Monday, November 28, 2005


One of my favorite people and favorite writers Sandra Scoppettone blogged recently about the prospect of an older writer working with a much younger editor. She notes that this isn't necessarily a difficulty though the potential is there. At 64 (tomorrow) I find that all of my editors are much younger than I am. Oddly, I've found more difficulties working with Hwood Twenty-somethings than their NYC counterparts. I suppose that's because I make literary as well as filmic references when I use examples. I lose them with the literary references. And it's not because I use obscure ones, either. A friend of mine, for instance, mentioned Elmore Leonard and drew a blank in response. I don't know if this is true but I remember a piece in an LA magazine saying that young people industry out there know much more about TV than they do books. That would explain it, though it strikes me as a pretty big generalization.

Greg Shepard of Stark House Publishing sent me this--things are booming there:

Other news: got another starred review in Booklist for Rabe's Blood on the Desert! An article will appear in the Dec 11th NY Times on Benjamin Appel. Should have review copies of the Stephen Marlowe book next week. And that Mystery Scene interview will run in the Holiday Issue. It all seems to be happening for Stark House at once.
Richard Wheeler sent this along:

Once in Fashion, the Brown Derby Became Old Hat

Only the stories of film legends remain as the last of the restaurant's four former locations faces the wrecking ball.

By Cecilia Rasmussen


November 27, 2005

In its 50-year heyday, the Brown Derby was where Hollywood hung its hat. The all-night eatery was as sublime as the top-grade, top-dollar caviar it spooned out, and as proudly low-brow as its buck-a-burger.

The first of four Brown Derbys opened on Wilshire Boulevard in 1926, across from the Ambassador Hotel. It was the only Derby shaped like a hat. During the 1920s, '30s and '40s, more Derbys opened, all serving as clubs for the Hollywood elite.

Legends revolved around Derby spots where Spencer Tracy, Ralph Bellamy and Pat O'Brien tippled into the wee hours.

The Derby was where Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard. Lucille Ball and Jack Benny lunched on Cobb salads, invented on the premises and named for the owner, Robert Cobb.

Cobb catered to the strange tastes of celebrity clients, concocting a grapefruit cake for dieting gossip columnist Louella Parsons and crafting a wedding cake of shortbread and caviar for Harpo Marx.

The second Brown Derby opened at Hollywood and Vine on Valentine's Day in 1929, drawing stars whose caricatures would line the walls.

Two years later, the third Brown Derby opened at Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The fourth and last opened in Los Feliz in 1941.

The fourth Brown Derby is the last to remain standing, but it too is slated for the wrecking ball unless preservationists can save it. Its Brown Derby days ended around 1960; it has more recently operated as a nightclub and restaurant.

Its domed roof and lamella ceiling survived various remodelings. The ornate, oval bar, though not original to the building, was immortalized in the 1945 film "Mildred Pierce," in which Oscar-winning actress Joan Crawford recited the line: "Why should people come to eat and go someplace else to drink?" This Derby also portrayed the exterior of Arnold's Drive-In for the 1970s television series "Happy Days."

It opened in a building rented from director-producer Cecil B. DeMille, who had built it as a theater. When talkies came in, the theater became obsolete before it ever opened.

You'll find the rest in the LA Times of yesterday


Blogger mtmorgan said...

Happy Birthday. And many more.

9:53 AM  

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