Eve Babitz, Eve's Hollywood
“Culturally, L.A. has always been a humid jungle alive with seething L.A. projects that I guess people from other places just can’t see. It takes a certain kind of innocence to like L.A., anyway. It requires a certain plain happiness inside to be happy in L.A., to choose and be happy here. When people are not happy, they fight against L.A. and say it’s a ‘wasteland’ and other helpful descriptions.”
Eve Babitz, Eve's Hollywood
Image Credit: The Los Angeles Book
“Well-bred people might drop you if your behavior [becomes] offensive, but they [do] not try to reform you.”
Robert Westbrook, Intimate Lies, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham, Her Son's Story
Image Credit: Society in Vogue
“’The Goldwyn touch,’ is not brilliance or sensationalism. It is something that manifests itself gradually in a picture; the characters are consistent; the workmanship is honest; there are no tricks and short cuts; the intelligence of the audience is never insulted.”
Alva Johnston, Saturday Evening Post (via Goldwyn, A Biography)
The Statue of Liberty is a fickle creature. Sometimes she welcomes the waves of immigrants yearning to breathe free, and other times she snubs them. The reason for her capriciousness? It might have something to do with the short memory of the American public. Immigration—and the assimilation that has always accompanied it—have always been the strength of the country, not its weakness.
Consider the wave of late 19th/early 20th Century immigration from Eastern Europe. It brought most of the original movie moguls who were fleeing the brutal pogroms of Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Arriving via the East Coast, they eventually made their way to Los Angeles. From there, they conquered the world … well, if not physically, then at least its imagination. They transformed Hollywood, a sleepy teetotaling suburb of Los Angeles, into a geographically porous global behemoth.
Among those immigrant moguls (and probably the most beloved) was Samuel Goldwyn. His name will go down in history as one of the three names in Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). Yet, he had departed by the time that studio reached its heyday. By then, he had formed Samuel Goldwyn Productions, a smaller, more bespoke studio. It produced fewer pictures a year than MGM, but what it lacked in output, it made up for in quality.
Goldwyn had a savant-like, totally original way of expressing himself (about which A. Scott Berg wrote brilliantly in Goldwyn, A Biography). So distinct were Goldwyn's expressions that they eventually acquired their own word, Goldwynisms. Samuel Goldwyn was an American cousin of Sheridan's Mrs. Malaprop, the difference being his Goldwynisms arose spontaneously in real life; whereas, Sheridan's malaprops was written into a work of fiction. As to both, however, there was profundity.
Rumor has it that Goldwyn’s staff of writers (among the best in the business) manufactured Goldwynisms of their own. As such, there is some question as to whether a particular saying originated with him or was instead a tribute from someone on his staff. Of the following four examples, however, one is definitely not an authentic Goldwynism. Which one?
“'Elton John’s coming to [to Studio 54] tonight. Don’t tell anyone,’ [Steve] Rubell confided to me at one point, naturally wanting me to tell everyone. So I did …”
Michael Musto, Disco Years
Image Credit: Disco Years
A copy of Disco Years signed by Ron Galella is available via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.