Private Lives (Stars Homes)

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Tours would take place along the Sunset Strip in the 1930-40s, providing a glimpse into how the stars lived at the time. This is a rare shot of the Sunset Strip taken in 1937. The tour guide is standing at 8245 Sunset. Who was Harry, the Tour Guide? The question was answered by Benjamin Appel, a writer of crime fiction and author of The People Talk, an oral history of the Great Depression. Appel interviewed Harry and described his sign and stand noting the signs were lettered in red, white and blue with Harry in the middle of them sitting under a beach umbrella. He was known as the guy who knew ‘where the stars lived.’

“That’s quite a number of years ago. I used to know a lot of Hollywood people… Friends of mine used to ask me where the stars lived and I used to tell them. Now when they ask me, they pay me… I’ve had from the highest to the lowest, people who had to scrape up the three bucks they paid me to see the stars’ homes.” – Harry, The Guide

A Tour of Hollywood | Drawings by Thomas Hart Benton

“Some while back [in 1937], Thomas Benton, the highly-rated American artist, was despatched to the West Coast to paint a composite picture of life in Hollywood. The half-dozen drawings reproduced in this portfolio are among the by-products of that mission to Hollywood. They range from sketches on the spot to labored elaborations of sketches. The artist’s base of operations was the couch in the luxuriously appointed office of Raymond Griffith, one of the producers for 20th Century Fox. From this couch he made forays into the vast departmentalized domain that is a major moving picture studio, and also a little beyond.” – Harry Salpeter, A Tour of Hollywood: Drawings by Thomas Hart Benton

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