, which meant Warners was releasing film after film after film. And there had been no tranquility at Nell’s boardinghouse after the Office of War Information had asked landlords to jam two lodgers into each room. Or three, if space permitted. Thankfully, Nell had to contend with only one extra girl hanging damp stockings over her coral-pink lampshade. But now there was twice the competition for the morning bathroom.

The cacophony never stopped. The crowding never stopped. The everything never stopped. Sometimes a girl needed a restful nook to recover her wits—like a cozy bunk on a fake pirate ship after everybody else had bolted for the next streetcar or nearest bar.

Something soft and furry ran along Nell’s arm.

She shrank from her unexpected intruder. The tiny photo in her right hand slipped through her fingers and fluttered over the wooden railing and onto the asphalt.

“Damnit, Bucky!” She menaced the studio’s ginger tabby cat with her sternest frown. “Of all the pirate ships in all the world, did you have to sneak onto mine?”

Bucky gazed at her. If the Arabella is anybody’s, he seemed to say, it’s Luke Valenti’s.

He had a point. If Luke hadn’t been hiding out here last month, Nell wouldn’t have thought of his bunk as the ideal place to sink into a soft mattress and wonder when she might get a letter from him. She could relive his lips on hers, his fingertips stroking her skin, his breath warming the base of her throat. God, how she loved that. And oh, how she missed it.

“I’ve got one photo of him,” she upbraided Bucky. “If it disappears, I’ll be on the warpath.”

Bucky remained unperturbed. He had seen it all: royal courts, New York slums, Maine cottages, clever sleuths and empty-headed chorines, voodoo doctors and murderous nurses. What could one little script girl do?

Nell clambered down the gangplank and pounced on the snapshot, then tilted it toward the three-quarter moon rising over the Burbank hills.

The day before Luke had left Los Angeles, the two of them had piled into a photo booth because only nitwits kiss their boyfriends goodbye without a snapshot.

She stared at his face in the moonlight’s milky glow. Did the Navy give him toothpaste? Was the food bearable? Was he warm enough at night? Until she received the letter he promised, all she had were questions.

She would be happy with a hastily scribbled postcard. Everything’s fine! Thinking of you! Or maybe she should be patient. He had only been gone a couple of weeks. He was still probably getting settled into the rigors and routines of Navy life while packing his head chock-full of training and information and procedures. But still. He had to know she was missing him something awful.

Fidgety, that’s what she was. Maybe a stroll around the studio would help pacify the ants in her pants.

She headed up Viennese Street to Brownstone Street. They didn’t have brownstones back in her hometown of South Bend, Indiana, but had they reminded Luke of Brooklyn? Maybe one day he’d take her there and point out his favorite haunts. The last block of Argyle Road, where he’d lift his feet off his bicycle pedals and coast along under oaks and elms. The Bay Ridge Candy Shop, where he’d take her for an egg cream.Then on to Bobo’s Bakery at 13th and 54th for the best babka and pumpernickel east of The Battery.

“Yes,” she told Luke’s photo, “I was listening.”

Nobody in his life had paid him the least bit of attention before he had landed in California with fifty-one bucks, three days’ worth of clothes, and no way to get home. But he would have caught her eye, even if he hadn’t been yelling at Humphrey Bogart. Oh, but that second time, when she’d spotted him at Schwab’s, his eyes round as fishbowls . . .

Was it any wonder I plopped myself onto the stool next to you, she thought dreamily, practically cracking the glass counter with my chocolate malted? That way you looked at me, as though you’d fallen overboard and I was the Coast Guard holding the last life preserver.

Overhead, a pair of ducks quacked, their wings silhouetted against the moon, as they headed for the manmade lake where buccaneers fought it out with the King’s Navy, ocean liners plowed the Atlantic, and brave sailors took on Nazi U-boats.

She turned left at the lake, then left again at Editing, and headed into the two-story office block near the water tower. Warner Bros.’ PR department was the length of a football field. It held three rows of identical desks: dark wood, each with its signature green banker’s lamp and battered typewriter, and each one strewn with pencils and wax crayons, chewing gum wrappers and overflowing ashtrays.

