wordpress visitor

CINECON 51 is coming!!

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Aug 30th, 2015
2015
Aug 30

FESTIVALS

CINECON51TITLE

.

Cinecon 51 is coming!

.

For half a century Cinephiles have gathered over Labor Day Weekend to celebrate the movies at the annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival. Cinecon is where archivists, authors, collectors and film fans come together for five days of classic film screenings, special programs, celebrity guests, and the best movie memorabilia show in the nation. Cinecon is dedicated to showcasing unusual films that are rarely given public screenings.

.

Loews Hollywood Hotel is the host hotel with all screenings taking place at the historic Egyptian Theater just down the street on Hollywood Blvd. There will also be a Memorabilia Show and Author’s book signings all weekend.

.

For more information, please CLICK HERE

.

JUST A FEW OF THE FILMS THAT WILL BE SCREENING AT

CINECON 51:

.

cinecon51posters1

.

cinecon51posters2

.

cinecon51posters3.

cinecon51posters4

.

FOR A COMPLETE FILM SCHEDULE OF CINECON 51, PLEASE GO TO:

http://www.cinecon.org/cinecon_schedule.html

___________________________

.

A living memorial… at Hollywood High School

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Aug 3rd, 2015
2015
Aug 3

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY

A living memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice…

.

Hollywood_HS_1922

Hollywood High School (1922)

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

Armistice Day (now known as Veterans Day) was started in 1919 by President Wilson to celebrate the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. In 1922, Hollywood decided to celebrate the new holiday with a parade, a ceremony at the Hollywood American Legion Stadium, and a tree planting ceremony at Hollywood High School.

.
On November 22, 1922, the parade, led by mounted police officers from the Hollywood Division, began at the corner of Hollywood and Highland, marched its way east, weaving through the streets of Hollywood before arriving at the American Legion Stadium on El Centro.

.
At the stadium, the legionnaires and guests of the day were met by actor Walter Long, who was also commander of Hollywood Post 43. Long introduced fellow actor Bert Lytell, who served as Master of Ceremonies. Several war heroes were introduced, and their stories told to rounds of applause and the dispersion of gold medals.

.

Before this all occurred, though, a tree was planted and dedicated on the grounds of Hollywood High School as a living memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice. On the northwest corner of Sunset and Highland, people gathered as Dr. Frank Roudenbush, rector of St. Thomas Episcopal, delivered the dedicatory talk and invocation. On behalf of the school, A. B. Forster, acting principal, responded. The Hollywood Post band played, followed by a few words from Leonard Wilson, vice commander of the Post.

.
It was a simple ceremony, which probably took no more than twenty minutes. But today, after almost a century, there is still evidence of that brief dedication service. There on that corner, just a few steps up from the busy sidewalk is a dedication plaque and a tree:

.

.

HS-plaque-tree2

.

.

HS-plaque-1

.

.

However, there’s no way to know if this is the original dedication spot or the original tree. Hollywood High School has gone through many changes over the past one-hundred years including the 1933 earthquake that destroyed several of the original 1903 buildings including the one next to the tree. Could it have survived in its original spot for 92-plus years? Also, I’m not a tree expert, but does that tree look as if it could be that old? I’m not sure. Regardless of whether it’s the original spot or tree, it’s amazing—it’s a miracle—that the plaque survived all those years when there are several historical markers in Hollywood that have disappeared.

____________________________________

.

Cari Beauchamp discusses & signs “My First Time in Hollywood”

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jul 20th, 2015
2015
Jul 20

BOOK SIGNINGS

CARI BEAUCHAMP discusses & signs

MY FIRST TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

.

firsttimeinhollywood

.

WITH GUEST

John Landis

.

Wednesday, July 22nd at 7PM

at

BOOKSOUP

8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood

(310) 659-3110

.

 

beauchamp

_________________________________

.

Sins of the Mother: The Story of Pauline Hemingway

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 6th, 2015
2015
Jun 6

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Sins of the Mother: The Story of Pauline Hemingway

.

 hemingway-p-3

Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

According to those that knew her, Pauline Hemingway was intelligent, had a great sense of humor and was a great storyteller. That is how friends remembered her. The public would know her best as the second wife of the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway, having the distinction of being at his side during the most prolific era of his career. Among Hemingway’s books that were published during their marriage are: The Killers (1927), A Farewell to Arms (1929), To Have and Have Not (1937), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1938), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).

