The 89th Academy Award ceremonies will take place this coming Sunday in Hollywood. I won't be watching.
What once was a dignified, meaningful event has turned into a tacky, inane ego circus. We all know what will happen:
It will exclusively be an I Hate Trump fest, with angry Tinseltown leftists spewing their pent-up venom. Flash-in-the-pan actors making far more money than their mediocre talents deserve. "Celebrities" whom we largely never heard of, getting awards for films we've never seen, and vanishing into the overcrowded netherworld of Hollywood has-beens as soon as the show is over.
Do I sound bitter?
I am. But I'm also simply pining for the past, when Hollywood seemed to have more substance and class. And talent.
I miss the Hollywood that I knew when I lived there. Sure - it was always a tawdry, sleazy, corrupt, ruthless, fake, potentially lethal Dreamworld. But it has provided me with some delicious memories - - and the Academy Awards always manage to ignite them.
I've written about all this many times before. Despite what it might seem, I'm not rehashing it to brag or to feed my own ego. I'm simply remembering my adventurous past, and astonishing myself with thoughts of my now-faded audacity.
I crashed the Oscars when I was eighteen years old. I didn't yet live in Hollywood at that time, but I was smitten with the glitz and glamor. That was back when the Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center in downtown L.A.
I knew the Music Center very well and it was surprisingly easy to sneak in on Oscar night. Security wasn't as tight as it is nowadays. I simply slipped in a side door - the musician's entrance. I went upstairs via the restaurant, found an empty seat on the back of the auditorium, and watched about twenty minutes of the live show. I could have stayed longer but was afraid I'd be caught.
I can't think of anyone else in Hollywood history who ever crashed the Oscars. I could be wrong, but I'm nearly sure I hold the solo honor. Hell, that alone deserves some sort of award.
After I ventured back outside, I hung around where the limos were parked (they were circled entirely around the Music Center) and struck up a conversation with the chauffeur of Helen Hayes (Hayes was one of the presenters at the Awards that night). We watched the rest of the Award show on a small TV in the limo. Afterwards I got to meet Sammy Davis jr. and actor George Hamilton and his then-wife Alana. Sammy Davis was one of the nicest guys in Hollywood.
Sammy Davis jr. at the Oscars that night,
and Helen Hayes
A few years later. In my early twenties, now living in Tinseltown. I'm no longer an innocent star-struck gawker. I'm a hardcore drinker, occasional druggie, and hell-bent on excitement and danger.
I remember attending an after-Oscar party at a Beverly Hills mansion - - directly next door to Burt Reynold's house. I was pretty near wasted, and wound up having sex with someone under a grand piano in the library.
I won't elaborate. This is a blog, not exactly a memoir....
There were other, more romantic, Academy Award nights in Hollywood. An intimate after-award dinner with a well-known set designer in a house atop the Hollywood Hills. We used some fantastic candles that were given to us for the occasion by actress Sally Struthers (who was then a famous TV star on All in the Family).
.....later, we spent the night in the bedroom loft with a huge picture window overlooking Hollywood. It seemed just like a movie set.....
That was so long ago, when I was reckless, young..... and very far removed from any thoughts about living in the Tennessee wilderness with 'possums and coyotes.
Often, the bitter ironies in life know how to bite.
End of Reel