Nell loved how this place reeked of ink and crayon. Newsprint and burned matches. The sweat of meeting a last-minute deadline. She could almost hear someone shouting, “I’ve got it!” when he came up with the perfect slogan to sell the latest movie.

It’s still the guy with guts and a gun who wins the war: Gary Cooper in SERGEANT YORK

The five most shocking words ever hurled from the screen: CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY

From a girl aglow with the rapture of her first kiss to a woman fighting for love: Bette Davis in NOW, VOYAGER

Nell wondered if she was more of an oddball than she cared to admit. Untold thousands of outfits crowded the costume warehouse. Props had billiard tables and Maltese falcons she could play with. But where did her restless feet point her? To the publicity department, with its drafted posters and newspaper advertising mockups, its address books with the names and telephone numbers of every columnist, magazine editor, talent agent, private eye, and bookmaker in town. And probably a few hookers, too.

Being a script continuity girl had been an interesting job at first, but she had been doing it for three years. Frankly, she was bored. Did it really matter if Jimmy Cagney said, “These tommy guns” or “Those tommy guns”? Who cared if Ann Sheridan announced, “I’ll wait until you’re out of Sing Sing” or “I’ll wait till you get out of Sing Sing”? Filming on Bogie’s new picture, Action in the North Atlantic, was thundering along, but it was hardly holding her interest.

Casablanca. Now, there was a magnificent picture. It hadn’t been released yet, but it was plain to Nell that it had all the telltale signs of a hit: doomed romance, exotic location, mystery, suspense. Meanwhile, Action in the North Atlantic had a lot of guns and submarines and water, but that was about it. Yawn.

Nell wanted a new job and fresh challenges. With so many fellas away at war, right now was the best time for a gal with a pinch of gumption to get ahead.

She sat at the third desk on the left whose trash can was always filled to overflowing. There was no telling what interesting nugget she might find among the discards. She scooped up the topmost ball of paper and flattened a Western Union telegram.

NOT HAPPY STOP
LEGS LIKE DANCING SPIDER MIRROR STOP
TOMORROW DAWNS BUT NOT WITH KONG KING STOP
WHISKEY FRISKY RISKY STOP
GEORGE

The only way the cable made sense was if this George guy was drunk—and the Western Union clerk, too. No wonder it had ended up in the trash.

Was it George Raft? He’d been bitter since he’d turned down Sam Spade and Rick Blaine. What a stupid ass.

She picked up the telephone and pretended to dial a number. “It’s Davenport from Warners PR. I got another one of Raft’s nutty rants. Made about as much sense as that Salvador Dali kook. Yeah, that’s right. Drunk. Again.” She slung her feet on top of the desk. “Your client needs to stop sending these cockamamie telegrams when he’s stinko. Okay? Okay!”

Nell slammed down the telephone receiver onto its cradle like the people who crowded this room probably did. She’d bet ten bucks this place hummed all day with jangling telephones, typewriter keys pounding at a gallop, and voices calling out, “What’s another word for ‘tremendous’ that we haven’t used on Flynn since Dive Bomber?”

She left PR and headed past Duplication to the Recording building. Should she? Could she? Dare she?

No, she shouldn’t.

Nell retracted her hand from the door handle as though it were an electric iron. Look what happened the last time you opened your mouth to sing. The entire family had come home early from church and caught you belting a high C. Oh brother, the martyred looks and stern lectures.

She stepped away from the door. On the other side lay forbidden territory.

But still. But still.

Nobody was around. Nobody was watching. A peaceful silence blanketed the studio like a snowfall.

Screw it. This isn’t Indiana.

A long corridor lay past the small foyer with its stiff-backed chairs and potted ficus. Nell tried the first door and peeked inside.

Jackpot.

The recording studio was square, around fifty feet by fifty feet. Next to an upright piano, a thick pile of papers rested on a music stand.

Complete score for
SHINE ON, HARVEST MOON
Producer: William Jacobs
Director: David Butler
Musical Director: Leo F. Forbstein
Orchestrator: Frank Perkins

Nell flipped to the first song.

