I need a dog.

You can not walk in Beverly Hills without one. People will give you the stink eye and the 24/7 circling Po Po will stare you down. Pity that my landlord will not allow pets. It would be amazing if I could rent one. Case in point:

A month or so back I was dipping into yesteryear and discovered one of Carole Lombard’s residencies during 1933: 523 North Beverly Drive

The address was on a police report filed by Lombard when her sapphire ring went missing in March of 1933. I decided to venture on over. I walked up and down the street for a good five minutes searching for house # 523, receiving mental pat-downs from the neighbors that drove by. Finally I found the numbers printed on the curb. Folks, this is what I saw:

Carole Lombard House

Impulse took over and I darted toward the construction workers. As nonchalantly as possible I asked,”What are you doing?” No one spoke English. I switched into Spanish gear and the workers told me they weren’t really sure what was happening. Some were tearing down and others building. One of them said he’d get his manager to come talk to me. Sensing this was the time to leave, I retreated to my car.

The manager came, photographed my license plate, and gave me the best “Can I help you?” that I’ve heard in some time.

“I just wanted to know what was happening to the house. Someone important used to live there,” I told him.

There’s a dramatic pause. “Who?”

“Carole Lombard.”

A longer pause. Just as I thought the man didn’t have a clue he blurted, “The actress. Oh yeah. . . Well . . . they are restoring the house . . .”

A few more minutes of awkward conversation followed before we part ways.

Thanks to real estate records we can do a time-dash. The home was build in 1928 by architect Roy Seldon Price for Charlie Chaplin’s wife, Lita Grey Chaplin. The interiors were done by set designer Harold Grieve. Actress Patricia Barry owned the home from 1959 until November 2010 when it looked like this:

Do I want to believe that the current owners are in fact restoring Hollywood history? Absolutely. But the past has taught the pessimist in me better. Based on photographs of the house just two years prior, I have to ask:

What is being restored??????

Beale, Lauren. Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2010. Web Access. 1 February 2012. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/15/home/la-hm-0515-hotprop-20100515

Gussman Czako Estates. Web Access. 1 February 2012. http://www.gussmanczakoestates.com/properties/photos/523northbeverlydrive.html

4 Responses to What Are You Restoring?

  1. Deena says:

    You are something else and I mean that in a good way. You have every right to be on the sidewalk and take pictures.

  2. Elisa says:

    I’m going to stroll by this weekend, all casual like, and see what’s going on. I doubt the workers will be there, but if they are I plan on innocently asking about what’s going on. Mess with Carole and you mess with me!

  3. T says:

    My heart sank when I saw the fences going up, but they look like they’re resorting it. What they’re likely doing us reconfiguring some of the inside. The place had a nanny’s, two servant and chauffeur bedrooms. Great for 1931 but not so much for today.

    I’m a fan of Price’s work, so I’m glad it’s not being torn down.

  4. CB says:

    They need to restore CL’s films. Saw 20th Century last week and it was not a good print. Why don’t they hire the George Eastman House in Rochester to restore these precious artworks as they are meant to??

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