Saturday, September 21, 2013

Palm Springs Trip Day 3 - The Movie Stars!


As we continue on the next leg of my recent trip to the Springs, I have to say of course, this was the best part of my entire trip; locating popular movie stars' homes or hot spots and walking in the footsteps of our mid century fore bearers.

Originally, I didn't have much of a game plan on how to attack who's old stomping ground I would try to find other than the usual suspects such as Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. So I decided to just set out with the few addresses I did have and let the wind take me where it may!

Now for all intensive purposes I have to admit that some of the photos you see in this post were actually taken the day we went to the Air Museum (post here) and then the rest were taken on another day. I put them all together in one since it was all regarding the same topic so here we go.

On our way to the Air Museum the day before, we had to drive through downtown more so to take a peak at some of the amazing architecture (which will be featured in my last post) Palm Springs is known for. Well low and behold look who we ran into just when we thought she had packed her vintage Lady Baltimore suitcase and left!

Yep, its the one and only trying to hold that dress in place!

The statue is a super-sized sculptural tribute to Marilyn Monroe's iconic scene from "The Seven Year Itch" and let me tell you this beast is huge! It doesn't seem like it just looking it at her from a distance but once you get up on her, you can really grasp just what all it took to construct her which you can read further here. Case in point, here is a scale shot:

It was difficult to get all of her in the frame without standing in the middle of the intersection to do it....oh and yes, you can actually see her white undies underneath!

After nearly dripping in sweat from standing in the direct sun for only five minutes we pressed on to see what other goodies we could find. And look at what we found:

A statue of Mr. Gene Autry himself. Took this while whizzing by in the car so unfortunately we never had a chance to go back for a closer shot. This is located near the road that is named after him.

Later on that day, after we had done some serious running around we were on our way back to the resort when we decided to see if we couldn't find a few celebs homes and boy were we surprised at just how close we were staying to some seriously old stomping grounds. Now remember, the resort is located in downtown and wouldn't you know it that my favorite neighborhood is just right down the street from where we were!

Palm Springs is set up just like any other city where there are certain neighborhoods that have specific names, but of course you know the city has to take it a step up and give them some seriously hip ones.

The Movie Colony of course is where most of the big time film stars back in the 50's and 60's took up residence in the Winter. You can read a little about the history of the neighborhood here but let me just say, there was something magical about not only being in such a beautiful city but also walking around a place that appreciates its history, culture, and does everything to preserve the memories of yesteryear. Aside from Hollywood, whose mid century identity is rapidly fading, this was truly the closest you could ever get to some of these stars.

Case in point, I almost fell out when I came across the old haunt of the one and only, Chairman of the Board.

If you ever wondered why he dubbed his hideaway "Twin Palms" it was because of these two cute little palm trees in the back.

The house used to be open for tours but is now only open for private special events such as weddings and photo shoots. You can check out some of the interior shots of the house here.

In order to get the shots of the house I literally had to stand on my tip toes and stick the camera over the fence due to this gate that encloses the driveway of the house. So pretty much all you can see from the street once you walk up in the driveway is the front. The only other thing I could get was the address marker.

If you want to visit the house, the address is 1148 Alejo Rd for the gated entrance and supposedly there is a guest walk up entrance at 1145 E Via Colusa which I wasn't aware of until we returned to LA. Due to the nature of use for the house, I am not sure if you would be able to walk right up but if you go definitely check it out!

Next, I found out what Lucy and Desi's old house address was. Now for some reason a lot of these old star homes are extremely hard to get addresses for most likely because many are private residences now and no the Tourist Center isn't the best of help either. When I called to verify the address for their house in the Movie Colony, they gave me their address to another house they used to own in Rancho Mirage...hmpf!

So I triple checked a few websites and old photos of the house and was able to verify that their house was just around the corner from Frank's.  Now luckily some homes, like Twin Palms are still for the most part just how they looked back in the day but not all homes are so lucky.

Here was Lucy and Desi's home as they saw it:


 It's so amazing how their is an entire neighborhood built up around the place now! The house is located at 1194 N. Via Miraleste and was previously was open for short-term vacation rentals, intimate weddings and small events.  After closing the house to the public, the owners have done extensive renovations to ensure some of the integrity of the house but unfortunately with the encompassing hedge border around the entire house, this is all you can see today.

This is the one thing you will see plenty of in Palm Springs, huge gates that say "Keep The Hell Out".

So after much disappointment, the girls decided to go back to the resort but I decided to venture on and see what else I could find.

Due to pressed time and the sun setting, I wasn't able to visit the infamous Movie Colony Hotel or many other spots I wanted to hit up in the MC since I wanted to see a little of everything on my first trip.  So I set out to hit up another area of town and came across one of the other neighborhoods, like the beautiful Racquet Club Estates:

I just love how they design the little signs!

