Cover image for Lost Hollywood
Lost Hollywood
Wallace, David.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : LA Weekly Book for St. Martin's Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
x, 194 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Gower Gulch, Hollywood's ground zero -- Mr. Movies, Cecil B. Demille and filmmaking in Hollywood's golden age -- You were where you lived, Mr. Whitley's neighborhood -- Intolerance and the fickleness of fame -- Rudolph Valentino, his villa, and the wife from hell -- The year Hollywood nearly died, 1922 -- America's Buckinham Palace, Doug and Mary's Pickfair -- "You ain't heard nothin' yet", sound arrives -- Hollywood's hotel, heaven for some -- Xanadu by the sea, Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst's ocean house -- The garden al Allah, the apple in Hollywood's Eden -- from rags to riches via "the White slave trade", Louis B. Mayer and the contract system -- Hollywood's billboard, the Hollywood sign -- God and Mammon in the modern Babylon, Hollywood and religion -- The second oldest profession, Hollywood and gossip -- Hollywood houses, reality and illusion -- Wheels of fame, getting around town with pizzazz -- Hijinks on the high seas, Hollywood's elite set sail -- The haven of the homeless, Hollywood's intellectural elite -- Paper palms and chocolate sodas, dining and dancing -- Through Hollywood's glamour days and nights -- Nine million cups of coffee, Hollywood goes to war -- The lamps of Hollywood, decay and rebirth of the capital of dreams.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1993.5.U65 W29 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN1993.5.U65 W29 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN1993.5.U65 W29 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN1993.5.U65 W29 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN1993.5.U65 W29 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The movie business may have been born on the East Coast, but it created Hollywood in its own image.LOST HOLLYWOODis a rich trip back into a vanished place and time-25 chapters that use lost structures as a launching point to tell the history of the movie business in the last century. Many of the subjects Wallace covers will be unfamiliar to even the most knowledgeable film buffs: from Marian Davies' extraordinary playpen Ocean House, known as"Xanadu by the Sea" to the development of Whitley Heights and its now-iconic Mediterranean architecture. Other chapters include new and fascinating details on classic Hollywood institutions, like the Hollywood Canteen, the Garden of Allah, the Brown Derby, the Copacabana and the legendary Pickfair.

Author Notes

David Wallace is a journalist who has covered celebrities and the movie industry for over twenty years. This is his first book. he lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This treat for Hollywood history buffs offers a look at some of the movie capital's most interesting locations and the stories connected with them. Here's Gower Gulch, a former wheat and barley farm that became the site of Hollywood's first stage set. Here's the corner of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, where D. W. Griffith made The Birth of a Nation. Here's Whitley Heights, where you could once find the homes of Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd. And here's South Alvarado Street, where director William B. Taylor was the victim of one of Hollywood's most perplexing unsolved murders. Wallace, who's written about Hollywood celebrities for 20 years, knows his material inside out, and he writes in a light, lively style. The book could use a lot more illustrations, but this lack is balanced by the wealth of little-known information. Unlike the sleazy Hollywood Babylon series and its numerous imitators, Wallace's account is respectful to the men and women who built the movie industry. A fine addition to the literature of Hollywood. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

Forget about the Internet Americanizing the world it was film, from the silent days forward, that began cultural globalization, claims Wallace at the outset of this short, quirky take on Hollywood's impact on world culture. Using famous architectural structures the glamorous Garden of Allah apartment complex, the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Bowl as jumping-off points, he sketches a free-wheeling history of the industry through its triumphs and failures, great and petty. While his anecdotes and thumbnail sketches won't impress serious film historians with fresh insights, casual readers will find them deliciously entertaining. Wallace is at his best when he assumes the tone that Kenneth Anger perfected in his legendary Hollywood Babylon books a tone of malicious gossip rendered with jaundiced irony though Wallace maintains a more respectable aura. Known for his celebrity interviews, Wallace covers such Hollywood scandals as the Thomas Ince murder and Peg Entwistle's suicidal leap from the H in the above-mentioned sign, while also dishing dirt on lesser-known figures, such as Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who founded one of the largest churches in America, the Angeles Temple, before she was consumed by scandal. Wallace is careful to warn that some of his information may be more folklore than established fact (in relating how John Barrymore's corpse was reputedly employed in a practical joke on Errol Flynn, he includes varying versions and denials). But he is less concerned with veracity than with how Hollywood rumor becomes American myth. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hollywood insider and journalist Wallace attempts to capture the early history of the American film industry for today's audience. His 25 chapters cover subjects as diverse as the architecture of the stars' homes and haunts and the impact of sound on the careers of silent screen stars such as John Gilbert and Lillian Gish. The descriptions of the architecture and daily lives of the players and directors are generally informative, but at least two errors stand out: Biltmore House in North Carolina was built by the Vanderbilts, and the Alhambra is in Granada, Spain, not Seville. Frustratingly, the captions for the photographs quote the text when more material on the subjects could have been added for the reader. In addition, the conversational writing style is no better than that found in popular gossip magazines. Ultimately, then, this book is a disappointment. Not recommended. Lisa N. Johnston, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One In the Beginning ... It was all an accident; Hollywood, that is. The town that would become so proficient at creating fake accidents to amuse, fascinate, or terrify a future audience numbering in the billions was itself a serendipitous product of the right timing and the right location. It was neither a transportation nexus like the river town of Pittsburgh nor a harbor city like San Francisco (or Hollywood's neighbor, the Los Angeles harbor city of San Pedro) nor a railroad town like Omaha or even nearby San Bernardino. In the beginning, it was nothing.     Nothing, that is, except a place of gentle hills rolling southward below a number of canyons that carried winter runoff from the slopes of the yet-to-be named Santa Monica Mountains near a wide pass that led to the also unnamed San Fernando Valley.     In August 1767, Gaspar de Portolá's expedition from Mexico to Monterey, the capital of Spanish California, camped near the site of today's Dodger Field in Elysian Park. There they discovered a number of brush hut villages populated by a tribe of Indians; the largest was at the north end of today's Sycamore Avenue. The explorers named them the Gabrilinos, after the Mission of San Gabriel Archangel located in the then far reaches of the San Fernando Valley and responsible for the spiritual life of the area's native population. The Indians have long since vanished, leaving only their name for their homeland, Cahuengna , which apparently meant "little hills." Simplified by the Spanish to Cahuenga, it is now the name of a major Hollywood street and the pass through which commuters whiz (or curse during rush hour gridlock) on the Hollywood Freeway.     In the 1870s, a toll station and inn was built by Cahuenga Pass on the overland mail route to Northern California that wended its way through the San Fernando Valley, then a waterless, chaparral- and sagebrush-covered desert. Kit Carson, whose life would be limned several times in movies later made nearby, was one of the carriers. At the north end of the pass, where Universal City is located today, the commander of the Mexican forces in California surrendered in 1847, enabling California to become a territory of the United States the following year.     As significant as the state's future statehood was the discovery of oil a generation later on the Spanish land grant that occupied most of the west side of Hollywood's present site. Named the Rancho la Brea for the tar ( brea ) that seeped to the surface, it made many early settlers very rich, among them one Arthur Gilmore, whose dairy farm would soon sprout hundreds of oil derricks and one day become the site of CBS's Television City and a famous farmer's market. Another land grant was the Rancho las Feliz, which would become Hollywood's Griffith Park after being deeded to the city in 1898. By the 1880s, most of what was being called the Cahuenga Valley was filled by 160-acre hay, grain, vegetable, and fruit farms situated in what was billed as the Frostless Belt. One early settler, George Caralambo, even brought along a herd of camels, originally bought in Turkey to open a government caravan route between army posts in California and New Mexico. After the Civil War, the plan was abandoned, and the camels were turned loose where Hollywood is today. By the turn of the century, all of them had disappeared.     Then in 1883, Harvey Wilcox, a Prohibitionist from Topeka, Kansas, and his wife, Daeida, arrived and started buying land stretching as far west as the future site of UCLA to be developed for homes. His choice for his own home was a spot near Cahuenga Pass filled with fig and apricot trees. He discovered it when he and his wife, in their carriage drawn by two prize Arabian horses brought from Kansas, pulled off the dirt road leading up the pass for a rest during a Sunday excursion.     Wilcox bought 160 acres and promptly began to develop them as the site of a Protestant Christian temperance community. The next year, while traveling east on vacation, Daeida met a woman on the train who mentioned that she had named her summer home in Ohio Hollywood. Daeida loved the name and on her return gave it to their new development. (She also planted two holly bushes, which, it is said, didn't do too well.) The name Hollywood first appeared officially on Wilcox's meticulously drawn map of the subdivision, filed with the county recorder on February 1, 1887. Within three years, real estate prices, originally $150 an acre, had tripled.     