Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'll bet Orson Welles was never invited

In the Thirties P.G. Wodehouse was invited to William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon. The LA Times' Jacket Copy recently reviewed The Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes, among them Wodehouse's description of Heart's modest little abode.

"I have been away for a week at Hearts’s ranch. He owns 440,0000 acres, more than the whole of Long Island!...

"The house is enormous, and there are always at least 50 guests staying there. All the furniture is period, and you probably sleep on a bed originally occupied by Napoleon or somebody....

"The train that takes guests away leaves after midnight, and the one that brings new guests arrives early in the morning, so you have dinner with one lot of people and come down to breakfast the next morning to find an entirely new crowd.

"Meals are in an enormous room, and are served at a long table, with Hearst sitting in the middle on one side and Marion Davies in the middle on the other. The longer you are there, the further you get from the middle. I sat on Mario’s right the first night, then found myself being edged further and further away till I got to the extreme end, when I thought it time to leave. Another day, and I should have been feeding on the floor."

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