As you may know I’m in Palm Springs where the International Film Festival (PSIFF) is still in full swing until it ends on the 15th.
As you may also know I very unfortunately had to miss a whole bunch of great story telling due to some kind of awful virus I picked up. So for my second movie only since arriving here on December 31st, just beginning to feel myself again, I chose a documentary. Documentaries are some of my favorite story telling because of the truth involved.
Also, this one was directed by Matt Tyrnauer who directed the phenomenal documentary feature Valentino: The Last Emperor (2009), which was short listed for an Oscar Nomination in 2010. He’s also a special correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine. He was in attendance as was his subject, Scotty Bowers, a now 94 year old man with a carefree attitude and great smile. And one amazing story. Oh do tell…
After returning from Marine Corps combat during World War II, this handsome young man arrived in Los Angeles and started pumping gas and pimping (for lack of a better word although he’d prefer to say he ran an introduction service) at 5777 Hollywood Blvd. The gas station is no longer, but the memories are.
As Bowers tells it, an overture from a seemingly unlikely customer, the tweedy gentlemanly actor Walter Pidgeon, led to Hollywood connections with some of the biggest names at the time. Names I won’t repeat here (you’ll have to see it yourself). Scotty got some of his pals into the act and pretty soon the Richfield station was flooded with customers looking for a quick trick. The town pump.
Well this is old Hollywood news, is it not? I mean Hollywood has a history and we’ve heard the stories before (yawn, yawn). Well….not exactly…like this. Trust me when I tell you there’ll be some new and eye raising reveals. Really!
And then you’ve got to ask yourself “why am I here?” I mean in the sense of being in a sold-out audience room full of voyeurs like yourself finding out personal information on people you’ve only heard about going back years before your time. With a little bit of embarrassment for being party to it. But then relishing the wicked information told through Scotty’s adventures.
As the story delves into his tortured past we can’t help but wonder if Scotty was making his own escape from reality.
The story is told extremely well, it flowed perfectly with just the right amount of interviews, humor involved and naughty intrigue. A perfect afternoon escape with a man who makes no apologies for his choices – having been the discreet pleasure pleaser of the past to both sexes. Until aids came around to claim the life of Rock Hudson and he decided to shut it down. As he put it “I enjoyed helping others.”
And in the manufactured Hollywood of yesteryear there was definitely a time and place for Scotty’s services and that of his posse. Full Service indeed and Full Steam Ahead!
For tickets (while available):