Saturday, November 22, 2008

Remains of the Day

OK. I know this sounds creepy. I know it. I've never done anything like this before.

But. This morning I was heading to the LVRocks.Com studio for our Petcast taping and I was uncharacteristically early. I drove by the road that leads to the home of the late Robert Maheu, Howard Hughes' right-hand man for a good while. Last Saturday, I attended the estate sale at his home, a post you can read here.

As I passed the turnoff, I wondered if they were going to have another day of the estate sale this weekend because I had been there at its end and there was quite a lot of stuff left. So I drove over and found that, this being trash day, there were these boxes and bags out front. See the picture at the top.

Yes. I admit it. I got out and looked around. Just wanted to see if there was anything interesting laying around in plain sight. I wasn't going to go digging around in the bags and all. No, no. I'm too good for that. Or something.

Well, the left box was a bit of a find. It had atop it a Sears catalogue from the 1970s, some old Christmas cards and condolence cards for somebody who died several years ago. There was this 87th birthday greeting from President Carter...

...and this laminated copy of an old Norm Clarke column when Norm interviewed him on the occasion of the Desert Inn implosion in 2004. (Hughes lived there in his peeing-in-the-jar era when Maheu was his outside rep.)

Maheu seemed to be a bit of a packrat about his media appearances. I also found copies of articles from 2004 about Hughes, including this R-J excerpt of Geoff Schumacher's "Sun, Sin & Suburbia" book in 2004 and Ed Koch's meditation in the Sun about Hughes' legacy from the same year around the time the film "The Aviator" came out. Maheu also had a Liz Smith column from, I think, the NY Daily News, reporting in 1991 on Maheu's forthcoming book, "Next To Hughes." He also had a bound booklet assembled for interested parties to commemorate Wayne Newton's earning a star on the bogus Las Vegas Walk of Fame in 2004.

This item was particularly intriguing...

...because it's a clipping sent to Maheu of an article by Joe Hyams about Ava Gardner by Lawrence P. Ashmead with a note pointing him to the section about Ava and Howard. Each of those figures has some prominence. Ashmead has had a legendary career in publishing and retired recently as executive editor of HarperCollins. Hyams was one of the key celebrity profilers years ago, meriting an obit in the L.A. Times when he died earlier THIS WEEK.

Yet what's odder still is that Ashmead sent this to Maheu in December 1990 but the article, according to this link, was published in Look Magazine in November 1956. I'm theorizing here, but since HarperCollins published Maheu's book in 1992, it would seem likely that this was actually work product from "Next To Hughes." Ashmead wasn't sending a friendly clipping of interest. He was passing along raw material for the book!

That's all pretty cool, but I love the stack of 1973 issues of Newsweek that I grabbed. You see, according to the Las Vegas Sun obit on Maheu, he and Hughes intersected in various ways with the Watergate scandal and the oil crisis of that era. So while I haven't had time to really read these issues, I do wonder if Maheu saved these particular issues of Newsweek for another 35+ years for some personal reasons.

As my Petcast co-host Emily Richmond mentioned when I showed her my booty upon arriving at the studio (late, of course...), that last cover is especially un-PC, huh? I mean, how outrageous of them to complain about 40-cent-a-gallon gas! Oh, wait. That's not what her issue with that image was...

When I get a chance, I'll try to read through these issues and see if there's some Maheu/Hughes reason why they were saved. And I have every intention of passing along that laminate to Norm. How awesome is that. I wonder if decades from now someone will be rooting around the late Elaine Wynn's trash and find a framed copy of this week's column!


LinFromNJ said...

wow, great stuff.

Don said...

So, I guess it's not so odd that your garbage disappeared one morning. :)

Anonymous said...

Great find, Steve. I have recently become smitten with the idea of getting the old AT&T phones from the estate sales. Partly because my dad worked for SBC for 35 years and also because of what comversations that must have gone through those wires.

Jeff in OKC

rob said...

Steve-there are people, fans and otherwise that will go after garbage from any celeb homes that they can get near. There was a story that when jimmy stewart died many old awards were tossed in the trash (on the street)with signed cancelled checks which were signed by stewart. Its amazing. once put Most state laws are that once put on the street the garbage is fair game for anyone.


SBL clipping path services said...

Awesome post. Keep up.

LinFromNJ said...

in my town there's a law that says once something is put on the curb as garbage it becomes the property of the town. never stopped me though.