“Shine On, Harvest Moon”
Sung by Dennis Morgan and Ann Sheridan
(singing voice to be dubbed by Lynn Martin)

She lifted the sheet music, walked past the empty wooden chairs of the horn section, and stepped inside the booth. The microphone was about the size of her fist, with horizontal bars across the front and vertical ones at each end. It smelled faintly of a floral perfume she couldn’t place. Whoever had last stood here sure had poured it on thick.

She dug her fingernails into the palms of her hands. Why so jittery? There’s nobody here to disapprove.

“The chorus,” she murmured to herself. “Four lines, then take off before your nerve deserts you.”

She opened her mouth, filled her lungs and sang:

“Shine on, shine on, harvest moon up in the sky,
I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June or July.
Snow time ain’t no time to stay outdoors and spoon,
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon, for me and my ga-a-a-a-a-al.”

How different she sounded. So clear! So strong! Not at all like the voice in the living room when everyone was at Sunday morning Mass, thinking she had succumbed to a fever.

Reluctantly, she gathered up the sheet music again. She’d pushed her luck far enough. Anyone might come through that door and demand to know what the heck was going on. She hurried down the corridor and through the foyer. As she stepped outside, a loud clatter echoed off the soundstage walls to her right. Nell froze, choking off the gasp that threatened to fly from her.

Why hadn’t she stayed safe and cozy in Luke’s bunk on the Arabella where security guards wouldn’t think of looking? She was a script girl who had no legitimate reason to be romping around the recording studio at midnight on a Wednesday. This was wartime. Spies and saboteurs could lurk in any dim corner.

A grinding sound followed, then a harsh CLANG!

Panic crushed her chest; all she heard was the pounding in her ears and her breath coming in short, strangled huffs. She listened through the crack, but heard no footsteps or tuneless whistling. No flashlight zig-zagged across Stage Ten’s ventilator shaft.

Meow. Meow.

The ginger tabby crouched in front of an upended trash can and sniffed at the contents spilled across the lane. “That’s the second time tonight you’ve scared the cranberries out of me.”

He strolled over and rubbed the length of his body against her shin.

She knelt down and stroked his soft fur. “Did you hear me sing? That long note at the end? Pretty hot stuff, huh? Mother and Father wouldn’t approve. Even ‘Shine On, Harvest Moon’ is the devil’s music to them. I couldn’t win, could I, Bucky-boy?”

The cat meowed loudly, which Nell took to mean, “Not in a million years. You did the right thing. Isn’t it time for bed now?”

She straightened and turned to the mess the cat had made. Lying among the newspapers, chicken legs, and drinking straws, was a handbill with two large words across the top: HOLLYWOOOD CANTEEN.

It was a reference to the pet project of Bette Davis and John Garfield, a canteen where servicemen on shore leave could stop by to get some refreshment, meet glamour girls, and maybe even dance with a movie star. It was opening in a week’s time and Davis was recruiting volunteers. Join us! it cajoled at the bottom. Won’t you do your bit for our boys and for the noble cause we’re all fighting for?

She folded it up and slid it into her pocket. “Come on, Bucky. It’s about time you and I got some shut-eye.”

~oOo~

The song lyrics quoted above are in public domain.

~oOo~

~oOo~

I certainly hope you enjoyed that peek into what’s coming down the pipeline. Watch this space for further developments. The manuscript is currently with my editor and is due for release late June 2022.

And thanks so much for your interest in my work. I do appreciate it so very much.

All the best,

Martin Turnbull

~oOo~

ALSO BY MARTIN TURNBULL:


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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Pinterest

Facebook

~oOo~

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Revealing book 2 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy

I have a confession. When I started writing my previous novel – All the Gin Joints, set against the tumultuous making of Casablanca – I had no idea it would be anything but a stand-alone. I had long wanted to write a novel with the filming of the Warner Bros.’ classic as a backdrop, and now its time had come.

However, it wasn’t until I was halfway through the first draft that I experienced an epiphany. I wasn’t merely writing a story that happened to take place in Hollywood during WWII. I was, in fact, telling a much larger story of a fraught time in a place that was central to getting the pro-war, pro-Allies, pro-victory message out to everybody in the world pitching themselves against the Axis.