.

She was born Pauline Marie Pfeiffer to her parents Paul and Mary (née Downy) Pfeiffer on July 22, 1895 in Parkersburg, Iowa. Her father was the son of a German Lutheran immigrant and her mother the daughter of an Irish Catholic. Also, there were younger siblings Virginia (Jinny) and Max (who died during the influenza epidemic at age 11).

.

In 1900, the family moved to St. Louis where Mr. Pfeiffer made a fortune as a commodity broker. Then, twelve years later, not liking the city scene, they relocated to Piggott, Arkansas. Here the Pfeiffer’s cleared the woods; planted several crops and became an even richer landowner.

.

Pauline furthered her education as an early graduate of the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism. After school, she worked for newspapers in Cleveland and later for chic New York magazines, all while under the watchful eyes of her two uncles, Henry and Gus Pfeiffer.

.

In 1925, while in Paris for an assignment from Vogue, she met a promising writer, Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. Pauline’s sister Jinny had joined her and at first, Hemingway was interested in her, thinking she was better looking than Pauline, but she was a lesbian. They all became great friends, however, even taking vacations together.

.

When they first met, Pauline was 30 years old, yet it’s unlikely that there was ever a man in her life, other than a cousin, to whom she was engaged when she met Ernest. Though inexperienced, eventually, Pauline was able to work her way into Hemingway’s bed. From this he had the idea of a ménage à trois with Hadley, but neither woman would agree to that so he asked for a divorce.

.

Hadley conceded, but with the proviso that the couple agrees to a 100-day separation to test their love. So Pauline returned to Arkansas where she edited several of Hemingway’s manuscripts. When Hadley released them early from their separation commitment, Pauline returned to Paris, but before they married, she asked that he join the Catholic Church, which he did. They were married in the City of Light on May 10, 1927.

.

A little more than a year later, Pauline gave birth to their first son Patrick. It was a difficult delivery (C-Section) and became the fictional basis for Catherine’s death in A Farewell to Arms. Doctors recommended that she wait three years before having another child, so it wasn’t until November 12, 1931 that their son Gregory Hancock was born; an even more difficult Caesarian birth. Now doctors insisted that they have no more children, but because of her Catholic faith, Pauline refused to use birth control, forcing them to practice coitus interruptus. The couple’s sexual and marital problems began at this time.

.

Unfortunately, Pauline had hoped to please her husband by giving him a daughter. Because of that, there may have been some resentment against the child who not only threatened her life, but was the wrong sex. Gregory—or Gigi (pronounced ‘Giggy’) as he was called, was cared for by a nurse (Ada Stern) from the age of two weeks and rarely saw his mother. Sharing her husband’s resentment against infants, Pauline once admitted to her son: “Gig, I just don’t have much of what’s called a maternal instinct, I guess. I can’t stand horrid little children until they are five or six.”

.

.

hemingway-p-5

Gigi with his nanny Ada Stern

.

In fact, Pauline had little to do with either son so that she could devote herself only to Ernest. In her day, people of wealth often left their children with nurses for extended periods, so she may have denied that her children paid some price for her dedication to her husband’s needs.

.

There’s no doubt that Pauline loved her husband until the day she died and truly enjoyed being Mrs. Ernest Hemingway. She took a lot of satisfactions from the idea that she had helped him become one of America’s greatest writers.

.

Even though she was a writer herself, Pauline chose not to pursue that career. Instead, she focused solely on Ernest’s writing. Hemingway once called her the best editor he ever had, but aside from some poems and her abundant letter-writing, there is not much with her name on it. It is difficult to know even the extent of what she wrote for Vogue since articles in that magazine typically did not carry bylines.

.

Jack Hemingway, the writer’s first son by Hadley, had the most positive comments about Pauline, yet she was his stepmother. He enjoyed having two mothers and never felt that she treated him differently than her biological sons. Patrick, however, did not express much about his feelings toward his mother, and Gigi disliked talking about either parent. The best thing Pauline had ever done for him was to hire a good nurse.

.

.

hemingway-p-6

Back: Hemingway, Pauline, Jack. Front: Patrick and Gigi

.

