Friday, November 30, 2018

Helter Skelter Tour

My friend and fellow Shirley Temple admirer Melissa’s (aka “The Colonel”) trip to Hollywood wasn’t all about Shirley. No...we took a bit of a detour and checked out the Helter Skelter tour given by Scott Michaels. If you were alive during the 60s, “Helter Skelter” needs no explanation. It was the name of a song by the Beatles and also a term referring to an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and whites used by the criminally brainwashing Charles Manson. The brutal murders committed by Manson’s gang spread fear throughout Los Angeles and caused many a window to be sealed by metal bars.

Our tour began at the Dearly Departed Office/Museum on Santa Monica Boulevard. Candles honoring famous dead legends could be found on the shelf.

A road marker from the site where James Dean fatally crashed his Porsche:

Our tour guide, Scott:

While those who thrived in the 80s may remember this location as the exterior used in “Melrose Place,” those who lived during the 60s might remember it better as the place where Rose LaBianca’s daughter, Suzan Struthers/, lived. Years later, Suzan testified for the parole of Tex Watson, the man who killed her parents. Not for any of the other Manson-zombies...just Tex. BTW: Tex lived about 200 feet away from Suzan’s “Melrose Place” apartment; coincidence?

The wall in front of the LaBianca home where it all happened:

At the time of the murders, photo from The Manson Blog:

Along the way we passed the 1930 Cedars of Lebanon Hospital on Fountain Avenue, located near the Paramount Studios lot. This is the place where Marilyn Monroe had her appendix removed in 1952. Apparently she taped a note to her abdomen asking the doctor to cut as little as possible: "I know it seems vain…please do whatever you can to prevent large scars." Once, when Elizabeth Taylor was staying on the fifth floor, Richard Burton had Chasen's send over dinner as well as a pair of the restaurant's tuxedoed violinists to play. Now THAT’S love!

Cedars is also the birthplace of Manson disciple and murderer Patricia Krenwinkel (thanks Scott for sending this!):

In 1976, The Cedars of Lebanon Hospital moved out of this building into a new hospital complex near Beverly Hills, becoming Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Today the old Cedars of Lebanon building is now the Church of Scientology. Yikes.

The El Coyote Mexican Restaurant, location of Sharon Tate’s last meal before being brutally murdered along with her unborn baby by the Manson gang. At the time of the murders, the restaurant staff could recall very little about Tate’s visit; today they know exactly which booth she sat in.

A rest stop at the Farmers Market located in the Grove Shopping Center on Fairfax.

In the Taschen bookstore, Melissa snapped me next to the recently released Disneyland coffee table book, “Walt Disney's Disneyland” that Taschen published:

See my name in the credits?

The CBS studios are located next door:

Back to the tour. The Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset; my favorite spot as well as the former home to Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski.

Room 54 is where the couple lived from February 1968 until February 1969, when the pregnant Sharon wanted to move into a house. “If it weren’t for the baby, we would stay. But I want my little boy or girl to be born in a house, not in a hotel.”

The couple posed for photographer Terry O’Neill on November 3, 1968; the photo is not labeled as being shot at the Marmont, but the distinctive window hardware is a match:

Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, where Tate was murdered along with her friend and former lover Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune.

The home that Tate and Polanski rented is no longer there; it was replaced by this monstrosity:

An alternate view of Benedict Canyon:

The tour was pretty damn amazing. The amount of information that Michaels has amassed is incredible. As you can imagine, given the subject, this tour is not for the faint of heart. It does take you back to the 1960s and provides a vivid depiction of what the times were like and how the Manson murders changed things forever. Highly recommended.

See more Helter Skelter tour photos at my main website.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cement of the Stars

Most movie fans are aware of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and the time-honored tradition of the stars putting their hands, feet, and various other parts into wet cement so that us regular mortals can pay tribute to these fabulous gray slabs that they leave behind. This 1954 image shows “Prince Valiant” on the Grauman's marquee; a feature film starring Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh (in case you didn't get enough of her yesterday).

This rare shot shows the cement being prepared for a ceremony in the forecourt of the theatre; I wonder what star it was for? Based on the information I have, it was taken by a gentlemen who was stationed at Camp Pendleton from 1951-1953. He would often go to Hollywood while on leave.

Could it have been Marilyn? We may never know, but for purposes of this story, let's just say yes!

See more Graumman’s Chinese Theatre photos at my main website.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Return of Janet Leigh!

She’s baaaaaack! Yes, more Janet Leigh at Disneyland shots, circa 1962. Here she comforts daughter Jamie Lee, who was perhaps frightened by some of the animals she saw on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

Waiting for the Nature's Wonderland attraction, rambunctious daughter Kelly brings a smile to Janet's face.

