I’m reading a book now that I nearly brought back to the library unread, and I’m glad I didn’t; I’d have missed an enjoyable nostalgic trip. It’s Hollywood Remembered by Paul Zollo. In the 1990s Zollo interviewed a lot of oldsters who’d worked in Hollywood near the time of its beginnings when the place was still more citrus grove than Capitol Records. He interviewed people you’ve heard of: Karl Malden, Evelyn Keyes (she played Scarlett O’Hara’s sister), Johnny Grant (honorary mayor of Hollywood), Steve Allen, Charles Champlin, and a lot more people you haven’t heard of; behind-the-scenes people: secretaries, set builders, producers.
Lots of memories, lots of gossip, lots of longing for things that are no more. One thing, though, still is: the Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard. Restaurant to the stars, it opened in 1919 and is still serving. For 30 years I lived 60 miles east of Hollywood and I never ate at--never heard of--Musso & Frank’s. Now I’m 1500 miles away, pining to eat a chicken pot pie and soak up some old-time showbiz atmosphere, which is exactly the feeling Zollo wanted his readers to get from his book. Good job, Paul. Fun read.
More books about the heyday of the Hollywood studios:
Hollywood: A Third Memoir by Larry McMurtry
Hollywood Animal: A Memoir by Joe Eszterhas
In and Out of Hollywood: A Biographer's Memoir by Charles Higham
Jean Howard's Hollywood : A Photo Memoir
Lullaby of Broadway: The Best of Busby Berkeley at Warner Bros
The Man Who Knew Hitchcock: A Hollywood Memoir
Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten
Original Story By: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood