Well, here we are, Day #786,004 of the Covid lockdown. I really don’t know how many days we’ve been sheltering in place but it sure feels like 2,153.6 years, doesn’t it? On the plus side, things are starting to open up, so let’s hope that glimmer of light we’re seeing is, indeed, the end of the tunnel.
But until it is, we have little choice but to carry on living as best we can. Over in my neck o’ the woods, the manuscript for my next novel is currently in the hands of my editor.
THE HEART OF THE LION
a novel of Irving Thalberg’s Hollywood
And that means the book is still on track to be released mid-to-late-June-ish 2020, so not long now!
Meanwhile, I was recently interviewed by Jim Junot, who hosts the “Lights, Camera, Author!” podcast. He contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d come onto the show to talk about my upcoming Irving Thalberg book. You can listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or go here:
The ever-fabulous Lauren Semar launched her podcast this week. In each episode of “Hollywood Party,” she tells us the life of a different personality from Hollywood’s golden era. In the show’s debut, Lauren talks about Desi Arnaz – and she had me laughing from the get go. You can get “Hollywood Party” through all the usual podcast channels or go here:
Meanwhile, to help you all dream of a gentler, kinder time when we didn’t have to worry about passing on a virus while hugging someone, let me share with you some interesting vintage photos of Los Angeles and Hollywood that I’ve come across recently:
Looking west along Wilshire Blvd from Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, 1934
In this photo taken atop whatever building stood on the northeast corner of Virgil Ave and Wilshire Blvd in 1934, we’re looking west toward the Bullocks Wilshire department store. We can see a few of the large homes that used to line Wilshire in the early part of the 20th century.
Getty Mansion aka Norma Desmond’s home in “Sunset Boulevard” midway through demolition, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 1957
An estate once owned by John Paul Getty played the role of “Norma Desmond’s mansion” in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard. This photo was taken in 1957 as it was being demolished. In the foreground we can see the swimming pool, where it all ended rather badly for Mr. Joe Gillis.
The Hollywoodland sign in the Hollywood Hills, 1925
The Hollywoodland sign up the top of the Hollywood Hills looks freshly made and freshly painted, which it still would have been in 1925, just two years after it went up. The Hollywoodland development wasn’t a booming success initially, so walking around the neighborhood would have felt like you were roaming open countryside, which, in a way, you would have been.
“Mom” Lehr’s Hollywood Guild & Canteen, 1284 N. Crescent Heights Blvd,
Los Angeles, circa 1942
This modest sign belies a much-needed service provided to enlisted men passing through Los Angeles en route to the Pacific during WWII. Anne Lehr, the wife of the vice president of United Artists, saw that they didn’t have anywhere to sleep while on leave, so she leased a mansion near the Garden of Allah Hotel and on May 15, 1942, opened the Hollywood Guild & Canteen, in which she provided up to 1200 servicemen with a meal and a place to sleep. When Bette Davis and John Garfield saw what a huge need there was, it inspired them to create the Hollywood Canteen, which opened in October.
View of the Hollywood Bowl during a night performance, circa 1940s
The photographer who took this shot of the Hollywood Bowl was standing past the last row to give us the view of a nighttime performance that would look much the same now as it did back then. The shell form was constructed in 1929 and the decorative pool was installed in 1953. The Hollywood Freeway in the background opened in 1940, so this photo was taken sometime between 1940 and 1953.
Schwab’s Pharmacy menu, 8024 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, circa 1940s
After the Schwab brothers opened their Sunset Blvd location in 1932, it fed the dreams and stomachs of Hollywood hopefuls. Recently I came across a menu from the 1940s. (I have a larger version on my website – scroll down you see click HERE.) I think I’ll start with a Mexican Tamale with chili, then move onto the Club Style Sandwich No. 3, and end with coffee and a Black Beauty for dessert. And what’ll you have?
You’ll most likely be hearing from me again around this time next month when I’ll be letting you know that The Heart of the Lion is available. Until then, I do hope you’re being safe and keeping your sanity intact.
All the best,
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
Connect with Martin Turnbull: