In Hollywood Remembered, a wide array of Tinseltown veterans share their stories of life in the city of dreams from the days of silent pictures to the present. The 35 voices, many of whom have come to know Hollywood inside-out, range from film producers and movie stars to restauranteurs and preservationists. Actress Evelyn Keyes recalls how, fresh from Georgia, she met Cecil B. DeMille and was soon acting in Gone With The Wind; Blacklisted writer Walter Bernstein tells how he transformed his McCarthy era-experiences into drama with The Front; Steve Allen speaks out on how Hollywood has changed since he first came there in the 1920s; and Jonathan Winters relates how he left a mental institution to come work with Stanley Kramer in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Composers, cinematographers, bartenders, bit-players, publicists, and others add to the portrait of a place where, in days gone by, the idols of a nation walked down the famous boulevards daily, and nearly everybody-in and out of the movie business-knew one another.
Hollywood Remembered: An Oral History of Its Golden Age 3 out of 5based on
dleona on LibraryThing
10 months ago
The history of Hollywood, while informative,was dry. The interviews were hit or miss, some delightful, others gossipy or mean-spirited. Some interviewees seemed to embellish or misremember. This is obviously a book to be dipped into, rather than read through from beginning to end. The landmarks section could have been deleted.
TomKitten on LibraryThing
10 months ago
A bit of a mess, frankly. The book is divided into three sections. Part One is a thumbnail history of Hollywood, some of which is mildly interesting, some not and all of it almost impossible to read due to the size of the type. Part Two, The Memoirs, contains 37 seemingly unedited interviews with the famous, the near famous, the obscure and a guy who runs a tire shop in Hollywood. I kid you not.I'm sure the intent is to provide a more multi-layered view of Hollywood than one usually gets but the result is far too scatter shot to be any more than annoying. Part Three is A Tour of Hollywood, and, frankly, by the time I finished reading "The Memoirs" I couldn't be bothered. If ever a book cried out for an editor, this one is probably hoarse by now.
Lcanon on LibraryThing
10 months ago
For a lot of film books, "Hollywood" means the movie industry only. Hollywood Remembered is a history of both the city of Hollywood as a physical entity and an industry. Part 1 is capsule history, starting with the founding of Hollywood as an alcohol-free community by a Midwestern couple and continuing through the arrival of the movie industry and the changes brought to the town after WWII by the arrival of the freeway and the growth of LA. Part 2 contains oral histories by actors, screenwriters and film industry people as well as ordinary residents of Hollywood. Part 3 is a tour of Hollywood, covering what historical buildings remain as well as those that are gone.Hollywood Remembered is full of enjoyable stories and gives a real flavor of the lore of the town -- the Mulholland Dam, the Krotona and Vendatana colonies, the movie mansions and exotic apartment buildings where starlets and writers holed up.
jazznoir on LibraryThing
10 months ago
Originally published in 2002, Paul Zello's Hollywood Remembered, gives us a century of oral history of Tinseltown during the Golden Age.Much like C.M. Pierce, a young, entrepreneurial tourist guide mentioned in the first chapter, the author quickly shuttles the reader through the basic history of the city.His academic overview begins with the local Indians and Spanish explorers. We're then given a brief history of the Hollywood founders, early residents and entrepreneurs, as well as the politics which shaped the area. With a quick synopsis of Thomas Edison and the invention of film, we learn how the industry moved west, establishing several movie studios.Fifty pages later, the author neatly drops us off at the homes of various Hollywood personalities for an informal gossip session about the old days.Most of the "oral history" comes from downright chatty and opinionated silent era alumni, perhaps they're being heard for the first time. There are no cross references to the stories, no footnotes, no interview questions, nor any formal structure to what is being said, but the memorable tales will have you chuckling and adding obscure films to your movie queue.Though the various memories don't intertwine, a common theme does emerge: Hollywood will never be like it was before. It will slowly dawn on you that these Hollywood veterans are living out their golden years in a town they truly love. As the songwriter/publicist Jules Fox eloquently puts it (p. 101), "I guess the memories are still there." And it's a good thing that Paul Zello listened.
bostonian71 on LibraryThing
10 months ago
Zollo clearly loves Hollywood -- its landmarks, its geography, and the whole story of the studio system, which he feels was Hollywood's golden age. Unfortunately, what isn't clear is the organization of his book. As amanda4242 notes, the first and third sections are informative but rather dry, and Zollo's rundown of famous places often summarizes and repeats information cited earlier in the book. The interviews are by and large interesting, though I would've dropped the first one, as the interview subject criticizes actors as a profession and insults several by name. Also, it appears as if he asked every one of them about his favorite landmarks, even if they all say the same things. I would recommend that this not be republished unless it gets some judicious reorganization, editing, and a map and/or a better variety of photos.
