Continued Musings on a World Without Beverly Hills
Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Last week I pointed out some of the entertainment vehicles that would never have been made if Beverly Hills had ceased to exist in 1923. Because, really, who’s going to pay good money to see El Segundo Chihuahua in a theater? Not to mention El Segundo Chihuahua 2 or 3. And, dang, that dog and his canine co-stars were cute!
From its earliest days, Beverly Hills has been ready for its close-up. Some of the same things that keep the greater Los Angeles area the center of film and television production haven’t changed. The stars, and that includes those of the silent era who populated Beverly Hills in its early days as a city, appreciate working close to home. Charlie Chaplin, who lived close to his best friend Doug Fairbanks, shot scenes of The Idle Class in 1921 in the park just south of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Stars—including Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Richard Pryor, and Bill Cosby—descended on Beverly Hills to film Neil Simon’s California Suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the hotel itself playing an important role. In 1990, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel played itself as the setting for Pretty Woman, which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
And the city of Beverly Hills is a fashion inspiration. In the 1970s there was a frenzy, inspired no doubt by the movie Troop Beverly Hills, surrounding the Camp Beverly Hills brand of casual fashion—and there’s been a 21st century revival. Anyone who was sentient in the 1980s can’t forget the fragrance Giorgio Beverly Hills; those who visited the city during that time can certainly recall Giorgio's creator, Fred Hayman’s, eponymous store with the cheery yellow-and-white striped awning that protected pedestrians on Rodeo Drive from the sun while dousing them with mists of the scent. Michael Kors looked to the city for inspiration for Rodeo Pink, his 2010 limited edition line of make up for Estée Lauder. For some fashion forwards, the name Beverly Hills=the sweet smell of success.