In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.
I am still on Bowers’ account of his first purported tryst in Los Angeles and this is what we have so far: In 1946, in the days before cars had air conditioning, Walter Pidgeon is motoring around Hollywood on a miserably hot day with the windows in his car rolled up. Pidgeon — a prominent movie star and board member of the Screen Actors Guild — picks up a total stranger at a gas station for some gay sex, offering to pay $20 ($233.50 USD 2012).
He and Bowers head up Benedict Canyon Drive to a house occupied by Jacob/Jack/Jacques Potts, allegedly across the street from Harold Lloyd’s estate – which is actually 0.2 of a mile away
Walter Pidgeon (actual age 46) was “at least fifty,” according to Bowers.
Jacob/Jack/Jacques Potts (actual age 70) “could have been a bit older,” according to Bowers.
In other words, questionable if not outright wrong.
Fact-Checking “Full Service”: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20
Let’s turn our attention to the home at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive on the assumption that the J.S. Potts listed in the 1946 phone directory is the Potts in Bowers’ account.
He swung the car onto a paved drive that led to a large house. As he turned the wheel he pointed out the imposing gates on the other side of the street…. He gestured toward the opposite driveway and told me that it was the home of Harold Lloyd, the famous silent movie actor….
As the car crunched up the gravel and pulled up outside a large expensive-looking house he glanced at me and told me that the guy who lived here was his friend.
We have already established that what appears to be the Potts house is 0.2 of a mile from the Harold Lloyd estate.
But it’s really perplexing as to whether the house had “a paved drive” because Bowers says “as the car crunched up the gravel.”
And if you think that’s confusing, look at the house on Google’ Street View.
The driveway at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive, via Google’s Street View.
Because the house is built at the base of a triangular lot, it’s fairly close to the street and the driveway is almost over before it starts.
An aerial view, in an image from the city of Beverly Hills website, helps illustrate the layout of the lot.
1110 Benedict Canyon Drive, as shown on the city of Beverly Hills website. It appears that the distance from the property line to the garages is two car lengths at most.
Let’s look into the history of the house to see if it clarifies anything.
March 11, 1929: Movie actress Alice Calhoun lives at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive.
July 28, 1929: Harry Langdon marries Helen Walton in a ceremony at the home of Alice Calhoun, 1110 Benedict Canyon.
July 12, 1931: Alice Calhoun hosts a reception for the founder of the Woman’s Breakfast Club at 1110 Benedict Canyon.
June 17, 1938: Alice Calhoun Chotiner, 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive, divorces Max Chotiner.
April 4, 1943: Someone advertised for a gardener at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive. The ad appeared again April 5. I wonder who cleaned the pool – or if there was one.
Aug. 10, 1986: The home at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive is on the market. – but what’s this? A “dark-bottom pool?”
June 26, 1988: The house at 1110 Benedict Canyon is on the market again.
Amazing series. I know you are interested in all info, and I know this is quite a bit up the road from where you are in the book – but I wanted to send it along in case the internet no longer exists by the time you get to this part!
Update: the above link is dead, but I found it on the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20171205063926/http://www.laweekly.com/arts/the-apparently-true-story-of-the-man-who-secured-gay-lovers-for-old-hollywood-2372317
The Wayback Machine seems to have vapor lock these days.