I realized that in Luke, Nell, Tristan, Beatrice, Gus, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, and half the Warners studio, I had a group of people enduring an intense experience together during a turbulent era. Oh, there was lots more story to tell of wartime life in Hollywood.

I’m still tweaking the manuscript ahead of shipping it off to my editor, but I’m now ready to reveal the title and cover art:

THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS

a novel of World War II Hollywood

by
Martin Turnbull
Book 2 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy

I am currently shooting for a summer 2022 release, and will soon be ready to reveal the book description to give you a taste of what’s to come. But for now, I’m hoping you’ve taken note that the figure featured in this cover is a girl, which means that the spotlight shifts from All the Gin Joint’s Luke to someone else . . .

Watch this space for more details!

~oOo~

~oOo~

Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
(Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy)

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Garden of Allah Hotel model scan superimposed over former site at the southwest corner of Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights Blvd, West Hollywood, March 2022

Today’s post is a departure from my usual vintage photos of Los Angeles. But first, a bit of backstory. Recently, I did an on-camera interview for a documentary about some of Marilyn Monroe’s effects found in a public storage facility in the mini mall on the former site of the Garden of Allah Hotel. I mentioned that there was a scale model of the hotel, and gave the filmmakers the details of the guy who has it. A couple of days ago, the cinematographer emailed me to say that they scanned the model using a special camera and have superimposed the image they took using a drone they sent over what is currently a construction site. I can honestly say that in the 15 years I’ve been researching and writing about this place, it’s the first time it felt real to me. Pretty amazing, huh?!

~oOo~

Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
(Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy)

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The gala opening of the Max Factor building, 1666 N. Highland Ave, Hollywood, November 26, 1935

I always assumed that the opening of the new Max Factor building at 1666 N. Highland Ave in Hollywood on November 27, 1935 was probably a big deal, but until I came across this photo and started digging a little deeper, I didn’t know the opening was a gala attended by so many stars and celebrities. It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, Max Factor was one of the go-to makeup guys in Hollywood with an A-list roster of clientele. But this photo taken on the big night makes it look more like a movie premiere.

This is an advertisement placed in the Los Angeles Times the following day announcing that the makeup studio is now open:

This advertisement appeared in the January 1935 issue of The Screen Guilds Magazine:

This article appeared in Variety on November 26, 1935:

Max Factor’s upcoming opening also made the L.A. Times on November 17, 1935:

Even more amazing is that a scroll of celebrity autographes was made for the evening, the MAX FACTOR’S SCROLL OF FAME:

In this photo, Max Factor is holding an ink pot for Barbara Stanwyck as she signs the scroll with a quill:

Here’s some of the people who were there that night:

  • Veronica Lake
  • Lucille Ball
  • Edgar Burgen
  • Spencer Tracy
  • Virginia Bruce
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Phyllis Haver
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Colleen Moore
  • Maureen O’Hara
  • Errol Flynn
  • Jack LaRue
  • Claudette Colbert
  • Judy Garland
  • Edward G Robinson
  • John Barrymore
  • Esther Ralston
  • Deborah Kerr
  • Robert Taylor
  • Barbara Stanwyck
  • Ann Rutherford
  • Bela Lugosi

And here’s a few more shots of the building:

From some time in the mid-to-late 1930s:

From 1938 (this one looks like it was taken from a motion picture)

And this one is from circa 1952:

The building is still around and in great condition. It now houses the Hollywood Museum and Mel’s Diner. This image is from November 2021:

~oOo~

My sincere thanks to Judithe Raimist Hilton Factor for most of the photos and information she generously shared with me for this post.

~oOo~

Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood
(Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front Trilogy)

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

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Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

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For those of you who live in Los Angeles…

Those of you who live in L.A. might like to know that I’ve been asked to moderate what promises to be a wonderful evening at the Hollywood Heritage Museum opposite the Hollywood Bowl. Richard Niles, the stepson of Jesse Lasky Jr, whose father practically invented Hollywood, has republished his father’s autobiography. We will be talking about the book and the legacy of the Lasky family (and so much more!) on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 7:30pm. Tickets are strictly limited so dilly-dallying is not recommended.

