Episode 18. Under an engineer’s iron guidance the silent film star’s aerie was remodeled, stripped of original architectural character, and sold for enough cabbage to deposit Engineer and Executive in a ticky-tacky enclave for millionaires off the 405.

I’m feeling celebratory, so there will be three chapters of Hollywood & Mine going up this weekend. This is episode 18 (chapter 16, for those of you keeping track) and it starts with a quote from good old Greta Garbo:

If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is.

During the era in which I was climbing the greasy pole there were no smartphones, email was a few years in the future, and executives carried fat, expensively bound, loose-leaf notebooks in which they memorialized and organized day-to-day events. As noted previously, I liked to write things down, and my $300 Day Runner® was a lot more elegant looking than a pile of yellow legal pads. My notebook came with a key, just like an old fashioned diary, but it was open on the desk and this is what I had scrawled across the entry for Monday:

Hi Bloviating Lazy Head of Production,

Great conversation five minutes ago! Just to be clear: you want me to include seven new scenes on this opus without any increase in budget/personnel/schedule?

That is fabulous! I admire how you shot down my tedious list of facts and figures with gaseous platitudes. Just hearing them has elevated and inspired me! “Think outside the box. Just make it work. I don’t care about your problems, I’m late for my Pilates/lunch/massage.”

Wow! I’m on it boss! What leadership!

I shut the notebook and thought of the head of production, James Ellis. According to my old friend, Patsy Morris, he had been a notorious, vaguely musical, lothario in the 1970s. He had wooed the unwary with cocktails at Yamashiro’s, an old bar in the Hollywood Hills with killer views that was walking distance to his once glitzy home. The house itself was kind of famous, having been the aerie of a silent film star — before his appendix exploded — and then had passed through two generations more of male offspring: from movie star, to the movie star’s son, to the head of production (who was then answering phones for the higher and mightier, and sleeping on a futon in a room half chewed away by termites).

Hello again. I’m in such a good mood the comments are open. It’s a fiddly new format I’ve adopted to accommodate the podcast, my apologies, and I will try to remember to open them more frequently if you’d like to chat or ask me questions about the book.

Cheers to you lovely readers and listeners!

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  1. George Kaplan
    November 14, 2020

    “Blue skies, nothing but blue skies do I see…”
    Good to see the comments open to accompany your continuing saga! In the “real” world it is great to see us getting closer to a new dawn even if certain unpleasant people (as I suppose we have to call them, although that seems rather too complimentary given their actions!) would rather keep it dark out of sheer stupidity, pettiness, and worse. Here’s to a better future and more storytelling from YOU!

    • November 14, 2020

      Thank you, George. It is so good to hear from you. Yes, it is a very complicated time, but now I have hope. A friend of ours in London promised to send me pictures of the city from one of his masked-up socially-distant walks, but said because the streets are empty all sorts of municipal work is going on — so the pictures are full of torn up pavement and concrete barriers. I told him to aim high and send me pictures of the skyline instead. Then we started to talk about how miraculous the development of the vaccine is…and how the transmission level now is terrify…and how we all have to do our part until we can get the shot, and afterward.

  2. George Kaplan
    November 14, 2020

    By the way, is that photograph from the sequel to The Lion King? You know, the one with the interspecies romance for Simba which ends tragically when he gets peckish a few moments after that still… 😉

    • November 14, 2020

      I think that might be Garbo and the MGM lion with the unfortunate name, Slats.

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