Oh, The Wonderful People I Have Known Because of Ann Dvorak
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 119
Last week I posted a list of the ways Ann Dvorak has impacted my life the past 15 years. Number one on that list was the wonderful people I have met because of Ann, and I thought I would share some of those awesome folk here. First up are Erik Larson & Tony Pinizzotto, who my husband and I affectionately refer to as The Boys. I didn’t exactly meet them because of Ann Dvorak, but she ultimately brought us together.
Back when I was a swinging single gal, I was a docent with the Los Angeles Conservancy and lead their walking tour of the Historic Broadway Theatres District. We had a script to follow, but were also free to interject additional information about the theatres. I did what I could to incorporate Ann into my tour with tidbits like; the Cameo Theatre was built by William H. Clune who produced the 1916 film Ramona, featuring a 4-year-old Ann Dvorak. When the Palace Theatre operated as an Orpheum, Ann Dvorak’s mother performed on its stage in 1914. When Ann Dvorak was a chorus girl she might have performed on stage at the Loew’s State Theatre. The Downtown Warner Bros. Theatre would’ve have shown Ann Dvorak movies in the 1930s. Ok, I admit I had to stretch to get Ann into the tour.
Erik grew up in Chicago and early on developed an affection for the movie palace, a passion he brought with him when he moved to Los Angeles. The first tour I ever gave was a tag-team with another recently trained docent and Erik happened to be on that tour. He later told me that he connected with me because 1) I was a much more lively docent than the other guy (which was true) and 2) because I passionately talked about how much I loved the Arcade Theatre even though it smelled like mold.
My tag team partner turned out to be a tour hog, so I ended up chatting with Erik a bit during the tour. Finally, the other docent commandeered the whole thing and I got so irritated that I bolted. Erik & Tony have an amazing collection of 16mm films and frequently have screenings at their home which Erik wanted to invite me to. However, I indignantly took off before he could give me his contact info.
Before the tour was stolen away from me by the jerky docent, I was able to plug my website so Erik knew how to get a hold of me but couldn’t remember Ann’s name! In 2005, Dvorak movies were not available as they are now and she was much more obscure, so it’s understandable that her name slipped Erik’s mind. A couple of weeks later, he was walking down Hollywood Blvd. and happened to pass over Ann’s Walk of Fame star. He had that Eureka moment and reconnected with me through this website and we have been friends ever since.
The Boys are two of my favorite people in the universe and I will forever be grateful to Ann for bringing us together. They never cease to amaze me with their endless energy and generosity when they host movie nights at their home, and even though I don’t see them as often as I used to because of parenthood, I still feel like we’re as close as ever. Because of them, I have had homemade Turkish Delight, experienced Damon’s in Glendale, seen Duel on a big screen (along with a lot of other films at their home, but I particularly loved Duel), suffered the demise of the Nortown Theatre, and realized I am not the only one who is still outraged that Molly Ringwald blew-off Lillian Gish in the 1980s. Most importantly, I have enjoyed a drama-free friendship with two super cool cats.