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.)
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.
The EverythingZoomer website recently published an article called
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.
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: 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
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
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:
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.
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
Carole Lombard’s final appearance at a war bond tour prior to her death in 1942.
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