Book: The Garden on Sunset (Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels Book 1) by Martin Turnbullcategories: Book, Movies, Los Angeles, California, 20th Century, Historical Fiction, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, Ciro's, MGM, Warner Bros, Hollywood
Martin Turnbullabout this book: "The Garden on Sunset" is the first in my series of novels set in Los Angeles during Hollywood's golden era, and centered around a real-life hotel called the Garden of Allah, which stood at the gateway to the Sunset Strip from 1927 to 1959.
Those dates are what first struck me about the Garden of Allah Hotel. We think of Hollywood's golden era as running from 1927 to 1959 because the first talking picture — "The Jazz Singer" — premiered a couple of months after the hotel opened, and the last great studio epic movie was "Ben Hur," which came out in 1959. Straightaway I realized that the years of the Garden of Allah Hotel exactly matched the years of the Hollywood studio system.
Then I discovered who stayed there, and it's an A-list of Hollywood who's who. Among the hotel's residents were: Bogie and Bacall, Errol Flynn, Ginger Rogers, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (screenwriters of the Thin Man movies), Artie Shaw – the list goes on and on. That's when the concept for my novels came to me.
I realized I could write a series of novels that take the reader through the unfolding evolution of Hollywood history: from the advent of talking pictures, and later Technicolor, to the WWII propaganda years, to the post-war anti-Communist scare, and into the fifties with the rise of television and Hollywood's response to go wide-screen. Not only could I tell Hollywood's history, but I could do it through the eyes of the residents of the Garden of Allah Hotel because they were the people writing the movies, acting in them, directing them, scoring them. They were among the people who made those movies golden.
Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels:
Book 1 – "The Garden on Sunset"
Book 2 – "The Trouble with Scarlett"
Book 3 – "Citizen Hollywood"
Book 4 – "Searchlights and Shadows"
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Video 1: Martin Turnbull on the Garden of Allah
Video 2: The scale model of the Garden of Allah Hotel
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