Wednesday, April 25, 2012
1962 - greystone
Above, a picture of Greystone, a.k.a. The Doheny Estate, Beverly Hills, CA., c. 1928-29. A pretty amazing 55 room Tudor style House built on 16 acres of land, with, at that time, another 400 acres of property for expansion, if needed. It was finished in 1928 at a cost of over $3 million---the most expensive home built in Los Angeles up to that time......Fast Forward....... Back in 1962, my father was kind of 'courted' by some prestigious people who hoped that he would bring his Art Collection to Beverly Hills. These were men that he had met because they were Art Collectors who lived here in Los Angeles and in one case, the brother of an Artist. (This was a few years before Daddy was courted by then President Lyndon Johnson and The Smithsonian Institution.....) The men were Taft Schreiber, an important part of the then most important Theatrical Agency in America at that time---MCA, and who was also the head of Revue Studios which became Universal Studios, and the number three man at MCA, and, if you are still following this, MCA owned Revue Studios back then....The second man was Michael Levee, who was an Agent with MCA and who's brother John is the artist I spoke of.....Both Taft Schreiber and Michael Levee were avid Art Collectors and The Schreiber's had a very impressive collection, as did Michael and his wife at the time, Margie.....Daddy had always said that he wanted his Art Collection to stay together because it was a very personal collection---he began collecting with the very first money he ever made as a teenager on Wall Street. (Those first purchases were some etchings, which was all he could afford at the time.....) He was never interested in donating a part of the collection to any Museum or any number of Museums, though many were certainly interested. He never wanted it to be broken up and dispersed all over the country or the world, and there certainly was interest from other country's. He felt the collection should all stay together and that it belonged in The United States because it was the only country in the world where he could have achieved what he did----having come to this country as a 'poor little immigrant boy', who had truly lived out "The American Dream".....These important men of Beverly Hills were attempting to get him to bring his entire collection to Beverly Hills and they felt they had the perfect spot all picked out where all of the sculpture and the paintings could be housed.The Doheny Estate, known as "Greystone", is a beautiful house and a grand property right at the beginning edge of Beverly Hills, just off of Sunset Boulevard, at the end of the area known as 'The Strip'---Going west, Beverly Hills begins at the West End of 'The Strip'. Greystone was built by the Oil man Edward Doheny for his son Ned and his wife, in 1927. A tragedy occurred in the house itself, according to printed stories in the local papers at the time, which I have read. This tragedy occurred five months after Ned and his wife and five children moved into the house in 1928. A mysterious murder-suicide took place. Ned Doheny was shot to death by his male secretary/assistant who then turned the gun on himself, killing himself, as well....All this while Ned's wife and children were upstairs in the mansion....!It was a case that never seemed to be completely solved. But Mrs. Doheny, Ned's widow, lived in the house until 1955, I believe, when she then sold it to a developer named Henry Crown, who owned it at the time these men I mentioned above, began courting my father. (Though they said that the City of Beverly Hills was prepared to buy the property if Daddy Joe agreed to house his Art Collection there.....!) About 400 acres of the land had been sold off to the Trousdale Corporation somewhere along the way, and this very elegant Hill area next to the strip and above Sunset Blvd. became what was known as Trousdale Estates, which I have written about quite extensively in the past....It was kind of like a very very high-end fancy elegant housing development in the hills---one of the first of it's kind.....I remember I used to drive around L.A. on Sundays house hunting, and one Sunday, my dear friend Sammy and I drove up to what was the top of Trousdale because we had heard that Nixon was building a house up there. We actually walked through his house when it still had no walls or anything....It had the most breathtakingly fantastic view. Okay, so the stage is set....and now to 'the play'. Part 2, next time......
More To Come.....
Note: This is still being composed in the original Blogger....that is going to end very soon. I'm still not sure what I will do, because I truly find the NEW Blogger, impossible.
| posted by OldLady Of The Hills at 12:06:00 AM
Saturday, April 21, 2012
When I read of Dick Clark's death, I was reminded of my one little moment with him. It was 1956...He had just taken over a local Philadelphia TV show called "Bandstand". My record, "IF" had been released about six weeks earlier and it was a 'hit' in Connecticut!
A man named Jim Gallant who was the host of a similar type TV show in New Haven, had played my record and evidently, the kids loved it. He called the record company and said...'You better get your girl up here to do the show'......So I went! Because there was such a strong response after my appearance in New Haven, the Record Company, Ember Records, arranged for me to go to Philadelphia, which was a huge redord-market at the time, to do "Bandstand, and a few radio shows, plus stops in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, too......Dick Clark couldn't have been nicer and it was a lovely, though somewhat overwhelming, experience. I remember thinking at the time what a big thing it was to be on this show--and lip-syncing the record with all these teenagers screaming and dancing.....And I was impressed with how gracious Dick Clark was.....I'm afraid lightening did not strike twice---though my appearance was a success, it certainly didn't generate the same kind of popularity and sales that New Haven had....(I ended up doing Jim Gallant's show two more times---and he was incredibly gracious, too.)
"Bandstand", which was still a local in-Philadelphia-only show, when I appeared on it, went National in 1957 and they renamed it "American Bandstand"......and the rest, as they say, is history....! Dick Clark had something quite special about him and it reached right through the camera and into every one's homes....it's that elusive something that made people feel he could be their boyfriend or their brother, or their son or grandson, or even their husband.....Dick Clark had a real like ability about him and the Network saw that and "American Bandstand" became THE place for talent to appear because it was so very popular. It gave one this incredible instant wide exposure, and over the years, everyone appeared on this amazing show..... As we all know, Dick Clark went on to many other on-air shows and also created a company that produced many many other shows for television. He not only had an on-air presence that was saleable, he also had fantastic business smarts.
In 2004, the ever youthful Clark suffered a severe stroke and never ever really regained all that he needed to appear regularly on Television...but that didn't stop him and his company from continuing to produce lots and lots of Television. I was sad to read of his passing....His kind of career is the thing that legends are made of. Yes, he was in the right place and at the right time, but he had 'The Goods" to take that opportunity and turn it into an almost 5 decade career....! RIP, Mr. Clark.More To Come......
NOTE: I HATE the New Blogger....these are not improvements, at all! Everything is so much harder---and I cannot do the things I used to be able to do. The frustration is more than I can bare right now---so, I may have to go elsewhere, or just stop blogging, altogether. How Blogger can call this the 'new and improved' anything, is beyond me.
| posted by OldLady Of The Hills at 12:09:00 AM
Monday, April 16, 2012
This is The Everglades Cabana Club.....We spent many, many, many, MANY hours here, when we were children....It was a fantastic pool and swimming was our passion as children......Miami Beach.....All our afternoons and weekends were spent here, during those winter months when we lived in Florida. This was the late 1930's and into 1940-'41......Such a great place....We had a Cabana there on the second tier---you can kind of see that area way over on the far right side of the postcard above.....Here below, my father...'Daddy Joe', doing what he was always doing....Reading the New York Times or something similar...The Wall Street Journal, maybe? Or maybe some magazine of the day---sitting in front of the Cabana..... I love that you can see the ocean in the background over on the right side of this picture---it all looks so peaceful....And it kind of was, in those early years. We were all so young. This is me, in the backyard of our house on North Bay Road---looking out at Biscayne Bay......The actual photograph is falling apart...So, the best I could do to preserve it, was to scan it in digitally....Below...More disintegrating pictures..... My dear brother and I, in the backyard of our Florida house. He is two years older than me. He is very very ill right now, and it's hard to fathom and even harder to believe. Gordon was always my protector when we were children---and I think I was his protector, too. Our dear Grandmother...'Mamaw'---that's me on the left with her arm around me, and Gordon on the right--Mamaw's other arm around him. and, our dear oldest sister Robin, way over on the right---dear sweet Robin---She died February, 2005. She was eight years older than me. Her death was devastating to all of us. Dear darling Robin and me...sitting on our front door steps on North Bay Road, Miami Beach.......I have no idea what we were looking at....Maybe nothing of importance. But I'm so glad to have this picture of the two of us....Just as I am so glad to have this picture of Gordon with a teacher at one of the schools we went to in Florida.....How sweet he looks...... And this next picture---Gordon and I at "sleep-away" camp...I was four and he was six.....I don't know who the woman is, but probably a camp counselor......... Neither of us look too happy. I think it is a big mistake to send such young kids to 'sleep-away' camp for the whole summer....I'm glad we had each other. I know it effected my whole life in a really negative way.....And below---Here are the four of us siblings in Florida..... That's me over on the left, then Robin, then Gene, and then Gordon....The three of us---Gene, Gordon and I, shared a room in Florida.....I think we did a lot of giggling in that room. Below....another picture at The Everglades Cabana Club in the winter of 1941.....Gene had broken her foot, so of course, she wasn't able to swim....I don't remember who that woman is standing next to Gene, but that's me and Gordon in front....I already have a little pot belly...I was nine, and I was recovering from that horrible illness I have mentioned before---the one that began the irreversible damage to my lungs......Then...this next picture below---this was taken in Great Neck.....Gordon and I were so cute, weren't we? And below, here we are, so very many years later---this photograph of the two of us was taken on October 15th, 2011.....We are not sure yet how Gordon's present illness will go...But, it doesn't look good. Please do say some prayers for him, or hum, or whatever you might do to send healing light and healing thoughts to my dear sweet brother.........
