I started Under the Hollywood Sign in February of 2009 to help publicize my documentary of the same name. It soon became far more successful than the film, no doubt because WordPress is free. Though stubbornly unremunerative, my blog has allowed me to explore not only the topics my documentary, but life in Los Angeles, Japanese films and filmmaking in general, and I am glad for it.
Though it wasn’t always apparent to me when I was working on them, my writings and films have a theme: the history of misunderstood places and people. I felt this blog should do the same, though more expansively than was possible in film. More than five years later, I’m amazed at how much research and writing I’ve done on local history, but even more surprised at how much I’ve written about current events in Beachwood. The latter was prompted by the huge increase in tourist traffic to the Hollywood Sign, thanks to GPS and the advent of small tour vans.
For those readers who might be interested in my work, “Under the Hollywood Sign” is available on DVD at www.underthehollywoodsign.com A new DVD, “Peg Entwistle: The Life and Death of an Actress” contains my two short films on the actress and is available at http://hopeandersonproductions.com/?page_id=3361: Coming in the fall of 2014 is a new version of my first documentary, “Jim Thompson, Silk King,” with new narration, additional images and music, and a DVD extra on Thompson’s disappearance.
My two eBooks, On Blade Runner: Four Essays and Peg Entwistle and The Hollywood Sign, both of which contain essays first published here, are available for sale at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other ebooksellers. The multitudes who come to my blog via Internet searches for “Blade Runner” and Peg Entwistle would find satisfaction in them, if they could stand to pay $4.99.
Shawn Sites sent me your blog and told me about your upcoming documentary. I’m wondering if you have any information about the doc which I can post on my Facebook page, BeechwoodK: Below the Gates?
I’d be happy to send you a synopsis. My new website for the film isn’t up yet, sadly, but should be soon. In the meantime, I’ll get in touch with my contact information in case you want to see the film.
Thanks for highlighting my piece on the Theosophists!
where can we see the film?? i would love to learn more about the area and its community.
I’m still seeking distribution and will post information as soon as I know. Thanks for your interest.
I can’t wait to see — or buy — your film. I grew up across the street from Mary Astor’s Moorcrest. I was friends with the boy whose family owned the home and I used to play on its grounds and swim in the old dragon-shaped pool. My mother’s family moved to Hollywood in 1914. I grew up on stories of the old Hollywood. I’m so glad there are those documenting those times.
Thanks for your comments–it’s always nice to hear from former Beachwooders. I’m still waiting for distribution but could sell you a DVD in the meantime. For details, email me off my website http://www.underthehollywoodsign.com
DVDs of “Under the Hollywood Sign” are now available for sale off my website, http://www.underthehollywoodsign.com
I’ve enjoyed your postings – well, all of them, really – but especially the ones about Krotona. I, too, am blogging about my impressions of Krotona and the people who lived there, and Los Angeles of that time. I am not a native, and only just learned about Krotona recently. I am grateful for your posts, which helped guide my way. Come visit if you like.
I have really enjoyed reading your blog and was wondering if you knew anything about our house?? Can you email and we can discuss?
More of Peter Hermit (!) on Dull Tool Dim Bulb
Fascinating–thanks for adding to his bio!
Just watched The Switch which was thoroughly enjoyed. The reference to Anita Gordon is I assume mentioned on the credits. Is that correct? What a lovely story and congratulations on your tenacity. Sad in a way she never saw your unfinished work.
Kindest regards, congratulations and a happy safe Easter to you and yours from near Melbourne Victoria Australia where we are in the middle of Autumn (Fall)_
I wasn’t aware of the credits of “The Switch,” until just now, but the co-director, Josh Gordon, is Anita’s son.
Thanks for your kind comments–and for subscribing. Happy Easter to you–
Um, techically, Nu’uanu isn’t on the windward side of O’ahu, since it’s not quite over the pali going north… maybe you have figured this out by now or someone else has mentioned it.
Hello, awesome blog. I do have a question that I hope you can help me with. I was recently emailed a photo of the Hollywood sign. In the bottom left corner of the photo is what appears to be a statue. The person who sent me the photo thinks it is a “ghost” related to Peg Entwhistle, who committed suicide by jumping from the sign. I believe it is simply a statue. I was hoping that by viewing the photo you might be able to tell me if it is indeed a statue from a nearby church and specifically which one? I appreciate your time.
