Camp David

CAMP DAVID WINTER 2001/2002

By • Jan 1st, 2002 •

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STEPHEN KING RETIRES!!! After the disastrous debut in prime time of ROSE RED, one of the worst TV presentations in recent memory, the news is not surprising. There was a time when even I was a fan of writer Stephen King. The man who penned such original novels as ‘Salem’s Lot, Carrie and The Shining had much to recommend him. However, fame and fortune have corroded what was once a well of macabre inspiration into the Zane Grey of Horror.

My theory about the decline of such talent is that in days long gone, great authors did not enjoy the kind of wealth and exposure of today’s media kings. Can you imagine Edgar Allan Poe with a hundred million dollars? The man died a pauper and achieved immortality. Stephen King may die a millionaire but his legacy is a tarnished one.

ROSE RED
is a disgrace to such a career. To steal openly from a superior source as is the case with The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and to have $25 million dollars put at your disposal to simply plagiarize with little imagination is a sad commentary.

This atrocity took three nights to tell its ragged tale, and to waste the life of actor David Dukes in the process is beyond pathetic. Mr. King has vowed to write no more after five more novels. Please tell me he’s kidding.

2002 has just begun and Hollywood has already survived the Golden Globes, the facelift of its main thoroughfare and the subtle diminishing of its middle class. It’s beginning to look a little 42nd Street with a splash of Las Vegas.

One bright spot in the renovation of Tinseltown is the increasing hipness of Silverlake and Los Feliz with jazzy boutiques and sinister nightspots, clubs and hangouts for rich 12-year-olds.

Over on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood I discovered a unique and exciting venue by the name of ODIUM. Here, in a jewelcase of black velvet lined with bookcases devoted to Satanism, psychics, witchcraft, sex and filth, celebrities at their worst and much, much more is to be savored. The proprietor is Stanton LaVey, whose grandfather Anton was the founder of the Church of Satan. Stanton is an acknowledged expert in the occult and with a pedigree to match. Our mutual friend, avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger, recently advised me to stop procrastinating and come on down to the store. I was glad I did. Among the arcane items to tempt the unwary I discovered rare photographs of Sharon Tate by Polanski and had to add them to The Del Valle Archives. If you find yourself in Tinseltown, make a point to stop by and tell them Camp David sent you. ODIUM is located at 7523 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90046; open noon to midnight every day; phone (323) 851-6661.

Things just keep getting better over at A & E. My own Miss Lemon informs me that more divine episodes of The Avengers with Tara King and Secret Agent Man with Patrick McGoohan are being released and they are simply some of the best written television available. Kudos to A & E for putting them out in digital remasters looking better than they did the first time around. Science-fiction is not being neglected either with more episodes of the British series Space: 1999 with then-husband and wife Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

For those who follow the Star Wars franchise and its cast Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher made an appearance at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood to sell her autograph and memorabilia. Ms. Fisher is one of the highest paid script doctors in the business as well as being the ex-wife of Paul Simon and yet was compelled to charge $25.00 for her signature on anything you cared to present. In case you arrived empty-handed she provided a bevy of photographs from Star Wars and even a few things from Shampoo. Believe me, Erich Von Stroheim was not the only one to recognize Greed in Hollywood.

Even going to the supermarket here can be an event. The other day in the checkout line who should be in front of me but sex queen Edy Williams (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), the ex-Mrs. Russ Meyer looking very 1968 and feeling pretty damn good about it. Our Miss Edy spotted former football giant turned movie star turned activist Jim Brown and the two had a mini-confab over which gym they were frequenting and how healthy they were. It really made me stop and think (about what, I don’t remember).

Yours Truly is about to make his debut in the pages of Vanity Fair in an article about famed actor’s agent Henry Willson who discovered Rock Hudson as well as several well-endowed and hunky leading men. Variety reporter Robert Hofler is penning the piece having discarded the idea of doing a book on Willson. I knew Henry during the last years of his life out at the Motion Picture Home and gave an accounting of my experiences to Mr. Hofler. Having been an agent myself, I knew firsthand (so to speak) the hazards of mixing business with pleasure. And to find out more you’ll just have to read Vanity Fair. Will update in future column.

Those who follow the career of rapper Snoop Dogg E. Dog may want to check out the DVD of Bones, a horror film the rapper-turned-actor did last Halloween for New Line Cinema. One of the documentaries entitled “Urban Gothic” was shot in my apartment with screenwriter Adam Simon and at 19 minutes is one of the highlights in the DVD supplementals.

If you just can’t get enough of Yours Truly, the William Castle triple feature over at Columbia/Sony is a must. On March 12, you can pick up not only Straitjacket with Joan Crawford but Homicidal and Mr. Sardonicus as well. All three presentations have supplementals that include my observations on these nostalgic and fun excursions into madness and the macabre.

As I close this edition of Camp David, I am preparing to attend the ten days of the American Film Market in Santa Monica after an absence of many years. Will report on the best and the worst films coming your way for 2002-2003. So stay tuned for the next whiskey bar!

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