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Good Night, Sweet Princess

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LIKE LIVING IN A DREAM

Nothing is real in Hollywood!

Marriage means adultery and parties are all orgies and you're either fantastically rich or dirt poor, and no one pays any attention to integrity and honesty, because those words don't mean anything.

But when big Eric Dane walked in from the New York stage, sure of himself, confident about his talent and his strength, he wasn't afraid of Hollywood. He was going to beat the system.

Only he didn't.

Nobody ever does!


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Good Night, Sweet Princess
Raven Hughes
This page copyright © 2009 Olympia Press. THE MOST STARTLINGLY HONEST STORY SINCE WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN? ABOUT THE HUNGRY, EAGER MEN AND WOMEN WHO MAKE HOLLYWOOD SWING! THE GLAMOROUS LIFE She was just a studio girl and they had sent her to him because he was their next big star and they wanted to keep him happy. He suggested that she give it up, go home. Why would any girl do what she was doing? She wasn't even making much money from it. She just laughed. “Listen, mister,” she said, lying in his bed. “If I left Hollywood, I'd have cold fits within 48 hours. Any way you look at it, even from down where I am, Holy-wood is the most fascinating place in the world.” He shut his eyes as he listened to her, because he was frightened suddenly. He felt the same way and he was afraid Hollywood would do the same thing to him- that it had done to her. GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCESS
1
“I don't like it!” The man in the white beret walke d around the set waving the script A long white cigarette holder hung from his mouth The crew of cameramen, sound men, actors and writers maintained a deadly quiet Suddenly, one writer yawned. It was a noisy yawn. The man in the white beret whirled around. “Who made that noise?” The writer raised his hand. “You again!” Director Lansdorp glared at the culprit. The writer, slouched in a canvas chair, gazed back indifferently. Lansdorp tu rned away and resumed his pacing. “That bastard Dane,” he muttered. “To hold me up like this! I'll kill him on sight!” And then he said aloud: “Do you hear me? I'll kill him! I'll kill him!” A mousy little caricature of a man ran up to Lansdorp. “Please, J. B. You mustn't upset yourself like —” And then a voice boomed out, curing through the air like a clap of thunder. “Hello.” All eyes turned. The owner of the voice was a big, ugly man, too masculine to be human. At his side was a much shorter police guard from the front gate. The guard, evidently unsure of himself said: “Uh, Mr. Lansdorp , this man, he says, uh — that you, uh...” The director waved the guard aside. “Never mind off icer, I know him. We've been waiting for him. Well, come on in, fella.” Lansdorp put his hand on the big man's arm. The giant didn't budge. Lansdorp smiled at him. “Where the hell have you been, fella?” “I had to walk here. The bus service is very poor.” Lansdorp nodded. “That's right, fella, that's absolutely right.” He waved an arm. “Now sit down there while we take sound set shots.” “Set shots?” “Yeah, just to see what sort of make-up you'll need to match your complexion to the lens. Go on, sit down.” The giant moved toward a chair in the middle of the stage. The cameras followed him, sliding soundlessly on greased metal rollers. The p eople in canvas-back chairs relaxed.
There was no longer any danger now of heads rolling. A beautiful woman leaned toward the writer who had yawned. “So, Rex, that's him?” she said. “That's the great Eric Dane.” Rex looked up lazily and smirked. “Forget it, baby. I hear he hates women.” “I doubt it,” she said. “Either that, or he's very careful about his publicity. I'm telling you, Denise, you'd have a hard time of it.” Kneeling down, Denise began to roll up her stockings. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” she whispered. “Yeah, maybe so.” Rex watched as the make-up people applied paint to the big man's face. To the writer, the scene seemed grotesque. “How can a man allow th at to be done to himself?” he muttered. It was Hollywood all the way. “Just once, I'd like to see some guy tell this whole lousy place to go to hell.” He turned to Denise. “You know, just once, baby I'd like to see a man who couldn't be corrupted by your cheap tricks, by Hollywood, who c ouldn't be seduced away from everything that's important. Oh, you'll probably get him to lay you all right, like you've done with so many others, and then dump him when you've found he can be had and are bored with him. But just once.... ” Denise patted his check. “Now, dear, why on earth should you want to see that? Why should you want to see a man who couldn't be seduced? Have you ever seen one before? Are you that sort of man?” “The answers are: no, I've never seen a man who couldn't be seduced; no, I'm that sort of man. I sell myself to the highest bidder and I know it.” He stared down at the script in his