I would love to see the photo. There has never been a statue at the Hollywood Sign, so I can’t imagine what it would be. The only church statues in the neighborhood are at the Monastery of the Angeles on Carmen Avenue, which is located three miles south of the Sign. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello! I was doing some family research when i found your article on A.F Frankenstein- my great grandfather, and his song. I can get a bit more information about the copyright owners, and even the man himself. Please feel free to contact me and i can hopefully flesh out the story a bit more.
I’d love to know more. Thanks!
I’m working on a biography about Eden Ahbez, the songwriter who penned the enduring pre-hippie classic, “Nature Boy.”
He also apparently camped out by the Hollywood Sign for a while. Did you ever run across any evidence of that? My site is here:
I once spoke to Ahbez’s friend and fellow nature boy, Bob Wallace, who told me that Ahbez used to sleep next to the shack behind the Sign during the 1940s, which an elderly gentleman lived in and switched on the lights every night, and off every morning. I’m assuming that shack was inhabited by Albert Kothe. Any truth in this?
Feel free to contact: bcxists (at) gmail (dot) com.
Hi, Brian–Your blog is fascinating. I had never heard of Eden Ahbez or the song “Nature Boy,” and no one ever mentioned him to me when I was working on UTHS. It’s quite possible that he used to sleep in the shack behind the Sign, though Albert Kothe never did–he lived in a cabin at end end of Beachwood Drive. (The cabin used to house the foreman of the masonry crew that built the granite stairs and walls on Hollywoodland. The masons lived in tents. The camp doesn’t exist anymore; it was converted to housing lots in the 1950s.) The shack had no plumbing or electricity and was used for storage–electrical cables, light bulbs and tools for the Sign. But since Eden was used to living outdoors, it probably suited his needs.
Hi Hope… Ahbez no doubt camped out up there, as there was quite a bit of testimony, including four Nat “King” Cole biographies. I’m just wondering if he knew someone on Mt. Lee who gave him access to the grounds? Or let him use the storage shed? Ahbez lived all over Hollywood and Greater L.A., though even when he had his own little places, like in Tujunga for a time, he preferred to sleep on the ground outdoors. The quest continues. Congrats on your documentary! Brian
The grounds were open and no one locked doors in those days, so no access was necessary. Hollywoodland was much less densely populated then, with lots of vacant land, so no one would have minded his camping out. I imagine he only used the cabin on cold nights. Here’s a link to a piece on Kothe that includes the painting of the cabin where he did live.https://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/albert-kothe-a-german-immigrant-in-hollywoodland-part-ii/
Good luck on your research–it’s a great project.
Incredible! Where did you find that painting?
Lamonta let me photograph it.
Is that the artist’s name?
Yes, Lamonta Pierson. She has lived here for 60 years.
I could read your blog for hours & days. English is a powerful language when used well, and when an articulate American uses it, the language transforms.
Thanks! I appreciate the compliment, especially from a teacher. Your blog is very interesting. I haven’t been to Sien Riep but my sister just got back from a trip to Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia.
You are too kind. Unlike you, I often loose sight of my audience and ramble. My blog is an act of catharsis as well as an attempt to say, “Denny was here.”
You should write whatever you like. That’s what I do.
Since you are quite interested in the Jim Thompson disappearance, please be aware that I have just written a substantial report, scientifically analyzing the disappearance from a modern search and rescue (SAR) point of view. This has never been done before. The report draws on interviews I conducted with a leader and participants in the 1967 search, on principles and mathematical formulae outlined by the (US) National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR), on my extensive experience with SAR and emergency management, on a review of the terrain, and on a review of over 500 pages of primary documents on the case, including OSS, DoS, FBI, etc., all of which are presented in the report annexes.
I do not claim to have solved the case, but I believe I have advanced it considerably(for the first time since 1967) by eliminating about half the possible causes of the disappearance, evaluating the 1967 search critically, and seriously impeaching some of the witnesses who claimed to have seen Thompson after he left the LKP (the last known point — the Moonlight Bungalow). This was done via geo-location of the witness and the Thompson positions.
I also lay out a “road map” toward a possible solution to the case, using modern SAR techniques of terrain segmentation, scenario development, probability analysis, Mattson voting, and HRD dogs.
You can download the report from my website at: http://www.themosttraveled.com/new/new_land.html
It has about 680 pages, so will take awhile. There is an executive summary of just a few pages.
Cheers and good hunting!
Lew Toulmin, Ph.D., F.R.G.S.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Thanks for this fascinating and exhaustive document; I skimmed it and was impressed by its depth and breadth. The only thing I missed was mention of my documentary, which is odd given your research skills and the fact I’ve had a website for it since 1999. I’m sure you’d find it interesting.
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