Two kids at the Academy Awards:


Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. judges the net – mixed doubles. “Big Bill” Tilden (standing far left), the first American Wimbledon champion, taught tennis to movie stars after he retired from competition. This photo was taken by Len Weissman and is dated 1940:


Studio Portrait:


Singing at a local nightclub — the trooper phase — 1964:


Performing at the Greek with a broken arm with Martha Raye, Johnny Mathis, and Mickey Rooney – 1965:

Listen poppets, you can’t have a blog by “Vickie Lester” without a nod to Judy Garland. Forgive the quality of the first two photos, I just included them because I don’t imagine you’ve seen them before. And, there’s an arc here that’s kind of emblematic of both Judy Garland and Hollywood: stellar talent, exploitation, fruition, adoration, corruption, tremendous work ethic, burn out… An unholy mix? Not really. It’s just the human condition magnified, if you’re one of the lucky (or unlucky) ones, by money and fame.

Once upon a time (when I was oh so much younger) I cracked wise to my pop – something about Hollywood being a cesspool, or something equally unpleasant and I’ll give you his unvarnished response.

β€œJesus Christ! Everybody thinks people in Hollywood are godless, bottom-feeding philistines who wouldn’t know quality if it kicked them in the ass. Movie making is the single greatest culture of creativity the world has ever known. And! No doubt! The biggest f—ing employer of artists, ever!”

I really can’t top that, now can I?


  1. I love what your Pop said about Hollywood. He was so right! It certainly in just over 100 years has employed more artist than even the popes of the Renaissance. It reminds me of something Elizabeth Taylor once said. “If there were no Homosexuals…there would be no Hollywood.” Love your blog!!

    • You would have loved Pop — one of my favorite memories of him was coming downstairs late one night and watching him read and seriously consider a stack of my library books (I was nine) as if they were important studio documents… Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Pop would have said, Hollywood.
      Mom would have said, Church.
      I know better than to argue, but I probably would be inclined to surreptitiously go research it, I’ll let you know if I find anything out. The Church might edge everybody out because of its long history – on the other hand populations boomed during the motion picture era… Hm!

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