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Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets Mass Market Paperback – November 15, 1981
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Top Customer Reviews
Even though this book is extremely dated and hashes out stories long ago brought out to the light of day, it still can be enjoyed from an almost historical perspective. It will also put into perspective the notion that the society of today is more celebrity obsesses than it ever has been. Even in its earliest days, Hollywood inspired fascination for the world. There were plenty of gossip and scandal rags willing to dish the dirt in those days and there was plenty for them to dish.
This book is a great guilty pleasure. It's fun to read of decadance, murder, sexual picadellos, greed and wretched excess. Hollywood dines on its own young and this book bears that out in spades.
As far as literature, I'd rank this book as a really fattening and delicious chocolate truffle, not one bit edifying but a wonderfully fun romp through Hollywood scandals of yore, some of which I was not at all familiar with.
I read it in a night, and recommend it with your evening tea or cocoa.
Rumors of riotous Hollywood highlife were common even with the watchful eye of movie czar and moral code enforcer Will Hays. Once, the New York Journal reported that when people spring from poverty to affluence, within a few weeks their mental equipment works differently, and with the new found freedom they spend money in bizarre ways; wild parties that lasts for days, women, drugs, alcohol, all to the extremes. Examples for extravagant life styles include; Harold Lloyd's Greenacres, a 40 room fortress with fountains; Gloria Swanson's golden bathtub in her black marble bathroom; Tom Mix's rainbow colored fountain in his dining room; Clara Bow's Chinese den, and Charles Ray's solid golden knobs.
Marilyn Monroe's suicide by sleeping pills echoed the willed oblivions of so many others; Lupe Velez, Carol Landis, Abigail Adams, Lynne Baggett and many more. When actress Frances Farmer was arrested in Hollywood's Knickerbocker hotel for having failed to report her parole officer which came on the heels of a hysterical fight during which she dislocated the studio hairdressers jaw, engaged in boozy night club brawl and streaked topless through traffic down Sunset Strip. Once she was carted off the Knickerbocker hotel naked; while in the police station, she signed on police papers as "c**k-sucker" as her occupation. Her breakup with Clifford Odets and divorce from husband Leif Ericson was too much for her to bear. After she was sentenced for six months in jail, she threw an ink pot at the judge with stunning accuracy. She was eventually sent to a sanitarium. She faced hell on earth during years of confinement at the facility. In 1966, actress Corinne Griffith married to actor 44 years old Danny Scholl asked for annulment since her one year marriage to Scholl was not consummated. Frail Danny Scholl collapsed on the witness stand in front of Corinne Griffith; she was actually an imposter. At 51 she was impersonating 71 year old Griffith. What is more ironic about this case was that Griffith no longer existed during the trial and the impersonator was not only acting as 71 but also her identity. The creepiness of this case indicates how the fever of Norma Desmonditis hit Tinsel town in a worst possible way. Judy Garland, MGM's Amphetamine Annie made so many suicide attempts that she finally succeeded sitting on the deck in her bathroom in London. The scene was gruesome.
For some beauties, the eclipse was brutal. Louise Brooks, one of the loveliest creations ever to grace the silver screen went from stardom to a Macy's counter in a vertiginous fall from glory. A worse fate than a Macy's counter fall from glory befell others. 1920s luminaries like Mae Murray truly believed that stardom is a divine right, and that she was above ordinary mortals. She married a nobleman named Mdivani to become a princess only to lose all her fortune later. She was arrested for vagrancy when discovered one night sleeping on a bench in the Central Park in New York City.
The book has some rare pictures which includes; Fatty Arbuckle sitting dazed next to his car, the day after Rappe's death; San Francisco's Hotel St. Francis, suite 1221 with broken furniture on the last day in the life of Virginia Rappe. Barbara La Marr in casket, Thelma Todd's body at Forest Lawn cemetery; pictures of police dragging Frances Farmer to the Santa Monica police station; Lupe Velez's deathbed in her Beverly Hills home; Carol Landis lying dead near the sink in her bathroom after her suicide; Marilyn Monroe's "big sleep" picture are some of the rare pictures that is worth more than words.
1. The Hollywood Book of Scandals : The Shocking, Often Disgraceful Deeds and Affairs of Over 100 American Movie and TV Idols
2. Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern
3. 7th Edition Hollywood's Most Horrible People, Stars, Times, and Scandals. From the stars who slept with Kennedy to Sex Pests & the Casting Couch (Hollywood Erotica and Scandals)
4. The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up
5. Hollywood'S Most Horrible People, Stars, Times, And Scandals: