Southern Cal in Errol’s Day

25 Jul

Great film from the Forties, including many of Errol’s old haunts, exactly how he would have seen them. LA, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood, Catalina, Snow Valley, Lake Arrowhead, San Juan Capistrano, and Laguna, down the coast to Del Mar, San Diego, Coronado, and Tijuana, back north to Palm Springs and Pasadena – all along the Santa Fe Railroad Trail.

— Tim


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  1. The Zaca

    July 25, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    OMG Tim. I could barely bear to watch this, made a mere ten years before I was born. SoCal truly once was vibrant, stylish, architecturally fascinating and Old Spanish World beautiful, and I recognize so many places I lived in or went to. But alas what it is now is nothing close to what it was! :( Progress is not always so great….

  2. David DeWitt

    July 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I had relatives in LA, though I was very young. I remenber some of these places. The Brown Derby stands out in my childhood memory. Too young to recall much else. Our relative there was the Fire Marshall of Los Angeles and we got free tickets to RINGLING BROS & BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUSES. Errol’s last ten years were my first ten …

  3. Sergio

    July 25, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I think its safe to say that we ALL here now, wished we could have bene movie stars and hanging with Flynn and others, during these wonderful times of the Golden Age of Hollywood…. I sometimes feel I should have been my dad and my dad me….Being that I am/was an entertainer, I definitely would have given this a shot, for sure!… What a great and wonderful time that was, even though the war was at our heals. It was still a great time to be a movie star!

    • Sergio

      July 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      By the way – Hollywood today is a big S*@T hole today – The stars of yesterday must be turning in their graves as to what it has turned to – you could not pay me today to give it a shot in the biz – it’s a cesspool …..

      • Tony

        July 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        Sergio, I don’t think it was ever that great to be an entertainer. I’ve heard that it was very very hard work in a dog eat dog business. I just finished reading about how Judy Garland and others were worked 72 hours straight by being pumped full of amphetamines, then were allowed to sleep 4 hours by being injected with barbiturates.

        One difference I know of is that in the past entertainers started out in local theaters. There was a theater on every other corner before TV and Radio. So the entertainers learned their craft well while they were young.

        In Hollywood they were also trained and groomed by the studios at great expense. I don’t think they do that anymore.

        As for the money, maybe one in a million made money, and even the superstars didn’t make as much as they should have. The few who made some money almost always pissed it away because most entertainers had a sort of gypsy life style, with no idea of saving or putting down roots.

        The big money was made by the business men who no one ever saw. They ground up lives and through people in the trash like so much garbage. The same is true today.

        • Sergio

          July 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Tony – Although there have bene some changes here and there in the entertainment business, some for the better and to even out the scale, some for the worst. Yet from my point of view I think its safe to say that not much has really changed since the beginning….

          As far as to what Judy Garland said, there is some truth to it, but like many in not putting the blame on themselves due to their own lack of discipline , they put it on others such as herself blames the studio and their bosses.
          In speaking to her partner of many years, Mickey Rooney – which I got to know his son Andy pretty darn well back in the day; both of us being musicians, we shared many of the same venues together, and so you and others would hang many days and nights and by that, you get a chance to meet families and others close to them.
          Anyway Mickey said, and he said it with intusiem; ” that was the greatest and best time of my life!!” – “It was hard work, but we did not have to worry about nothing, all was taken care for us by the studios” – He also mentioned that the papering he and some others received from their studio bosses, were in some ways more loved/closer to them then that of their own families.
          They were however at times pawned off like a piece of meat; abused in this way without much rest, but as one quickly learns, when your in the entertainment biz, if you don’t have tough skin, well, your not going to do so well in the longevity of the entertainment world, or in life due to the fringe benefits handed to you hand over fist, as for some those unfortunately become a curse.

