Here’s an interesting way to spend a June afternoon on the Sunset Strip. Have lunch and a drink at the Pink Taco with Martin Turnbull, my friend, the author of The Garden of Allah novel series, and Tom Sturges, a music executive who is the son of Preston Sturges, one of the most brilliant and eccentric writers and directors in the studio era.
The location was significant. Pink Taco occupies hallowed ground in Sunset Strip history. Originally a residence built in 1926, Preston Sturges extensively (and expensively) renovated it 14 years later and then opened it as a celebrity nightspot called The Players.
In Woody Allen’s 1985 film, “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” one of the characters in the film within the film — a black-and-white drawing-room comedy-romance from Hollywood’s golden age — breaks through the fourth wall and emerges from the screen so he can experience the real world.
A new, ongoing series of novels written by Martin Turnbull and set at the Garden of Allah Hotel in Hollywood do just the opposite. They transport readers through the literary fourth wall back in time so they can experience life as it may have been in Hollywood’s golden era.
Relying on rigorous period research and a powerful imagination, Turnbull has created a fully realized, unromanticized vision of this bygone world. In The Garden on Sunset, the first in the series, we get the glitz and glamour inside the Movie Colony as well as the grit and grime of the grim world outside the Colony’s imaginary gates.