What a night for Vintage Los Angeles! Thank you to everyone who attended the screening of Billy Wilder’s, “Sunset Boulevard” at the Million Dollar Theatre on May 31st. Seeing VLA on the Marquee was so spectacular and surreal and over 1000 seats sold!
This was purely a magical and serendipitous achievement. I happened to announce the screening two hours before I headed out to Kate Mantilini restaurant in Beverly Hills. I hadn’t sat down for more then 10 minutes when the waiter informed me that Nancy Olson was actually 4 tables down from me! I just knew I HAD to approach her and inform her about the screening. Our wonderful waiter, James Lauver handled the introduction. Nancy then reveals to me that her husband was Alan Livingston who was president of Capitol Records during the late 50’s and 60’s and actually signed my father to the label! He was also responsible for signing The Beatles, The Beach Boys and created Bozo The Clown. What were the odds if of this happening? She agreed to attend the screening right then and there!
Two weeks later Nancy shows up at the Million Dollar! She was pleasantly surprised when she saw the marquee and the massive crowd gathered in front. The historic movie palace was built in 1918 by Sid Grauman and seats over 1700 people! I told her that this was the very same theatre Gloria Swanson attended during her silent films days. She couldn’t wait to get up on that platform. This woman had a lot to say!
The Q & A was a smash! Well a little more “A” then “Q”. Nancy honestly let me get off very easy. So much for those flashcards I was holding that included dozens of questions! After I announced her, she took over and no questions were required! Nancy’s spot-on observations and reminiscences of the making of “Sunset Boulevard” illuminated Wilder’s masterpiece. Nancy needed no interruptions – only an introduction. We could have listened for hours as she told us insightful stories of the film, William Holden and how Billy Wilder made her wear all her own clothes to capture the right vibe of the character. I’m so grateful that so many of you were a part of it!
This is the part of Nancy Olson’s interview last night that really blew us all away. When she reached inside her bag and pulled out her memoirs and shared her experiences and perspectives about Sunset Boulevard. She radiated the theatre with elegance and we were just stunned listening to her eloquent and intelligent wisdom.
Thank you to to everyone that attended. This was a milestone for Vintage Los Angeles. And thank
you John Reiber for this fantastic review of this magical night so many of us will never forget!
All Photos Stephen Russo
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