Jack Tewksbury takes a trip down Hollywood’s Memory Lane.
Jake Rosenberg was the Waxman and Finke of the 1950-1960s, writing and publishing Hollywood Closeup, a back-stage weekly. Except unlike them, he hated just about everyone of importance in the movie industry. When Lew Wasserman bought a full page ad in Closeup for Universal, Jake printed in giant letters on the adjacent page: “LOOK HOW THE GOOF”– his favorite name for the head of Universal–”IS TRYING TO BUY ME OFF.”
I spoke to Jake occasionally at Schwab’s pharmacy, the actors’ hangout on Sunset where you could go to the counter, order one cup of coffee, and sit for hours reading the magazines free that were for sale. Jake didn’t write about stars: they didn’t have any real power back then. Oh, he did one story about Sinatra and some guys roughed him up. He didn’t like Joan Crawford either, because she stole his girlfriend.
“She can point her car in any direction and there would be an aspiring starlet waiting for her,” Jake said. He claimed she paid rent on girls’ apartments all over Los Angeles and it kept her broke. If a girl disappointed Joan, she got an eviction notice. “Joan and Howard (Hughes) are practically sister and brother.”
He was referring to RKO contract players Howard romanced in apartments throughout the city when he owned the studio. If a starlet rejected him, she was never again cast in a RKO movie. He would humiliate her too. One player, in her lawsuit, said she had to pull her convertible up in front of Howard’s small private building on Melrose at exactly 5p.m. every Friday, toot her horn, and someone on the second floor would throw out $300 in a roll held together by a rubberband. One time it landed on doggie duty.
Jake said Joan’s feud with Bette Davis began when they starred in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane. Joan sent Bette a bouquet of flowers which Bette construed as a sexual overture. Other than dialogue, they never spoke again.
Joan had a thing for blond German girls and when one called expressing admiration for her work, Jake said Joan rushed to her apartment on Ohio Street in Santa Monica and knocked on the door in anticipation. The door opened slowly.
Splash! Joan’s face was dripping in hot sauerkraut that a blond woman tossed.
Everyone assumed Bette was behind the prank.Read More »