I was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania–Mount Joy to be exact–until the age of 7, at which time we moved to Cupertino, California, close to Palo Alto, where my dad worked and home to Stanford, although that didn’t impress me back then. In 1969 the only thing that would have impressed me was being allowed to stay behind in Mount Joy. I was such a shy, skittish child, and we were moving to California in the late ’60s! Can you say hippies, peace, and love, oh my? Oh, yeah. And Charles Manson. Living in California during his Helter Skelter days was a bit unsettling, even to an 8-year-old.
Yes. I was not cut out to be a California girl. And moving to Cupertino was only the beginning. After a year up North, we moved down South to the Torrance/Redondo Beach area. Our development was called the Hollywood Riviera even though we did not live in Hollywood. But we did live in Los Angeles County and close to Hollywood. We relocated twice more (including a boomerang move back to PA that landed us soundly back in California–this time Palos Verdes–a year later. None of this was my parents’ fault, by the way. Simply the result of a corporation screwing with a family.) before finally moving back to Pennsylvania for good by the time I was entering 8th grade. But it was here, in the Hollywood Riviera, during the years from about 1970-1973 that the magic of Hollywood became my reality.
My parents took us to many celebrity tennis and golf tournaments. At the time, while I had fun getting autographs and having my picture taken, I had no idea that these “celebrities” were actually Hollywood icons–legends–or would become so, anyway. I was not star struck at the time (except maybe for Bobby Sherman, my first love). But recently, I asked my parents if I could borrow our old celebrity album. And I was most definitely star struck in retrospect.
Take for example the photo at the beginning of my piece. I believe my mom took this shot. Could Clint possibly look anymore cool than that? And he wasn’t acting. He was playing golf! (or tennis, can’t remember which). And there are more–so many more. I can’t possibly upload all of them, but I will upload my favorites-
So, there you have it. My (partial) Hollywood history, including Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Stewart, Lucille Ball, Bobby Sherman (hey, I was an impressionable tween–think Bieber fever), Claudine Longet (before she was convicted of criminal negligence), David Jansen, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gene Hackman (!), Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby (really!), Peter Falk (ah! Long before I knew I would fall in love with Wings of Desire), Doris Day, Loretta Swit, Charleton Heston (parting the Red Sea and mourning the destruction of planet Earth!), and Dean Martin (has a cigarette ever looked any cooler?).
When I look back on this time, I know that in the moment I was probably not impressed. Or was I? I can’t really remember. Either way, it is a part of my childhood that stands out in my memory. It was fun. It was exciting. It was something not everybody gets to do. And it is captured for eternity in pictures that speak a thousand words.