hands. He opened it to the first page. The title read: Adam's Vengeance.He had been hearing about this play for the last two years. The New York run had been phenomenal. It had begun as an of f-Broadway play with a cast of unknown actors. Eric Dane had brought the play to fame. His performance alone had put it on the Big Street. Rex glanced at Denise out of the corner of his eye. She was busily arranging her low-cut black sweater to give her breasts maximum appeal. Her lips were moistened and her eyes were devouring Dane. Rex looked quickly at the big man. Dane had noticed Denise and was responding to the invitation in her eyes. Rex shrugged, then glanced down at the script in his lap. The loud sound of high heels stilettoing across the sound stage shattered the writer's concentration. He looked up at a sight that always warmed his heart — Erika Stoner causing a scene. “So sorry, children, but this is really the shortes t route to daddy's un-dressing room!” Erika clattered across the stage, pushing past the prop and makeup men. As she passed Lansdorp's chair, the sleeve of her coat knocked a page of the script out of the director's hands. The Great Man's curses resounded from one end of the room to the other while his yes-men fell over each other, trying to pick up the fallen sheet of paper. At the far door of the studio, the beautiful Erika turned and waved. “Ta-ta, darlings.” Rex thoroughly enjoyed Erika's mocking reference to her father's office. Alonzo Stoner, head of American Pictures, used his fantastically p lush quarters to “screen-test” young cuties who sought Hollywood stardom. The sort of screen tests provided for these young hopefuls was one of the legends of Hollywood. Compa red to Erika's, the stars were a collection of dull, witless bodies. Erika was sexy, smart, beautiful She could have cla imed any number of thrones for
herself, including motion-picture stardom, and marriage into Scandinavian royalty. But she had turned her back on all such opportunities. The woman was an extraordinary enigma. “Pearson!” It was Lansdorp's voice. “Huh?” Rex shook his head, hastily shoving aside the cobwebs. “Come here, you louse! You're not here to daydream! You're here to work!” Rex grimaced, rose. As he made his way toward Lansd orp, he fumbled through the pages of the script. Lansdorp held up a commanding hand. “Synopsis in ten words or less!” “Stranger comes to farm, saves crop, seduces girl.” “Enough!” Lansdorp lowered his hand. Rex strolled back to his seat. He smiled dutifully to himself. Well, that's earning my salary, he thought. He looked at Denise. Her breasts were showing handsomely. He had had ample proof of their availability the night before. He cast a quick glance at Eric Dane. He mumbled to himself, “I can still get a few licks in before that Dane guy moves in on the scene. Dane won't get it all, anyway, not by a long shot. No one man is enough for Denise. She could take on an army.” Denise exasperated Rex. Even for a Hollywood star, she was much too uninhibited. She seemed to get a special delight out of parading her lovers before the outside world. Nothing shamed her. Her latest fling had been with a one-eyed beatnik she had picked up in Albuquerque. She had taken him to the premiere ofEmpire in the West. Her escort had made his appearance in full beatnik regalia — torn sweater, dungarees and sneakers. Stoner had straightened out matters t he next day by sending around a couple of goons who threatened to gouge out the beatnik's good eye. In spite of her wanton promiscuity, Rex had gotten sort of used to Denise. In fact, of late, he had been tossing around the idea of proposing marriage to her. He was thirty-five now. It was about time he settled down with a wife and kids. He did not know whether he could make the grade as a husband and father but he was willing to find out. Denise was the real question mark. How would she ma ke out as a wife and mother? Curiously enough, Rex suspected she might make out very well as a mother. It was the role of wife that might prove too much for her. Would she be willing or able to curb her raging pen chant for indiscriminate sexual expression? Rex shook his head. It was too much to ask of Denise. Uninhibited sexuality was, by now, part of her make-up, part of her way of life. It was an aspect of hers that he would have to accept, like a tendency to shop-lifting or compulsive gum-chewing. Of course, there were many Hollywood couples that existed on just such an easy moral basis, with each partner enjoying sexual freedom to the fullest.. But Rex doubted whether such an arrangement would work in his case. Would he be able to stomach living with an adulteress? A man never knew until he went the route, until he tried it.
2
Erika draped her leg over one corner of the table and looked down into Alonzo Stoner's eyes. The two presented such an astounding study in contrasts that it was almost impossible to believe that they were father and daughter. Alonzo Stoner was a small man with colorless eyes. His nondescript features seemed to blend with the wallpaper wherever he went. At ga therings and parties, he passed virtually unnoticed until people found out who he was and what he represented. After that, they paid a great deal of attention to him. Alonzo Stoner had come to Southern California in 19 15, seeking a refuge from the
