THE STUDIO EXEC HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD: PART 1. HOW HOLLYWOOD GOT ITS NAME

HOLLYWOOD – A comprehensive history of Hollywood, written by the man who put up the ‘H’.

So Los Angeles. The turn of the century. A sparse neighborhood. A traveler rests on path halfway up a hill when a Chinese man leading a donkey pulling a cart filled with timber.

‘What’s the name of this place?’ the traveler asks.

Chinese fella thinks he’s being asked what he’s doing.

‘Hauling wood,’ he answers.

‘Hollywood, huh?’ says the traveler. ‘Nice name.’

And so it goes.

Forget that there are Hollywoods all over the country. There are twenty four places called Hollywood to be exact. There are two in Ireland. And there’s one in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

From which we can conclude that this Chinese fella and his cart certainly marked up the mileage.

But it’s fitting that the place is mark with an improbable story, because that was basically going to be the job for a good few decades to come.

This series shall continue.

THE LIAM NEESON DIARIES I

Over the next few weeks The Studio Exec will be publishing exclusive extracts from the long-awaited Liam Neeson diaries due to be published by Faber & Faber in June 2015.

MARCH 1ST 2014

Shot a couple of guys and bought a burrito. They never had any chicken left so I went with the shredded pork.

 

MARCH 3rd 2014

I only shot one guy today but he deserved it. I asked him if he knew a place were I could get some dry cleaning done. He didn’t know. Now he’ll never know.

 

MARCH 7th 2014

I parachuted into Syria and single-handedly defeated a terrorist cell with a butter knife but as I was pulling it out of the ear of the leader, the knife broke. It was my favorite butter knife. The knife I used to butter my daughters toast when she was a little girl and those bastards will pay for breaking it.

 

MARCH 10TH 2014

I met with Martin Scorsese about a part in his next movie. I asked him if he wanted me to play a bent cop, a vicious gangster or a father out for revenge. He said the role was a pacifist Jesuit priest. I told him I’d have to pass and if he offered me a woman’s part again, I’d break his arm in twelve places.

 

MATCH 11th 2014

Tough day. I forgot about what happened to my butter knife and tried to make a sandwich. I had to go out and shoot five guys to take my mind off it but it didn’t work and I was still hungry so I used my credit card to smear the butter onto the bread. It was a dark moment. If I knew how to cry, I would have.

 

MARCH 25TH 2014

I went to see a psychiatrist. He suggested that playing violent characters is turning me into a violent person. I disagreed with extreme prejudice.

 

APRIL 1ST 2014

I haven’t killed anyone in six days.

Ha-Ha. April Fool!

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES IV

September 1st, 1958

I’d been hired to narrate The Vikings, a rather tawdry swords and sandals tale starring my good friend and doubles partner Mr Kirk Douglas. The screenplay was ghastly and I simply couldn’t bare to utter a solitary word of the banal drivel so I rewrote the entire script during lunch and presented it to the director Richard Fleischer. He said he adored it , especially the running on the oars scene which I’d slipped in at the last moment for a giggle as I knew Kirk had an irrational fear of damp wood. Unfortunately when Richard presented my version to the United Artists board they insisted I cut the bloody epic battle between The Vikings and the House committee of Un-American activities claiming it wasn’t in keeping with the source material. I immediately resigned in disgust but after a bottle of dry sherry and some cajoling from Kirk I agreed to return as long as I was not listed in the credits.

I had a fine pheasant for lunch but the cherry and balsamic accompaniment was a little tart.

 

September 14th, 1958

My attempt to make a cinematic version of Charles Baudelaire’s exquisite work Les Fleur Du Mal has run into financial difficulty after I accidentally threw a hash brown at Jack Warner during a particularly tense breakfast meeting. Jack was insisting the dialogue should be in English rather than the original French so after an hour of trying to reason with him I was at my wits end and in a fit of pique I grabbed the hash brown and launched it in his general direction. My intention was for the hot potato missile to be nothing more than a warning shot across the bow but unfortunately it hit Jack square in the face. He immediately rose from his seat and angrily delivered a cacophony of coarse profanity before declaring he would rather burn the Warner lot to the ground then fund my picture.

Despite the unfortunate incident the English breakfast was superb though I do regret wasting the hash brown which I later discovered is something of a house speciality.

NIKKI FINKE SUES THE STUDIO EXEC FOR 10 MILLION DOLLARS

 

All jokes aside, I was a little taken aback this morning when I received a letter from the lawyer of film journalist Nikki Finke informing me that I was being sued by Ms Finke for the sum of 10 million dollars.

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