Hollywood mentions pop up in The Solomon Scandals, my Washington newspaper novel. L.A. and D.C. overlap, all right, and even the peons can fixate on this. In Scandals, a GS-11 bureaucrat isn’t just dreaming of making a mint as a tabloid tipster. He already knows who’ll play him in the movie.
Closer to real life, could Scandals itself be a film? Hardly a certainty, but a Hollywood insider loves the dialogue and the general outrageousness of the book. For a role model, I’ll just have to rely on an obscure but prolific scriptwriter named Arnold Belgard (1907-1967). He was a distant relative on my mother’s side and amassed such credits as Tarzan and the Slave Girl, East of Kilimanjaro and three “Bonanza” and nine “Lassie” episodes. Belgard directed “Kilimanjaro” and The Mighty Jungle.
Scandals may be the only D.C. novel that ends with Thackeray II, a talking Afghan Hound, doing a Harry Truman send-up at the Cosmos Club, and just now I noticed that The Fabulous Joe, to which Belgard contributed dialogue, features an articulate canine. This and a “Lassie” connection, too? Back to the Future?
Related: Watch Road Show for free, via the Internet Archive. Belgard was one of three writers of this screwball comedy directed by Hal Roach.
Update—a relevant link: Washington, D.C.: The New Hollywood, complete with a “power is a great aphrodisiac” quote from Sally Quinn (CBS News, dated June 10, 2009).
(Originally published June 5, 2009. Moved up to be closer to the top of the blog.)