Lost Horizons beneath the Hollywood Sign – Book Review
By Jeff Swindoll Nov 22, 2010, 16:31 GMT
David Del Valle, writer, curator, collector, and Hollywood historian, takes you on a first person tour of the man-made Shangri La beneath the Hollywood sign, ultimately descending into the smog-shrouded netherworld of Lost Horizons. His candid recollections prove to be a celebration of contrasts, as David hangs out with the reigning pop culture icons of the day, Timothy Leary, Christopher Isherwood, Terry Southern, and Kenneth Anger. ...more
David Del Valle compares Hollywood to the mythical city of Shangri-La, not that Hollywood isn’t just as mystical, in that the envisioned Hollywood is a lie to those who hope of stardom that represents a false ideal.
He then argues that the same serenity found in Shangri-La can be found in Hollywood… you just have to imbibe enough martinis and smoke enough marijuana. Such is the playground that Del Valle finds himself living in and allowing him to rub shoulders with many famous names.
Shangri-La offered the ability of immortality and in some ways Hollywood offers its denizens the same celluloid benefit. Vincent Price and John Carradine may be gone but their images flicker across the screen in a false immortality. Del Valle tells tales of both horror legends.
His tinsel town location and being a film fan only fanned the flames of tracking down his onscreen heroes. It also seemed a much simpler time when these stars were approachable.
Not that only horror stars are represented, though he has known Barbara Steele for many years and brushes with Christopher Lee, as sharing smoke with Dr. Timothy Leary, partying with Terry Southern, dining with Russ Meyer, and many other fascinating encounters are held within the pages.
There are also 39 pages of photos from Del Valle’s collection and autographed by the subjects. These tales are told with panache and provide an addicting need to move on to the next chapter, especially for fans of that sun drenched faux Shangri-La called Hollywood.
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