amanda4242 on LibraryThing
10 months ago
Hollywood Remembered is an interesting book, but not without a few flaws. The first and third sections, ¿A History of Hollywood¿ and ¿A Tour of Hollywood,¿ are like reading a text book: they¿re full of fascinating information, but are a dreadful slog. The art was also kind of disappointing. There are several dozen photos, including some wonderful shots of Hollywood when it was still farmland, but they¿re all in the middle of the book like somebody just stuck them in there and then forgot about them. It would have been nice if they had been scattered throughout the book or at least printed on glossy paper.Also, the book is about ten years old and I can¿t find any indication that it¿s been updated since then. I don¿t have any problem with the fact that it¿s a bit dated, but the description of the book and the letter that came with it made it sound like a recently written book rather than a reprint. (I consider this an irritant rather than a flaw.)What saves the book from being just another boring history of Hollywood is part two: ¿The Memoirs.¿ These stories from people who remember Hollywood as more than just the place where movies come from are a treasure.
chuck_ralston on LibraryThing
10 months ago
Hollywood. The word conjures dreams of fame and fortune, and illusions of ideal beauty and heroic deeds emblazoned in the world¿s collective conscience by the medium of sequential still images, recorded on film by a camera `box¿, that at the rate of 24 images, or frames, per second fool our brain by way of our eyes into seeing a moving (motion) picture of an event or scene that seems actual and quite real. Although motion pictures were made elsewhere ¿ in Astoria, Queens (a New York City borough), in New Jersey by Thomas Edison and in France by the brothers Lumière (ironic surname meaning `light¿ most appropriate for these film makers), Hollywood has become the iconic emblem for the movies and its stars. Paul Zollo in this 2011 reprint of _Hollywood Remembered, An Oral History of its Golden Age_, originally published in 2002, gives us three books in one: (1) a history of Hollywood from its beginnings in late-nineteenth-century southern California; (2) interviews of individuals who lived and worked in the city as screen writers, actors, musicians, bar tenders, and so on; and (3) a `tour¿ of Hollywood¿s famed hotels, restaurants, film studios, and the Hollywood Forever cemetery. Figwood might have been the name of the world¿s future movie capital, were it not for Daeida Wilcox, resident of Los Angeles in the 1880s, who first heard the name `Hollywood¿ spoken by a stranger on a train, an affluent woman talking lovingly of her own home near Chicago, and then insisted that her husband Harvey Wilcox name their land in the Cahuenga valley northwest of Los Angeles, Hollywood and not Figwood. Ironically, Mr. Wilcox trying to create a vivid symbol of this new name, imported English holly shrubs and planted them on his new property only to discover that these plants would not take to the dry climate of the Cahuenga Valley. Zollo sees this as the first ever attempt to align the ideal, abstract image of Hollywood with something authentic and it failed. That botanical failure would be a portent of the larger issue of drought and the need for a reliable source of water if fledgling Hollywood was to survive. It was William Mulholland, from Dublin, Ireland, a ditch digger who worked his way into what today is called public works and city planning, and who devised the Los Angeles gravity-flow aqueduct which brought water from 250 miles away. He also built a road atop the Santa Monica mountain range from Hollywood westward to the Pacific that bears his name ¿ Mulholland Drive. Controversy followed success, however, with his proposed dam in the hills above Hollywood, begun in 1923 and abandoned after its `twin¿ the St. Francis Dam collapsed releasing flood water that destroyed towns and farms on its path to the ocean, and ruined Mulholland. Bad weather, Zollo informs, was the reason movie makers went westward to Hollywood. The Selig Polyscope Company left Chicago in 1907 for Los Angeles to shoot `The Count of Monte Cristo¿. In 1909 the Bison Company arrived from New York; in 1910 Biograph, also from NYC, came to LA, with director D. W. Griffith and future star Mary Pickford. By 1913, `The Squaw Man¿ made by the Lasky Feature Play Company (one of its owners was Cecil B. DeMille), from New York, was the first full-length film to be shot completely in Hollywood. From a multitude of independent movie companies, grew the major studios whose names are well known worldwide: United Artists (comprised of Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, D. W. Griffith), Columbia, Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, RKO.Zollo rounds out his history with nostalgic recollections of Hollywood¿s famous restaurants (Ciro¿s, Grauman¿s Chinese Theater), Sunset Strip¿s nightclubs (Trocadero, Mocambo, Palladium), the construction of the gargantuan, now iconic, `H O L L Y W O O D¿ sign in hills above the city, and the origin of the now famous hand and foot prints of the Stars in concrete along the Walk of Fame. This practice grew out of the need to make