You can book your tickets here:https://bit.ly/LaskyBookEvent

See also:

JesseLaskyJr.com

“Whatever Happened to Hollywood?” – In conversation with Richard Niles, step-son of Jesse Lasky Jr

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Connect with Martin Turnbull:

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Bogie in your ears

For those of you who prefer to listen to their books, I’m very happy to let you know that the audiobook version of my novel

ALL THE GIN JOINTS
a novel of World War II Hollywood

Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

performed by James Romick is now available.

It’s wartime … it’s Warner Bros … it’s Bogie … it’s The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca … what has Luke Valenti gotten himself into?

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You can get the audiobook format at:

Amazon

Audible

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Some reviews for All the Gin Joints:


In All the Gin Joints, Turnbull puts his hero smack in the middle of the filming of Casablanca, including vivid recreations of sitting at a table in the Warner Bros. commissary, shopping at a famous menswear shop, sailing as a guest on Bogey’s own sailboat, and an extended stay in the Bogarts’ guest bedroom. This story has romance, mystery, adventure, nostalgia, history, celebrity, suspense, and surprises….all woven into a delightful, fast-moving tale that immerses the reader in the fantasy world of making fantasy seem real and the real seem like fantasy.


If you’re one of those people who loves old Hollywood, can rattle off obscure (to the uninitiated) facts about the stars and studios and appreciates endearing characters in an exciting read, “All the Gin Joints” is the book for you. Now, I’m not a big fan of Bogey – but I think I’m changing my mind after spending some glorious time with him and all of his Warner Brothers buddies (so much more fun than the MGM crowd). As always, Martin’s research is flawless. And seriously, I can’t wait for the next installment.

All of the Gin Joints is Martin Turnbull’s newest release and although it is not a regurgitation of his marvelous Garden of Allah series, it feels like a sequel that every fan craves. The new characters evoke the memorable heroes (and villains) of his earlier books and returns the reader to the familiar macrocosm of the Hollywood Golden Age. This time around, the story focuses on New Yorker Luke Valenti and his subsequent exploits living and working in Hollywood, first with a group of like-minded outcasts and later with Humphrey Bogart himself.

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Or if you prefer to read your fiction in either paperback or ebook formats, jump over to my website for links to all the retailers:

All the Gin Joints on MartinTurnbull.com

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Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

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Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

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Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

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A preview visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

After too many delays to count, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is finally opening on September 30th, 2021. As a founding member of the museum, I recently had the opportunity to attend on of the preview days. I am happy to report that is very well done, with an interesting mix of old Hollywood and new, together with exhibits on more specialized niche subjects. For those of you who don’t live close, I thought I’d share some photos with you, so that you can glimpse what is there.

The Mt Rushmore backdrop used in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959):

On display were also some storyboards used in planning the movie:

Three “Rosebud” sleds were made for Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles didn’t like the way the first one burned when it hit the fire, but he was happy with 2nd one. This is the 3rd one. Apparently it’s on loan from Stephen Spielberg.

It was amazing to see so many Oscars lined up in one room:

Included in the display is Clark Gable’s Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934)

And the Best Story and Screenplay Oscar for Sunset Boulevard (1950), won by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and D. M. Marshman Jr.

You might recognize this outfit designed by Bob Mackie for Cher when she went to the Oscars in 1986:

The display that the Cher outfit stands on has a decade-by-decade recap of Oscar highlights:

This is the typewriter used by Joseph Stephano when he wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)

There were a few highlights, but it’s hard to beat this pair of ruby slippers made for Judy Garland to wear in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939). There are now four pairs still in existence. The Smithsonian has one of the other pairs. According to the sign, this was the pair used most often in close-ups.

The ruby slippers are in a whole room devoted to The Wizard of Oz. Nearby is the Cowardly Lion’s mane and the hat of the Wicked Witch of the West:

The sign next to the Tin Man’s oil can said that during filming, they used not oil but chocolate syrup!

This is a Technicolor motion picture camera, the type that would have been used to film The Wizard of Oz:

Shirley Temple’s dress from Little Miss Broadway (1938):

These costumes were worn by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in the “Two Little Girls From Little Rock” number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953):

You might recall seeing this credit at the end of Warner Bros.’ “Merrie Melodies” cartoon shorts:

This was the animator’s desk used by Disney animator, Frank Thomas, who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Bambi (1942), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and Sleeping Beauty (1959). He collaborated with an architect to create the ideal animator’s desk, which has been used ever since.

This is called a maquette and is used as a reference for animators. This is for the first incarnation of Bugs Bunny for his debut short, A Wild Hare. (1940)

R2D2 from Star Wars is there too:

And of course next to him is C3PO:

And right next to him is E.T.

Nearby is Johnny Depp’s costume for Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990)

And finally Bruce the shark from Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws (1975)

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Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

and don’t forget my latest novel, book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy:

All the Gin Joints: a novel of World War II Hollywood

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

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Announcing the release of “ALL THE GIN JOINTS: a novel of World War II Hollywood”

Unless we’re a part of the Psychic Friends Network (does that service even still exist???) we never really know what life has in store for us, do we? And maybe that’s a good thing. Take me, for instance. If anyone had told me 30 years ago that I’d be moving to Los Angeles, where I would end up making a name for myself as the author of novels set during Hollywood’s golden era, I would have laughed in their face. “HA!” I would have said. “You’re drunk. Go home.” And yet here I am, doing exactly that—and nobody is more surprised than me.

Or take the hero of my new novel, All the Gin Joints. Luke Valenti from Brooklyn, New York has a whole bunch of reasons to say no when his favorite aunt asks him to return a stolen prop from Warner Bros.’ The Maltese Falcon. It’s the last thing he wants to do, but when he says yes, it propels him into a future he never saw coming.

I am very excited to let you know that

ALL THE GIN JOINTS: a novel of World War II Hollywood

Book 1 in the Hollywood Home Front trilogy

is now available.

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Martin Turnbull with ALL THE GIN JOINTS

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Luke Valenti has never fit into his swaggering family of overbearing loudmouths. Even worse, the world is at war again and Uncle Sam has stamped his draft notice “4-F” — the ultimate rejection — because of a rare eye condition that has left Luke unable to see colors. So instead, he dreams of escaping Brooklyn for the beaches of Montauk.

That is, until a stolen prop from The Maltese Falcon pitches him down a reluctant path to Hollywood. Luke is tasked with returning it to Warner Brothers, where Humphrey Bogart is about to embark on the movie that will launch his career into the stratosphere: Casablanca.

But the production is chaotic. Bogie is desperately unhappy in his marriage. Ingrid Bergman feels lost and alone. The script is constantly rewritten, and the overbearing director hates that damned song. Nobody thinks this movie will amount to anything—except the guy who sees in black and white. Finally, Luke has found his way in.

But studio stuntman Gus O’Farrell wants him out again: Luke has replaced him as the star’s stand-in, and Gus is having none of it. Bogie warns Luke to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. It’s great advice, but when a chance to reverse his 4-F status presents itself, Luke needs to learn that distinguishing friends from enemies can be a tricky business in a land where artifice blurs reality like murky shadows in a back alley.

From the author of the Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels comes a story set against the making of one of the most beloved films of all time—and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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ALL THE GIN JOINTS is now available through these retailers:

Amazon US Kindle

Amazon US Paperback

Amazon Canada Kindle

Amazon Canada Paperback

Amazon UK Kindle

Amazon UK Paperback

Amazon Australia Kindle

Amazon Australia paperback

Barnes & Noble Nook ebook

Apple ebook

Kobo ebook (US)

Kobo ebook (Canada)

Kobo ebook (Australia)

Scribd

Goodreads

BookBub

Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)

Overdrive

Audiobook – COMING SOON

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All the Gin Joints on MartinTurnbull.com

You can read Chapter 1 on my website.

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Also by Martin Turnbull:

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 – Closing Credits

Chasing Salomé: a novel of 1920s Hollywood

The Heart of the Lion: a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood

~oOo~

Grab your free books now (limited time offer)

~oOo~

Connect with Martin Turnbull:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

~oOo~

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