(Extra)ordinary World

One thing I know about LA is that the rents can be absolutely crazy! Yes, I think I struck lucky with my rented apartment to be honest, and thats just dear old Hollywood. If you talk about some of the more exclusive areas of the city, like the Benedict Canyon area above Beverly Hills, then the rents become positively eye watering! One friend from the area sent me the details for this place, which might be perfect if I was a movie star, with a family, who can drive, but fine, I can dream!

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9971-Westwanda-Dr-Beverly-Hills-CA-90210/20532806_zpid/

Yes, fine, if anyone has $54,000 they wish to spend on a place for me in the Hills, and provide a chauffeur on top, I’d love it. I think I’ll pass on the family of children, but for a place like that, I guess I could be convinced? I assume she realized its about half a mile from the (in)famous Harlow/Bern mansion on Easton Drive when she pointed it out to me too.

Yes, it looks gorgeous, but what would I do in a house that size? Especially one that is about 2 miles from the nearest bus route! But yes, is it perfect for a movie star, absolutely? Sadly, at present, I’m not a movie star, but if anyone is offering the chance? 😉 Fine, I’d need to employ a driver, for sure, but…!

Yes, I need a real Jean Harlow full makeover to live there lol! Oh, I wish!

But yes, fine, its nice to see how the other half live, for sure.

Oh, what, my holiday home. Really? Fine, oh fine…

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/15821595

Will suit me perfectly, but its not Benedict Canyon lol!

The video. Well, as so often, there is a big hint in the blog title, though Benedict Canyon definitely isnt an Ordinary World to me at the moment, but, I can dream!

An Oscar at Warner Brothers, some outer space stuff, and a few humble requests

Right, I’m glad to say that the knee is improving. Still a bit sore, even worse than usual to look at, but hey, I can walk on it, so lets celebrate that at least.

First, lets do some catching up. Yesterday I did the one tour in Hollywood that I wanted to do, though I’d have enjoyed it even more if I could have time warped it back to the 1930’s, but being realistic…Warner Brothers do a studio tour, and I headed off to take a look. Most of it (obviously) relates to modern movies, and TV programming, not the Golden Era that I truly love. But there were a few spots I saw, where films in the 30’s were made, even if the facilities on site were on the whole slightly more technologically up to date than back then. What I had forgotten, until conveniently reminded by my excellent guide, was that Jean Harlow starred in at least 1 movie for Warner’s, while Howard Hughes was contracting her out, ‘Public Enemy’. Alright, more remember Cagney, but anyway… Of course, a short period after that, MGM signed her to a contract, and of course, thats where she’s remembered for working, naturally.

Oh fine, so some of those Batman cars, I wouldnt mind being taken for a ride in, and the Hathaway, Catwoman suit (in my size), I’d love to wear. As for the Mr Freeze outfit… It was also interesting to see inside a sound stage, and imagine that Jean might have done the same walk, across town at MGM.

Seriously, the tour comes highly recommended. I did afterwards get my picture taken with ‘An Oscar’, which I will pull off my camera some time, and post. As close as Jean Harlow ever got to winning one, lol!

The other main moment of hilarity was attempting to arrange the meet that never happened. As much as you can ever know someone only through Twitter, and Facebook, I have the pleasure of knowing a wonderful, crazy guy there, by the name of Matt. Lets leave it at that, to protect his privacy at least, though a few will know who I mean. If I had a smart phone, with internet, and the like, I would have got his Twitter messages after I left here, I would have met him, and got a DVD. Sadly, even though I have a US phone, its cheap, cheerful, and no internet. So, in the end, it never happened. I did ask a couple of people in the studio if they knew the name, met with blank faces. As he told me afterwards, if I’d asked at the end of the Stage 48 part of the tour, where I got my coffee,…would have happened, but…

Today was a briefer trip, to the science museum down at Expo Park, close to USC. I did go mainly for the space stuff, but had a general look around, and yes, its good value. Straight face, that might be because basic entry is free, but seriously, well worth visiting.

Fine, the 2 requests. And lets face it, as you might have guessed, unless you’re in the LA area, you might as well jump to the video link. Well, unless you want to bestow a few thousand dollars on me, so I can stay a bit longer, but otherwise…

Firstly, is to take me out by car (or whatever) to a very special address. 9525 Easton Drive, up above Beverly Hills is the (in)famous home where Jean lived with her 2nd husband, Paul Bern, and where he committed suicide. Well, we assume he did, its the generally believed version, but we will never know for sure now, I guess? If I say this address is 3.5 miles from the nearest public transport point, and that the temperature during the day is still at least in the high 70’s, I’m not going to get there under my own steam. And its not like I’m going to pay a lengthy visit, unless I get invited in, ha ha! So, if anyone is prepared to drive me up there, I’d be eternally grateful. So might Jean’s ghost (allegedly) be, but thats another story! In my dreams, Jay Leno reads this, and drives me up there in 1 of his 30’s cars, but this isnt a fairy tale!

Second request is a more silly one, which I’m sure wont happen, but in this town, where movies are made, and special effects people abound, I can only ask. Yes, a robot transformation, or brainwashing scene, performed on me. No, I dont mean for real (though I wouldnt mind), just a roleplay where it really feels like its going to happen. You have a week, on both these requests, btw.

I know, I know, but if you dont ask…

OK, lastly, the video. One of the things that amuses me, is that the signpost for the main highway, doesnt use San Francisco, when going north, it uses Sacramento. Now fine, the latter is the state capital, and I gather little love is lost between here, and SF, but anyway…I find it funny. So, I’m using that as an excuse to use this golden oldie, from the 70’s, as my video tonight.

And lastly, as you know, recently I was interviewed by a wonderful lady named Alexia. Well, I’m trying to publicize, and raise funds for her new movie. There is one of those Thunderclap things, due to go off tomorrow, which costs you nothing to support, at https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/31154-support-selfdiscovery-film and also, if you want to offer her financial support to get the movie made, go here, and do so https://www.rockethub.com/projects/60770-support-alexia-s-selfdiscovery-film-experiment-the-fantastic-santa-monaco please!

I got to Beverly Hills…eventually

Yesterday morning, I set off with the intention of heading for Beverly Hills, to walk up and down the Rodeo Drive area, and not buy anything more than a coffee! Ah well, best laid plans…

You see, what I did with Google maps, is not specify Rodeo Drive, but just a general hit on Beverly Hills. So back it came, catch the bus at the stop just down the hill from here, and a piece of cake. Yes, that bus did pass through Beverly Hills, but nowhere near where I wanted to be! But rather than admit defeat, or turn around, I stayed on the bus for the ride, and the scenery. Just when I was gasping for a drink, and a bit of lunch, we pull into a shopping centre, I had no idea where. Soon found out, Pacific Palisades, in fact.

Nice lunch, then ran into a lovely old man who tried to sell me some kind of exercise equipment, in his shop, when I went walk about, who I had a lovely chat with, but no sale made. Then, just as I was considering getting back home, I spotted this sign for a massage parlour, charging very reasonable rates. So fine, by the time you add on the ‘compulsory’ 15% tip over here, not so cheap, but anyway… Despite the more luxurious seats when flying out here, the length of the flights, plus the wrenching the knee took when running for that plane in Atlanta, well, I was a bit stiff. Note I said, was. I thought Linda was good, but compared to the lady who worked on me yesterday, oh wow!

So today, with a more accurate routing from Google Maps, I tried again. Got there fine, eventually, due to road works on Wilshire Boulevard (building metro extension, or something) slowing things down a lot. Yes, it was fun walking around the area, especially given that all of Jean’s homes were in that area, though not down town, as I was. Saw a gorgeous dress in a boutique, she would have loved, but I didnt want to know the price!

After that, I headed back into town, and headed out to the Universal Studios lot. No, I did not pay $95 to go where the rides are, nothing of interest to me (at my age) in there. But I had a look round the City Walk shops, before heading back into town, and did my souvenir shopping. Before you ask, and I rip your head off, no, there is very little Golden Age related stuff, Monroe (and Betty Boop, if she counts?) being about the only non modern stars you can find much for. So I’ve got 3 movie stills (Harlow, West, and Brooks), but thats it!

Tomorrow, daytime, not sure. I had an idea of going down to Long Beach, on the Metro, but then realised its quite a trip, and I pretty much have to have everything I can pack, packed before I go out tomorrow evening, as I have an early start on Saturday. Yes, sadly, the holiday is almost over. 😦 I am out tomorrow evening, a ‘Women In Media’ evening, and a film from 1940, but its going to be a latish night, so…ah well, I’ll catch up on sleep Sunday, and Monday! So just saying, this is your last Hollywood blog, the tale of tomorrow, and Saturday will get posted at some point after I get back.

The video, well, when you mention Beverly Hills, this TV theme tune comes instantly to mind!

A lot of Jean, a little bit of Clara, and Santa Monica

But before you under think this through, that isnt the video! 😛 The video, well, thats for today, so…lets take one step back, for now.

I’d read online, that getting much joy out of a visit to Forest Lawn, at Glendale, was a rare thing. So, when I set out yesterday morning to head there, I was sort of saying to myself, I’ll get as close to Jean as I can, and pay my respects from that point.

The moment I enter the grounds, I start to wonder how recent that bad posting was? Because the Great Mausoleum was decently signposted, and to be honest, beyond one sign respectfully saying not to take photos, I was welcomed in with a smile. Inside, there were no clues as to who was where, but I’d checked a map beforehand (on this less than cheery report), so I had a rough idea which direction to turn. Lo, and behold, the right aisle, and the gate is open, I can walk down it. And yes, there she was, more or less at the far end, resting peacefully (well I assume so) lay Jean Harlow, hidden from view, in an impressive casket, with the words ‘Our Baby’ written on it, and I was stood about 10 feet away. And yes, I stayed there for about 30 minutes or so, ‘talking’ to her, and security walked by, and were fine!

So alright, I thought this was the highlight of my day, my holiday, and everything else, and then I came back into town. The chance to look at historical censuses of Los Angeles, the sign said. I went for 1930, because I had this feeling that ‘someone’ would be there, and I was right. Yes, of course Jean Harlow was there, I’m sure, but thats not who I was looking for.

And with a computer search engine, there she was. Clara E Johnson, born in Texas in 1906, moved to LA in 1925, profession, actress! Yes, my previous life! The only other member of the family with her seemed to be a younger brother, Frank, born in 1912. What happened to her parents, no idea. Might still have been in Texas, might have been dead, it didnt say.

No, I couldnt find her in a check on the 1940 one, but according to my regression, she was married by then, so would have a different surname, of course. So I still dont know a lot more about her, but my knowledge has grown. Clearly I cant track her actual death date, for the same reason.

If the Harlow moment was wow, then this was Wow!

After that, today was a gentle breeze, took a trip down to Santa Monica by bus, saw the beach, and the ocean. A lovely day, slightly cooler (not complaining), but still pleasantly warm.

Tomorrow, the plan is to go down to Beverly Hills for a while. No, I’m not planning on seeing any of Jean’s former homes, though 2 of them are not that far off the bus route, so that plan might change. Unfortunately the one I’d really love to see, the home she shared with Paul Bern, is 3.5 miles from the nearest bus stop, and I’m not doing a 7 mile round walk, just to see it from the outside!

As I said, the video, well it mentions Santa Monica (Boulevard) in the song, so…