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carole lombard 01

Earl's wall meets the Turtles

Posted by vp19 on 2010.07.05 at 12:25
Current mood: curiouscurious
If you're a little confused by the subject line of this entry, "Earl's wall" refers to the famed wall of what was Earl Carroll's restaurant and nightclub on Sunset Boulevard, a venue we've discussed before (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/112620.html). The "Turtles," as many of you might recall, were a rock band that had a number of hits in the middle and late 1960s, including "Happy Together" and "Elenore" (the next time the latter comes on your car radio, just try to resist tapping on the top of the steering wheel when the chorus of "Elenore, gee I think you're swell" begins).

Anyway, it's 1966, and by then the Turtles had already charted with their cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe" and were now having a hit with "You Baby." So when they visited Los Angeles, they appeared on the NBC series "Hullaballoo," which used the old Carroll building as its studio (it had been converted for television use in the 1950s). The group posed in front of the building for a publicity picture:

Note that stars' inscriptions on concrete slabs, a distinctive element of the building since Carroll opened his nightclub in the late 1930s, was still a feature nearly three decades later. Some new signatures had been added; perhaps the one most visible in this photo is Keely Smith's, in between longtime partner Louis Prima and Frank Sinatra (with whom she recorded while both were at Capitol). Other names we can detect are Frances Langford, Errol Flynn, George Murphy, Charles Ruggles, Boris Karloff, Ralph Bellamy, Conrad Nagel, Claude Rains and Beryl Wallace (the showgirl wife of Earl Carroll who died with her husband in a 1948 Pennsylvania plane crash).

But where, you may ask, is...

...the slab signed by Carole Lombard?

Well, we know the slab was up for at least a few years after her passing (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/309334.html), but it had been hung at a fairly low level and the wall was quite wide. So it's quite possible that it was still there by 1966, but out of view of the camera.

Before the 1960s ended, all the signatures were taken down; the building was altered into the Aquarius Theater (where the Doors and other acts performed), and a huge mural was constructed on the wall (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/200605.html). I have no idea what happened to the autographed slabs.

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