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Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets Mass Market Paperback – Nov 15 1981


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets + Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again!: More Exhibitions! More Sex! More Sin! More Scandals Unfit to Print
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; New edition edition (Nov. 15 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440153255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440153252
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.3 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hodiak on Oct. 16 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hollywood is not the scandal ridden, seedy place a lot of people seem to think it is. Sure there were people who had no redeeming qualities and yes there were unsolved celebrity murders, but there are also several stories of great things happening there just like any other place. In any case several stories are only myths and this book is no exception.

Speaking for both the Hollywood Babylon books, this book is full of it. There is no evidence that Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were lovers and yet there it is in the book as if it were fact. Parrish speaks about Judy Garland as if she were a pill popping queen and yet she tried to get off the pills all her life. She did not commit suicide, it was an accidental overdose, people forget she was a survivor and think of her only as a tragedy.

Combining both books together, what is the deal with presenting sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish as lovers and then offer no explanation or proof just a photo caption with saying they were lovers. That's the problem with this book, Parrish offers us a story and then refuses to delve further. He has the Mauch twins on a horse together with the caption "Closer than Close" and that's it. What's the deal with the photo of "Petty Girl" Robert Cummings in drag, and Van Johnson dressed up as a Reverand. It was only a gag photo in a studio. Does Parrish seem to think that this photo hints at a different side to both Cummings and Johnson?.

The front cover picture of Elizabeth Taylor was not flattering either, this is what Parrish does best, he makes all the stars look like trash.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ktscarlett on March 5 2007
Format: Hardcover
Both Hollywood Babylons are full of lies and gossip. Some might find it titilating, but have a close look at the faces in some of the pictures. The nudes he implies are Jean Harlow in the first book are not even her. One of the nudes which is supposedly Joan Crawford is definitely not her. Anger makes insinuations of all kinds that he never explains, much less backs up. The spread on the Black Dahlia is tasteless and insensitive to the extreme. Some of the pictures are fun, but there are plenty of books out there with good pictures -- spend your money on one of them and not this trash by a failed actor and director of colossally boring "Art" films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Aspen on Sept. 6 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like your Golden-Era Hollywood gossip served up hot with no-holds-barred, this is the best book for you! In graphic detail, with uncensored, disturbing photographs, the sordid truth and half-truths of Hollywood's greatest scandals are covered in these pages. No film fan and/or lover of the Grotesque could ask for more! Told slyly by the author with a wink and a chuckle.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The photos are rare, and oftentimes very shocking, but the books overall are nothing but half-truths and outright fabrications. Even a photo of Marilyn Monroe leads the reader to think it was of her dead body. Anger just makes up things at times, and reduces legends like Buster Keaton to a "drunk who died obscure" which it completely untrue. He hints that the famous Gish sisters were lovers, then backs it up with...nothing. He also claims in a photo caption that Harold Lloyd fathered many illegitimate children, but again, no proof. Just a caption. What would you expect from a friend of Aleister Crowley? Plus the second book's Reagan-will-nuke-the-world paranoia only dates it to the 80s. The author has sympathy for a clap-ridden prostitute who died most likely from a botched abortion, but ignores the evidence and blames a comedian who had nothing to do with it. Writing about scandal is one thing but to make it up is nothing short of the Weekly World News. This is no way to learn about old Hollywood, kids.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading this book probably wasn't the best way to learn of Hollywood's sordid trash, when I bought this ages ago, but I didn't have a movie encyclopedia at the time, which would have been useful, and I would've learned of the many tragedies that befell certain Hollywood stars in a more scholarly way. However, I didn't know that Peg Enwistle was the one who started a trend by diving off the LAND of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, which now reads HOLLYWOOD.
The key scandals of the 1920's through 1950's are played out. The Fatty Arbuckle scandal of 1921, involving his alleged part in the death of starlet Virginia Rappe, was the O.J. Simpson of the 1920's is given a separate chapter. It took three trials to acquit him, but his career was finished. As Anger snidily writes, "The Prince of Whales had been harpooned." The others include Errol Flynn being accused of having sex with two underage girls, Mary Astor's diary, and the stabbing death of Lana Turner's lover John Stompanato by Cheryl Crane. Frances Farmer's nervous breakdown and collapse has some of snidiness in there, although he makes it clear that he does sympathize with her plight years before Nirvana did a song on her on their In Utero album.
Two mysterious and to this day still unsolved are probed, that of Thelma Todd, the Ice Cream Blonde, who may have been murdered by the mob instead of committing suicide, and the murder of director William Desmond Taylor, and those aren't as treated sensationally as other material.
Suicides are written with some embellishment in this book, i.e. Paul Bern, Jean Harlow's second husband, Marie Prevost, whose starving dog ate parts of her body, Lupe Velez, a.k.a. the Mexican Spitfire, and Carole Landis. Separate sections are written for Velez and Landis.
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