Douglas Thompson's Hollywood
Daily Mail 15th August 1981
WHILE a former actor bushwhacks the nation's finances from the Western White House, this dream factory, arguably the world's largest outdoor lunatic asylum, whimpers about austerity.
As with the dreams, the nightmare is manufactured. Hollywood is soaring higher than ever, for the moment, on the success of films of the fantastic like the new Superman.
Doom merchants have been writing the obituary of Hollywood almost from the day a group of independent producers fled New York for the sun 70 years ago. But, after encountering more perils than Pauline, this is still the entertainment capital, the chief purveyor, of fantasy to the world.
You can be born in Leeds or Louisiana but to make it, really make it- at any of the myriad of jobs which are involved in movies and television, this is the place. Those who hold out never quite achieve the ultimate heights.
It is a hard town. A crazy town. I have lived here for six years and I love it and hate it. It contradicts itself as fast as a ten per cent, agent, seizes self acclaim like a gushing publicity man, and can crack egos and careers into a des pairing—often suicidal—omelette swifter than anywhere else. It is about status, fame, ambition and always money.
Hollywood, with Disneyland at one end and Forest Lawn Mortuary at the other, reflects the hopes and fears, the best and worst of America.
Each week, this space will focus on the cast of Tinseltown and the place where manipulation is indigenous and being at the right table at the right place at the right time can be worth as much as talent.
The world views Hollywood through a gauze of glamour but in terms of real estate it is a wicked, violent eyesore cocooned in the centre of Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the five million tourists who visit every year are rarely disappointed for the fantasy has been pumped out too long for reality to interfere with expectations.
Hollywood runs on the dreams. deals and ideas of the power players and star packagers, on the thrust to win, to make every day a pools win, to get to the top, to make the blockbuster movie or TV series — to make money.
Author Mario Puzo made millions selling his Godfather saga here, but not many friends with his remark : I'm fascinated by the movies because it is an enormous machine for making money and, no matter how badly they run it, It still makes money. It's the perfect industry to put your nephew in and your idiot cousin, because they'll be geniuses.'
He forgets it is not the game which changes here but the players.
YOU want to be a star? Only 15 dollars can now set you on the road to fame by buying The Movie Game. It is like Monopoly but, Instead of buying houses and hotels, players go for actors, producers, directors and 'intrigue' cards.
THE latest cast member is Colorado oil baron Marvin Davis, who paid more than 800 million dollars for control of 20th Century Pox film studios and became the first truly independent Hollywood mogul since Howard Hughes took over RKO Studios in 1948.
The oversized (21 stone) tycoon says: 'I think the future of this business is golden. What I see I like. It's fun. If you're successful, it's more - fun. If you are not so successful, it's less fun.'
Not perturbed that Rodgers and Hammerstein are no longer with us, he has suggested his first film project—a sequel to The Sound of Music.
TOMORROW night at the Studio One theatre, in West Hollywood, a stage version of the TV game show The Dating Game will open but only gay contestants are allowed.
THE telephone is hot in the Hollywood jungle. Tarzan director John Derek is not satisfied with the love of his fourth wife Bo but wants the love of the reviewers who ridiculed his nudie romp. He is calling critics and telling them he always knew he was making a comedy but just did not like to say so.
IF Miss Greta Garbo will contact the California controller's division of unclaimed property she will profit. She is owed forty one dollars and fifty cents for a re-run of one of her flickering movies.
STORIES that Robert De Niro will star as the Yorkshire Ripper in a film version of the controversial case received a heated response from the Oscar-winner's agent Harry Ufland. He told me last night: 'We have not been approached and if we were we would hang up the phone. I'd like to sue somebody over this.'
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