Friday evening on my radio program we talked about Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the era of the Hunt for Red Commies in the 1950’s.
Coincidentally, Jack Marino had a couple of Old Hollywood guests on his radio program which originates out of L.A. — Ivan “Steve” Hayes and Eric Sherman. Why is this a coincidence? Stay with me…
During the show’s first half, Jack spoke exclusively with Hayes, British born as Ivan Hayes, who first arrived in Hollywood in 1949. An actor for ten years, he worked in movies at MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia, RKO, Universal Studios and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios as well as in early network television and radio. From Hayes’ bio…
When not acting or writing books and screenplays, Steve helped support himself by working in restaurants and parking cars at Hollywood’s glamorous Sunset Strip nightspots like the Mocambo, Ciro’s, Villa Nova, and The Players. He also did detective work for the Fred Otash Detective Agency and painted movie stars’ homes and famous places like the Garden of Allah. Then in 1954 he became night manager of Googie’s, a popular coffee shop next to Schwab’s Drugstore that was made famous by James Dean, John Saxon, Natalie Wood, Rod Steiger, James Garner, Jayne Mansfield and other celebrities like western writer Louis L’Amour and Hollywood gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky.
During that time Steve befriended numerous movie stars like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Lana Turner, Sterling Hayden and Robert Middleton, all of whom influenced his life and gave him material for his recently published two-volume memoirs, “Googie’s: Coffee Shop to the Stars”.
A world traveler and oft-married raconteur, Steve still writes novels and screenplays. And has a thousand stories to tell.
About 40 minutes in, Jack’s next guest Eric called to join the conversation. Eric’s late father was Vincent Sherman, an actor, writer, and film director whose movie “Mrs. Skeffington” with Bette Davis, and “The Young Philadelphians” , were both nominated for Academy Awards. He also did a lot of Bogie movies, according to Marino, as a contract director at Warner Brothers from 1931 – 1970.
Eric, together with Hayes, told of the time when Vincent Sherman, like so many talented film industry workers during the 1950s, was targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, owing in part to his active support of the WPA Theater project in New York twenty years earlier. Though the MGM studio chief Dore Schary, believed to be a pro-communist progressive, knew Sherman wasn’t Red, he advised Eric’s Dad that the way he could save himself would be to name someone who was. Sherman refused, and as a result, was out of work, gray-listed for ten years. During that time, he went to Europe to make films. He ended his career directing for television, and died just shy of his 100th birthday.
If you’re not tuning in to hear Jack Marino on Friday nights, you’re missing some great Hollywood stories — current and classic.
Alerted by Jack Marino to this piece, Steve Hayes read it and contacted me. He wrote:
Jack Marino called and said you’d listened to the show and were kind enough to write up your thoughts about it. Thanks. I appreciate anyone who enjoys Old Hollywood. It’s not just the nostalgia angle, because I love life today, but the fact that it’s an era when America was at its finest hour and it’s an era that will never be witnessed again.
Maybe some night or day we can chit-chat on your show.
I was a good friend of Sterling Hayden, a great guy (if a bit headstrong)who regretted to the day he died for, as he called it: “turning rat” to save his own skin/career.
I also knew Bob Taylor, though not as well. My best friend and mentor, the character actor Robert Middleton, often worked in westerns with Taylor and I always spent some time with Bob on his films — if I wasn’t working myself. I mentioned a couple of episodes with Taylor and Bob (Law and Jake Wade) up in Lone Pine (where most of the old westerns were shot) in my memoirs, Googie’s: coffee shop to the stars. The books havebeen out for about 3 years now and have done quite well. There are two volumes, one and two. The research library at the Getty Center in Brentwood has a set because I describe numerous place in Bev Hills, Hollywood, etc, that are now torn down. You can find the books on Amazon.com. I think they’re pretty inexpensive and I’ll gladly sign them for you.
Again, glad you enjoyed the show,