Since I hadn’t managed to get to Hollywood Boulevard the other night, I decided to start my day off there. Even though it’s rather an awful place — and yet, it’s not, I can’t make up my mind — it’s certainly an iconic spot and one that I needed to see more than other things on my list. My time in Los Angeles is quickly coming to a close and I feel like I’ve missed out on everything, and yet I can’t really pinpoint what it is that I want to see. I’m going to Little Tokyo and Paramount Studios tomorrow, and I think that will be fun.
I’m going to post the pictures of the stars on the Walk of Fame at the end of the post, because I know it’s going to go on and on and on forever…and ever.
I don’t know how the people here wash their clothing. I can’t find a laundromat to save my life. They have to exist, don’t they? I mean, not everybody has a…I can never remember what their called…bear with…bear with…a washing machine. I swear I’m not that ignorant, I just can’t keep that term in my head. I called it a clothes’ washer more than a washing machine.
Anyway, I gave up and took all my dirty laundry to a dry cleaners. They offer something called fluff and fold. I didn’t know what this meant, so I had to google it. I thought it would be that thing where they just steam your clothes to freshen them up, but it turns out that it’s a term for washing and drying and folding your clothes. It was $1.20 a pound, so I decided to go and do that.
“Dry clean?” The man behind the counter asked me.
“No, just wash and dry?”
He nodded and said again, “Dry clean?”
I don’t speak any Chinese so I didn’t know how to tell him what I wanted. “Uh, clean no dry?”
“Dry clean?” He said with a smile.
I sighed dramatically and said loudly (this helps people who don’t speak English) “FLUFF AND FOLD. FLUFF AND FOLD!”
“AHHHH!” the man said, “Fluff and fold!”
“Yes!’ I cried delightedly, took my ticket, and left.
I walked to the bus stop and gave it the rest of my coin, hopped on, and was soon off to Hollywood & Vine.
The other night I was watching an HBO special from the early 90s about ghosts of Hollywood, and it was pretty awful, but yet wonderful, because it was so awful. On the corner of Hollywood & Vine, sits this bench:
which is not the original bench from the old days, obviously, but it’s the same spot where Lon Chaney would wait to catch the bus each day to the studio. After he became famous he would have his driver take him by here and pick up an extra and take them to the studio. Charming story.
Something not so charming: THE SCIENTOLOGISTS!
SPOOKY! SCARY! Those people are #totescray. They aren’t allowed to read negative things about Scientology online, so it’s not like they’re ever going to see this. The bigwigs probably do. What does bigwig mean anyway? What an odd term. Bear with…bear with…I can’t find the etymology. Weird.
I stopped in the Metro station to fill up my TAP card with a week’s worth of travel. I had meant to do this ages ago, but never got around to it. The Metro is sooooo creepy. It’s cavernous and quiet and there’s nobody down there. I don’t understand why these Los Angelenos won’t use public transportation! Drives me out of my mind.
I was so excited to finally see the Egyptian Theater and have the chance to explore the courtyard.
The theater was originally supposed to have a Mexican theme, as evidenced by the tile roof which is decidedly not Egyptian, but when it was being constructed, King Tutankhamen was discovered and the public went crazy for all things Egypt.
This is the location of the first ever movie premiere, Robin Hood. All the stars were there and this was quite the hotspot until the construction of Grauman’s Chinese very soon after this was built — also by Grauman.
The artwork is silly if you’ve studied actual Egyptian art, still fun to see, though.
From the Egyptian, I continued walked up the street until I came across the Roosevelt Hotel:
The Roosevelt is a very famous hotel. It’s the site of the very first Academy Awards. A hangout of Old Hollywood. It’s absolutely stunning on the inside. Marilyn Monroe did her first photo shoot at the pool. I was insanely in love with the billboard up top. “HOME OF THE WORLD’S ONLY FLYING MIDGET BARTENDER.” Not only this, but it was hosted by Kelly Osbourne! Thrilled, I ran inside to make a reservation, but they were booked for months already. I was so upset.