motion-picture producers in the East with whom he h ad not been capable of competing. He had left behind in the East a small string of broken-down theaters that were more fire-traps than anything else. Upon hitting Southern California, Stoner had rounde d up a bunch of poorly paid cowboys and taught them to act. The cowboys, knowin g nothing about money, had regarded the little Easterner as their friend and b enefactor. Stoner adored them for their stupidity. With his cast of cowboys ready for action, Stoner h ad pondered what his first movie should be. Back East, he had tried to write his own stories. He had been a miserable flop. All the other studios had better writers, better cameramen, better everything. At least out here there were no other motion-picture makers to give him an inferiority complex. But still, the ideas didn't come. To his chagrin, h e had discovered that ideas were no more plentiful to him in Southern California than they had been in Massachusetts. So he cried, prayed, wrung his hands at heaven, ent reated God to strike down his enemies. Was it fair that they should have all the luck? Was it fair that a well-meaning person like himself should go without, be unable to compete? Then, one night as he was weeping and reading his Bible, the thought had struck him: if you don't have ideas of your own, why not steal those of others? Weren't ideas in the public domain? All men should share in such things according to their need. That seemed only fair and humane. So, with his eye directly on the page, he had stolen his first story — from the Bible. Now there were no writers to pay, no ideas to search for. God in His divine mercy had taken care of everything. After assembling his cast, Stoner had proceeded to produce his movie. The final product had been shoddy and unspectacular but, willingly, he had found a theme that all people loved — a Bible story, reeking with sympathy and goodness for the poor and the weak. The crowds had poured into Stoner's theaters back East to see the picture. By booking only to his own theaters he had cut still another corner in his overhead. The money had rolled in. In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a roof had fallen in on one theater, causing a fire that caused two hundred and fifty de aths. In another theatre, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a wall had collapsed, fatally crushing ten persons and injuring scores of others. The people, nevertheless, had continued to flock in droves to see the heartrending story of the early days of Christianity and to eat popcorn and step on each other's feet. Hollywood had begun. “You wanted to see me, Father?” Erika asked. “Yes, Erika, that I did. Sit down, will you?” Stoner's small pudgy hand indicated a chair. Erika slid off the tabletop and sat down. She turned an expectant face toward her father. Stoner looked nervous, apprehensive. He was somewhat afraid of his daughter. He did not like her eyes. There was something wrong in them. There always had been. He would not be speaking to her now if it were not for her s tepmother's nagging insistence that he “do something about Erika!” He silently handed his daughter a newspaper. Her ey es flicked to a large caption on the front page.Erika Stoner bathes in champagne at party of Count D'Argento. Beneath the caption was a picture of Erika, dancing nude in champagne. The photo only showed her from the rear, her long copper-yellow hair hang ing down her back, but there were people in the back-ground of the picture, looking a t Erika's front and smiling. Stoner's hands trembled on his desk. “How do you explain this?” “I don't. Is there need too?”
Stoner rose. He began to pace the floor, throwing quick furious little looks at Erika. “I do not understand, Erika, I am giving you everything. What is it you want of me?” “I don't want anything of you.” “Stoner stopped. Keeping his eyes averted from his daughter, he pounded on the desk with his fist, trying to sound impressive. “Why is it you must embarrass us like this! Why is it?” He put his hands to his head. He was not really fee ling anything, but he had seen Claude Raines do this once inKiss Away the Darkand it had been a fine performance. He peered out from under his forearm. Erika was calmly lighting a cigarette. “What is it you'd like me to do, Father?” “Behave, for God's sake! If there is a Lord in heav en,” he looked up at the ceiling entreatingly, “He would —” “You better pray there is no Lord in heaven,” Erika interrupted. “What do you mean?” “If there is a God above, I don't think things will go well for you, Father.” “What are you talking about? God is my friend! I wo uld not be where I am today if it were not for God!” She looked incredulous. “You really believe that?” “I do not believe it. I know it! I prayed to