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Dinner with an Old Friend!

Dinner with an Old Friend!

I will be at the famous Musso and Frank’s tonight.  Have you heard of this famous Hollywood Haunt?

Tonight, I will be here to keep on eye on a dear friend of my daughters.  Yes, I heard he will be there.  I met Jon Richmond years ago.  He was just a young man, an adolescent really but I could see a twinkle in that young man’s eye.  He had a love for life, a quick wit, and an even quicker intellect.

He quickly became friends with my daughters.  I am not entirely sure how I felt about that but I held my breath and hoped for the best.

But when Mr. Richmond came to my home in Beverly Hills one Thursday afternoon I knew he had something on his mind.

“Can I take Terry to see “The Rocky Horror Show?”

“Of course not,” I said adamantly. “No way in hell.”  I knew the subject matter was provocative and as a stage play quite risqué.  What was this young man thinking?

But Mr. Richmond did the darndest thing.  He talked me into letting my daughter go with him.  I don’t know how he did it, but I’m sure it was because my gut told me I could trust this 17-year-old boy.
And I’m glad I did.  My daughter and Jon have had a long friendship.  He stepped in to walk her down the aisle when she got married.  I was already dead.

He always put a smile on my young daughter’s face, was able to reassure her that their was indeed a sunny side to life, and has stayed loyal through the years.

Tonight he dines at Musso and Frank’s and I for one can’t wait to see him.

According to the www.latimemachines.com, “the back room of Musso and Frank’s is where great writers and other famous creative people like F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Saroyan, William Faulkner , Raymond Chandler (who is rumored to have written some of “The Big Sleep” here), John O’hara, Christopher Isherwood, Erskine Caldwell, Lilian Hellman, Horace McCoy, Lowell Thomas, Robert Benchley, Thomas Wolfe, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Jo Pagano, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, Elliott Paul,  John Fante and Budd Schulberg hung out. Even the great composer Igor Stravinsky was known to visit.

Charlie Chaplin’s favorite table was the first one on the left when walking in the old room from Hollywood Boulevard. Charlie Chaplin’s favorite dishes were broiled lamb kidney and also boiled lamb with caper sauce. Raymond Burr’s long time table is in the back of the “new room” closest to the bar.

Steve McQueen favorite spot was the counter seat coming in from Hollywood Blvd. against the wall (bartender Ruben Rueda had to throw him out a few times for getting rowdy – but they remained friends).

Rudolph Valentino was also a client and he loved – what else – the spaghetti (which may have been an exotic dish back then).  Other clients included the illusive Greta Garbo (who liked to hide from reporters here and dined on spaghetti and “near beer” during prohibition. She was also once spotted here with a Swedish prince.), Gary Cooper who loved their tenderloin beefsteaks, Ginger Rodgers who favored Rum cake for dessert, Cesar Romero, Jackie Coogan (who boasted that he had been eating at Musso and Frank’s for over 50 years), John Cameron Swayze (who loved the flannel cakes) Carrie Snodgress (obviously not a Hollywood name!), Henry Armenta, Dorthy Comingore, Ben Gazzara (who liked smoked salmon, with onions and capers), Vincent Kartheiser (one of my favorite actors), Richard Thomas, Danny Trejo, Elliot Paul, Bruce Herschensohn (who ordered a grilled cheese sandwich),William Hollier, Percy Kilbride, Quentin Tarrantino, Raymond Burr, Elliott Gould, Gloria Swanson, Charles “Hank” Bukowski, Ian McKellen, Mickey Dolenz, Orson Welles, Philip Scheuer, Mack Sennet, Mel Gibson, Drew Barrymore,  John Barrymore, Stanley Ring, Joel McCrea, George Hamilton (who liked the Chiffonade Salad), Horace McCoy, Buck Henry, Cheyenne and Christian Brando, Nicolas Cage, Richard Collins, William Shatner, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Jack Nickolson, Marty Feldman (who celebrated his 43rd birthday at Musso’s), Jonathon Winters, Cecil B. DeMille, Bebe Daniels, Edward G. Robinson, Robert Florey, Frances Dee, Jon Hamm (another one of my favorite actors), Ed Lauter (who met his wife here! A Musso’s romance), Johnny Weissmuller, Jesse Lasky, Madonna, Sean Penn, Paul Douglas, Carol Howard,  Jack Smith, John Voight,  Barbara La Marr, Mary Pickford, Rich Little, Myrna Loy, Sandra Shaw, Bette Davis, Johnny Depp and John Beal (who liked smoked tongue and creamed spinach).”

And of course, there are those dearly departed guests mentioned above who still frequent Musso and Frank’s.  I am in good company.

In 1999, a famous psychic claimed he saw the spirits of Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, Charles Laughton, Carole Lombard, Peter Lorre, Raymond Burr and Tiny Tim while visiting Musso’s!

If only there would be a psychic tonight.

I wonder if Jon will be able to feel my presence.

After dinner, I will step across the street to Larry Edmund’s bookstore–a book store specializing in film!  What a perfect evening.  I hear my daughter might be there to sign copies of my autobiorgraphy and House on Haunted Hill: A William Castle Annotated Screamplay.

But for whatever tricks fate plays I am not able to see or feel her presence.  I can only hope see feels mine.

WC

1 Comment

  1. Musso and Frank’s is legendary. I invite you to check out an awesome blog called “Classic Showbiz”, written by the equally awesome Kliph. He waxes poetic about Musso & Frank’s and also the great LA scene

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