Hollywood’s “evolution” – a dampening of its long-lasting combination of fame, glamour, glitter and magnetism – was not uncheerfully announced by The New York Times August 21.
That daunted many veterans of the Sunset Strip’s bright images, crowd-moving voices, performances of talented actors, musicians, comedians. “Rather than the rock ‘n’ rolly bar and nightclub kind of place it was,” wrote someone, “the Strip’ll now be just another retail corridor with expensive condos. Gone, those dizzying hours spent in famed clubs and eateries ornamented by acclaimed entertainment and much admired – rightly or wrongly – personalities ... that’s over.”
In the late 1950s, I was a public relations rep for the KFWB radio station, which, perched on Hollywood Boulevard, was vying to dominate Southern California’s burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll market. Another station located far from the Strip (a word binding both Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards together) was our competition. Both stations aimed their rhythm and blues-cum rock ’n’ roll “product” at teenagers. The surprise: The shift from rhythm and blues to rock ’n’ roll threw young girls into fits of seemingly uncontrollable, screaming ecstasy. The outspoken consternation of complaining parents sent them, abortively, to the Federal Communication Commission. At KFWB all the station’s business letters, notes, envelopes, etc, bore an innocent smiling stick figure standing on the words, “My Mommy Loves KFWB.” The result: It was obvious that parents were not in control of their daughters. And the Beatles hadn’t arrived yet.