Since I was in the hotel already, I did that thing I do when I sneak into fancy hotels — happens a lot, reader — and hopped on the elevator and pretended I was a guest. I snuck into this little lounge where they were serving hors d’oeuvres, but it was all meat, like bacon wrapped shrimp. I found that odd. So, I wandered around a bit more and finally left. It was so glamorous. I’d suggest you stay there sometime.
I stopped for a fresh juice at a shop — there was orange, grapefruit, apple, and some other stuff. It was pretty good.
I walked all up and down that bitch of a street, reader! I finally made it to the end of the first side and then walked the other side where I came across Grauman’s Chinese:
Cary Grant is one of my favorite of the Old Hollywood leading men. He had tiny feet.
Nobody was falling to their feet and weeping at Joan’s slab, so I did, of course. I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t. She was the most elegant, had the cleverest greeting, and the best penmanship. Joan is queen!
Tiny, powerful lady.
Doris got flipped around for some reason.
“If I could turn back time,” I’d teach Cher better penmanship.
He was Rhett Butler and Joan’s favorite leading man!
I was asked to leave when I got my crowbar out. If you don’t get that reference, we aren’t going to be friends.
I walked and I walked and as I went passed Vincent Price’s star, I heard the following:
LADY: “Who’s Vincent Price?”
GUY: “Uh, he did that show you watch.”
LADY: “Which one. I watch a lot of shows.”
GUY: “Always watching. Never cooking.”
LADY: “Shut up. What’s he in.”
GUY: “He hosts that show with the questions…Jeopardy.”
I spun around at this point just to glare at them. Alex Trebek and Vincent Price had zero things in common.
I finally found Joan’s star, but more on that later.
On the bus back, I met some people from Iowa and they thought that was the coolest thing that had ever happened to them. I take it that they didn’t get out much. We all bitched about US Cellular for awhile, so that was nice.
After another wonderful taco, I decided to go over to West Hollywood West — which is a real place — because Andrew Christian sells all of their underwear for half price on Tuesdays. I can’t turn that down.
But more important than the discount underwear I got, I MET GIGGY THE POM AND KEN VANDERPUMP:
And now onto the Walk of Fame: I’m going to post a picture and then tell you why I care about them. Enjoy.
Desi is famous for I Love Lucy, but he annoyed me on that show. He’s was always telling Lucy what to do or telling her no or telling her to take back her gorgeous Don Loper dress. But, I’m crazy about this song, so I’ll forgive him:
I was never big on Katharine Hepburn, I just didn’t get her. But then I read her autobiography and found out she was wonderful and she even starred in a musical based on the life of Coco Chanel! I then went on to watch loads of her films and they’re charming.
I hated Audrey for ages. I was wrong. I was just tired of people who had never watched a single one of her films fill their walls up with shit from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. That picture is garbage. I changed my opinion though after I watched some of her lesser-known films, like the magnificent Funny Face or Paris…When It Sizzles!
William Powell is one of the quintessential leading men that everybody has seen but nobody can name. He was a great comic actor and was well known for the Thin Man franchise, which is reportedly being relaunched with Johnny Depp. I’m not sure about that.
Cary Grant was one of the most handsome actors of Old Hollywood and also exceptionally talented. He had a ridiculous accent and he died in Iowa. Also, he was hilarious.
Clark Gable was a screen icon and is forever immortalized by his portrayal of Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. He’s the perfect Rhett — an inspired choice. Much better than who they chose for Ashley. That was scandalous!
I don’t think anybody remembers who Joan Leslie is anymore. She starred in one of my favorite pictures, Hollywood Canteen, the full picture is below! (The site of the famed Hollywood Canteen is now a…can you guess? A parking garage! Must they destroy everything?)
I don’t think I need say a thing about this one. Just watch this genius film:
Remember that one time when Joan Fontaine asked me for five dollars? I’ll never forget. She is an incredible actress and one of the last remaining from the old days. I don’t think I’d ever be able to choose my favorite of her pictures, but if I had to watch one right now, it would be the Hitchcock directed, Suspicion. I couldn’t find a good clip from that, so here’s the entire film, Rebecca, also wonderful:
Gale Gordon was wonderful in the shows Lucille Ball created after I Love Lucy. He was cantankerous and hilarious.
