FOR THE STORY SO FAR REFER TO MY WEBSITE BLOGS PAGES FOR THE LAST WEEK. THIS IS THE END OF “MY FIRST DAY IN HOLLYWOOD”AS A YOUNG WRITER” ITS THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1967. A TRIBUTE TO NOEL HARRISON….
There I was in the penthouse offices of Hollywood producer Al Burton surrounded by his executive staff and the contestants in the MISS TEENAGER AMERICA PAGEANT.
I had been in LA for 7 hours now and it seemed I had satisfied the many creative partners in the show Noel had hired me to write for him.
They were relieved ..I was relieved and during a phone call Al made with NBC in my presence they were relieved at my suggestion that we do “the entire show from inside Noel’s head”.
It meant more to all of them than it meant to me…but I would have until tomorrow to work out what I meant.
Al and Burt and the gang were glad to have the new boy in town on their side.
“You’re in LA now Chris so you need a set of wheels..”
Al threw me a set of car keys.
“Your car is downstairs in the parking garage in stall 19. ”
As I walked through Al’s offices brushing past a mass of teenage pageant contestants “T” and “A ” who were now comparing navels and thigh lengths …I was thinking nothing can possible top the events of my first day in Hollywood so far… Nothing…Nada…impossible! …
Walking towards stall 19 of course confounded that thought didn’t it?
In Stall 19 sat a gleaming 400 mph Corvette Sting Ray fast back in three shades of brilliant sparkling green.
Hollywood was not through with my first day yet..
I sat behind the wheel and turned on the ignition…the engine didn’t just spring to life…it ate the parking garage…It actually frightened me..I had never been in anything with as much power apart from a Boeing 707. I gingerly pressed my foot on the accelerator and was doing 40 in reverse… I drove around the parking structure for a few minutes adjusting to becoming Roger Petty.
It was a straight shot down Sunset to the Continental Hotel so I didn’t need directions ..but as I was driving I noticed people in cars and on the sidewalks pointing at me and laughing and looking shocked.
This was the car capital of America and this pretty cool set of wheels …but the reactions seemed bizarre until I pulled up at the hotel.
Strangely enough standing there to greet me was a Canadian director I knew from Toronto Stan Harris who had also migrated to Hollywood to stake his place.
I got out of the Sting Ray and we shook hands..
Stan said: ” How long have you been driving this car?
I said: “I just got it 10 minutes ago”
Stan said: “So you didn’t know it glows in the dark?
I turned and sure enough the Sting Ray’s three Shades of green sparkling paint were iridescent and pulsated. It was pure magic.
This I found out later was a George Barris designed California special ‘one off’ edition Sting Ray…created by the same guy who built the original Bat Mobile…
That Al Burton sure knew how to drive a young guy crazy on his first day in town.
Fortunately I was able to drive crazy back at ’em.
So ended my first day in Hollywood.
We did the NBC special from “inside Noel’s head”..he was “brilliant” and we also followed the theme of “the past meeting the present and seeing the future.”
Noel sang old British musical halls songs plus his big hit “Windmills of Your Mind” and did a number with The Byrds…the past..his present and David Crosby’s future!
Stranger than fiction continued.
“Where The Girls Are” was the first time that Cher appeared in a special without Sonny. A few years later we were to hook up and work together again on the “Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour”..I love Cher from the first second I saw her…I love her still. She is the past she is the present and she’s still the future.
You can catch several clips from “Where the Girls Are” on You Tube.
Rest in the peace you deserve Noel..
Thank you for the best ever welcome to Hollywood.