Friday, April 16, 2021

Mrs. Voorhees Goes To Palm Springs

Betsy Palmer, best known as the mother of Jason from the “Friday the 13th” franchise, posed here at the Palm Springs Biltmore Hotel in 1955:

FUN IN THE SUN — Betsy Palmer, Columbia actress and New York TV star, enjoys the desert sun while in California for Columbia’s Cinemascope Technicolor story of West Point, “The Long Gray Line,” in which she makes her film debut. Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara co-star and John Ford directed. Location scenes were photographed at West Point.

One year earlier, it was actress Virginia Mayo doing the same, revealing a bit more skin:

Virginia Mayo poses for the still cameraman beside the pool at the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Springs, where the company stayed while on location for desert scenes for THE SILVER CHALICE, a Victor Saville production for Warner Bros. Virginia co-stars with Jack Palace and Paul Newman in the film.

On the site Palm Springs Lost Buildings site, comes this info about the hotel which has since been demolished:

Once again the City of Palm Springs has had little regard for the City’s architectural history and stood by and let an important landmark be destroyed. The Biltmore Hotel designed by architect Fred Monhoff in 1948 and the last remaining grand hotel in Palm Springs went under the bulldozer [in 2003]. In a flagrant violation of California State Law, the City allowed Nexus Properties, who…purchased the Biltmore in bankruptcy court, to start demolition without so much as a permit to do so. The City claims that an abatement order issued in 2001 that required the then current owner to take action to resolve issues of neglect and vandalism was enough to allow the demolition even though the abatement specifically stated that a permit must be filed before any construction or demolition occurred. The California State law that the City violated, specifically the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), requires that historic structures must have an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared prior to issuing a permit for renovation or demolition — this was not done. The EIR specifically requires that alternatives to demolition be considered, including rehabilitation and/or adaptive reuse. The Biltmore Hotel was a well-known historic site, having been featured in several books on mid –century architecture including “Palm Springs Weekend;” a book that chronicles the unique mid-century modern architecture that has made Palm Springs famous. The Biltmore was also listed in the Riverside County Historic Resources Survey prepared in the 1980s and more recently in a 2001 Palm Springs Historic Structures Inventory. So claims by certain City officials that “they did not know” that the Biltmore was of significant stature architecturally are totally absurd.

I don’t know; I wouldn’t have messed with a property that had once been visited by Mrs. Voorhees.

See more Palm Springs photos at my main website.


Stu29573 said...

Alas, history has little defense against greed, and those that wish to preserve it are often not financially able to "play the game" In fact, they are never even invited to the stadium. I'm sure a lot of government palms were greased in this case.

Fifthrider said...

Agreed with Stu. It's a shame too because I could see a compromise that could have been struck. The individual rooms themselves could go ( I've been in too many vandalized/old hotels to know when a place is a goner and never coming back ) but the lobby could have been repurposed rather well. Heresy perhaps, but a compromise.

Anonymous said...

Oh I couldn't let them open the Biltmore again ... could I ?

Not after what happened...

Oh my sweet, innocent Jason... my only child... Jason...

You let him drown! You never paid any attention!
Look what you did to him! LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO HIM!!!

Anonymous said...

Based on my experience with PS development, this is not surprising at all.


Anonymous said...

Daveland said...

I'm always dubious when I read that a historic building is too far gone for any kind of restoration. Insert the word "lazy" or the phrase "this old building is in the way of our brand new piece of crap!"