Bela is famous for is portrayal of Dracula in the classic horror film of the same name. It’s an alright picture, but I always find it to be an awful bore. I much preferred the Coppolo version from the 90s. I loved Bela in The Black Cat, a film supposedly inspired by the Poe story of the same name.
I’ve not seen many of his pictures, but I am madly in love with Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, a film that is incredibly important to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many ways it has influenced me. Cotten was masterfully evil in this picture:
I’m obsessed with Marlene Dietrich. It took me a long time to catch on to her, but now that I have, I won’t turn down one of her pictures. She was a strange actress, always seeming to play the same woman, but it worked for her. I thought she was wonderful in the film Stage Fright by Hitchcock. Mainly because of this scene:
Is that not incredible? I love her singing. She has the strangest voice, but it tells a wonderful story. Plus, she was friends with my beloved, Édith Piaf. I remember seeing a picture of her standing at Père Lachaise at Piaf’s funeral. She was removed from the crowd and staring off in misery. It was gorgeous.
Nobody seems to remember Georgia Gibbs. I wouldn’t have had a clue who she was either, but I discovered an old 45 record of her’s of the song, “Let Me Love You,” and well, I fell madly in love with her voice. She also sings the magnificent song, “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d Have Baked A Cake,” which I want to have as the theme song of my cooking show. I need to work on that. The kitchen I was going to tape it in is now gone from me. Long, sad story.
Eartha Kitt is one of the greatest singers of all time. I absolutely adore her. AND, she was the voice of Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove! How much more wonderful could she get? She can’t. She’s like the best person ever. She died when I was in Paris and I began listening to her music nonstop after that. I don’t like to be one of those people who latch on after death, but I am unashamedly with her. This is my favorite song she does, it makes me cry:
Boris is another horror icon, best known for Frankenstein, but I prefer him in the infinitely better sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein.
and then THIS:
Again, there aren’t enough words to celebrate Gloria. I am crazy about her. She’s one of my very favorite actresses. Of course it’s because of Sunset Boulevard, but I adore her in everything she does. Here are some clips of her in action:
One time in Paris, I tracked down Olivia’s townhouse and started shouting at the open window, “I LOVED YOU IN A LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA!” I’m not ashamed of this. She was also divine in the following: The Heiress, The Snake Pit, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Gone With the Wind. She is the lead in my favorite film of all, A Light In The Piazza, which is tragically underrated. I love her. She’s not dead, yet. I want her to be Margo in my movie. Her or her sister, Joan — the one that bummed a fiver off of me. I would die.
Irving Berlin is another great songwriter. He wrote “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Swanee River,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” and so many many more.
Betty rules Hollywood. It’s her town. She’s Rose on The Golden Girls. She’s always on Craig Ferguson (like yours truly). She’s marvelous on Hot In Cleveland. She’s just a delight and the world will weep eternally when she passes on.
Of all the creepy actors of Old Hollywood, Peter Lorre is my very favorite. He was typecast in horror films and did a wonderful job of it, his voice is iconic, but for me, he made Casablanca. I love this guy.
Fanny Brice was amazing. She is the Ziegfield girl that the Barbara Streisand classic, Funny Girl, was based on. She was also in one of Judy Garland’s first movies, Everybody Sing, as a Russian maid and she stole the show.
Jean Arthur has been called “the actress that nobody knew” and that’s very true. You never hear of her, even though she was tremendously talented and costarred with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Some of my favorite of her pictures are: History is Made at Night, The Talk of the Town, and the genius Too Many Husbands.
Judy is an icon for so many reasons. I love her best for her album, Judy at Carnegie Hall best. It is one of the greatest musical recordings of all time. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened and sung along with it.
Oh Joan. I adore you. I worship you. I am your biggest fan. I would give you the respect that you were entitled to. So many marvelous pictures and wonderful stories. See them all. She is my favorite actress of all.
Bette Davis is one of the legends. She was versatile and magnificent and didn’t give a damn how she looked so long as she gave a great performance. She was genius. See her in: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Jezebel, and Dead Ringer.
Tallulah Bankhead didn’t make that many pictures in her life, which surprised me, but the ones she did were magnificent. Die! Die! My Darling is my favorite performance of hers and a major influence on me.
And that was that. I’m now exhausted.