At the heart of Gigi’s troubles was a “flirtation with femininity” that infuriated Hemingway. A friend remarked that the boy “was trying on his mother’s clothes from age four, but it wasn’t until age ten, on a trip to Cuba, that Ernest walked in and discovered him. He stood there frozen and then turned and left.”

.

Two years after their divorce, Hemingway told Pauline that Gigi had “the biggest dark side in the family except me, and you and I’m not in the family. He keeps it so concealed that you never know about it and maybe that way it will back up on him.” That led to a series of father-son confrontations that scarred Gigi as a boy and haunted him as an adult.

.

Finally, Ernest and Pauline’s sexual and marital problems reached its limits—too many affairs and too little sex—and they divorced in 1940 after the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Later, when Pauline lost her faith, she complained to a friend: “If I hadn’t been such a bloody fool practicing Catholic, I wouldn’t have lost my husband.”

.

From then on, Pauline would spend most of her time at their Key West home that they bought the year Gigi was born and running a high-end fabric shop. She often visited her sister Jinny who was now living in Hollywood.

.

As for Gigi, in 1950 he dropped out of college and briefly was enrolled as a student researcher in the early days of Scientology. The following year he married Shirley Jane Rhodes, against his father’s wishes. When they were expecting their first child, Gigi wrote to his father the news after the fact. It was just the “logical thing to do if we are going to have a child,” he wrote.

.

Both were working in a $65-a-week job at Santa Monica’s Douglas Aircraft factory. They set up residence at 1056 Doreen Place, in the nearby seaside community of Venice. There on Doreen Place, Gigi practiced his cross dressing—wearing his wife’s girdle, painting his nails red, and swaggering behind closed doors.

.

Then, on the evening of Saturday, September 29, 1951, Gigi was arrested for entering the women’s restroom of a local movie theater while dressed in drag (in his 1976 memoir he described it as a drug arrest). At the time, Pauline was in San Francisco staying with Jay McEvoy, a wealthy art dealer in his big house on Russian Hill. Feeling out of sorts, she complained of headaches, poundings of the heart and a general feeling of anxiety. She planned to get a full check-up at the Mayo Clinic when time allowed.

.

The next day, Pauline received a call from Gigi explaining that he was in jail and the basic reason why. “My mother… did not seem at all alarmed by my predicament but thought my father should be notified. When I said that it would be simpler if papa were not brought in she said, ‘yes… a lot of things would simpler if you had only one parent.’ But she wasn’t really at all upset. I can remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday.”

.

Irrespective of Gigi’s memories of that day, Pauline was upset. Apparently, she sent Hemingway a cable, something to the effect that their son was arrested, and that the circumstances were muddled. She would be on the next plane to Los Angeles to get more facts and to try to get him out of jail and keep it out of the papers. She would call him from Jinny’s house.

.

Jinny and her lover Laura Archera, a violinist and film producer, met Pauline at Los Angeles airport. At the couple’s Hollywood Hills home on Deronda Drive, she told Jinny that she wasn’t feeling well, that she had a sharp pain in her stomach. Regardless, Pauline contacted lawyers while Jinny and Laura prepared dinner. She couldn’t eat so she went upstairs to bed.

.

At nine o’clock she forced herself from bed to take a call from her ex-husband, the first of several that evening. They quarreled bitterly when Hemingway blamed her for “how Gigi was.”

.

“See how you brought him up?” he screamed over the telephone. Gigi later said that his “aunt, who hated my father’s guts and who certainly couldn’t be considered an unbiased witness, said the conversation had started out calmly enough. But soon Mother was shouting into the phone and sobbing uncontrollably.”

.

Around midnight, Pauline woke up screaming from pain. Jinny and Laura drove her to St. Vincent’s Hospital (Third and Alvarado Streets), a 30-minute drive from Hollywood. Once Pauline was in the operating room, Jinny and Laura returned to Deronda and went to bed. Gigi said: “I can imagine the wild frustration of the surgeons as they searched for a bleeding point in the abdomen, where Mother had originally felt the pain.”

.

Shortly after three o’clock Monday morning, October 1, 1951, Jinny and Laura were awakened by a call from the attending physician: Pauline had died of shock on the operating table. They’d tried everything.

.

.

DC-hemingway-pauline

Pauline Hemingway’s death certificate

.

Within hours, Jinny had Pauline’s body sent to Pierce Brothers Funeral Home on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue, directly across the street from Hollywood Cemetery. Later that morning, Jinny notified family members and cabled Hemingway at 9am, her time.

