About the Editor

The editor in Gore Vidal’s Music Room closet

Jon Ponder is a writer who has been researching the history of Sunset Strip since 2007. His book in progress, Playground to the Stars: Crime and Scandal on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood’s Golden Era, is represented by the James Fitzgerald Agency in New York.

Ponder was editor and producer of Gore Vidal’s official website until the author’s death in 2012. In the early nineties, he spent a year working at the Playboy Mansion as a research assistant on the autobiography of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. He has worked as a advertising copywriter, including a five year stint at the New York publishing house John Wiley & Sons, and has written magazine articles and book reviews and edited newsletters.

In the 1990s, he was a partner in Big Film Shorts, a Burbank-based pioneering worldwide distributor of award-winning short films that represented films like “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” that was expanded into the feature, “Half Nelson,” starring Ryan Gosling, and Sundance Film Festival winners, such as “Nonnie and Alex” and “Harvie Krumpet.” Under the company’s Nano TV brand, he produced packages shorts for Time-Warner On-Demand. Earlier, he served as a development rep in New York and in Los Angeles for a North Carolina-based film production company. Very early in his career, he was a coordinator for movie-star press junkets in the Carolinas for Columbia Pictures, United Artists, Disney and other studios.

An experienced website producer, Ponder served as VP Creative for Hollywood-based Shoom Inc. Since 2008, he has worked as an independent web producer for Miami-based NewmanPR.

Ponder has been a contributor and co-editor for the liberal political opinion website Pensito Review since 2005. In 2013, he co-founded the Alla Nazimova Society. He is also a member of the board of directors of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.


  1. Woody Guthrie was a 24 year old sign painter and flat broke when he hitched west down Route 66 to California. Two months after landing in LA’s Skid Row he was a radio star: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCh4O9nv0mo


  2. Was wondering where one might find a menu or document(s) that showed what the menu was back in 1938?

  3. Hi Jon,

    I’m really interested in information around Anne Forrester and Brenda Allen and if you are interested and available I would love to meet you for a coffee and pick your brain? Are you in LA?


  4. Years ago I was a Vice President of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and a wonderful older lady whose name I cannot recall used to attend many of our functions. She was known to be an ardent collector of everything West Hollywood History, especially old photos. Would you know off her or her name? This is a wild shot but I have tried to remember her name and see what happened to her collection. This was in the early 80’s, right after I opened Le Mondrian as G.M. and also ran Le Parc. So maybe 1982 to 1985? Also, you must know Dick Rosenzweig of Playboy who is a really close friend and I bet your Newman PR in Miami was Andy Newman and his father?

    • Jon Ponder

      September 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Herbert – You are right that I knew Dick Rosenzweig at Playboy. His office was next to the one I shared with three other people at the Mansion. Also right about the Newmans. I work with Buck Banks there, who is a VP. Unfortunately, I don’t know the woman you’re referring to but if she had photos, there are many people who would love to scan them, as I’m sure you can imagine. All best, Jon

  5. Hi Jon – My firm, GPA Consulting, has been hired by the City of West Hollywood to conduct a historic resources survey of commercial properties constructed before 1975. I was wondering if we could speak with you. Your website has already been tremendously helpful.

  6. I write local history articles occasionally for Hank Scott and WEHOville.com. Could you recommend a resource for determining where celebrities lived and when? I use Movielanddirectory.Com but would like to supplement it with another resource if pissible. Thanks very much. Bob.

  7. Evan Degenfelder

    March 13, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Hello Jon,
    I was wondering if you have access to any other photos of the Sunset Apartments?
    My father lived and worked there in the 1960s as a painter/paperer/contractor. I came (from OK) to stay with him one summer (’68 or ’69)and just fell in love with the place. It was so romantic and gorgeous. He told me stories about how Esther Williams swam in the pool and other stars lived in the apartments.
    I would love to have copies of any photos you might have or let me know where I might acquire them. I was devastated when it was razed in the 80s. I happened to be in LA at one point and drove by. Fencing was up and there was nothing but rubble. So sad.
    Thanks for any info you can provide,
    Evan Degenfelder

  8. I look forward to hearing back from you regarding my Three Stooges question. And I may have more on other subjects. If you have an emailed newsletter let me know. If you don’t, why not?…. Dave

    • Jon Ponder

      April 29, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      Sorry for the tardy reply, but I don’t know. I assume they were with one of the big circuits like Keith, but don’t know what size markets were served by big circuits like that. Thanks! – Jon

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