nightmares in the dream factory

Twenty-four-year-old British actress of the night of September 16, 1932 peg entwistle, with a few more drinks and much frustration, he climbed the hill of the famous giant Hollywood Sign, climbed onto the letter H with the help of a ladder that had been placed there for maintenance works and threw himself into the void. His body was found the next morning by a passenger. The girl had traveled from her native England to New York with her father, who worked as a stage manager on Broadway, until he was struck and killed. So Paige moved to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a movie star. There he shared the stage in a play with an unknown Humphrey Bogart, a producer spotted him and offered him a role in the film titled thirteen women, starring Irene Dunne. But in the final cut, her screen presence was cut to barely anything, and from then on the dreams of success began to crumble and He became another victim of the human meat grinder that is Hollywood. Well, not exactly another victim, because her figure gave rise to the haunting tale of the “poster girl,” the California version of the girl on the curves who hitchhiked on a lonely street.

the story begins with curse and curse in hollywood (Firefly, 2023) by Patricia Prida, a book that promises more than it delivers, but that can serve as an initiation for anyone who wants to delve into the B side of the dream factory. Hollywood began to develop its Black legend from its early days. In the crazy years of silent films, when there was no censorship of films or restraint in the behavior of those neo-riches in the early audio-visual industry, there were scandals on and off the screen. It didn’t take long for the place to be seen as an offshoot of Sodom and Gomorrah, as shown in the film Damien Chazelle babylon, which we discuss in these pages. The most notorious scandalous incidents gathered in the mother of all gossip books about the Mecca of Cinema: Hollywood Babylon (from Tusquets, 1994) kenneth angel, which laid the foundation for everything that has been written about that city’s most scandalous secrets since its publication in 1959. The author – he is now 96 – is an eccentric type: a relevant figure of the Californian underground, a writer of avant-garde films with a gay fantasy, leather volumes and an expert in Satanism.

book cover

The second reference book on the hidden face of this glamorous world is full service (Anagram, 2013), in this case focused on the wanton sexual activities of some stars of both genders. Author, scotty bowers, a hustler who, demobilized after World War II, began working at a gas station in Los Angeles and turned it into a male and female prostitution service center for actors and actresses. In the book he tells copious amounts of gossip, which in some cases border on the impossible. On the other hand, Jesus Palacios reviewed in devil in hollywood (Valdemar, 1997) The presence of the Sphinx in the Mecca of Cinema.

Patricia Prida’s book, which is far inferior to those mentioned, has one of its best chapters in one dedicated to a very paranoid couple: Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron. He was an aeronautical engineer specializing in rockets, as well as a fan of the occult, becoming a kind of representative in California for the legendary black magician. aleister crowley (A character full of anecdotes, among which I would like to tell you this: one day he went to Lisbon to meet Fernando Pessoa, who was also an admirer of these cases, and later took the opportunity to simulate his death in one place. The Portuguese coast is called no less than Hellmouth). Marjorie, for her part, was the embodiment of the ideal woman for Parsons and survived when she went too far in one of his esoteric experiments and was blown through the air in his laboratory. Later she became a muse of the Californian underground and appeared in some films by Anger and his colleague Curtis Harrington, the author of several cult works in the horror genre.

Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia , wikimedia commons

Prida also addressed The Great Criminal Myth of Los Angeles: That of Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia, whose brutally mutilated and disemboweled corpse was flung into a ditch, has given rise to a great deal of speculation and has inspired novels, films and television series. The case was never closed and there are several versions of the possible killer, the author of which focuses on the version of surgeon Steve Hodel. I explain—because it’s not mentioned in the book—that the man was a very powerful man, who lived in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and had a significant art collection. He was friends with some of the Surrealists, such as the photographer Man Ray, with whom he shared an interest in sadomasochistic imagery.

The author also reviews various deaths involved in scandal or suspicion, in a rather disorderly manner. Some cases are well known, such as the silent film comedian Fatty Abacal, who killed an aspiring actress in the middle of a depraved sexual act at a hotel bacchanal, or the savage crimes of the Manson Family in which poor Sharon was murdered. , Other stories are less well-known, such as the death of George Reeves, the first Superman (in a television series), a supposed suicide with the shadow of possible murder hanging over it. or Queen B. Susan Cabot – the protagonist of the series wasp woman-, who died at the hands of his son with mental problems. Or Dorothy Stratton, playwright-turned-actress and the great love of filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who was murdered by a jealous and hyperviolent ex-husband.

However, in hollywood curse and damn Other cases that should be there are missing: such as the death of western pioneer Thomas Innes in 1924. Magnate William Randolph Hearst’s gunshot during an event on his grand yacht. In fact, the bullet was meant for Charlie Chaplin, who was killing Hearst’s wife, actress Marion Davies, but it hit Ince in the chest and the matter was hushed up because of the power of the man involved. Two years earlier, in 1922, director and actor William Desmode Taylor had also been shot with a small-caliber pistol. Some of the then very famous stars were on the list of suspects and suspects, although the crime was never clarified.

Two gay actors from two different eras also had a violent end: Mexican Ramon Novarro, who accompanied Valentino the Great Latin Lover silent cinema and the hero of the past ben hurand Sal Mino, James Dean’s friend in real life and in the rebels, Both died of brutal beatings when their homes were broken into for looting… These are some of the horror stories from Hollywood, nightmares from the dream factory

curse and curse in hollywood

Patricia Prida

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