You can check out the unique history of the neighborhood here, and no I never saw any racquet courts....

I ventured into another neighborhood called El Mirador and what was so fabulous about the houses in the Movie Colony, El Mirador, and Racquet Club was that all of these houses were one story regular old fashion mid century homes, not the gaudy stuff you would think you would see like over in Beverly Hills. They were either Spanish style or the traditional mid century design to a T! Once again, folks had better taste back then...

So at this point, the sun was really on its way behind the San Jacinto Mountains and for some reason I got a wild hair up my you know what to find Cary Grant's old house. So with my un-trusty Android phone I set out to find the man's address so I could look him up.

Now once again, as I mentioned before, these damn addresses can be hard to find and conflicting. The reason I say un-trusty phone is because, even though I had the right address, the directions were off or I was off, either way this trip would turn out to be something else because I had a hell of a time trying to find it and went damn near across town to do so!

So after triple checking the internet and various addresses I located his address (928 Avenida Palmas) which at the time I thought was over in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood but much to my chagrin found out later it was in Movie Colony which is West of Movie Colony East were I just WAS....($#@&%!)

So unfortunately, I never found Cary's house since I was in the wrong neighborhood.  I believe it has also gone through extensive "Keep The Hell Out" remodeling on the outside and probably wouldn't have seen anything interesting but you know sometimes out of mishaps you find some really nice unexpected surprises like I did.

Case in point, I was walking through the neighborhood trying to locate Cary's address when I came stumbling across a house on a street that I randomly happened to take a shortcut on and would have ended up passing up if it wasn't for these crazy looking statues out front that caught my eye.

So as I'm standing there trying to figure out who in the world lives in this mess, I see people driving up and taking photos and then it dawned on me that this must be a celeb's house. Well, when I so happenly double backed to the other side of the house and saw this, I knew exactly who's former footprints I was standing in.

But when I looked above the piano, this is what sealed the deal for me:

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you, the house of the one and only:

The house is located at 1441 Kaweah Rd in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood

Backyard of the house that is visible from the street.

I was so shocked to see that the owners have kept most of the original integrity of the house as when Liberace lived here. You can actually walk around most of grounds unrestricted. This was just one of many homes he had owned in PS but this one was the one he resided in later in life.

Of course when my friend Robbin called to check on me to make later that evening sure I hadn't passed out somewhere, I told her who's house I found and she was putting on her shoes and starting the car before she could get off the phone to come and get me because she just had to see the house for herself!

Poor thing, she said she had tears in her eyes when I told her so of course we had to double back the next day when the sun was out more so she could get her pics in too, and of course I could get some of me in front of the place.

Now I see why so many stars stayed here, its truly like an island paradise!

How cute! A piano mailbox of course!

How slick is that! Music notes on the exterior foyer gate!

The man done got a portrait of himself made!


More music notes!

Yeah I know but I had to throw this in for my boy Ray Charles.

So going back in time to that evening before, you know when google maps sent me on a wild goose chase to find Cary's house, I left the Candelabra man's pad and set off because as you can see the sun was rapidly setting and I needed what little sunlight was left to grab a couple of pics.

I ventured into yet another neighborhood that really did look like I was in the middle of the jungle and the houses started to become more estate like which was even more breathtaking to me.

Love these signs!

Straight up jungle just about. Definitely for the "I don't want to be found" folks.

I came across some very interesting houses but there was one that damn near made me fall out when I saw it because I definitely knew who's house this was:

Can't guess, come on you gotta know this one! Okay here are pics from the next day when we doubled back since at this point I had almost no sunlight that it began looking like this:

On top of that, cicadas were everywhere chirping all day and night so as it got dark. I waited on Robbin to come and get me since I damn near couldn't find my way back out of this mess, this was me:

Those things were all around me, I thought they were going to act like Calgon and take me away! Hurry up Robbin!!!

Anyways, I've digressed once again. Okay have you guessed who's pad this was yet?


Treble Clefs on the gate, LOVE THIS!!!!!

You can actually still tour this house, only on a seasonal basis but I promise this tour will not disappoint as much of the architecture and interior have been kept in tack from back in its hey day. You can get tour info here.

And wouldn't you know it as we were leaving Liberace's house going to take these last minute photos of Elvis' Honeymoon spot, look who we ran into right around the corner!

All of you film noir detective movie fans should know this one! Okay, I'll give you a hint:

Why can't all of them be this easy to spot!

Yes the one and only! Again, this house was subject to much "Keep The Hell Out" remodeling and no longer is visible from the street or its former glory:


So this concludes the movie stars post. Stay tuned for the conclusion of my Palm Springs trip with the next post complete with mid century architecture galore and more sights of the city!

To be continued.....


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