A pensive moment while she picks something out of her teeth and enjoys a cig.

Is this it for Janet Leigh at Disneyland shots? Only time will tell!

See more Janet Leigh at Disneyland photos at my main website.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Temple Tuesday: Shirley on Location, Pt. 3

Part 3 of the Shirley Temple on location series takes us to Pasadena, where a mansion was used in a deleted scene from 1936’s “Poor Little Rich Girl.” And for those who don't like to read or won't make it to the end, I want to say up front HUGE thanks to author and Shirley Temple expert supreme Rita Dubas for supplying much of the vintage material used in today's post. If Rita doesn't know it, NOBODY does!! Big thanks to Melissa, aka “The Colonel,” who did much of the research about the estate that was used here.

From an early draft of the script dated January 13, 1936, accompanied with a few surviving publicity stills and behind-the-scenes shots:

Behind the titles are flashes of the Barry estate in Westchester - - the great house on the hill - - fish pools - - fountains - - terraces and all the other things that go with a moderately wealthy estate.

The lodge is built about a heavy, ornate, grilled gate. A large delivery truck of the Rolls-Royce type drives up. A caretaker opens the iron gates and the delivery truck drives through.

Barbara (Shirley Temple) is on a small pony, riding around a pool a couple of hundred yards from the iron fence. Stebbins, a stiff English butler, is walking beside her.

Barbara is dressed in correct riding costume, but is bouncing up and down in the saddle.

The January 17 draft had Barbara riding in a horse cart, pulled by Stebbins the butler, who now plays the horse. A cost-saving measure, perhaps? Regardless, this is what the publicity stills show.

For whatever reason these scenes were cut (and I'll assume it was a matter of time and lack of necessary support to the story), the Mansion and property itself was also completely cut out of the movie. The estate shown in a brief clip at the opening of the film is a completely different home.

Today’s post pays tribute to the home that ALMOST made it into a Shirley Temple movie. Designed in 1929 by architect Paul Revere Williams (the first African American to belong to the American Institute of Architects), the tudor style mansion was the home of thoroughbred horse breeder Jack Pease Atkin. The 12,000-square-foot mansion overlooked the Arroyo, the Colorado Street Bridge, and the snow-capped San Gabriel mountains. We are talking multi-million dollar view. Before his death in 1938, Atkin rented his estate to Hollywood film crews to fund soup kitchens for the Depression-era poor of Los Angeles. Some of the films included “Topper” and “The Bells of St. Mary’s.” Here are two vintage 1933 shots of the main house:

Not surprisingly, it has often been confused with Wayne Manor from the 1966 “Batman” series. Different house, but apparently in the same neighborhood.

How it looked in the 1991 Kathleen Turner movie “V.I. Warshawski”:

Sadly, this gorgeous home was burned in a massive fire in October of 2005, just as it was being restored by Michael Hammer, the grandson of the late industrialist Armand Hammer. $15 million worth of damage and the family was about a month away from moving in. Ouch. Another fire in 2013 scorched much of the property, as you can see from this Google earth view:

From the street, everything looks fairly normal. Here’s the gate that was to be used in the opening scene of “Poor Little Rich Girl”:

Perhaps Shirley peered out from this very fence:

The gatehouse still stands to the left of the entrance:

A vintage light along the driveway has definitely seen better days:

The fountain/waterfall where Shirley once sat for a publicity still is now nothing but a pile of rubble:

There are still some remnants of the grandeur that once existed here, including this double staircase with a fountain in the center:

Note the lion detail from this fountain:

Not to be confused with the fish that can be seen in the still of Shirley sitting by the fountain/waterfall:

The back wall of that fish fountain still exists; the same one that Shirley rode by in her pony cart:

The remnants of the original mansion have long since been removed and currently a foundation has been poured:

The multi-million dollar view is still there; note the Colorado Street Bridge!

Here’s a vintage article from the day, talking about Shirley filming here:

And what about this outfit?

In the 2015 Love, Shirley Temple auction, it surfaced with this photo:

...and catalog description:

Comprising yellow knit short-sleeved sweater with pocket, along with twill jodhpurs with constructed pockets, and cuffs, with belt loops (belt missing), and with black leather ankle boots. Generally excellent. The sweater is marked Made in Austria for J.W. Robinson Co. and the pants are marked Bullock's Wilshire Sportswear. A particular favorite costume of Shirley Temple, especially given her love of horses, the costume was used in a number of publicity photographs of the 1936/37 era.

It is now treasured by a member of Shirley’s Army, the group that tirelessly fights to keep Shirley’s memory alive.

Could there be another installment? You bet your sweet bippy there is!

See more Shirley photos at my main website.