Like Bogey and Bacall, Santa Catalina Island and Hollywood are inseparable. From the earliest silent pictures to modern day productions like Aviator, the extraordinary histories of the Isle of Romance and the movie capital of the world are inexorably linked.Now, Greg Reitman, director of Blue Water Entertainments 2003 documentary Hollywoods Magic Isle Catalina, continues his exploration of this endearingand enduringrelationship with the release of Hollywood Isle: Catalina Island Picture Book.
Designed to supplement his film, this mini coffee table book is as colorful and alluring as the Island itself. Like the original documentary, the thoughtfully-chosen images tell the remarkable tale of Hollywoods loyal and affectionate bond with the Isle of Romance and their shared history and geography. The story which I began to tell with motion pictures, he says, is now being continued in book form with a formidable collection of stills. Before the delectable main course of sepia and full-color photographs, Reitman and Island Historian Chuck Liddell treat the reader to a concise and engaging history of the Island beginning with its acquisition in 1919 by wealthy philanthropist and businessman William Wrigley, Jr.With the completion of Mr. Wrigleys opulent Avalon Casino traipsed a veritable Whos Who of the Hollywood elite to the Islandfrom movie moguls who used the island as a filming location to the stars and starlets who used the island to get away from it allfrom the triumphant early years of Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan to the tragic ending of Natalie Wood.
But the parade of luminaries was not limited to members of the film industry. In good times and bad, the biggest names in the burgeoning world of swing and Big Band music literally danced their way to the Island and serenaded the nation from the Avalon Ballroom. From the world of sports came Wrigleys own Chicago Cubs who trained on the Island each spring for 30 years. Their youthful faces, too, gleam at us from the pages of this book.While Catalina Island has been the focus of a number of books and films over the years, the release of this book coming on the heals of his 2003 documentary has further defined the role of the Island in the history and culture of the United States. This entire phenomenal story is presented to the reader in 45 pages of high-gloss photography.