A Post-Thanksgiving Walk in Hollywoodland

November 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Hollywood Sign from Westshire Drive 11/29/13/Hope Anderson Productions

The Hollywood Sign from Westshire Drive 11/29/13/Hope Anderson Productions

When my plane from San Francisco was descending over LAX on Monday, I made sure to look for the Hollywood Sign. It was easy to spot: a white line of letters on a distant mountainside, unobstructed by buildings or trees. Perhaps that’s why people who visit Los Angeles are surprised that the Sign is located in a residential neighborhood, and that houses and trees crowd the area below it. Since I live only a mile away from the Sign and a mile below it, I mostly glimpse it between tree branches, houses and telephone wires. Like the moon on a cloudy night, the Sign shifts in and out of view, surprising me with its appearances.

Today it rained, a welcome change from the drought that has plagued California during the past several years. At times it was sunny, and late this morning it managed to be sunny and rainy at the same time. Around 4:30pm, I went for a walk and took this photo of the Sign partially obscured by trees. A short time later, walking down Beachwood Drive, I looked up at the beautiful sky–blue, amber and dotted with clouds.

The Sky Above Beachwood Drive 11/29/13/Hope Anderson Productions

The Sky Above Beachwood Drive 11/29/13/Hope Anderson Productions

Next time: My painting for the Walpole Bay Hotel

Remembering John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley, Two Thinkers Who Died on the Same Day

November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment



One was a politician, the other a writer, but both were philosophers. They died fifty years ago yesterday, one assassinated in the prime of life, the other carried off in early old age by cancer. If Aldous Huxley’s death had occurred on another day, it would have received far more attention–he was, after all, the author of Brave New World and many other works of fiction and nonfiction, and in later life had became famous for his experiments with LSD. As it happened, Aldous Huxley’s obituary was a footnote to that infamous day. (When I interviewed Huxley’s widow Laura in 2007, she said he was aware that the President had been shot, but not that he had died.)

Fifty years later, it’s striking to recall Kennedy and Huxley by their words. The quotes below are from both men, with the key to who said which at the bottom.

1. “Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.”

2. “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

3. “History is a relentless master. It has no preesent, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

4. “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is one of the most important of all the lessons of history.”

5. “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”

6. “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”

Answers: 1,4,6 by Aldous Huxley; 2,3,5 by John F. Kennedy.

Wild Things of Hollywoodland

November 12, 2013 § 4 Comments

Hollywoodland Bobcat/Photo Courtesy Christine O'Brien, edited by Hope Anderson

Hollywoodland Bobcat/Photo Courtesy Christine O’Brien, edited by Hope Anderson

When I describe the wildlife in Los Angeles to people who haven’t lived here, I get comments like, “Oh, we have mountain lions in New York,” only to learn the mountain lion sightings took place forty miles north of Manhattan. There’s no comparison between that and, say, a coyote running alongside your car on Sunset Boulevard, which is what happened to me about nine years ago in Echo Park.

Since I moved to upper Beachwood Canyon in 2005, the deer have grown rarer while every other animal seems to have grown more common. Yesterday alone brought a fat squirrel in search of acorns to my door and a large red tail hawk to my deck–it was trying to get my lovebird, who was outside in a cage. On my way home last night at 7:30, I passed a coyote standing nonchalantly on the sidewalk a block north of the commercial district.

But the best recent animal sighting took place on the 3000 block of North Beachwood Drive, when the bobcat pictured above stopped to enjoy someone’s garden.

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“Peg Entwistle and The Hollywood Sign” – by Hope Anderson

November 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

Many thanks to Vickie Lester @beguilinghollywood for promoting my Peg Entwistle book and DVD. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.; the DVD will be available on Amazon in the next couple of weeks.



Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign

by Hope Anderson


         My interest in the actress Peg Entwistle, who in 1932 committed suicide from the Hollywood Sign (which then read Hollywoodland), began in 2006, when I began researching the neighborhood’s history for my documentary, Under the Hollywood Sign. Though seventy-four years had passed since her death, she was a local legend, her memory refreshed by occasional claims of sighting her ghost at the Hollywood Sign. Yet no one seemed to know anything about her life, aside from the fact that she had acted in a single movie called Thirteen Women, whose failure spurred her suicide.

Online I found only three or four photos of Peg, one of which—the half-nude in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon—didn’t even resemble her, apart from the platinum bob that was so popular in the early 1930s. Through this and other fictions, Anger shaped…

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