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The Original Platinum Blonde

The Original Platinum Blonde

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Published by Kyle Branche
The second post in my "Stories and Encounters" Blog series at www.LABartender.wordpress.com
The second post in my "Stories and Encounters" Blog series at www.LABartender.wordpress.com

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Published by: Kyle Branche on Dec 18, 2010
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05/12/2014

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The Original Platinum Blonde
By Kyle Branche Copyright 2010www.LABartender.wordpress.com Last October 2009, I bartended a private party at the old home that was once owned and livedin by Jean Harlow in the late 20's and early 30's, on 512 N. Palm Drive, a several block street basically between Sunset and Wilshire. We needed two bartenders for the evening and guestcount, so I called in one of my bartenders, Tami Ross, to work alongside me.It was my second or third time working a party there. I was able to take this shot (above) of theoriginal bar in the house, kept in very good condition, as we were prepping up the bar from about5:00 pm to open it at 7:00 pm for about 100-150 guests. One could imagine the cocktail partiesthey had at the house way back in the day. In the backyard is a lighted tennis court and plenty of room to relax and enjoy the afternoon, or evening! I wondered if they ever made Mojitos asmuch as we made that night, as well as many other drinks of choice, along with a selection of wines red and white, and a few different beers.
 
One can imagine Clark Gable making drinks behind the bar, as Harlow and Gable, who calledher “Sis”, were best friends. William Powell, Walter Huston, Louis B Mayer as well as manyother possibilities. Unfortunately, Jean died in 1937 at the young age of only 26, from a uremic poisoning brought on by acute nephritis.Jean’s real name was Harlean Carpenter, born in Kansas City on March 3
rd
, 1911. Next year willmark the anniversary of her 100
th
birthday, had she been alive today. She was also the godmother of Millicent Siegel, daughter of the notorious mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. She had twofamous superstitions: She always wore a lucky ankle chain on her left leg. Back then she had to be one of the first wearing an anklet. Her other is a lucky mirror in her dressing room. Shewouldn’t leave the room without first looking in it.Across the street from her lived Lee Duncan, who was the owner of the famous canine superstar,Rin Tin Tin. As the story goes, when the dog passed away at the age of 16, Harlow went over tothe house and cradled the dog's head in her lap.Setting up the bar was always a bit of a task depending on if you’re using real glassware, asthere’s basically true backbar, and the underbar has its’ original stainless steel still in place.Therefore,
mise-en-place
always had to be as efficient as possible, though the wine rack builtin the wall in back helped a little.As you can tell at the bar, all the archways throughout the home remained the same, so prettymuch the entire property inside and out was kept to its’ original style and architectural design,fitting, given the history. Though a multi-storied home, I’ve yet to get the chance to peruseupstairs, maybe next time. Due to security being out in front of the home before the guestsarrived, I didn’t get a shot of the front, but it’s beautifully laid out with a veranda and fine tileup to the front door, and a waterfall in the open flat part of the yard.

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