Watched an interesting, intriguing and fun flick today ‘The Kid Stays In The Picture.’ The film, and autobiographical book it is taken from, is about Robert Evans.
Now I consider myself a film aficionado. With the caveat that it stops with The Jazz Singer. Love them silent films.
Bob Evans turned Hollywood around, but especially kept Paramount from closing forever. As a kid growing up in Southern California, movies were everything to me. Every last penny was spent at the theater, even solid silver dimes from my coin collection. Hell, I was very active in local theater companies back from the age of 11.
Eye on the 1920’s, a kid’s version of being discovered, and the allure of a Hollywood long gone.
Turns out I was, looking back, a below-par actress. On the best day. Luckily the piano and tenor sax saved me from utter obscurity later on. Especially the voice-overs and commercials a few years ago! Or not. Don’t see my name on IMDb.
Just realized something ironic: my last job, prior to being an Executive Ne’er Do Well Trying to Survive on SSD In Reno, was as an Executive Producer for Warner Brothers (The WB, then The CW). Heh. Never thought about that until now.
Anyway, the beginning of the film and Evans’ life in ‘the industry’ begins with his meeting Norma Shearer at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool. She saw him and asked if he would play Irving Thalberg (her late husband) in a film. It was Man Of A 1000 Faces, a cinematic biography of Lon Chaney.
If you don’t know who Thalberg, Shearer or worse Chaney was, then stop reading right here.
Oh alright I’ll wait while you Google.
And get off my lawn you hooligans.
The point of this piece (hello tertiary threads) is that I wasn’t AWARE of Robert Evans’ influence on film. Being an idiot it was a focus on directors, cast and studio. This film melted away a skewed view of thinking, as well as causing me to laugh uncontrollably.
See if it’s available on Netflix, or somehow pops up on TV, which is doubtful. Robert Evans is probably 81 now, but his autobiography is still in print. He is a quite self-effacing writer and funny as hell. According to people who worked with him though… total dickhead. That’s my kind of guy. The man not only made the true change in bringing back audiences to the movies (Rosemary’s Baby and The Godfather for two) but was married seven times.
Fuck I’ve only been married and divorced twice, and get no royalties. –makes sign of L on forehead-
A final personal note regarding Norma Shearer.
Lived in Long Beach, California (again) in the early 90’s. My best friend at the time (a fellow musician in our band) lived in a fabulous Deco building, in a town decorated with them. The Villa Riviera, on Ocean Boulevard. He made friends with the guys who rented (all of the apartments are privately owned now) the penthouse.
Norma Shearer, back in the 20’s, had rented the penthouse. She had contractors build a hidden door and extra apartment which also led to the roof. Verboten to tenants. Even the renters. As if that ever stopped any of us reading this.
I spent many a wonderful night on that roof. The view of beautiful coastline, city lights, the feeling of being amongst friends and of course… my childhood dreams.