Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

At Home on the Range

‘Tis truly weird. I’ve been here about three weeks now and it feels like longer… kind of like on a ship when home drops below the horizon and you can’t see it anymore, you have to imagine it instead. Which is dumb, I know, after only three weeks… but in my defence, it has been a pretty intense three weeks. I had to hit the ground running in the job, get oriented, and look for somewhere to live in a place where I knew zilch about the areas, the roads, distances, the neighbourhoods…

I did a lot of online research in the evenings (Craigslist and different rental agencies) and then at the weekend did a big Satnav-guided drive-around, setting out from the studio gates and making the journey out to a few places that had caught my eye. Most sank my spirits. There was one Hollywood Hills place that looked great in description and pictures but which, when I got there, was right next to the bins for the car park of the Hollywood Bowl. I had to email the owner and graciously extricate myself from a viewing.

But the next day I got a response from an ad for a ‘guest house’ in Beverly Glen, Bel Air, actually a suite of rooms comprising the entire lower floor of a canyon home. The owners had just bought the place and hadn’t even moved in themselves yet, and in two days were going off to Italy. So for the past fortnight I’ve had the place to myself. I won’t get any internet or cable TV until they get back, so I’ve bought myself a small TV and a boxed set of The Rockford Files to watch.

(Season Two. For some reason it includes the feature-length pilot, which the Season One set doesn’t. And if the Amazon reviews are any guide, the Season One set also has technical issues)

Here’s something else that felt weird…today’s walk across the lot took me past the frontage of the movie theatre where they shot the ending of Subway. It’s a set but it’s also a usable cinema for screenings and stuff. On the marquee it said WARNER BROS WELCOMES BACK TY HARDIN, BRONCO 1958-62.

I have no idea where on the lot Hardin was or whether he was working or visiting or what, but… I can remember the theme song for that show from when I was about five years old. And my office is pretty much on the spot where they made it. And Maverick, and Cheyenne, and…

I need to get more professional. This geeky wonder stuff’s supposed to have worn off years ago, I’m sure.

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8 responses to “At Home on the Range”

  1. The Rockford Files? Sounds interesting. And well, Subway… It brings me great memories, that's one of my favorite episodes of EH.
    Looking forward to watch the next show.

  2. Good call with The Rockford Files. I suppose any modern drama will get in the way of thoughts for the show, and if you get a serial box set like Band of Brothers or From the Earth to the Moon (which I’ve just dug out for the weekend) you’re inclined to watch one episode right after another.

    When the girlfriend at the time was working for Dreamworks Animation (back when they were housed in the building on Barham Blvd, right on the corner of Universal’s grounds, before the bridge over the river and the Smokehouse), she had a great apartment in Burbank Village, straight up West Olive and across the 5. The main street with shops and restaurants, leading to the Burbank Village Mall, was where they shot the T-Rex attacking the bus in the Jurassic Park sequel.

    Without any dinos running rampant it was a nice, relaxing place and a world away from the grubby LA basin. Of course it meant a long trek to Pinks for a chilli dog, but you can’t have everything.

    Don't ever let the "geeky wonder stuff" wear off.

  3. I found Burbank village and know exactly what you mean – walking streets, trees, bookstores… the user-friendly antithesis of what everyone imagines LA to be.

    I wasn't aware of it when home-hunting so it wasn't on my list, but they've built a big IKEA around the back of the mall so the Satnav took me to it when I was looking for cheap lamps and silverware.

    I'm no lover of IKEA but I'm no lover of parting with money, either. Wasn't aware of the Jurassic Park connection — I shall have to go back and look! Yesterday I was playing host to a couple of friends down from Seattle and we sought out the Bradbury building.

    I plan to seek out the Smokehouse at some point… right after I read your comment I heard it mentioned in a restaurant review.

    More enticing than what's playing on the radio as I write… an ad for "Mike Diamond, The Smellgood Plumber".

  4. Ah, I know that IKEA well, especially the bookshelf section. Back then, the building across N San Fernando Blvd with the sweeping concave frontispiece used to a Virgin Megastore. Then, the other side of the Mall one of the bookstores sold scripts and then, closer to E Olive Ave was a tiny little conspiracy theory bookstore selling fantastic books and pamphlets about all kind of nutty stuff. It may still be there.

    With those stores and Barry Levin’s superb bookstore over in Santa Monica, where I’d seriously blowtorch the plastic, we certainly needed the shelf space.

    Did you find The Bradbury Building? Was the interest from Blade Runner or Demon with a Glass Hand? I was more interested in the Frank Lloyd Wright houses. It was great to tour around The Barnsdale House at the eastern end of Hollywood Blvd, even though it was the one that wasn’t in Ridley Scott’s film.

    Speaking of great houses, you out to check out the façade of Harlan Ellison’s place, which is the Valley side of Mulholland, off Beverly Glen Blvd.

    The Smellgood Plumber?! Is that an expert in unblocking backed up drains or someone who has an amazing natural scent?

  5. Was the interest from Blade Runner or Demon with a Glass Hand?

    Both, I suppose, though in the interest of defending my cred I can say that I've always known the Glass Hand association and when it came Blade Runner, my reaction was, Oooh, cool choice.

    Sounds like Ellison's place must be just around the corner from me — I'm at the Mulholland end of the Glen. I've probably passed it without knowing what it looks like.

  6. Ah, since you mentioned Bel Air, I figured you were holed up in the area between West Sunset and the Stone Canyon Reservoir. You’ve got to love it when N Beverly Glen Blvd is south of Mulholland and Beverly Glen Blvd, which loops over the crest of the mountain and heads down toward Ventura, is to the north. Maybe that sums up the glory that is LA!

    H’s place is on a little residential road looping off Beverly Glen that you wouldn’t drive past ordinarily. And if you passed it, you’d certainly know it. back when I pitched to WBFA, chatting with an executive afterwards who lived nearby, he mentioned that cars were always braking hard as the occupants gawped at the building.

    Obviously it would be remiss of me to give out his address here, but I think Harlan’s still in the phone book. If you’re at a loose end one Sunday it’s worth tootling by.