          Many have made great strides in life because of what was handed to them during their short career of being on top – yet again, its hard work, and its demand of sacrifice is tremendous that’s for sure! But the reward of money is huge, if that’s what your after, in as far as security other than that, its not. Lets face it, the entertainment biz has made more millionaires out of a majority of simple or in some none educated people than that of any other trade.
          Financial security or a better living above most, is an individuals affair; how well you managed that is as any works of life – some are better at finances then others.
          The ones which normally had/have less education or are/were simple minded, usually did/does not do so well the majority of the time. They are preyed upon from scumbag(s) accountants, lawyers, managers, etc. – The artist writes checks, spends like it’s and oil well that never stops giving, all the while the pipeline is being siphoned through another pipe, the scumbag! Thus you have what became of Flynn and many others.

          Sometime somewhere, life does change, that’s inevitable, and you have to be prepared. Our God has made nature so cool, and people can learn a heck of lot more just watching animals in nature. Take the squirrel for one; they are always ready for winter, they stach/burry food so to not starve during those cold none producing months.
          Humans on the other hand who are suppose to be the Alfa, smarter, etc. beast of the land, are at times not so smart as the simple animals. Take our man Flynn for one – we all know how broke he was – he spent faster then he earned it and did not pay attention to what was going on with his accountants, managers, etc.; he was living life to the fullest, and all the while abusing his body along the way. What a damn shame – so much more we could have had from him?
          Before he knew it he was 50 looking like 80 , broke, and with a huge substance abuse problem, all these compounded so that he had to sell the one and only “Real” thing he loved above all things, the Zaca! Was it really worth living fast, die young, James Dean attitude?

          I have been in show biz since I was 14 years old and now in my 60’s, and one thing is for sure – if you are not prepared and/or built for that business, you will end up another John Barrymore or Judy Garland, and at most times never-ever reaching that high of a platform.

          As much as we all thought it was a cool as to what our Errol said; “Any man who dies with more than $10,000 to his name is a failure.”. – in reality I believe we all think that’s bunk!
          I really believe that our dear chap died too early and if he could have changed somethings, although not all things mind you. He would have change the way his finances were handled, and maybe taken care of his physical self better; yet the later is a maybe at best….

          You know when you really look at the great job Errol did in the Barrymore story; ” Too Much Too Soon”, it really was himself and he knew it. He as Judy were those that were so Strong in talent in their own way, yet so weak in life’s ultimate journeys of which they knew not on how to handle the long version others such as us have to endure day in and day out. What a great shame of talented people we lose all the time to such…..

          Oh and by the way Tony, it has, and it will always be “Great” to be in the entertainment biz, if you know how to handle it…

          • Tony

            July 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm

            Sergio, thank you for your point of view. You’ve given me much to think about.

          • Gentleman Tim

            July 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm

            Tremendous insight, Sergio. IMHO, to make it big (on the levels of Flynn, Garland and Rooney) in the entertainment business takes Herculean drive and superlative talent. A good dose of good luck is often necessary, too. Perhaps drive and perseverence most of all, even more than talent.

            I do not have anywhere near the knowledge, success or experience you have in this regard, but I did have one memorable experience – running into an all-time a-hole named Kim Fowley in LA, in 1980. He was one perfect manifestation of how sick, dangerous, and bizarre the musicbusiness could be. I much later read he claimed to know Errol, but he was such a screwed up, self-promoting phony, who knows. One thing was for certain, he was a premier jerk.

            Regarding Mickey Rooney, he had such extraordinary one-in-a-hundred-million talent, enthusiasm, and energy that I think he could survive and thrive in the business far “easier” than most child actors, particularly someone as emotionally frail and damaged as Judy Garland.

            • Tony

              July 30, 2017 at 6:01 pm

              Tim, I agree with you about Mickey Rooney. I never gave him much credit for being an actor, and I always used to think he was a self promoting, delusional, blowhard. But as I started to take note of more and more of his work I came to realize that he was a master in his craft and a shining star!