.

Gigi, however, was clueless about the events that supposedly led to his mother’s death. “But Aunt Jinny told me nothing of the details of the phone conversation the next morning,” Gigi recalled, “just that Mother was dead… My mother’s face looked unbelievably white at the funeral [he means the viewing since there was no funeral], and I remember thinking through sobs what a barbarous ritual Anglo-Saxon burial is.”

.

Jinny wanted to bury her sister in a Catholic cemetery, but Pauline was a divorced Catholic, so there was no chance of that either. The easiest way was chosen for them—the non-denominational cemetery across the street in a plot that cost $350.

.

Pauline’s casket was closed during the brief graveside ceremony on the grounds nearest to the lily pond. There were five mourners attending—Gigi, Jinny, Laura, Jay McEvoy, and Garfield Merner, who was Pauline and Jinny’s first cousin. Pauline’s eldest son, Patrick, was in Africa, and it wasn’t possible for him to get home in time.

.

A few days later, Gigi spoke to his father in Havana. Letting down his guard, Gigi told him: “Referring to the trouble I’d gotten into on the Coast,” he said, “It wasn’t so bad, really, papa.”

.

“No? Well, it killed mother.”

.

“Whatever his motives were,” Gigi later said, “the yellow-green filter came back down over my eyes and this time it didn’t go away for seven years. I didn’t say anything back to him. He’d almost always been right about things, he was so proud, he was so sound, I knew he loved me, it must have been something he just had to say, and I believed him.”

.

Six weeks after Pauline’s death, Gigi and Shirley took a flight to Havana to meet Hemingway; there was a wary distance between father and son. At the end of that visit, as they were heading for the airport, Hemingway remarked: “Well, don’t take any wooden trust funds.” Gigi saw the humor in that and smiled as they parted. Then Gigi writes, “I never saw my father again.”

.

Gigi spent the next several years trying to find himself. Because of his father’s ill-chosen words, he had blamed himself for his mother’s death.

.

In 1960, he entered medical school at the University of Miami. Initially, he had thought his mother died from a heart attack and a ruptured artery. At medical school, one of the first things he did was order his mother’s autopsy report. It showed that Pauline died of a rare and undiagnosed tumor in the core of her adrenal gland called a pheochromocytoma, causing her blood pressure to sore due to extraordinary secretions of adrenaline. Immediately, Gigi knew what happened.

.

“It was not my minor troubles that had upset Mother but his [Hemingway’s] brutal phone conversation with her eight hours before she died,” Gigi determined. “The tumor had become necrotic or rotten and when it fired off that night, it sent her blood pressure rocketing…”

.

Gigi wrote to his father and confronted him with his interpretation of Pauline’s autopsy. “According to a person who was with him in Havana when he received my letter,” Gigi said, “he raged at first and then walked around the house in silence for the rest of the day.” Nine months later, Ernest Hemingway was dead.

.

Over the next forty years, Gigi was married and divorced three more times. He is believed to have had eight children. He received his medical degree and practiced medicine, including time in Montana, but lost his license while struggling with alcohol and his own personal demons. He received electric shock treatments and had several nervous breakdowns. At times, he was a drifter, living in cars, motels or friend’s houses. Finally, in 1995, Gigi had a sex change and became Gloria.

.

In 2001, she was arrested in Key Biscayne on charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest without violence. “He said his name was Gloria,” the arresting officer said. “He looked like a man, but his nails were painted, and he was wearing jewelry and makeup… He was very nice to me.”

.

Gloria was taken to the Miami-Dade Women’s Detention Center to await a hearing. Six days later, on October 1, 2001, the 50th anniversary of Pauline Hemingway’s death, Gloria rose early for a court appearance, began to dress and suddenly collapsed onto the concrete floor. The cause of death was hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Hemingway was 69.

.

Since the grave of Pauline Hemingway is unmarked, for several decades its location has been a mystery. At least if anyone had that information, no one was talking. Even the cemetery claimed to have no records of her burial—I know because I was told that by a cemetery worker many years ago. In their defense, when Tyler Cassity took over the cemetery in the late nineties, he allowed me to go through the cemetery’s records to look for the famous and the infamous, and I could not find her.

.