By 1900, the community had a hotel, two markets, a school, two churches, a newspaper, a post office, and a population of five hundred living on wide dirt avenues shaded by pepper trees whose fruit was as big as dates. Los Angeles, with a population of close to a hundred thousand, lay only seven miles to the east through hills of citrus trees; it was an easy and picturesque commute on a streetcar of the new Pacific Railroad, which ran down the middle of Prospect Avenue, later Hollywood Boulevard. Two years later Hollywood became a city. Among the ordinances was one prohibiting the sale of liquor except by pharmacists and outlawing the driving of cattle through the streets in herds of more than two hundred.     Filmmaking arrived in 1911 with the coming of the Nestor Film Company from New Jersey. Within a year, more than a dozen other film companies had joined it, drawn by the climate, which permitted shooting for more than three hundred days a year, as well as by the variety of scenery and cheap labor costs.     Mack Sennett settled in Edendale near present-day Glendale in 1912, and a group of early producers--among them Carl Laemmle of Universal and Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille's company (later merged with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Company)--settled in the heart of Hollywood near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. For more than a decade, however, everything remained fairly primitive. Studios, so grand by the 1930s, were little more than a stage with four posts holding up canvas to diffuse the sun. There was no electricity: The sun supplied the light for making movies. In fact, there was little more than a tremendous sense of optimism, and the early filmmakers needed all of it they could summon. There was a problem far more serious for early independent filmmakers than the weather, and although the move to California provided a stopgap solution, it would plague them for years to come.     Thomas Edison claimed he invented the motion picture process in 1889, although the work of William Friese-Greene in Britain almost certainly predated Edison's. Nevertheless, Edison certainly knew how to market it, demonstrating an early projector called the Vitascope in New York City in 1896 while the inventor, one Thomas Armat, stood by.     As shrewd as Edison was, however, he failed to register his Kinetoscope patents in Europe, where manufacturers began turning out first-class motion picture equipment without fear of reprisals. To protect his patents (which covered the sprocket holes since there was no way he could patent the film itself, made by Eastman), Edison, in partnership with his former rival Biograph, formed the Motion Picture Patents Company (known as the Trust) in 1908, which licensed equipment manufactured under the Edison patents to friendly producers. Nestor, then doing business in Bayonne, New Jersey, under its original name, Centaur Film Company, was not one of them.     As movies--then called flickers--burgeoned in popularity, scores of new companies got into the business, which was becoming, as film historian Kevin Brownlow writes, "as tough and dangerous as any gold rush." For years, the Trust sued any company that dared to make or import non-Edison cameras and projection equipment, forcing them to flee the New York-New Jersey areas where the film industry was born for distant locations like Florida, Cuba, and eventually California. The Trust's common way of putting the competition out of business was to have hired gunmen shoot holes in their cameras. If they missed the cameras and hit the cameraman ... well, too bad. It was war.     Ironically, it is the pirates whose names we remember today, people like Carl Laemmle (who formed Universal Pictures, absorbed Nestor in 1912, and then behaved about as imperiously as the Trust itself), Cecil B. DeMille, Samuel Goldwyn, and D. W. Griffith. Despite the three thousand miles and five day's travel time separating them from the East, they had to be constantly on guard after the Trust people started infiltrating Hollywood to sabotage the filmmaker's equipment--at least until the government ordered the Trust to disband after its monopoly was successfully prosecuted under the Sherman Act. DeMille, for example, received numerous anonymous threats to his life and was shot at twice in his first months in Hollywood. The director was certain it was the Trust trying to kill him, but the perpetrators were never caught. On more than one occasion, he slept in his first studio armed with a shotgun to guard his film. Like many other early filmmakers, he carried a .45 revolver conspicuously in a holster on his belt. Eventually he owned eighty-six guns, often using them as props for his movies.     "World War One was the reason for Hollywood," author Anita Loos once recalled. "At the time war broke out, movies had gained a very substantial place in Europe, and in Italy they were particularly good, and there was no need for Hollywood [and, Loos might have added, no Trust to strangle creativity]. But the war broke out, and that changed the whole scene...."     She wasn't entirely correct. American films had been gaining on their European rivals before the war. But there is no question that the conflict offered the option of making highly profitable antiwar (later anti-German) films, eventually requiring an order from Washington to tone it all down.     Hollywood, however, was on its way, and nothing would stop it.