Friday, December 17, 2010
LUMINARIES OF SCREEN FORSAKE HOLLYWOOD FOR THEIR RURAL RETREATS
Mountains and Beaches Call to Performers and Producers, Directors and Writers, and Cafes Have Little Left to Satisfy Tourist Interest
By A. L. Wooldridge
Hollywood, April 30
Actors, actresses, directors, producers, writers – all who can get away – are headed for their retreats in the mountains or at the shore and Hollywood boulevard and the cafes now offer few to be pointed out to strangers.
To Malibu beach have gone Constance Bennett, Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow, Marion Davies, Leila Hyams, Evelyn Brent, John Gilbert and George Bancroft.
Ready for occupancy but temporarily vacant because their owners are away, are the homes of Raquel Torres, Louise Fazenda, Bebe Daniels and Lilyan Tashman.
A broad-shouldered man climbed into a plane at Culver City the other day and flew over the Tehachapi mountains to the north.
“Wally Beery’s gone to his cabin,” envious observers remarked as the hero of “The Champ” drove his plane over the big “hog-back” ridge. Had one been able to follow he would have seen Beery arrive at a private landing field, two miles from Silver Lake.
He would have seen the actor climb in a dilapidated automobile and drive to a spot on the shore where a rowboat was tied, then complete his journey to a small island – the “Wally Beery island,” which is occupied by no other human being. Complete isolation alone with a dog as a companion.
“I derive two great benefits from my island shack,” Beery said. “First, relaxation. I can sit on the back steps of my little pine house and catch rainbow trout. Second, I can ‘take stock’ of myself and my problems – which is the greater of the two.
Every man is better off going away by himself at times to assay his work in the world, to figure out his faults and shortcomings and to study his possibilities.”
Screen players frankly say they get “fed up” on Hollywood with all its tinsel and papier mache, and weary of the struggle among clans and classes and the hectic uncertain life.
It will be remembered that when William S. “Bill” Hart gave up picture work, he moved bag and baggage to a ranch near Newhall and there he now passes all his time;
that Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford have purchased a large tract of land down the coast from Los Angeles and are establishing a hacienda on which definitely to remain when they have retired, and that
Harry Carey lives at an Indian trading post near Saugus.
Cecil B. De Mille has three ranches north of Los Angeles. One of these, which he calls “Paradise,” lies in a narrow valley, where he raises pheasants. When the gates are closed and locked De Mille cannot be reached by any one. There is no telephone. There is no nearby road. Once, a year or two ago, when it was urgent that he return to the city on business, an effort was made to drop a message to him from an airplane, but the effort failed.
In the San Bernardino mountains, Reginald Denny has a log cabin well off the beaten path of travel. He goes there to pass summer days whipping the streams for trout; In the fall to shoot ducks, in the winter to revel in the snows; in the spring just to get out of town. A few weeks ago he took Robert Montgomery to the cabin to pass the week-end.
Richard Dix passes most of his time on a farm in the San Fernando valley. Fred Kohler has a chicken ranch near Owensmouth. Warner Oland has five ranches set to fruit and lives on one near Ventura.
Walter Huston was looking over some crude house plans at the Universal studios recently. “I’m building a log cabin at Lake Arrowhead,” he explained, “just to get away from the city. It’ll cost a few hundred dollars. Big fireplace, rough chairs, good bunk to sleep in. I don’t hunt, but I want to get up into the pine woods. It’s the first home I’ve ever owned.”
Lois Weber, who has said “goodbye” to picture business, lives on an orange ranch near Fullerton.
George Hill, director, former husband of Frances Marion, has his “hideout” at Lake Arrowhead. Anita Page owns a cabin near Lake Hughes in the Angelus national forest.
Mary Astor has a cabin between Big Bear lake and Arrowhead, in the San Bernardino mountains.
“My ‘hideout’ is very simple,” she says. “A small cabin with cacti for garden plants, some live-oak trees and bushes. My mother and I go there. We haven’t a radio or telephone, not even a phonograph.”
Dorothy Devore lives on a five-acre ranch far back in the redwood country of central California. Greta Garbo joins no beach colony in the summer, but she always rents a home from which she can have a view of the sea. She moves often. Ronald Colman for years had a house in a canyon which led into the Pacific ocean, but now has a home high on a hill overlooking Hollywood.
Fredric March is at Laguna Beach the year round. Laguna has a colony of writers and is a sort of center for the intelligentsia of films. It’s a sleepy little town without railroad or car line, but one of the prettiest spots on the west coast.