Upon waking in Hollywood, I began my journal detailing the trip west. Mostly the food available on my 1st class flight (also my last 1st class flight) and how things look from the sky. Plans were made for my first day in Hollywood. Turns out, not much...
So, I get back, get my new and improved room, touch base with the family and then drive to the MGM studios to meet the producers who liked my script, Joel Simon and Bill Toddman (son of the iconic game show producer). Reading the journal I realized I totally forgot about this “pre-meeting.” They had never met me. I don’t even remember if we spoke on the phone. I only remember dealing with Kevin Brown on the phone through the early days. “Really nice guys” was my assessment at the time. They “loved” my script. After that, we essentially shot the breeze, talked movies and then debated over what restaurant to take me to for dinner. Which would be the “most LA-ish.”
Entering their office was my first encounter with the clichéd candy jar on the desk. Peanut butter cups and pretzels. Apparently I “acted like a kid with them.”
After the meeting, Kevin took me around the MGM studio. I honestly don’t remember much about this. It now belonged to Columbia Studios, which was owned by SONY. The meeting for the next day at Warner Bros. was confirmed. I was told the woman executive, Kimberly Brent, was nice and “knows the creative side of the business well.” Dinner at some Cajun place. No memory of that. Then, just exhausted. Had to drive myself home. Managed to get lost both coming and going to SONY, according to my notes. Again, don't remember. LA is laid out “like an ink blot on the land with the valley, mountains and beaches all intersecting.”
Back to the hotel and crashed.
Back then it was going to be obvious I wasn’t going to keep a very thorough record of my trip. My next entry is dated two days later and it tries to pull together the previous two days. I note that I had been “emotionally peaking and flat-lining.”
Oh, one running concern during the trip was trying to hook up with my mother’s cousin, Vinny Pavis. He was an entertainment lawyer and you would think I would try to make some use of him. But he really didn’t offer and I didn’t push it. The relationship with the Pavis side of the family was always a bit awkward the way they treated my grandmother. We kept calling and rescheduling. I didn’t see him until the day I was leaving town, although I did talk to him on the phone.
This leads into one thing I notice about my journal. Things I remember vividly, I made no note of. For instance; I wore my light colored jacket and shirt and sunglasses. Kevin made a comment about looking LA and I said, “I came to play.” Or when I spoke to Vinny, he asked me how much I was getting. I told him and then I turned to Kevin, who was hanging in my room, what he was getting. Kevin looked shocked I would ask and said something like “hasn’t been determined” (more of this, later). Most noticeably, I didn’t write anything about the whole “Pee-Wee Herman” thing. I wrote my script with a Humphrey Bogart flair. The studio executive announced they wanted it to become a Pee-Wee Herman vehicle. It’s a story I’ve told and wrote about over and over, but the entry of the meeting doesn’t mention it at all, only that a lot of ideas were thrown around and the main concept getting so buried that Bill Toddman had to pull out the script and read it aloud to get us back on track.
Yes, to back up; the meeting day. Kevin picked me up (here’s where my wardrobe story slides in). We go to the Warner Lot. “The Warner Lot!” I love Warner Brothers movies. Casablanca. The Horn Blows at Midnight. Bugs Bunny. Robin Hood. This is the place. Walls are lined with stills from the movies. Now it’s getting real.
We meet Ms. Brent. Warm greeting. “Where have you been all this time?” she asks. I remember this, but didn’t note it. I’m pretty sure I responded with “Most recently, in your waiting room.” I’m also pretty sure it didn’t get a laugh, just a blank look. We sit, they compliment the script some more and then we’re off to the races, ideas and pitches and twists coming from every direction. I had to take notes like crazy. It lasted 90 minutes; everyone had other meetings to rush off too. Good-byes are made. Kevin decides to show me the town; the Chinese Theater and all the footprints; Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Harold Lloyd, R2-D2, CP30, Spielberg, Charlie McCarthy Shirley Temple (these are the ones I noted). I was in awe. Lunch at Orleans (still there? I dunno). Celebrity sightings: Nora Dunn at a table with Norman Lear.
We order. Kevin gets us an appetizer; Buffalo Mozzarella on Tomato. The waiter brings it out. I was expecting a piece of spicy cheese. No, it was regular mozzarella. MADE FROM BUFFALO MILK! I simply burst out laughing. I was giggling for quite some time. Kevin was at a lost over the source of my amusement. It was just such a Los Angeles type of food. Mozzarella cheese made out of buffalo milk. Ha! I got a Turkey & Cheese BLT. The bacon was from pigs. It had avocado. Everything does. “Everything served looks like landscaping.” Saw the Hollywood sign on the way back to the hotel.
Once there, I put off thinking. I hung out by the pool, reading and swimming. I floated around, looked up and saw a palm tree. I’m floating in a pool looking at a palm tree. Hollywood!