What I groove on

No Ordinary Street

Useless, Insignificant, Poetic

Sam the Butcher from the Brady Bunch, Colonel Klink from  Hogan’s Heros, and the Chief from Get Smart – they all lived within a couple of blocks from the  home at 231 North Bundy Drive where my family lived for close to 40 years. Our house was modest, but filled with comfort, fun, and love – all the handy work of our Mom and Dad. One can tell by the status of the TV stars that lived around us that our neighborhood was attractive, yet unassuming, built-in the 40’s.

I was disturbed when reading of Bundy Drive that it was called “notorious” and “infamous” because of the knifework on Nicole and Ron by that depraved reprobate O.J.   Bundy Drive deserves much better than to be associated with that coward.

Bundy Drive was named after real estate developer  Tom Bundy who was also a three-time winner of  the Men’s Doubles at the U.S.Tennis Championships. Tommy married May Sutton, who at age 18, won the Women’s single title at the U.S. Championship and also became the first American and first non-British woman to win a Wimbledon singles title. Their daughter “Dodo” Bundy Cheney became the first American woman to win Women’s single title at the Australian Championships.

But the real claim to fame of Bundy Drive are not the tennis champs or a knife wielding liar, but The Bundy Boys, a glorious group of actors, writers, painters and ner do wells, who made the Rat Pack look like the Vienna Boys Choir.  As a young lad I would play with my friend Stan who lived a couple of blocks north of where I was raised. His home was shaded by a large redwood tree which would bring splintered sunlight, cooling shadows, and possibly a hint of the location’s devilish past. On the large wooden door was a brass lion door knocker with what appeared to be a family crest with two unicorns surrounded by the words “Useless, Insignificant, Poetic .”  This was the home of The Bundy Boys some 30 years before Stan and I rolled around in that precious dirt.

The group included actors W.C. Fields, John Barrymore, Errol Flynn, Anthony Quinn, Vincent Price, John Carradine, painter and forger John Decker, screenwriter Ben Hecht whose credits include Some Like it Hot, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and Mutiny on the Bounty, and many other notoriously  flamboyant life livers.

Gene Fowler, journalist and life long member said this: ” That brown beamed studio was a place of meeting for still lively survivors of Bohemian times, an artist’s Alamo where political bores never intruded and where breast beating hypocrites could find no listeners…these men live intensely as do children, poets, and jaguars.”

Their boozy self destructiveness was spectacular, their drunken brawls foolhardy, they spent their fortunes quicker than they made them, and all were committed to their friendship and their right to destroy their careers,  and themselves by any means necessary.

The house is gone now. Torn down along with the redwood. In its place is a sad property line to property line mansion that has the soul and depth of an ashtray. I am sure there are ghosts there, unhappy ones at that. As W.C. Fields said ” Life is a funny thing. You are lucky if you can get out of it alive.”    

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14 thoughts on “No Ordinary Street

  1. Nanya on said:

    I love this story! Dodo Cheney, age 94, is still playing in senior tournaments in the 90+ age group. She plays out of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Go to this to see her.

  2. Fabulous, colorful, historical vignettes on LA history of which even as a native Angeleno, I was unaware. Thank you!

  3. Other notables in the the first few blocks of North Bundy were Art Linkletter, Burt Bacharach and his then wife “Pepper” from Police Woman the wild Angie Dickenson…and then there was Mr Jordan – famous but only to a few.

  4. Americas Most Wanted on said:

    Very fascinating!

  5. 5-Pack on said:

    Your blog makes me want a cocktail and that, my friend, should be taken as a compliment. Looking forward to the next Bundy-licious story! Please keep them coming!

  6. tim210 on said:

    Not from LA but a fan of old tv and movies – loved your recollections

  7. Well told, my friend.

  8. Jennifer on said:

    I know want a tour of this famed street! Love your writing!

  9. jay cruzer on said:

    I knew a wild bunch that rocked pretty hard on N. Bundy back in the 70’s.
    How how we danced!

  10. Steve McQueen and his wife lived at 27 Oakmont, which is further up the hill as North Bundy turns into Kenter Canyon…

  11. I want to be a child, poet and jaguar.

  12. Barbara Mills on said:

    I live a block from Bundy and never new there was a Mr. Bundy. I love it!

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