Hollywood Journal – Relaxing at the Roosevelt

Another visit to the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. I used to like hanging out there back in the nineties because the lobby was big and dark and quiet. It was a great place to chill, in large part because it was usually pretty empty. Since then it’s been remodelled, and they’ve managed to attract a young, hip crowd, so the place is a little more lively these days. I’m glad they’re doing more business, but I spend less time there now.

The photos were taken recently, and while the lobby is substantially the same, it has changed some in the past fifteen years. And as I’ve mentioned before, in transcribing these entries from my journal I’ve left the errors alone. The correct spelling for the name of the hotel is “Roosevelt”.

January, Nineteen Ninety Nine

Today I was on Hollywood Boulevard. I think it was around four o’ clock. And I decided to go to the Rooseveldt. Have a beer. Kick back. It’s been a while since I stopped in there.

The lobby was pretty empty. I walked up to the bar. Ordered a beer. Then strolled over to the table by the piano and sank into a big, soft chair.

It was so nice. So quiet. I sat there looking at the patterns on the ceiling. I finished my beer and thought, what the hell, why not have another.

Rsvt Chand

The guy comes in to play the piano. I ask him if he knows any Mancini. He says not a lot. I mention Charade. No dice. He throws out a few titles. Pink Panther. Baby Elephant Walk. I’m disappointed but I settle for The Pink Panther.

There are quite a few people in the lobby by now. A man with a cell phone sitting across the table from me. At the next table over a woman reading a paperback. And there are a couple of guys sitting to my left. One of them is talking about Barry Fitzgerald. He’s trying to name movies Fitzgerald was in. The man with the cell phone jumps into the conversation. He offers Going My Way. Then he says Ten Little Indians. I want to correct him, he’s thinking of And Then There Were None. But these days I’m reluctant to start chatting with strangers.

So they go on talking. The guy who was going on about Barry Fitzgerald says he works in movies. I think he said either as an actor or a stunt man. The guy with the cell phone says he’s a producer. In the exchange that follows I’m obviously not setting down what was said verbatim. I’m just trying to give an outline of the conversation.

The actor (stunt man?) asks,

What did you produce?

The producer answers,

The Buddy Holly Story.

At this point I can’t restrain myself.

You produced The Buddy Holly Story? I say. I liked that movie.

I never thought it’d make any money, the producer says.

What else did you make?

Diner.

That was a cool movie.

Who was in Diner, asks the actor.

Oh, wow, a lot of people. Mickey Rourke.

And Kevin Bacon, says the woman with the paperback.

Now I know there are a lot of people in this town who will claim to have produced, directed, written all sorts of famous films. Who knows if this guy was legit. But I think I was on my third beer by that time and obviously not feeling very skeptical. The guy probably could’ve said he produced Dinner at Eight and I would have believed him.

The conversation moves on to other subjects. Italian food in New Jersey. Mexican food in LA. I ask the pianist for something by Gershwin. He plays Someone to Watch over Me.

I felt pretty good when I left.

Rsvt Chat

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