"Overture....hit the lights.... This is it.....the night of nights." I refer you to the old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck Fri night show. What kid growing up in the sixties doesn't remember that song?
Well, it's Oscar night. Doesn't affect my life....or probably yours....but I bet we'll watch for awhile. At least the opening. But man, there are people who live and die by this night! In an earlier blog (July 2005) I lamented on the lost art of hitch hiking and the dark turn it seems to have taken. Without rehashing old material, it backs into my brief brush with the Oscars. During Easter break in 1971 my buddy and I decided to hitch from El Paso, Texas to Los Angeles, California. We got there in one ride. He wanted to see an old girlfriend and I just wanted to see California. Our host dropped us off in Hollywood right on the Sunset Strip. It was about 10pm and the marquee across the street at the Whiskey A Go Go read "Tonight....Uriah Heep!! Remember them? The whole scene was reminiscent of Times Square...but with a freakier vibe. After all it was......OSCAR WEEK.......IN HOLLYWOOD!!!!!!!!
Gidget (seems like there were a lot of Gidgets and Sunshines running around in those days.) and some guy eventually came to pick us up and dropped us off at a mansion in Laurel canyon. As I remember, a friend of Gidget's struck it rich by inventing some new kind of cassette tape or something. A couple of friends were sharing the house, they were all leaving , we had the place to ourselves for the next few days and yes, it was OSCAR WEEK!!!!!! So there we were enjoying sunsets over LA from the expansive deck in the canyon and life wasn't bad. Butch was hanging out with Gidget a lot and I was walking down Laurel Canyon Drive and cruising the strip and other places by day. That sounds a little sleazy, doesn't it? Really, I was just takin' in the sights. The three of us spent one day on the beach with "sunshine" and the Pacific Ocean sparkled and laughed! But everything sparkled. It was OSCAR WEEK!!
A friend of ours from UTEP had a friend who also lived in the canyon and after a few days we moved in with him. He worked on the periphery of the movie industry as did a lot of his friends and life continued to be good. And it was OSC....well......ya know. Our host wasn't around much, Gidget and Butch had a falling out and we were running low on cash. What to do except get jobs as .....gardeners. The guy who owned the place we were staying in hired us to clean out his beds, do some trimming and planting and would pay us enough to fly back to school in Texas. Man, we kept steppin' in it! In the meantime, we had an interesting excursion with a Mexican taxi driver ( also covered in July '05 blog), spent a day frolicking in Griffith Park, and apparently had a number of near misses with California rock stars. There's a great book called "Hotel California" that covers this time in LA...particularly the Laurel Canyon area which was home to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, The Mamas and the Papas, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash etc. In my trips down to "the strip" I was always picked up by interesting characters in fast cars. I wonder who they were....hmmmmmm.
But Easter break was over and it was time to get back to school. We were slated to fly out of LAX on OSCAR NIGHT!! One of the gang offered to drive us to the airport and man was he pumped! He was actually going to the Oscar ceremony that night and still took the time to drive us. We met a lot of nice people in LA. Even though the Oscars affected us not a whit it was hard not to get caught up in, or at least witness, the electricity in the California air that night. We almost hated to leave. But you know that feeling in your gut that says "time to leave?" Well, it was there. We were on the brink of overstaying our welcome but got out just in time. From the air Hollywood appeared to be vibrating.
Bill (the friend of the friend) picked us up at the El Paso airport and as we walked through the lobby of our dorm what was blasting off the TV but.........a Dodger game. Hey..... C'mon man ......it's OSCAR NIGHT!! Enjoy the show. Peace.
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