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Customer Review

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They Must Have Been In A Hurry This Time Around, July 9, 2010
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This review is from: Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again!: More Exhibitions! More Sex! More Sin! More Scandals Unfit to Print (Blood Moon's Babylon) (Hardcover)
Truthfully I'd like to give this book at least 4* because it is a great read for those lazy days of summer when there isn't too much to deal with except to kick back with a cold drink, spread on the sunscreen, dig your heels into the sand, and read trashy stuff.
Basically, you could look at my previous review of this book's prequel HOLLYWOOD BABYLON--IT'S BACK and get the essence of what this book is about with a few key exceptions.
Still gaycentric to an extreme, this book features far less nude pictures than the previous volume. There are plenty of beefcake pictures. The nudes are still there, but mostly female. Most notably the nude female is one woman---a Marilyn Monroe wanna-be named Liz Renay who appears to be some sort of porn queen/publicity grabber. Liz, who died in 2007, is quoted from her memoirs rating the celebs she bedded. It's not nice to speak ill of the dead, but this lady was a tad course and tasteless and had no problem evaluating and in many instances outing her 'co-stars'. Of course, the resulting discourse was hilarious but completely impossible to verify since all of her male pals are dead, too. The gaycentric theme carries on with outing Hollywood lesbians, bi-sexuals, etc. This book even implies that Walt Disney may have sexually molested child star Bobby Driscoll, that Charlton Heston was a bi-sexual lover of the young, Marlon Brando had sex with his son Christian and daughter Cheyenne, and inumerable Hollywood celebrities were gay prostitutes or bi-sexual prostitutes.
Darwin Porter is undoubtedly one gifted writer which is exactly why I've read so many of his books. I enjoy them, but I also remain a tad sceptical because there are a lot of assertions made that cannot be proven or verified because everybody outed in this book is dead. Interestingly enough, at least two living actors who have had stirred some gay/bi gossip weren't outed. This book appears to be a mix of fact/urban legend/gossip and possibly wishful thinking. One aspect bothers me in particular. One of the few noted references for information in this book is the author David Bret. Bret writes a lot of trashy books which are very poorly done and rife with unsubstantiated assertions.
It is possible that I missed some inaccuracies in the previous book, but this one seemed to have a lot of them. There is no Bel Mar Race Track, but there is a Del Mar Race Track. Natalie Wood's nameplate on her wall crypt at Westwood Memorial Park is hard to find because she is not in a wall crypt; she has a grave there. Dates are incorrect. There were a lot of errors. Were Porter and his co-author in such a frenzy to get this book out that they passed on a personal review of their proof?
In the end, this really is a fun/lurid read. My advice is to go into this with an open mind, but don't take it as gospel. Some of it is true, but some of it probably isn't.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2010 1:28:43 AM PDT
EA Solinas says:
"Interestingly enough, at least two living actors who have had stirred some gay/bi gossip weren't outed."

Simple: they can sue.

Brando, Heston, Disney and the like cannot, because they're dead. Porter pretty much makes his living off of the fact that "you cannot libel the dead," and thus he only muckrakes people who are safely deceased. :X

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2010 7:35:02 AM PDT
LOL! The point exactly.
As for the two living actors I referred to, they managed to make it into this book but Porter avoided the gay innuendo and just went for the factual stuff that is public record and very tame.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010 11:45:23 AM PDT
I am grateful for this review; I was tempted to buy the book after reading the first review (5 stars) but, after reading this one, and having been acquainted with the writings of Mr. Porter for many years (ahem) I will definitely pass on this one.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010 11:54:42 AM PDT
Simply put, I do not trust anything that Darwin Porter writes. Has he ever substantiated his "facts"? I am now more convinced than ever that he makes many of them up out of thin air. That being said, he seems to have fashioned himself a successful career in writing about those who are no longer alive to defend themselves. "Brando Unzipped" was, I admit, a great read, but I do not for a moment trust the "facts" stated therein, so I read it with the mindset that it was fiction. I wonder, too, if anyone has ever seen a picture of Mr. Porter, as I have never been able to find one. I just now "Google-imaged" him, and there was not one picture to be found of this person. Rather, all I saw were the famous faces of those about whom he has written. To me, this is ample evidence as to why he does not wish to expose his face.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2010 1:21:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 17, 2010 1:22:59 PM PDT
Lynn,
You've got me started now. I never surfed for Porter, but I am not surprised he was invisible. I passed on his books about Newman and McQueen. As for this one, I knew I was in trouble when he used David Bret as a reference. Don't know if you are familiar with Bret, but the premise for most of his books is that everyone in Hollywood is gay or bi. Unlike Porter, Bret has no talent as a writer.
What's next for Porter....A Vivien Leigh/Laurence Olivier expose and another outing of Humphrey Bogart. I guess there is a large market for his books, but I hope people take them for what they're worth....wishful thinking from a guy who is trying to make a quick buck.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2010 2:02:24 PM PDT
Hey Gail, so glad to get your response. I agree w/ all you said, of course - and must confess that years ago, before I'd ever heard of Darwin Porter, I bought that "biography" of Bogart's "early years" and I couldn't even finish half of it. It was stupid and unbelievable and, as usual, had no references whatsoever to back the "facts". Don't ask me why I bought his Brando book - I guess my brain was malfunctioning when I did so and I also did confess in my earlier post that it was titillating...perhaps it contains some grains of truth, but other than that, forget it. And yes, unfortunately there IS a large market for that cretin's books. I'm all for Hollywood biographies (they are one of my passions and my collection is huge), but only the well-researched ones with documentation with which to back up the information contained inside! We should start a "Boycott Porter" petition - whaddya think?? :-) Lynn P.S. I have never heard of Bret, but thanks for the warning - !

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2010 11:45:22 PM PDT
Lynn,
Wish I had said that!
Boycotting Porter sounds good, but I don't know if it would catch on. I'd like to think that most readers recognize that his 'bios' are fabricated (kindly put), but once this stuff hits print it becomes urban legend.
As for mutual momentary lapses of good judgement re: Porter and other sleeze meisters, I think many of us (people who like show business bios and books on Hollywood) sometimes don't think before they leap. I have some people I'm really crazy about and I invariably buy anything that even peripherally references them.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2010 2:25:06 PM PDT
Hi again, Gail! I totally agree w/ your comment regarding buying anything in reference to a certain celebrity/famous person, even if it turns out to be "crapola", as I have obviously done the same many times. I probably have every book ever written, for instance, on Elizabeth Short (ironically, I had never heard of her until I read Kenneth Anger's notorious (at the time) and embarrassingly inaccurate Hollywood Babylon I, many years ago). I even bought the book by the woman who insists that her father was the killer (can't even remember her name - but her book is a bunch of baloney as far as I'm concerned). If you have any interest in "The Black Dahlia", the book I have personally found to be the best, by far, is "The Black Dahlia Files" by Donald H. Wolfe; I actually ended up with two copies - the hardcover first edition and the soft-cover. I think that this book gets the closest to the truth regarding what really happened to Elizabeth Short. Steve Hodel tried his best in "Black Dahlia Avenger" but, although I believe that his father was involved in some way in Short's life, I do not believe that he was her killer. I have a Borders coupon that I am going to download so I can go there to see if I can find a good book tonight. I love Amazon, of course but, to me, there's nothing better than going to the actual book store and "hanging out" w/ the books. I really miss the old, musty (I really like that smell!) used book stores that once populated many areas but have seem to have disappeared in the last 20 years, at least here in Connecticut. Thanks for these great exchanges - your input is much-appreciated and it is great "talking" to someone so knowledgeable, kind and friendly. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2010 10:00:48 PM PDT
Lynn,
We must read a lot of the same books. I'm not sure if I was introduced to Elizabeth Short via HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, but the first time I saw that picture I was horrified and fascinated at the same time. I wasn't sure if I was looking at something real. I've read the Hoedel and Wolfe books. I'm with you on this one. Wolfe's book makes the best argument while Hoedel's at the very least makes a case for concealment and the involvement on some level of his father. Based on the sheer number of 'Dahlia' websites, I'm certain there will be more books coming down the pike.
I'd have to say I'm a 50/50 Amazon and Borders customer. Granted that most Borders are pretty nice and not dusty or moldy, but at least they have comfy chairs and lots of current books. I popped for the better frequent buyer program a couple of weeks ago and it makes them more competitive with Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2010 8:33:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2010 8:38:02 AM PDT
Wow, Gail, we do have much in common; when I went to Borders the other night I, too, signed up for the frequent buyer program. I love the coupons and the various discounts there, and the ambiance in this particular store is great, too. I've been going there since they first opened the store, some 15 years ago. It was my "Dream come true" when I discovered it. As I have since I was a kid and even though I am no longer a "Spring Chicken", I much prefer sitting on the floor when I'm looking at books as opposed to sitting in the chairs (which are usually occupied, anyway); as a matter of fact, when I was there recently the store was closing and a security man was checking for any remaining customers and nearly missed me, since I was in a back corner and was, as usual, reading on the floor, lol.

As for Elizabeth Short, I had the very same reaction as you when I first saw the pictures in HBI...and my fascination has never waned (by the way, wasn't it so cruel the way the reporters tricked her mother into getting information on her before revealing her daughter had been murdered?). I am glad you've read the books and agree that Wolfe came closest to solving the murder (AND exposing the rampant corruption in the LAPD), as his scenario makes the most sense to me and he does have much evidence with which to corroborate his findings. What truly fascinated me, too, was the part about the disappearance and (presumed) murder of starlet Jean Spangler and her involvement with Kirk Douglas - I DO believe that it was he to whom she was referring in the note found after her murder - and I am sure he considered himself very lucky that he had dodged the proverbial bullet on that one. I just located this website - have not perused it yet, but thought I'd share it with you if you haven't already seen it and have any interest in doing so:

http://panachereport.com/channels/more%20short%20stories/UnsolvedMystery.htm

One more comment regarding Darwin Porter - I have to admit that, despite what we agree to be the poor factual quality and sensationalism of his books, the "man" (or whomever he/she is) has found a sure-fire way to make a ton of money and I must, reluctantly, give him credit for that alone.

Also would like to mention to you that, referring back to H'Wood Babylon (Anger's version), I have always resented how Anger had the audacity to print those disgustingly untrue rumors about Clara Bow, in particular. That poor woman grew up, dirt-poor, in a NYC ghetto with a crazed mother who tried to murder her and a wastrel father who sexually abused her (these facts, alone, certainly contributed to and can account for her alleged promiscuity; i.e., "looking for love in all the wrong places"). Her seeming good fortune in becoming a highly-successful, well-paid silent star, however, ended in disaster and with such a sad ending to her life at a relatively young age. I still love watching clips of her films on YouTube. David Stenn's bio of her, "Runnin' Wild", is excellent (you have probably already read it!). If you are at all interested, here is the Snopes post that discounts all of those scurrilous rumors about Clara:

http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/clarabow.asp

Happy reading, Gail - it is so nice to "talk" to someone who has such a similar mindset to mine about so many things - and, especially, someone who knows how to spell and use grammar correctly - that, in itself, is so refreshing. :-) P.S. The only reason that I do not use Amazon more is that I do not like ordering over the internet, because it is way too easy for me to make an "impulse buy" that way - not good, as I am unemployed at this time - yuck.

P.S. Please excuse my tendency to "write a book" when replying to posts - I can type nearly as quickly as I think, so I tend to just ramble on. Rest assured that I never expect return posts that are as lengthy as mine!
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