PLACE CALLED HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood is a place that does not now nor has it ever existed. Yet,
it is a place will exist forever in our minds. The sign fell into
disrepair, but it was resurrected to advertise the dream. They still make
movies there, or nearby, but they are not the same. They are more expensive
than ever, and to some people they are better than ever--but not to all of
us. To many, the old days are the best days. To others, these will become
the old days.
Hollywood is a place of titles and names and
images: The Birth of a Nation, Gone
With the Wind, Titanic; Rudolph Valentino, Joan Crawford, Harrison
Ford; a chariot race, a stage coach attacked by Indians, a roaring
lion--other icons too numerous mention. It is sometimes called "the
Dream Factory," but the dream is all too short for most of the dreamers, and
to some the dreams become nightmares. Yet, there is something that draws us
to it as surely as gravity.
The movies! Or are they motion pictures? Or
flicks? Or films? Whatever we call them, they allow us to share a life and
an adventure for an hour or two, often even longer. Like a great stage play
and the best books, the experience may last a lifetime.
There are stories about Hollywood in books and movies. A Star is Born was good enough to be filmed three times. The
Bad and the Beautiful told of the cruelty of the men at the top.
F.Scott Fitzgerald told the similar story in his book, The
Raymond Chandler beat around Los Angeles in
the Fifties. James Ellroy and Robert Crais do it now. Stuart Kaminsky
invents entertaining stories involving real stars. I invent stories about
composite and roman a clef characters with the stars looking on or passing
through, and only occasionally, joining in.
What is it about Hollywood
that makes writers want to tell the stories about the place? And what makes
readers want to live it vicariously? I don't think it is just the stories
on the screen that we want, but the stories inside the sound stages, and on
the back lots, and in the dressing rooms and mansions of the players.
It might be that we secretly
want to be a part of the dream without risking our souls?
Significant Novels about Hollywood:
Day of the Locusts, Nathaniel West