“HOLLYWOOD (2)”…………………

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THE YEAR 1967: THE PLACE HOLLYWOOD: THE SHOW: “WHERE THE GIRLS ARE!”

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A continuation of the tribute to Noel Harrison a son of a Rex and a son of bitch of a friend and an important cog in the wheel of your humble raconteur’s future…

As we left you yesterday I was being driven into Hollywood for the first time by Al Burton the producer of Noel Harrison’s NBC special “Where the Girls Are”. I was to create the format for the special with two other writers. It appeared that Noel had made me a key player in the creative process of the as yet formatted show that featured Cher, Don Adams, Barbara McNair and The Byrds.

A Hollywood pawn and only in town for an hour!…

Al was talking at a great rate about how NBC wanted a really commercial all American show and Noel wanted to go off on a psychedelic trip into the “Windmills of His Mind”…I was to persuade Noel that his mind was not what NBC wanted..they wanted something that would sell soap not acid!

I was in for another shock when we arrived on the legendary Sunset Strip and the front of the Continental Hotel was festooned with a huge banner reading  “WELCOME CHRIS BEARD!” This was getting out of hand..

The Bell Hops had welcome “Chris Beard buttons” and surrounded us taking the bags up to my room. My room had king sized blow ups of Al Burton’s show reviews. It was full of flowers and chocolates… More out of hand..

I had now been in Hollywood for three hours…

Al said he hoped I got ‘his side’ of the message to tell Noel who I had not seen  yet. He left me in my festooned room with the words:”Noel is on his way from his ranch in MANDEVILLE CANYON… we really hope you can talk some sense into him…we think he’ll only listen to your ideas at this stage of things”…

I didn’t have the balls to tell Al I had no ideas…not a one …nada….zipolla!

About 20 minutes later there’s a knock on the door and in comes a crazed Noel…flushed and kinda high on recreational tree.

“What did those bastards want from you?” were his first words.

“Noel ..thanks for this whole thing…Al was great…he didn’t say what he wanted, he actually just wants to know what you want to do on the Special… he hasn’t got a clue what that is!” …

I said this in my best “diplomatic panic hiding voice”.

“What is it then ?” Noel seemed to be looking right through me.”TELL ME?”

I pulled what was left of my equilibrium together and made shit up.

“It’s got to be today and yesterday..now and then!” I said with full faked conviction…

“Brilliant!” Noel shot back much relieved…

Noel turned and beckoned me to follow him…”That’s it !” he said with a finality like I didn’t have to go into any detail..

To Noel the problem was solved… We were on our way to his ranch in his Mini Minor Cooper which was painted as a complete Union Jack. “What else?

“Brilliant”… Noel repeated this as we broke the sound barrier on Sunset passing the Beverly Hills Hotel and the UCLA campus on the way to Mandeville Canyon.

We were heading to Noel’s ranch where I was to meet one of the biggest movie stars of all time who would be completely naked…four hours in town and counting….

MORE TOMORROW…

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