Sunday, February 1, 2015

The St. Moritz Hotel

There was a  brief time when I lived with my father and twin brother in a room at the St. Moritz Hotel on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.

On our daily ride to and from Stevenson Elementary School in Burbank, we'd sing the theme to the popular TV show "Maverick".

 I remember how each morning we would descend via Barham Boulevard into the San Fernando Valley, which was blanketed by an opaque brownish fog (dubbed smog) that was tinged pink by the sunrise.  I knew there was a real problem with rapid urbanization even at that young age. I also found that it only took a few minutes immersion before I accepted it as the new normal.  If my nomadic childhood taught me anything, it was to accept change in circumstance if you don't have a choice.

This photo is from the 40's.  It gives a good idea of the terrain we traversed on our way from Hollywood, in the foreground, to the San Fernando Valley in the distance via the Cahuenga Pass and the Hollywood freeway.

At that time my parents were divorced.  My mother was living in Burbank, and working for Ralph Edwards, who was producing several popular television shows at NBC 's studio at Sunset and Vine.  My mom introduced me to Bob Barker, the M.C. for Edwards' program "Truth or Consequences" in the parking lot.

Ralph Edwards' offices were on Hollywood Blvd., and I got to watch the Hollywood Christmas parade from his second-floor windows.  All the celebrities in the parade were waving at me, or so it seemed.

30 years later, my sons marched in that parade as members of Santa Cruz High School's "Big Red Band".

Another Hollywood memory was watching the Capitol Records building being built.

My mom with Bob Barker, on the set of "Truth or Consequences".  She was the show's secretary (for Ralph Edwards).