Happy Anniversary to Me!

As of today, August 13, it has been 51 years since I made the move from my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, to West Hollywood. Since then there have been many times while living in the glow of Tinseltown that I realized I wasn’t in Alabama anymore. Here are a few of them.

I insulted a legendary leading lady. While working at Schwab’s Drugstore, I became familiar with our regular cast of characters of has-beens and never-weres. One of the former was faded movie queen Miriam Hopkins, an irascible recluse that none of us had ever seen and definitely did not want to talk to. I got stuck with her late one night when she called looking for a product that didn’t exist, at least not in the size or color she wanted. At one point, she asked me, “Is there anyone there who knows more about it than you do?” Since I was alone except for the pharmacist, who was on his dinner break, I said, “No.” Ms. Hopkins departed for the great beyond soon after so I didn’t have to deal with her again.

Also at Schwab’s, I waited on a lovely, well-dressed middle-aged lady who paid with a check. I read the name and realized she was Christine Jorgenson, the first American to have sex-change surgery. Predictably, this was the first time I had seen or met a transsexual person, and am now horrified at how humans like this lady are being demonized all these decades later.

A Beatle walked into my office. In 1976 I was working for the music biz trade magazine Cash Box. Fridays were always dull since next week’s issue was at the printers so I agreed to handle the phones while the receptionist ran an errand. I was alone in the office when I noticed a visitor through the top of the double door. I walked over to see a skinny guy with long dark hair wearing jeans, a denim jacket, and a T-shirt who really looked like George Harrison. I asked if I could help him and he answered, “Just tell Mr. Albert (our publisher) that Mr. ‘arrison came by.” He left and I thought, “Everybody’s going to think I made this up.” As it turned out, when I returned from a late lunch, George was back and hanging out with Mr. Albert in his office. I’m pretty sure this couldn’t have happened if I had stayed in Alabama.

I petted a lion. Again in 1976, the label for a band that had a lion on the front of their debut album decided to get some publicity for them by renting a lion and dragging him around to local media. By the time Leo and company had gotten to Cash Box, he was getting cranky and had already jumped on top of a parked car in the parking garage for Billboard, so we were asked to meet him downstairs in front of the building. When we got our first look at the magnificent feline, we noticed he was big. Really big. We also noticed that while the girls wanted to pet him, the guys wanted to stay as far away from him as possible. Since this was a trained lion who had recently starred in a deodorant commercial without eating the model, we scratched under his fluffy ruff and stroked his silky neck while he purred like a kitty. A huge kitty. The palm of my hand fit between his eyes. When he opened his jaws and let out a big yawn, the guys backed up even further. We would have played with Leo all afternoon but he still had to make another stop at Record World.

I saw a stunt go horribly wrong. In 1980, I was writing for Rona Barrett’s Hollywood and went to the set of “The Dukes of Hazzard” to observe the filming of one of the show’s famous stunts for a story. It was a hot summer day out at Lake Sherwood and we all spent hours waiting for the crew to hack through the timbers of a ramshackle barn that looked like it was about to fall down all by itself. Finally, all systems were “go” and a stunt double for Bo Duke crashed one of several General Lee Dodge Chargers into the barn, which was supposed to fall apart into a big pile. But it didn’t. The car was stopped by a timber and flipped over, shocking the onlookers. Rescue workers ran to check on the stunt driver, who fortunately was OK but was taken to a hospital to be sure. When the scene finally appeared on the show the stunt was pieced together to look like it went flawlessly. Such is the magic of Hollywood. 

So I’m still here and hoping for more adventures in the future!

3.7 3 votes
Article Rating
About Linda Cauthen
Linda F. Cauthen moved to West Hollywood from Montgomery, Alabama, fifty years ago in search of adventure. What she found was a long career in journalism including gigs with Larry Flynt Publishing, The Hollywood Reporter, and many more. After the bottom fell out of print magazines, she made the move to online media where she produced content on a variety of subjects including beauty, consumer technology, and showbiz gossip. Her interests include Hollywood history, classic country music, and old movies. She is one of WeHo’s top authorities on what used to stand at any given location in the distant past.