Then, while doing research for this posting, I came across an article about the writer and Gigi entitled, Hemingway and Son, by Paul Hendrickson. When Hendrickson discusses Pauline’s funeral, he writes:

.

“And a stone? It’s a hard and strange fact that, all these years later, there is still no marker of any kind at Pauline Hemingway’s grave. She’s there, anonymously, at what is now known as Hollywood Forever Cemetery, two rows in from the pavement, down from Nelson Eddy Way, under a spongy piece of ground, alongside the modest markers of Lydia Bemmels and Leiland Irish, in almost the literal shade of Paramount Studio’s main lot…”

.

.

hemingwaygrave2

.

.

Pay dirt! By chance, I was familiar with the grave of Leiland (Atherton) Irish, who is on my list of Hollywood Forever luminaries. His wife Florence, always referred to as Mrs. Leiland Irish, was one of the three founders of the Hollywood Bowl and was its director for nearly thirty years. Ironically, Mr. Irish passed away only five days after Pauline, but he received a marker and sadly Pauline did not.

.

In conclusion, an explanation for that oversight may be explained by the following excerpt from Strange Tribe, a Hemingway memoir written by Gigi’s son, John Patrick Hemingway:

.

“Pauline was buried in the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, and as a student at UCLA I must have passed by it a thousand times on my way to classes. Still, it wasn’t until a friend asked me to spend a couple of hours there with her that I actually visited the place. ‘We could have a picnic on the grass,’ she had suggested.

.

“Yet it was the first time I’d ever set foot inside a cemetery, and while I rejected the idea of the picnic, I had to admit that it was peaceful and well kept, and not at all what I’d expected. It was a sunny day, and we had the grounds to ourselves. ‘Let’s sit here,’ she said, pointing to a grassy area devoid of any markers. For all I know, I could have been sitting on my grandmother’s grave.

.

“Years later, I found out from Dr. Ruth Hawkins, the director of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, that my father and uncle had never bothered to put up a tombstone. They could have afforded one, but clearly felt that Pauline didn’t deserve it. ‘I can’t stand horrid little children’ was how she had once tried to justify her treatment of my father, and when she died, those horrid little children probably had better things to do than worry about tombstones. No sign was left of her passing, nothing that might remind them or anyone else that here lay the remains of the woman who’d once been their mother.”

.

Pauline Hemingway’s unmarked grave is simple to find. It’s located in Garden of Legends (Section 8) on the west side. Park near the two Chinese lions on the edge of road and walk two rows in. Find the Irish and Bemmels markers and Pauline is in the unmarked plot between them.

.

.

hemingwaygrave1

.

.

hemingwaygrave3

.

There is more to the life of Pauline Hemingway than can be documented here.Recommended reading:

Hawkins, Ruth A. Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage. Little Rock: University of Arkansas Press, 2012.

____________________________

.

Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 22nd, 2015
2015
May 22

RUDOLPH VALENTINO

Visiting the final sites of Rudolph Valentino’s life and death

.

cover-valentino-pp

.

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

During a recent visit to New York I stopped at some sites related to Rudolph Valentino at the end of his life. Specifically, the former Polyclinic Hospital where the screen-idol died and St. Malachy’s Catholic Church where his funeral was held.

.

.

polyclinic

The picture on the left is the Polyclinic Hospital as it appeared circa 1926.

On the right is how the building appears today.

.

New York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Medical College (345 West 50th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), where Rudolph Valentino died, played host to the ills of many prominent people over the years. Actress Mary Pickford, gangster Arnold Rothstein, singer Peggy Lee, and Marilyn Monroe are only a few of the famous folks who passed through these doors. After Valentino’s death, the 334-bed hospital remained politically and financially strong, and continued to function for decades as a totally independent hospital. A merger with the French Hospital in 1972, however, paved the way for bankruptcy and its eventual closing in 1976, fifty years after Valentino’s death. The former hospital building, while still standing, is now residential. The eight-floor suite where Valentino died is most likely reconfigured. Still, the windows on the east side (showing above), though some are bricked up, remain visible.

.

.

stmalachis

The photo on the left is the Valentino funeral procession leaving St. Malachy’s Church.

On the right is how the church appears today.

.

Founded in 1903, St. Malachys Catholic Church (239 East 49th Street, between Eighth Avenue and Broadway), today known as “the Actor’s Chapel,” still ministers to Broadway’s Catholic actor. Valentino’s New York funeral was held here, as was the 1929 marriage of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., to Joan Crawford.

.

.

valentino-stmalachiinside

The interior of St. Malachy’s Church

.

valentino-candle

.

While visiting St. Malachy’s, I lit a candle in Rudolph Valentino’s memory. I am not of the Catholic persuasion s0 I hope I broke no laws.

____________________________________

.

Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 10th, 2015
2015
May 10

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

.

gleason-mina

MINA CROLIUS GLEASON

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

On this Mother’s Day we remember Mina Crolius Gleason, the mother of playwright and actor, James Gleason.

.
Born Arabella Crolius on June 9, 1858, in Boston, her family had been in the theater for generations. She was on the stage as a child, appearing with her four brothers and sisters at the historic Castle Square Stock Company Theater.

.

Following her marriage to William Lawrence Gleason, she went on tour with him in Charles Frohman’s road shows. Later, the couple appeared in stock at Oakland and at Elitch’s Gardens in Denver.

.

.

gleason-james

.

.
Her son, James Gleason, was one of the most successful American playwrights and actors, in stage and films. Gleason made an impression in roles in such films as Meet John Doe, Here Comes Mr. Jordan and The Bishop’s Wife. He made his debut on the stage as a 4-months-old baby carried in his mother’s arms.

.
In April, 1927, Gleason wrote a part in The Shannons of Broadway especially for his mother, but she fractured a hip while stepping down from a train at Gallup, New Mexico. She was unable to act in the play, although her son postponed the production on her account.

.
Now an invalid, Mina was confined to her home at 117 North Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. On June 26, 1931, she was rushed to the Osteopathic Hospital and it was there she died the following day from heart disease. She was 73.

.

.

DC-gleason-mina2

Mina Gleason’s death certificate

.
Mina’s funeral was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills with interment, along with her husband’s ashes, at Hollywood Cemetery (Section 8, in the vicinity of John Huston).

.

.

gleason-mina

_________________________________

.

The Story of the Sacketts of Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 26th, 2015
2015
Apr 26

HOLLYWOOD PIONEERS

.

sacketts-title

.

Above: The extended Sackett family in front of the Sackett Hotel, in 1898. From left to right: Betsy Otis, H.D. Sackett‘s aunt; Mrs. Sackett; Lyman Hathaway, cousin of Mary Sackett; William H. Sackett; unknown; Mary Sackett; Zella Sackett, married to George Dunlap; unknown; Lilly ? ; Dora Miller. (LAPL)

.

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.
Horace David Sackett, whose family came to America from England in 1831, was born in Blandford, Massachusetts on December 29, 1843, the son of Leverett and Mary Culver Sackett. When he was eighteen years old, he went to Suffield, Connecticut and started a flourishing general merchandise and farming business that lasted for several years.

.
On January 15, 1873, Sackett married Ellen Minerva Lyman (b. July 24, 1848) and became the parents of five children, Mary Mariah (b. July 8, 1875), William (b. June 22, 1876), Warren Lyman (b. August 30, 1882), Zella Myra (b. June 11, 1883), and Emily (b. March 1885).

.
Sackett was a squat, spare, busy man with a short beard. He was cheerful and kindly but firm in his convictions. In 1887, with $10,000 in his pocket, he left Connecticut with his family and moved to Los Angeles. There he heard about land in the North Cahuenga Valley being subdivided for business and residential purposes. This new development called Hollywood was without lights, telephones, paved streets or other modern improvements.

.
The developer, Harvey Henderson Wilcox and his wife Daeida was looking for men willing to build up the area and attract new residents. Sackett’s daughter Mary recalled that her family was one of the first families in the area. “Mr. Wilcox subdivided his 160-acre ranch and named it Hollywood,” Mary recalled years later. “Both our families settled down there in May, 1888 when I was 12.”

.
Each lot was going for a fixed price of $1,000 each. But Wilcox gave Sackett, free of charge, three sixty-five foot lots facing the assigned business area at Cahuenga Avenue and the southwest corner of Prospect (now Hollywood Boulevard), if Sackett made certain improvements before the dummy line (the old steam engine with the open car) reached Wilcox Avenue.

.

.

sackett-store2

.

