CELEBRITIES IN HIDING

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Ask any local resident of Desert Hot Springs about celebrity hideaways and most likely the first name to come up will be the B-Bar-H Ranch located on Bubbling Wells Road just south of Dillon.

 

“You know, where the big stone entry gate is,” they’ll say and the next thing most commonly added is, “Mary Pickford had a home at the ranch, along with a lot of other stars. They used to have western dances and barbeque's on Saturday nights. All of the big movie stars vacationed there.”

 

The locals are right. The B-Bar-H was without doubt one of the favorite western style Hollywood hangouts in the desert from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. The registry at the ranch contained

 

The train pulled to a jerky halt at Seven Palms Station, also called Garnet. The young boy just ten years old, awoke as a heavy jolt accompanied by voices and metallic sounds replaced the repetitive sway of the locomotive. Eager to experience everything, the boy slid quietly from his reclining train seat and walked down the aisle to the end of the car. The heavy door to the corrugated metal platform opened with a noisy rattle and thunk as he pressed down on the latch and pushed hard. He stepped out into another world entirely different from anything he had seen before. It was after midnight, but a full moon cast its pale glow over a world of undulating mounds of desert sand in every direction, an alien landscape dotted with a few low bushes and spiky plants. Not a single building was within sight and in the far distance dark mountainous shapes loomed over the horizon. A lone coyote barely visible in the weak moonlight trotted off until

 

Young Dick Roger was spending another summer with his grandparents, owners of the B-Bar-H Ranch, where celebrities came to stay and play.

 

It was 1950 and Dick was eleven years old. Girlfriends and sex were not yet a part of his life. He was just a kid riding his horse, Arky, around the ranch and out into the desert. Having shown himself to be responsible although somewhat reckless, his grandfather, Jay Kasler, gave him free rein, just like Dick gave the horse he rode.

 

He was allowed to spend his days doing whatever eleven year old boys liked to do. Dick liked to ride his horse and explore Seven Palms Valley where the ranch was

 

Driving the dune buggy over a bumpy gravel road to the top of the hill and parking it close to the door felt good, as it always did. The children would be excited and already waiting inside for his arrival. He gave a soft tap to the horn as a signal he was there and ready to go.

 

Chuck Connors had arrived at Angel View Crippled Children’s Hospital to give dune buggy rides to the youngsters who were mobile enough to hang on and enjoy the thrill of the open vehicle, bouncing along desert trails and sliding up and over sand dunes.

 

Connors was a father with children of his own, which gave him a special bond with those youngsters afflicted with physical problems. If he could provide a little fun for the less

 

 

Few celebrities were better known than Frank Sinatra. Yet most of his fans never had the slightest concept of the real man behind the talent. In spite of his reputation as a generous tipper, they could not have imagined the extent of his generosity and only a few were aware of the times he went out of his way to do nice things for people he didn’t even know.

 

Marilyn Monroe once said of him, “He is a man at the top of his profession and is a fine actor as well. You know, he got an Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953). He has helped more people anonymously than anybody else. And the miserable press smears him with lies about his being involved with the Mafia and gangsters. And Frank just takes it.”

 

Marilyn had it right. Frank helped people and in some cases he went to great extents to keep his generosity a

 

 

 

On his way to the CBS newsroom for his famous nightly news broadcasts, Walter Cronkite nearly always stopped at the set design bay. If the doors were open, he’d peer inside and call out, “Hey, Laws, where are we today?” Wesley Laws, a set decorator, would invite Cronkite in and show him the kitchen, hospital, living room or whatever stage set was being prepared for the current show he was working on. Cronkite always expressed interest and asked questions. He’d look around and then leave for his own show saying, “O.K. You take care.”

 

One day when Laws was creating a woodland scene, Cronkite glanced in and said,

 

 

 

 

It was the 1960’s and Charles Hollis Jones was the sought after designer of the upper crust. Loretta Young, award winning film and television actress, was one of his best clients along with Lucille Ball, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and Sylvester Stallone. Commissions came to him from top interior designers, Paul Laszlo, Arthur Elrod, Hal Broderick, Steve Chase and John Woolf.

 

As an independent designer, Charles was known for his pioneering work with Lucite and acrylic. His designs were recognized as the some of the best during the Mid-Century Modernist period. His best-selling Wisteria chair (1968) was originally designed as a commission from playwright,

 

 

 

 

 

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