View All Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

17 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

good grief

Emily Post
Emily Post
1 month ago

With all the mild controversy in this article it might be worth locating a copy of Emily Post’s “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home 1922. It will serve anyone well especially in these crude and harsh times.

Mrs. Post was a friend of my great grandmother in Baltimore who translated her sense of Etiquette in a simple phrase to me as a young child: “With a smile, good manners, a cashmere sweater and a strand of pearls, you will be suitable to meet the Queen”. Her advice has never gone out of style

hifi5000
hifi5000
1 month ago

Many thanks to Ms. Cauthen for the look back at the many people she encountered in the city’s past.Some of the places and people she described are no longer in existence or dead.I take the article for what it is and will appreciate the stories she told.

votaxik133
votaxik133
1 month ago

are memories of West Hollywood. When I first moved here 43 years ago I was a bartender. As such, I had a lot of celebrity interaction in my jobs at hamburger hamlet, entour

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
1 month ago

I think it’s wonderful to share memories of West Hollywood. When I first moved here 43 years ago I was a bartender. As such, I had a lot of celebrity interaction in my jobs at hamburger hamlet, entourage, and Ed Debevic’s.
celebrities do work hard to get to where they are, and some of them are very sweet and humble and some of them are a pain in the neck… Just like anybody else. Thank you for sharing your stories Linda. I enjoyed reading them!

michaelz
michaelz
1 month ago

what a mean, spiteful column……..

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago

Miriam Hopkins was wonderful in the 1948 movie “The Heiress”, as was everyone else in the cast too. Thank you for mentioning one of my favorite actresses.

Wow!
Wow!
1 month ago
Wow!
Wow!
1 month ago

After that awful commentary I just had to look up Miriam Hopkins. Certainly not one deserving of such caustic treatment. Sounds like a great lady of another era. With a little tact, kindness and respect, Ms. Cauthen may have learned something rather than glossing over the gossipy surface calling herself a journalist.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
1 month ago
Reply to  Wow!

Linda’s experience is Linda’s experience. I’m sure Ms. Hopkins wasn’t a perfect angel all of the time, just like most of us.

Jim DiGiovanni
Jim DiGiovanni
1 month ago

Linda Cauthen should have stayed in Alabama! The great late comedienne Miriam Hopkins deserves better than to be called a “has-been” by the never-been and never will be Linda Cauthen. A “recluse that none of us had ever seen” reflects more on the ignorant Schwab’s staff than on Miriam Hopkins. Ms. Cauthen seems proud of the fact that she got “stuck with” her while working at Schwab’s, it’s more likely that Ms, Hopkins got stuck with Ms. Cauthen. Great talents like Miriam Hopkins are the reason that non-talents like Linda Cauthen came to Los Angeles – and it wasn’t West… Read more »

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim DiGiovanni

Good lawd fella, just a little angry eh? Thank you for the great stories/memories Linda! I wished I’d lived in LA from the 50’s on to experience what I’ve only heard from those whom lived it.

Jim DiGiovanni
Jim DiGiovanni
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

No, not really. Additionally, it’s not professional to publicly say negative things about a client of a business one works, or worked for, Customers provide the income that allows one to earn money at a job. This is an ungrateful act and a betrayal of their privacy!

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim DiGiovanni

Ok Miss Manners. SNAP guess you told her (and me)

govade2260
govade2260
1 month ago

One of THE MOST talented actresses of our times. She was far more than a sex symbol. Worked hard and delivered.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago

One of THE MOST talented actresses of our times. She was far more than a sex symbol. Worked hard and delivered.

I take a knee to a great actress, Marilyn Monroe…

Chris
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Miriam Hopkins was a fine talent that eventually nobody wanted to work with. She was arrogant and temperamental a good deal of the time, and I imagine she could be very unpleasant when dealing with “underlings.”

17
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x