.
By 1888, the railroad was functioning, and Sackett built on the corner a three-story hotel building (above) of wood with a mansard roof, consisting of a corner store, and Prospect Avenue lobby and parlor. Behind that was the culinary department. The stairway from the lobby led to the two stories with their eighteen rooms and a bathroom. Behind the hotel was a barn and corral, and surrounding the store and lobby front was a cypress hedge and two-year-old pepper trees planted by Wilcox, which gave the place a very cozy appearance.

.
Here the Sacketts ran the first hotel in the Cahuenga Valley and the second general merchandising establishment within the corporate limits of Hollywood. He also kept a few horses for his clientele and to work the blocks east and south of the store, where he had a garden to sell produce in his store.

.
He later bought the lot south of the hotel and also two lots facing west on Wilcox Avenue, and south of the two northern lots in the row. Here he ran an overnight and breakfast place for city visitors from the north and the bachelors’ roost for the young single men of the village. At his store, Sackett sold butter and eggs, crackers and cheese, overalls, jumpers, boots and shoes, ribbons and yardage, and canned goods that were then becoming popular.

.
Another Hollywood pioneer associated with the hotel was Dr. Edwin O. Palmer, who later wrote a history of the area. Upon his arrival in California, he rented a room and an office for his medical practice.

.
Sackett’s daughter, Mary and her siblings, attended the old Temple Street School through grade school but didn’t go to high school because it was downtown, and they couldn’t get there on time. Later, Sackett added another store, where in a corner nook constituted Hollywood’s post office; Mary became Hollywood’s first postmistress, running her practiced eye over the little rack of boxes. For her duties, Mary was paid as high as $5 per month.

.
Tragedy hit the Sackett family in 1899 when his son, William died unexpectedly at 23 years of age and was buried at Rosedale, as there would not be a cemetery in Hollywood for another two years.

.
Due to competition from the new Hollywood Hotel, built two years earlier at the northwest corner of Prospect and Highland, Sackett closed his hotel in 1905. He sold the property to Henry Gillig, but it remained unoccupied for the next five years except for one store room on the first floor.

.
In 1907, Sackett built a six bedroom house on property he had previously bought at what is now 1642 Wilcox Avenue. Later that same year, in the reception hall of their home, Sackett’s daughter Zella married George Dunlap. He was the mayor of Hollywood at the time, and the city’s last as Los Angeles annexed Hollywood in 1910.

.
In 1910, J.P. Creque, one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood, bought the former hotel property for $28,000 from the estate of Henry Gillig, who was now deceased. Creque razed the abandoned hotel and erected a fireproof two-story cream brick structure that cost approximately $30,000. The Hollywood National Bank leased a portion of the new building; there were three other stores facing on Prospect. The second floor had offices with wide hallways and tile flooring.

.

.

sackett-loc-building

The J.P. Creque Building being built in 1911 on the site of the Sackett Hotel

at the southwest corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga.

.

In 1931, the Creque Building was enlarged by adding two stories; the Art Deco building at 6400-6408 Hollywood Boulevard, is still on the site.

.

.

sacketts-now

The Creque Building as it appears today on the site of the Sackett Hotel.

.
Now retired from the mercantile business, Sackett devoted himself to the management of his private interests and several properties that he owned. He took an active part in the public affairs of Hollywood and Los Angeles for many years and was a man of ability and worth. He was a staunch democrat and was interested in politics, especially in local matters.

.
It was in their Wilcox Avenue home that Horace Sackett died in 1918 and was buried next to his son at Rosedale. In 1929, his wife Ellen followed him in death at the age of eighty from heart disease.

.
At the time of Ellen’s death, the area around Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox was mostly commercial, and land was being bought for business purposes. Mary Sackett was living in the family home, but instead of demolishing the house, she sold the property in 1929 but moved the house to the San Fernando Valley which was mostly residential.

.
Remarkably, the old Sackett house is still standing at 10739 Kling Street in North Hollywood. The 1908 residence looks somewhat out of place next to the small bungalow homes built mostly in the 1930s.

.

.

sacketts-home-now

The altered, but original Horace Sackett home, once located at 1642 Wilcox Avenue

in Hollywood, is now at 10739 Kling Street in North Hollywood.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a private residence. DO NOT DISTURB the occupants.

.

sacketts-home-now-back

.

.

sacketts-wilcox

On Wilcox, a row of storefronts still stands in place of the old Sackett homestead.