God fo r help. He answered me. God is my friend, Erika!” Erika Was silent a moment. She said quietly: “Then God help! God.” Stoner whirled on his daughter. “Do not speak against God! That I will not tolerate!” “I am not speaking against God,” Erika said. “I am speaking against you.” For the first time, Stoner looked — really looked — at his daughter. He stared at her fixedly. “And what is wrong with me, Erika?” “You're no good,” she said flatly. Blue veins stood out in Stoner's neck. His face turned purple with fury. “Get out, Erika!” Erika made no move to rise. Her e yes, mocking and defiant, darted over her father's mottled face. “Get out!” Stoner shouted. “Out, I say!” She stood up. She coolly squashed the cigarette in the ashtray. “That's the first display of honest emotion I've seen in you in twenty-five y ears,” she said. With that, she walked out of the office, her high heels dispiritedly dragging through the over-rich carpeting. A few moments later, Stoner, at the window, saw his daughter move out in the courtyard below. As he watched her, he suddenly rem embered that in a few minutes he had to attend a story conference. He felt in his desk drawer for his bottle of tranquilizers. “The slut,” he muttered to himself. “Just like her mother.” Erika walked into the house and flung every window wide open. The air and sun streamed in, filling all the corners of the quiet r ooms. Picking up the newspapers at the bottom of the stairway, she walked into the living room She threw her long body across the couch, one slim hand resting on a tabletop, the oth er pulling the newspapers up to her face. She liked to read a number of papers at one time. She bit into an apple, savoring the sweetness of th e juice. Then she began to read. Same old headlines. America being pushed around by every country, on the globe and asking for more of the idiots, editorials that were meaningless, wordy columns by columnists who knew nothing and found it necessary to buff through their chores every day. In the motion picture section of one newspaper she found an item that held her interest momentarily. It read:
ERIC DANE HERE Hollywood — The noted star of the smash off-Broadwa y play Adam's Vengeance arrived here yesterday afternoon to begin working o n the movie version with Alonzo Stoner and Vladim Ostroff. Preliminary test shooting will begin this week. Dane's contract was signed last April in Atlantic City... She did not read any further. He was just another actor who had come to Hollywood to be used by her father and other Powers-That-Be. He would be made a fool of, that was certain. She tried to remember Dane. She had seen a picture of him somewhere but could not recall the face. She had heard, of course, abou t the play,Adam's Vengeance. The show had been a real “sleeper” playing to packed houses everywhere. She took another bite of her apple. She turned her attention to another article, an interview with a movie star. The star was reported as saying, yes, he was just like other people, that he did not want a glamorous girl as a wife. He wanted a girl who could keep house and make a good hamburger. Erika grinned. Several nights ago, this same screen star had gotte n drunk and threatened to kill everyone at a party in Bel-Air, waving a huge kitch en knife in the air. He had then raced out, jumped into his sports car, knocked down a little girl on Beverly Boulevard, crushing her small body into a meat stew. The studio bought off the police, the newspapers, a nd the child's parents. Erika had learned all the slimy details from the star's roomm ate — another man. He had lisped to her, “Isn't it simply awful? No one understands my Johnny. He's really a nice fellow. Just a little high-strung.” She smiled in reply. Next to the article about the star was an interview with a starlet. Yes, the starlet said, she had been brought up very strictly. Money didn't impress her at all. Glamour meant nothing to her. When she went out with a boy she liked to go for a chocolate soda, or to a drive-in for a hamburger, or to Disneyland for some good clean fun, arid the boy she went out with did not have to rich or an actor, so long as he was refined. A week ago, Erika had spotted a noted director coming out of the starlet's apartment. The director, a wide grin on his face, had been buttoning up his pants. Erika smiled. Suddenly the phone rang. She lifted the receiver with one clean motion and brought it close to her ear. “Yes?” “Erika?” “Yes?” “This is Willi Walloon, you know, the —” “Yes, I know, the boxer.” “Yes, yes!” He said this as if he were very pleased that she remembered him, although his face and name were well known around the world. All famous people had this reaction to Erika. They never seemed to think that she would remember them. She sighed. “And what is it you want, Willi?” “Veil, you see — ” “Yes?' “Veil, I would like you to come to my house tomorrow — ” “What for?” “Oh, oh, oh, there will be many people here, Erika. I am giffing a riding party.” “A riding party?” “Yes...
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