More To Come........
| posted by OldLady Of The Hills at 1:43:00 AM
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I watched the first three episodes of the new series called "Magic City" on the Starz channel. It's about a guy who owns a very big posh Hotel in Miami Beach in 1959. It is---so far---okay. Not great, but pretty good, in my opinion. In their favor, they certainly tried to connect to that time and place in a big way. And so far, I think they have succeeded in that part of the endeavour. It looks like Miami Beach in the 1950's. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, (Remember him from 'Grey's Anatomy'?) is the Star/Owner of this very elaborate and somewhat gaudy Hotel--which was how all the hotels were, back then....This is when Miami Beach was kind of like what the Las Vegas of 10 years hence would be---only, without the legal gambling.....I remember Miami Beach from those early 1950's....So many exotic overdecorated Hotels were being built---The Fountainbleu; The Eden Roc. etc., etc., etc. "Ike", AKA Isaac Evans, (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), owns one of these very high-end palaces, and to hear him tell it---he scratched and clawed his way to get there, and we don't doubt it. Ike and his family are the main people in this series--his 2nd wife, his two grown sons, and, as the series begins, his little daughter who is about to have her Bat Mitzvah. Interesting, yes. Did it grab me? Well, not so far. (see 2nd picture from the top....And, if memory serves, wherever and whenever there were Hotel Nightclubs and Liquor, back-in-the-day, there were always 'the wise guys' or as they are sometimes called, 'the mob'. It's just the way business was run and done, back-in-the-day. Where this show is going and how much we will care about Ike Evans and his family, will very much depend on the redeeming factors of so many of the rather sleaze-baggy people who dominate and inhabit this series. So far, it gets low marks from me in the 'caring' department.Both of Ike' sons seem pretty bland to me, and one of them, rather stupid, as well....his older son Stevie does these incredibly dumb reckless things in those first three episodes---things, that could get him Killed by the Big Boss, played by the wonderfully talented Danny Houston, who's character is scarier then "hell"---he shoots and kills his new wife's dog because the dog is barking too loud while he, the Danny Houston-Mob-Character, is on the phone....Shockingly Harsh, to say the least---and, besides that, we are led to believe he has probably killed his first two wives--and has just now married again as this series opens.His young and seemingly very promiscuous new wife, is already catting about with Ike's son Stevie....! Sounds like a Soap Opera, doesn't it? Well, there's much more which I won't go into now right now. I am very interested to see how this series plays out. The biggest thing to recommend this new series is the "period" and some of the performances, and the fact that it is NOT a "reality" series. (Deliver me from all these Kardashian-like series..PLEASE....!!!). I know I'm from another time...but I STILL want to see "scripted" series, like "MAD MEN"...(Thank God it is finally back after 17 months....)... I really want this new series "Magic City" to succeed...but, I'm going to need more from it than I've seen so far.......I don't think any series can survive on 'nostalgia' alone. We need more from "Magic City" than being true to the look of the period. One of the things that made the "The Sopranos" such a great series right from the get-go, was that we cared about that family. We cared about Tony and Carmella and their children. I'm just not sure I can care about Ike and his family. I hope I can--but after three episodes...it's still not happening....With all that's going on in this series, it still feels kind of lifeless. Not a good thing. Just my opinion, of course.One side effect for me: Watching this series brought back some memories of the Miami Beach in the early 1950's that I knew and experienced----I went there a couple of times during those years, and stayed at a couple of those big hotels.....This was long after my earlier Miami Beach life, as a child, when, as a family, we spent the winters there, going to school, of course, and living in the house on Biscayne Bay that my parents owned at the time. This was long before there were so very many Hotels on the Beach....Back then, the most famous Beach Hotel was The Roney Plaza.....and of course, The Nautilus Hotel, which was down the street from our house. The people who came to The Nautilus, arrived on their Yachts, and docked them right there at The Nautilus' private Marina. It was quite a Hotel. And believe it or not, back then, in the 1930's, it was 'Restricted'.One year in the early 1950's, two of my best friends and I decided to go to Miami Beach for a week. We splurged, and stayed at The Sans Souci, which was "the" Hotel of the moment, and quite beautiful and expensive, 'in season'. The three of us shared a room that was really a gorgeous setting. All three beds faced the magnificent Atlantic Ocean---and the beautiful sandy beach---what a view! It was costly, but with the three of us sharing it, we felt it was well worth it.Unfortunately, I proceeded to get Pneumonia within a day or so of our arrival....(My lungs already being compromised even back then....). The House Doctor, there at the Hotel, wanted to put me in the Hospital...I refused. I figured, staying in the Hotel I would have everything I needed, including first class Room Service, and since it was okay with my two friends, my week was not spent in a lonely Hospital or on the Beautiful Beach getting a tan, but in bed downing a lot of Chicken Soup and Penicillin....So much for experiencing the Glamorous life of Miami Beach in the 1950's....! I hope things work out better for the people in "Magic City", but I have a feeling, it won't. And what ails them will not be able to be cured by Penicillin----in fact, what ails them will no doubt put them in the Atlantic Ocean wearing cement boots. Stay Tuned........
More To Come.......
| posted by OldLady Of The Hills at 12:06:00 AM
Friday, April 06, 2012
Wishing everyone the Happiest of Holidays.....May you celebrate in Peace and Love.....More To Come.......
| posted by OldLady Of The Hills at 6:10:00 PM
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