Wednesday, February 22, 2017

OSCAR REVISITED





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

Fast Forward. 
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.....

Overlooking Hollywood
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

24 comments:

  1. Burt Reynolds and George Hamilton.... there is two more horrors for your other blogs post you did today. Yikes!!!! I remember your piano story and the other.... but I love hearing your sordid stories....a gal after my own heart. I don't watch either, for the very reasons you mention. I 'll be happy watching PBS'S Victoria.

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    1. I've been watching Victoria, too (or, rather, Albert).
      Burt Reynolds and Geo Hamilton had two of the biggest egos in Hollywood. And I have VERY good reason to believe Burt is gay (or, at the very least bi).

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    2. I agree with you on Burt. I have always had that feeling too.

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  2. I have led such a boring life, it is fun reading about your grand adventures.

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    1. I presently have a boring life - - which is why I always enjoy remembering...

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  3. I never watch the Oscars, I hate long, drawn out phony speeches. It will be uber anti Trump and I don't want to hear political statements either.

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    1. It's a shame that the Oscars have changed so drastically. The entire original concept of the awards has become obsolete.

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  4. Most of the movies today have lost their luster. The MAGIC is gone. They are violent and not at all interesting. The stories get lost under layers of specal effects. What wonderful memories you have of those REAL Hollywood days and nights during it's golden era.

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    1. Exactly! I've always had an aversion to the excessive use of special effects nowadays - so many film effects are computerized. It seems that talent, originality, and creativity are largely a thing of the past.

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  5. I'm not much into movies anymore, maybe it's my age. It wonderful to have great memories of your younger years in Hollywood.

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    1. I haven't seen a current movie in a long time. I only like to watch the oldies from the Golden Hollywood era.

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  6. My favorite actors have either passed on, retired, or only film once in awhile. I don't have any interest in watching Oscar night either. I would think the overall ratings might be slipping over the years - but who knows. I met Gregory Peck in Hollywood during a vacation to California - Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman while they were filming bits on my friends ranch some years back. They were all very pleasant.

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    1. Everything about Hollywood has changed so drastically that I loathe it. It was actually starting to change when I lived there and that's one of the (many) reasons I left. I'm an old-fashioned traditionalist at heart.

      I've always liked Gregory Peck's films (my Mom had a crush on him). It's neat that you got to meet him!

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  7. Well, there will be two of us not watching the Oscars for pretty much the same reasons.
    I love your adventurous stories!

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    1. I never thought the day would come when I wouldn't watch the Oscars - but the entire concept of the Hollywood film industry has changed so drastically from what it once was. And I especially hate the fact that everything has become so politicized.

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    2. Since it seems none of us will be watching, we can all get together at your place Jon, drink, and make merry....or just have a orgy.

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  8. We will probably watch only because the movie Moonlight was filmed down here in Miami with local actors and written by a local man. It is like 'pulling for your team'.
    (Not that I'm preaching) Maybe you might want to do something useful in your community so you won't be remembering so much. It could give you another reason to drive to town. Volunteer for LGBT or Trans groups. Or, maybe even a music lesson or two. Might be fun! Just a suggestion for good mental hygiene. :)

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    1. I haven't seen "Moonlight" but I've heard extremely good things about it. Who knows - it could be a big Oscar winner this year.

      For me - remembering is a joy, not an affliction. My life has been so interesting that I like to share glimpses of it. After all, 'possum tales and the sounds of nature get stale after awhile. Actually, my present life isn't as empty as it sounds - and it's exactly what I want during this stage of my existence.

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  9. ..... what Taryterre said!
    Far, far removed from tinsel-town, I suppose what I miss the most was "early pajamas" and watching the arrivals and awards with my mother back in Los Alamos. Some things are best left in our memories.

    In an odd sort of way, I'm happy she and my dad aren't around to see/hear the despicable rhetoric. My dad would be apoplectic; my mother's heart broken.

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    1. When I was a kid, the Oscars used to be an exciting "event" - as you indicated - watching the arrivals and guessing who the winners would be. Some things are indeed best left in our memories....

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  10. You've certainly lived an exciting life Jon, but it wouldn't be for me.

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    1. At this point in my life, Paula, it isn't for me anymore, either.

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  11. I never much cared about the Oscar's, but I enjoy watching reruns when they were hosted by Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. However, I enjoy your stories more.

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  12. I haven't watched an Oscars show in YEARS. There used to be a vicarious thrill is seeing all the glitz and glamour, but "stars" of today are anything but. It's like they purposed dress down and wear their hair all frumpy to prove they're "one of us." Worse, they think their position in the spotlight means the public wants to hear their opinions on everything from A-Z, but especially P... politics.

    We've seen a number of the movies that have been nominated for best movie, and we're particularly impressed with any of them. They were good, but not great.

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