September 6, 2010

Hollywood: A Place For Dreams

Hollywood. The very name stirs our blood. Our minds conjure up images of the beautiful, the successful, the walk down the red carpet at the Kodak Theater. It’s all about dreams and possibilities, fame and wealth. Its siren song lures us, draws us in, teases us.

Yet, for all of that, few people make it big in Hollywood. According to the AFI, only one percent of aspiring actors and actresses make it big in Hollywood. In fact, 85% of them are unemployed!

What does it take to make it big in Hollywood? Talent and good looks help, but I think the biggest factor is luck. Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time. Here’s a list of facts about Hollywood that you may not know.

1.When the Hollywood sign went up it read Hollywoodland. It cost $21,000 and was supposed to last for eighteen months. It was illuminated in 1939, and in 1949 they removed the land part.

2.Hollywood’s golden age was in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Judy Garland, and Bette Davis among others became household names. This era also marked the rise of the big studios like Paramount, Universal, MGM, and 20th Century Fox. Interestingly enough, Paramount is the only one left in Hollywood itself. Others have moved away.

3.Some of Hollywood’s famous landmarks are: the Hollywood Bowl (an amphitheater for music performances), the Hollywood Hotel (Big name stars, producers, etc, wine and dine here.), Grauman’s Chinese Theater (This is where famous stars leave their hand and footprints in concrete.), and the Kodak Theater where they hold the academy awards. The first academy awards were held in 1927.

4.The first Technicolor film was The Gulf Between Us in 1917.

5.Montmarte Café was the first night club in Hollywood. They say Joan Crawford was discovered at Montmarte.

6.In the movie The Godfather, an orange is always in the scene right before somebody gets killed.

7.The first movie to show a woman in nothing but a bra was Psycho in 1960.

8.All of the James Bond stars were over six feet tall except for Daniel Craig. He’s five ten.

9.A film reviewer once commented on Elvis Pressley’s acting and said he became a star because he had itchy underwear and hot feet.

10.The best paid actor in Hollywood is Will Smith who made 80 million dollars between June 1, 2007 and June 1, 2008. The number two actor was Johnny Depp at 72 million. Eddie Murphy is third with 55 million. (Forbes Magazine)

11.The highest paid actress from June 1 2008 to June 1 2009 was Angelina Jolie who only made 27 million. Number two was Jennifer Anniston at 25 million. (Very interesting. The rivalry continues.) Number three was Meryl Streep at 24 million. Face it ladies. The guys are paid more. (Forbes Magazine)

How does all of this relate to writing? In my new release Return Engagement my heroine Elizabeth Lane is an actress who made it big. Here’s a blurb about the book and the prologue. You can read Chapter 1 at the publisher’s web site at

Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancĂ©. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.

“Stop it!” Elizabeth cried. She scrambled off the bed and put as much distance as possible between them. “It’s over, Richard! No, don’t shake your head at me. I mean it.” Her face blazed with color. “We have to end this, or I’ll be exactly what the tabloids called me. I can’t, I won’t, live with that.”

Chest heaving, Richard struggled for self-control as he faced Elizabeth across the bed, distracted by her beautiful blue eyes and disheveled dark hair. What did the sleazy, tabloid press matter? They loved each other; why did she panic over a few nasty stories?

“Honey, you’re an actress,” he soothed, his voice velvety soft and persuasive. “The tabloids won’t leave you alone no matter what you do. Half the stuff they print is lies anyway. Why are you letting them scare you?”

She stared at him with eyes stretched wide. “You’re seventeen years old! In California you’re still a minor, and I’m an adult. They have a right to accuse me of cradle robbing! Don’t you know how many people agree with them?” Her voice dropped. “And that includes my mother and your parents. They’re so mad at us it scares me.”

Richard ignored the fact that his father’s reaction had scared him too. “You talk like you’re fifty,” he scoffed, “but you’re only five years older than me. You know it doesn’t matter.” He lunged for her hand, but Elizabeth danced away from him.

“It may matter to your career. Have you forgotten Senator Lovinggood’s plans for you? Your dad wants you to be the president one day, but a scandal like this could ruin your chances before you even get started.”

Richard impatiently shook his head. “Don’t you get it? You’re more important to me than any career in the world! Without you I don’t care what happens to me.” His eyes softened. “We fell in love with each other the first time we met in the studio. Why would you even consider letting five lousy years ruin things for us?”

Elizabeth dropped her head and bit her lip to hold back her tears. “I know what I have to do, but why does it have to hurt so much?” she whispered so low that Richard barely heard her. She raised her eyes to his. “I love you, Richard, but we can’t keep our hands off each other. It’s only a matter of time until we do sleep together.” She made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob. “If we do sleep together I’ll deserve everything they’ve said about me. Please, please go.”

For a moment the issue hung in the balance. The air in the room which already shimmered with emotion now started to sizzle, but with an exclamation of surrender Richard bent and scooped his shirt from the floor. “I’ll call you.”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. “No, please don’t. It’s over; don’t you see?”


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Elaine, welcome. Sorry for the late howdy! It's been a busy day. You know the other thing I found in common to your stats is that there's a lot of writers, but very few are huge success. I'd bet that the same percentage of writers are 'unemployed.'

Ginger Simpson said...

Thanks for sharing the interesting facts. I watched an old I Love Lucy where she, Ethyl and Fred stole John Wayne's footprints. I love watching all those old re-runs but they are a bit depressing when I stop and think that everyone in them is dead. But I digress. :)

Your new book sounds awesome, but that's no surprise. :)

P.L. Parker said...

I love the "interesting facts." Luck - a word that fits any career I think. Interesting blurb.

elaine cantrell said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone.