Hollywood Stories

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If I Only Knew

Hollywood (the district, not the ‘idea’) has some serious history. When I was a kid my sister and I left Tulsa and joined my older sister and our mother, who had been living there for a couple of years. My mom wanted to be there to simply be insinuated in the glamor, she didn’t want or need to work in the Industry. She was steeped in the history, the Hollywood stuff. And though she would have denied it up and down, I suspect she even embraced the seedy side, and oh yeah, that place was seedy. This was Hollywood, circa 1979.

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Memories of Hollywood: the Novel

I have finally done something I’ve been threatening, er, promising to do for 4 years now of compiling MoH. Right about now. And that is to write a book. It wasn’t the book I thought I’d see come out of here (that will come later in the year). This is a novel based partly on my experiences growing up in Greater Hollywood in the early 1980’s. Only the parts about the time travel and ghosts are taken from my own life, the rest of it is fiction. Hopefully you don’t skim it over and find it all too unbelievable! But please feel free to buy it! That is the point of my writing this now, I suppose.

I could put the link right about HERE (notice it’s not actually clickable) but that would just be crass. Instead I will kindly direct you over to Amazon. Select Books-Kindle and then look me up by my official author nom de plume William Hardesty. Regular and even casual readers of this site will find several (or many) familiar things in the story. But don’t worry, far from being a “don’t buy the cow-get the milk for free” scenario, you will find much more there that is quite unexpected. If you don’t have a Kindle, worry not, for the app is free on all PCs, tablets and devices.

OK you talked me into it:  amzn.to/1QPsyGG

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Recognition (Overdue Perhaps?)

I’m proud of my short, aborted Hollywood career.  I don’t want to brag but I made a little money back then, you know, it was cool.   Added up it was probably like $1000 in earnings, but we’re talking 1981 dollars; and, adjusted for inflation I’d probably be sittin’ pretty if it was now!  In my day I got to rub elbows with luminaries like Michael Hershewe, who parlayed a guest starring performance on a Charlie’s Angels episode in 1980 into a starring role playing a kid named Todd on a sitcom called “American Dream” that was cancelled after 4 episodes.  But I simply knew him as Mike from 8th Grade cooking class.

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Pancho’s Giveaway

Pancho’s Giveaway is a status state.  It’s a metaphorical appellation given to unwilling LA County public school students by other very willing LA County public school students.  Pancho’s has been in non-existence at least since the early 70’s; maybe even longer than that.

It’s supposed to be a real place, but as far as anyone has known it has never actually existed.  Some kids claimed to have even been there, but they were lying.  Even today if anyone ever tells you they’ve been there or tries to tell you how to get there, well, they’re lying too.

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Year-Round School

Around February of 1981 there were some weird rumors flying around LeConte Junior High School.  The rumors had one idea in common; that the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) was doing something with the school schedule.  Stories ranged from the optimists’ “They’re adding onto summer vacation!” to the pessimists’ “They’re getting rid of summer; we’ll have to be here all year!”  Since this was Hollywood of the early Eighties, even among the 7th, 8th and 9th Graders, the pessimists easily outnumbered the optimists, probably about 10 to 1.

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You’re Welcome, Gerald

It takes the efforts of not only the famous, but also those of the not-so-famous to make the Hollywood machine really work.  The annals of filmdom are filled with many moments that today are unheralded, but at the time of production were vital to add coherence to the whole, whether it was a movie or a TV show.  Finding and closely analyzing these moments can even lead to a deeper understanding of the careers of those involved.  One such moment occurs at 17 minutes 10 seconds into episode two, season one, of the CBS series “Simon & Simon.”

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Even More Villa Elaine

This March my quixotic quest to regain entry to the courtyard of the Villa Elaine (an apartment building in Hollywood I lived in for less than a year in 1982) came to a sudden and surprising fulfillment.  The building has always had a security gate but in my attempts to access I was mostly hindered by the fact that I (over the years) lived at least a thousand miles away and was back in LA pretty infrequently.

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Minor Con Men

Brooklyn is known nowadays for its growing population of Indie Label elitists and baby stroller pushing moms and nannies.  It used to have more of an edge, even as recently as when I lived there in the ‘90’s.  Ask any old timer and you’ll hear that Brooklyn was the home of New York’s schemers and scammers, its minor league flimflammers.  I met just such a character back in 1997.

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Re: The Lido

Waking up the morning of Tuesday April 1st, 2014; I had no idea how deeply fulfilling the day would turn out to be.  I was in San Diego with my wife, and as she was busy all day at an Art Teacher’s Convention downtown; I thought I’d head up to LA to make yet another attempt at the Lido.

I lived at the Lido Apartments for 3 years with my mom and two sisters, starting back in 1979.  Read more

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Memories of Hollywood

It was good to be back on the train, it always has been. I started off in the morning with all the other rush hour people. Another good thing; I knew my way around so I automatically fit in.  It’s important to me to fit in in a place where I used to live. And I lived in New York a long time. I mean, who wants to come off like a tourist?  But I wasn’t going to work, technically I was being a tourist.  When I’m in my old homes I guess appearances are everything; it was just a minor example of my recasting myself, if only for that day.

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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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