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Out on the Boulevard

To those who care, Hollywood Boulevard conjures up a slew of contrasting images, from seedy to glamorous.  The seriously uninitiated believe that Hollywood’s stars promenade up and down the starred sidewalks.  Others, equally uninitiated, believe it’s a place too scary to visit, day or night.  Well, with 35 years of ongoing experience, I can tell you it’s neither.

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Spiritualityism

Friday July 20, 1979 my mom took a day off from her job at On the Spot, a cleaning supply company located out in the Valley.  It was the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing and she thought it would be a good opportunity for us to learn something.  Read more

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Gone to Glendale

Walking through the Pratt campus one hot sticky day in the late spring of 1989, I made the decision to just go for it.  My friend Jordan had invited me to stay the whole summer with him in LA.

Yeah, California.

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Rock City Arcade

By late 1981 my family and I were living on Hollywood Boulevard in post-glamorous Hollywood, California. Sometimes, just living amidst the hookers and general squalor of the Hollywood Premiere Motel got to be a bit much.  Luckily I had a distracting refuge just a few blocks away.  In those days the Rock City Arcade existed on the ground floor of the Hollywood-Western Building at, you guessed it, Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, 5 or 6 blocks from the end of the Walk of Fame.

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Old Mickey

 

The following is from a 7th Grade homework assignment, dated April 15th, 1980 (spelling has been corrected and the narrative tightened up a tad)

     My little sister Mary and I were just walking up Wilcox Avenue one day last week and saw a sign across the street from the Post Office:  “Grand Opening – Mickey Rooney’s Star-B-Q – Come meet Mickey Rooney – Sunday April 13th.”  This was pretty exciting, we may live in Hollywood, but except for that time my sister Laura actually ran into Elliott Gould on Hollywood and Highland, we never see the Stars come down here from the Hills, not since the olden days anyway, and I wasn’t even alive then!  It’s 1980 now and things have really changed.  Hollywood has gotten a little dirty (OK, pretty scummy, my mom says); and except for Johnny Grant’s Hollywood Boulevard Star dedications, Stars pretty much stay away from here.

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A Real Hollywood Premiere

Our slow ejection from the State of California was gradual at first, predicated on a string of unlucky events.  My mom’s boss had embezzled from the company she worked for and so everyone there lost their jobs.  Due to subsequent mounting bills, my family was kicked out of the Lido (my own personal sanctuary) in December of 1981.  I’d moved around a lot as a kid, but the two and a half years I spent at the Lido had made me feel safe and secure.  If I was a fool for feeling that way, then this was my fool’s paradise.

Though I supposed that not only Victor Kilian; but also the several residents assaulted inside and outside of the fortress walls; and even the unnamed guy who kept starting fires in the Lido lobby would not have agreed with me.

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The Arrow That Is Aimed But Not Fired

Growing up without a male role model, I was forced to turn to the world of television.  It was 1980, and I was either looking in the wrong place, or there were not that many viable broadcast options for a 12 going on 13 year old wanna-be-rebellious mama’s boy.

I guess I was also a sister’s boy too, if there even was such a thing.

There were other boys at school, but, being my peers, they were equally uninformed – but hopefully not as pathetic as I considered myself to be.  Except for Mr. Bishop (who told a couple of harrowing stories of the Watts Riots), the teachers were all dicks and were therefore unapproachable.  Where would I turn to find an older guy to show me how to avoid the pitfalls of my teen years?  To show me how to, you know, just be a guy?

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Jingles and Ditties

Last month my six year old niece turned to me, out of the blue, smiled and said,

“Na-tion-wide is on your side!”

She sang it, actually, with the perfect little melody that they use in the commercial.  Since then (actually since I was about 10 years old), I’ve had commercial jingles and TV show theme songs running through my head.  Some things I remember perfectly, in totality; some things are only snippets, half remembered like in a dream.

Like my niece, Grace, I was once very young and could play back ad jingles, but also like her, I exhibited no desire to buy insurance, or a used car, or bottled water.

 

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Confessions of a Cinematic Conservative

I just saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” and now I’ve got celluloid agita.  Please indulge me whilst I try to articulate my discomfort (oh yeah, requisite spoiler alert:  blah blah blah).

I’ve gotta admit, I went into the theater a little defensive; after all I remembered what happened to Vulcan in the first movie back in ’09.  I felt that they’d just better not……..

Well, there’s nothing after that.  There was just a vague feeling that they’d better not do something I didn’t approve of.  Just don’t change it too much, ok?  I entered the theater with just that mix of excitement and trepidation.

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Scullymania – Fernandomania

As a kid, I liked football.  I had no idea that baseball could be equally (or even more) exciting.  In LA, we had the Rams, who had just been to the Super Bowl.  Then there was the Lakers, with Magic Johnson and Kareem (though I preferred Michael Cooper and his majestic 3-pointers).  Baseball…. the Dodgers, right?  What did they have?  It seemed like a quaint sport to me.  I knew a little about them, like that first baseman Steve Garvey’s wife, Cyndy was the co-host of “A.M. Los Angeles” with Regis Philbin.  I followed the rumors of marriage problems between them more than I did any of Steve’s games.  Hey, this was Hollywood after all.

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