Today, I visited Hollywood Forever Cemetery, spoke to Nelson and Isabel (the beautiful roses are Angela’s), saluted Fairbanks and DeMille, climbed an attractive tree, kissed Valentino’s crypt (True story, there were many lipstick prints already on it and I added mine. Germy? Maybe. Impossibly romantic happening for Hollywood’s first heartthrob? But definitely. Mine are the top left corner…) and was moved by the lovely monument there for Hattie McDaniel.
Today, I walked through the gates of [what used to be] Metro Goldwyn Mayer. I walked onto my first sound stage, at the greatest movie studio of them all. I took pictures where I wasn’t supposed to, I touched walls and doorways and noted wide doors to accommodate hoopskirts and wondered how many other hallowed hands had gone that way before. I saw the old dressing room apartments, and their relationship to the other buildings, and my mental picture of the old Metro workday became clearer. I walked up the steps to the Thalberg Building and wondered how many dreams had been shattered or made there…and how many girls had been horribly manipulated and abused within those walls, in pursuit of Hollywood Glory, or in the keeping of it. And when we found ourselves back outside of the studio, Arik and Tracy and I walked around to the old old gates—the entrance of the studio until 1941, so this was where all our people went in and out to work every day until then. That felt pretty awesome.
But, I really freaked out when I got to Grauman’s.
This, this right here, was amazing and absolutely a favorite moment for me so far:
All of us—Kitty, Angela, Maria, Tracy and I…..we just squealed like little girls and had a field day with Jeanette and Nelson. Nelson’s hands are QUITE large, girls, (*swoon*) and hers are tiny, but what you really don’t understand until you actually see it is how tiny her FEET are. They are probably the smallest ones in the whole forecourt. It’s fine to say oh yeah she had tiny feet (size 3.5), but my hand is longer than her footprints. She’s like a little doll.
We found ourselves hanging around their slabs constantly. We’d go check out the other stars and come right back to them, over and over. We do adore those two freaks. ❤
The evening concluded with dinner at Miceli’s, the oldest (still open) Italian restaurant in Hollywood. The founder is still alive and is about 91, and he confirmed that Jeanette and NELSON (NOT. GENE. There was no confusion. Not Gene.) used to come in there in the 50s and eat together. The atmosphere COULD. NOT. BE. MORE. PERFECT. for them, oh my God. It’s right near everything but it feels out of the way, it’s dark, it’s SERIOUSLY romantic and sexy, the food is amazing, the layout is perfect with lots of hidey-holes for out-of-work movie stars who still have a most terrific yen for each other.
I barely made it through the meal without expiring. The place just makes them come to life for you in an incredible way. 800% could not handle it. In a super strange way, Miceli’s hit me harder than MGM did (This is partially because MGM is so totally unloved by the people in residence there now. It’s most disheartening and that feeling distracts you from your OMG-ing to some degree.). Hard to explain, but it just felt so personal and incredible sitting there, picturing them there, etc. And the very gifted pianist there played some Indian Love Call for us, so that added just the right touch of “I think I may die” to an already overwhelmingly awesome experience. Can’t say enough about how cool that place is.
Still not over Jeanette’s wee tiny feet and hands, and how it felt to slide my hands into them (my hands didn’t fit in her prints) and then into Nelson’s (his hands swallowed mine)……..oh man. Today was freaking amazing.