Ever wonder what it was like back in the 1940s and 1950s, mingling with famous movie stars on the Sunset Strip? Ever wonder about riding beside James Dean in his Porsche Speedster, zipping around the curves of Mulholland Drive, or staying at Errol Flynn's house and sleeping in the bedroom with the infamous hole in the mirrored ceiling?
I did all that. I also shared a secret with Marilyn Monroe. I acted in a movie with Alan Ladd and Lana Turner. I raced motorcycles with Clark Gable on Ventura Boulevard. I painted Rita Hayworth's house. I was invited to tea by James Mason. I went to the Hollywood Bowl with Jayne Mansfield and Louella Parsons, and I hung out with Flynn and countless other stars at the sordid Garden of Allah?
As a fledgling actor, part-time house painter, parking attendant, "snoop" for the Fred Otash Detective Agency, and manager of Googie's—a celebrated coffee shop next to Schwab's drug store—I was in the catbird seat, privy to all the gossip, brawls, and excitement that nightly took place at the Mocambo, Ciro's, The Players, Crescendo, Villa Nova, and other glamorous night spots along the Strip. Known as the "playground of the stars," never a night went by on the Sunset Strip that one didn't rub elbows with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Duke Wayne, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, and numerous other high-profile celebrities.
That fascinating era has disappeared forever, but I was there in the thick of it, and now you can be, too, because I've written it all down, exactly as it was.