Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
Reddest face in town yesterday belonged to Charles Bennett, writer of screen mysteries in which the brilliant detective always catches the crook.
Seems that he had a few friends in for a card game Wednesday night and sometime during the session a burglar crawled through the window of a bedroom next to the den where the five-card entertainment was going on and stole his wife’s purse containing $300 cash and a pair of earrings.
What’s more, the dog barked at the burglar but the Bennetts paid no heed to his warning.
This was, as some astute film students may have noticed, Alfred Hitchcock’s collaborator on a string of famous films, including “The 39 Steps,” “Foreign Correspondent” and the remake of “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” He also wrote “King Solomon’s Mines” and worked on the cult favorite TV show “The Wild, Wild West.” When he died at the age of 95 in 1995, Hollywood lost its oldest working screenwriter.
Bennett’s home in Coldwater Canyon (the exact address is a bit hard to determine) was a gathering place for other émigrés, including Hitchcock, Errol Flynn, Laurence Olivier and C. Aubrey Smith. The late Times obituary writer Burt Folkart described Bennett’s home as “a museum-like setting in his rustic Coldwater Canyon home. Surrounding him were the pictures, posters and memorabilia of the stars and writers who had sat at his bar, talking of films, Great Britain and the changing of the Hollywood guard from immigrants to icons.”
And Bennett seems to have had a touch of Hitchcock in his personal life. When a fire destroyed his garage in 1945, he lost the script for a novel titled “The Burning City.”
It’s also worth noting that weekday editions of The Times have increased to 30 pages, up from 20 or 22 earlier in the year, mostly because of all those display ads from the department stores. The sales staff must have been very happy with whoever was handling the J.W. Robinson, Bullock’s and I. Magnin accounts. It certainly is a treat to see all those well-drawn fashion illustrations, which provided such a stylish element to newspaper pages.