.
Mary Sackett never married and in her old age claimed that she never touched liquor, tea or coffee. “I’m an old maid and proud of it,” she insisted to a reporter in 1950. “I’ve never worn a bit of make-up, yet I had three proposals. Men have taken me out but usually with a chaperone. I wouldn’t let them kiss me good-night and to this day no man has ever been allowed to put his arm around me.”

.
In 1954, at the age of 78, Mary appeared on an episode of the  You Bet Your Life television show with host Groucho Marx and laughingly ruffled the comedians feathers. She asked Groucho to put away his trademark cigar, either lit or unlit, and he grudgingly complied.

.

.

sacket-groucho

Mary Sackett, 74, spars with comedian Groucho Marx on “You Bet Your Life.”

Click HERE to watch the episode. Mary’s segment begins at 18:45

.
When asked if a man might yet come along and sweep her off her feet, Mary replied, “Not a chance. I’m too set in my ways. I don’t want any man cluttering up my house.” When Mary died on January 31, 1969 at age 93 in Rosemead, California, she was the last remaining Sackett. She was buried in the family plot at Rosedale Cemetery.

.

.

sackett-grave1

.

.

sackett-grave2

The Sackett family grave marker at Rosedale Cemetery.

________________________________________

.

Hollywood: Then & Now–Rollin Lane house; now the Magic Castle

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 11th, 2015
2015
Apr 11

HOLLYWOOD: THEN & NOW

Rollin P. Lane house; now The Magic Castle

.

magiccastlethen

.

.

magiccastlenow

.

7001 FRANKLIN AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD

.

The Magic Castle website

_____________________________

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 15th, 2015
2015
Feb 15

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

.

 outpostadobe

.

By Allan R. Ellenberger

.

Born in 1842, Presentacion Urquidez was the fifth child of Don Tomas Urquidez and his third wife, Ramona Candida Vejar. Don Urquidez, who was born in Santo Tomas Mission, Lower California, arrived in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-five. Urquidez was the first Spanish resident of what would eventually be known as Hollywood, and his cattle and horses roamed far over the southern slopes of the Cahuenga Valley. Annually he celebrated the fiesta of “The Sign of the Cross,” with its praying, dancing, horse racing, and barbecue with the pure native wines and brandies.

.

In 1853 Don Urquidez built the first house in what would be Hollywood (see photo above), an adobe and wood building that had its roof insulated with brea brought from the nearby tar pits. It was located in an old Native American graveyard on the northwest corner of Franklin and Sycamore Avenues.

.

On October 21, 1861, Presentacion married Jose Claudio Tranquilino Lopez at the Plaza Church in downtown Los Angeles. Afterward, festivities lasting eight days were held at their famous adobe in Hollywood.

.

Through various causes, the family lost its vast estates. Old and blind, Don Tomas returned from the celebration of the Eve of St. John at the San Gabriel Mission to find himself disposed of his beloved adobe. Later their home was bought by General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times and was renamed The Outpost.

.

Presentacion would bear her husband Jose at least five children, and Carmen Avenue in Hollywood was named after one of them. In her old age, Presentacion remembered General John C. Fremont and much of the local history of the time and was one of the few remaining representatives of the time when most of this section was owned by the Spanish.

.

The evening before her death on September 8, 1908, Presentacion entertained a group of old friends until late in the morning, smoking her favorite cigarettes and talking about old times. She was weak and feeble, and after the last friend had gone, called for a final cigarette and was surprised that she was too weak to inhale the fumes. Sinking back on her couch, she turned her glance upward, gave a loud happy laugh and died with a smile on her lips. Two sons and a daughter and a large number of grandchildren survived her.

.

.

lopez-presentacion

At the end of her life, she claimed to not know her real age which

probably explains the wrong date on her tombstone.

.

Before her burial in Hollywood Cemetery, the funeral was held at the Blessed Sacrament Church on the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood Boulevard) and Cherokee Avenue. Her tombstone reads, “En Paz Descanse” or “Rest in Peace.” Her grave is located in the northeast corner of the cemetery (where the older graves are) and about two rows from the wall.

_____________________________________

.

Katharine Hepburn on the cover…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Feb 14th, 2015
2015
Feb 14

FAN MAGAZINE COVER

Katharine Hepburn

.

cover-hepburnB

_________________________________

.

Next »

  • RSS Feed