Errol Flynn in a swimming pool* with a beer
From the Errol Flynn Blog
My dear fellow Flynnians,
I just finished the 1970 edition of Sheilah Graham’s book, “The Garden of Allah” [in which she describes Errol Flynn’s life at the hotel].
Former Garden owner Frank Ehrhart recalled that Errol had a strict regimen: At 12:30 p.m., his secretary would set up a bottle of champagne and two glasses on a table among the chaise lounges by the pool.
An hour later, Flynn would appear wearing a blue blazer with white or grey pants and an ascot and mingle with his friends and neighbors who were lounging by the pool.
Before too long, he would approach a beautiful young woman and ask, “My child, will you have a glass of champagne?”
By then all eyes were on them wondering how long it would take Errol to get the girl into his villa.
*The photo was not taken at the Garden of Allah, and that is not the Garden of Allah pool.
Sheilah Graham’s The Garden of Allah, a history of the famed hotel that anchored the eastern end of the Sunset Strip, is a must for any reading list on the history of Hollywood’s golden age in general and the Strip specifically. Graham unfolds the story of the hotel in roughly chronological order, but she was a gossip columnist, so the book reads like a series of columns, many of which focus on gossip and anecdotes (a number of which involve society people who are long forgotten) — rather than a comprehensive history of the hotel.
More Hollywood gossip glorified by all the beautiful people that were, and since columnist Graham is usually just grateful to have known them all, she rarely indulges in tit for tattletale. The Garden of Allah, originally Alla Nazimova’s home, was converted into the main house (you were nobody if you stayed there) and twenty-five villas back in 1926. It seems to have offered opulence, poor maid service, late afternoon and all night festivities and an open “”liquor closet.”” It would be hard to say whether anyone has been left out of the hotel register–it would seem not–but Miss Graham concentrates on that benign presence, Robert Benchley (two chapters), one of course on “Scott” [Fitzgerald] who didn’t really belong there, a less kindly inset on Dorothy Parker, with later comers Bogart, Sinatra, Faulkner, etc. closing the book before the Garden of Allah became just a residence for hookers and a tatty specter of its former self. The book will be illustrated and it will be read even if much of it is a reprise from what’s around in the public domain.
The Garden of Allah was published in 1970 and is out of print, but used hardbacks are widely available, including from Alibris.