January 17, 2008

Hollywood or Bust locations

Hollywood or Bust (1956) was the last movie Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made together. Martin and Lewis apparently didn't speak to each other off camera during the entire film shoot. Jerry Lewis has said this is the only one of his films he has never seen, citing it as too painful to watch.

The guy who produced several of those schlocky, soul-crushing Elvis movies was pulling the strings behind the camera on Hollywood or Bust, but you'd never know it based on the plot synopsis...:

Malcolm Smith (Jerry Lewis) is a movie buff who yearns to go out to Hollywood to meet Anita Ekberg. Steve Wiley (Dean Martin) is a gambler with some bad debts. They both have winning tickets in a car raffle (Steve's is fake), so they share the car and head off to Hollywood along with Malcolm's Great Dane and a girl named Terry (Pat Crowley) that they meet along the way. (from IMDb)

I'd say that's annoyingly contrived, but you know that very same scenario plays out for real across this country each and every day, right? Nonetheless, much of what the characters see, and the filmmakers record, on their unlikely road trip (driving from NYC to Hollywood), has historic value. Obviously the retro appeal is strong. And how I'd love to drive that same route and take about a gazillion pictures. Unfortunately, most of what is seen on the characters' cross-country journey is long gone, so screencaps will have to do.

New Jersey, U.S. 22 - I'm guessing one would see cement parking lots, gas stations and fast food restaurants in the place of those fields, today.


Somewhere in Texas, where everyone wears cowboy hats:

Turning the corner in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sunset in the desert - at least those still exist

Entering Vegas in 1956:
Dunes Hotel

Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn

El Rancho Vegas, also, two separate, winged mascots - one for The Thunderbird Hotel, one for a Mobil gas station

Two oft-used quotes about Joe E. Lewis from Sinatra performance monologues: "Show me a bum who can hold his liquor, I'll show you a guy with a bad kidney" and "A friend in need is a pest."
In The Godfather, the scene of the Las Vegas strip, including a shot of the Sands Hotel marquee showing an appearance by Martin and Lewis, was taken from Hollywood and Bust.

Algiers Hotel

Thunderbird Hotel

Leaving Vegas at night, passing the old New Frontier Hotel, with the Silver Slipper sign rotating elegantly in the background

Next stop, Hollywood:

The Hollywood Bowl, also seen during the opening credits sequence:

Anita Ekberg displaying her talent

The Bronson Gate in front of Paramount Pictures, where the roadtrip essentially ends, as does this post.


dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Chris, this blog post is just great....so Dinonostalgic...loves it! Never was, never will be anyone as cool as our King of Cool. Oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth! Again, many Dinothanks for this cool Dinopost!

Rogue Spy 007 said...

This was a cool blog post. Never seen this particular Martin-Lewis flick, but I enjoyed their others. It's a shame that their partnership came to an end like it did, but all good things come to an end eventually. It would be great to take such a road trip. It's also a shame that so many classic landmarks are gone.

Kenna said...

Love this post! It's on my list to check out from the public library this weekend. Hopefully, they will have it. They have a pretty extensive collection of Martin & Lewis and get this, it's free to rent them and you get to keep them for a full 7 days!!!

Chris said...

Oh cool! I'm glad so many people liked it. I post (blindly) what's interesting to me and hope others do too. Many posts go out into a vacuum. You just never know.

dino martin peters - I thought about you when I did this one. How could I not?! Thanks, rogue spy 007. It would be so awesome to take that roadtrip, but it would have to be back in 1956!

Thanks, kenna! That library deal sounds great. I Netflixed mine. I wonder if you'll like the film itself. Keep in mind that I did use the term "schlocky" and "soul-crushing" to describe the producer's usual fare, so you've been forewarned!

peteski said...

Having been raised on the banks of the most dangerous highway in America - Route 22 in NJ - I was thrilled when I first saw "Hollywood or Bust " on TV as a kid.
Great work Chris, as always.

Chris said...

I bet you were, peteski. And I'd bet you can pay witness to how much that route has changed. Thanks for the compliment!

dino martin peters said...

hey pallie chris, such Dinokindness you show...thinkin' of me when you did this great Dinopost...now that just makes my Dinoday...hopin' to see more Dino from you like real Dinosoon! And, when you have a few, be sure to drop by the ol' Dinoblog...