              There was an interview with the directer of Breakfast At Tiffany’s where Blake Edwards says he was sorry he chose Rooney to play the Japanese guy. Well, I think Rooney created the perfect character for that role, he played it as a clown! He must have put a lot of time into perfecting that performance, too bad that it was unappreciated by the directer.

              Oh yes, and Mickey Rooney showed some class at Errol’s funeral, at a time when many others did not.

              • Gentleman Tim

                July 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm

                A master indeed, Tony. One of the greatest megatalents in Hollywood history!


                And, yes, a true, loyal, and caring friend of Errol’s – in good times and bad.


                • Tony

                  July 30, 2017 at 8:13 pm

                  I just watched the Drummer Boy video. It seems that MR was trained in every facet of the entertainment craft. The hard work and long hours he must have put in to learn all these arts is beyond my comprehension.

                  • Sergio

                    July 31, 2017 at 1:32 pm

                    There are a lot of great and talented children – most unfortunately never see the light of day after reaching teenage years, they simply disappear into the darkness and never heard from again, then too, some cant handle the fame and end up on the coroners slab. We see this in the entertainment biz so many times. In my eyes there were two that lasted throughout there old age as somewhat of stars, of course Mickey was one and the other was Jackie Coogan.
                    Coogan was what I thought a phenomenal child star.
                    The movie “The Kid” (1921) at age 7 shows his incredible depth as a child – to be able to understand and deliver his character so deeply at that age is incredible! Its the same as when you see a young child playing an incredible Blues on a guitar or voice; having that understanding at such young age and not having yet lived it, is incredible to me.
                    Mickey Rooney was all of that and beyond; he was special.
                    He had a drive inside of him that he could not, would not nor knew nothing else to do, so quitting was not ever really an option, even at times when he may have wanted too, which was hardly ever.
                    He was like a walking catalog of entertaining talent that I’ve never seen before nor after. Good reason why his children were very talented too, great DNA.

                    Then you come to his end; a bursting Technicolor life ends so disastrous – it makes me very sad to hear and read about it. It’s very troubling for me to try and comprehend why people did the things they did to him –…
                    How cruel these people were, no soul – why they are not in prison I don’t know?
                    Rooney was also a living encyclopedia of the classic days of Hollywood – anything and anyone, he could tell stories about.
                    Yes Tony he did at times seem like a blowhard – that was the only times I would say he was overacting, yet he was very compassionate – he could feel the stories he told as John Barrymore would his Shakespeare and exploding his lyrical expressions on stage.

                    He was one hell of a blast of dynamite fit into a short firecracker suit. To me he was the greatest entertainer that ever was, and I doubt we will ever see one as good as he last as long as he; 9 decades…..

                    By the way I want to make change and apologies for the screw up. I wrote the name Andy as the son of Mickey which I knew well, were in fact his name was Teddy! old age creeps up on you and the brain farts are more common. So again sorry to all who read it and also to Teddy, whom I hope is in heaven so we can jam again one day…. R.I.P. old chap…..

  4. Gentleman Tim

    July 31, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Didn’t know that Tony! Just read he was a U.S. Army Air pilot in the “real” Objective Burma, flying in the Chindits under General Wingate.

    Thanks to Serge and you. I knew virtually nothing about Jackie Coogan (and sometimes confuse him with Jackie Cooper), but I did years back live in a very cool apartment building he built (or, ratger, his family built with the income he earned) on Balboa Park in San Diego called Park Manor. My apartment can be briefly seen in As Good As Dead, a movie with Judge Reinhold, Crystal Bernard and Tracy Lords (across the hall from where the murder takes place.) Of the stars, I met only Judge Reinhold, who was an absolutely great guy and was very kind and generous to my then 7-year old son.

    Here’s the apartment building he built in San Diego when he was a superstar kid:


    • Sergio

      August 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      GT that is funny about Teddy doing a movie with his so called father Andy (Rooney)… I wonder how many times he asked about his father Andy..LOL