Howard Johns knows movie stars from A to Z, from Astaire to Zeppo. He not only knows all about them - trivia, triumphs, trash, but he tells all in "Palm Springs Confidential: Playground of the Stars."
As editor-at-large for Palm Springs Life from 1996-2002 he interviewed the hottest in Hollywood, and appeared on the major TV networks to chat about movie stars and their homes. Speaking of homes, this tasty volume comes complete with exact addresses of the stars and a map. If a girl wished she could sit in her car and troll the streets of this exclusive enclave.
In the beginning, the beginning being silent movies in Hollywood jargon, moviemakers were on the lookout for out of the way locations for stars such has Theda Bara and Rudolph Valentino. It wasn't too long before "the Springs" became a winter playground boasting 5000 clear as crystal private pools.
Tony lodges, especially the vaunted Racquet Club, appeared and the stars built expensive homes. Today, for over 75 years Palm Springs has been the place of privilege for those who have reached the op of the show business ladder. It is here that they not only relax but pull a few stunts that some live to regret.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy came to the Racquet Club where "they had an apartment converted for them in the old servants' quarters, and no one ever saw them." Before they wed Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were also frequent visitors, checking in with suitcases "filled with her frilly nightgowns and his silk pajamas."
Kirk Douglas conducted a few extramarital affairs there with such stunners as Gene Tierney and Marlene Dietrich, while Ginger Rogers married her fourth husband there.
"Playground" is an apt description for Palm Springs, and nobody plays like the beautiful, rich, and famous.
- Gail Cooke
This report prepared by The Snide Gail Cooke