Greystone Mansion: Murder, Mystery, and Movies

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Where: Greystone Mansion

Location: 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills

Greystone Mansion sits on 16 spectacular acres of LA land just above the Sunset Strip in Beverly Hills. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I went for a visit to the grounds to take in the solid architecture, the exquisite landscaping, and to think about what life might be like coming home to a mansion every night.  It wasn’t until later I learned, that just like in the movies, everything that seemingly looks put together on the outside, is not so much when you take a closer peak.

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What once was a private residence in the Doheny family dynasty is now infamously known as the scene of a murder-suicide crime with a mysterious twist that to this day is still not fully resolved.

Anyone who drives through the palm tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood knows Doheny Drive, named after LA oil tycoon, Edward L. Doheny. In 1928, he gifted Greystone mansion to his son, Ned and his family. After an altercation between Ned and his then assistant – both men were found dead. The exact details of what happened aren’t clear. Sources say that his assistant, Hugh Plunket, killed Ned Doheny in a rage over salary; while others highlight that Ned Doheny’s gun was the murder weapon and he committed murder-suicide.

Only in Hollywood would the 55 room mansion and its 46,000 square feet, despite its dramatic history, become one of the most filmed locations in the film and television industry. How ironic that the real life mystery became home to so many fictional Hollywood ones? Today, the City of Beverly Hills owns and operates the grounds as a park open to the public.

Greystone not only hosts film and television projects, but weddings, concerts, car shows, charity events, and festivals. While the inside of the mansion is off-limits to the public, just taking a moment to see the estate is truly something special. The elegant gardens and property offer a great (and free) escape from the hustle and bustle just on the other side of the Strip. Stop by and check it out if you ever find yourself nearby… and become apart of the mystery.

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Television: Out of the Box

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Where: The Paley Center for Media

Location: 465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills

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If you’re in the area looking for something fun and inexpensive to do on an otherwise uneventful L.A. weekend between now and 2015, take a trip to The Paley Center for Media (after a stop at Sprinkles for a cupcake fix, of course!). They are currently hosting an exhibition highlighting 60 years of Warner Bros. Television. Television: Out of the Box, takes guests outside the confines of your TV screen and into the actual series. Costumes, props, scripts, set re-constructions, photos, and (sorry to say) a pretty mediocre audio tour welcome you as you walk into the mid-sized gallery space.

Enjoy the legendary history of how now famed Warner Bros. Television Studios came to be through a visual journey of its beloved sitcoms, prime-time dramas, and even the first stints of reality based programming. Spend some time analyzing just how small Jennifer Aniston’s waist really is as you look closely at one of her trendy Rachel Green ensembles, smile at the huge collection of staff badges for everyone from George Clooney to Angela Bassett as they solved the medical conundrum of the week at County General Hospital on ER, hang out at Monk’s Diner (minus Jerry and the gang), then sing-a-long karaoke style to some of the most well-known opening credit sequences from your favorite shows.

In West Philadelphia, born and raised…” (Don’t even get me started. This song will be in my head all day!)

In short, it’s an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. The staff was extremely friendly and passionate about all things TV. What most impressed me is how vast the catalog of WB television programming actually is when you take it in collectively. Some of the shows that made my childhood and teen years were thanks to the production arm of Warner Bros. Television. Without them, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Sisters, Gilmore Girls, Living Single, ER (though I gave up a few years on this one before it actually went off the air), Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs among others were staples in my life for many years.

A note about the audio tour: while I know how much work goes into creating any form of media, especially these types of tours, this one is pretty bland, but it is free if you want to check it out to prove me wrong anyway. The equipment that the center uses desperately needs an update, and overall I found the level of the content to be pretty surface and un-engaging.

Otherwise, what a treat! If you make to it to the exhibition between now and 2015, please drop me a line! I’d love to know your thoughts.

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{Rachel Green Costume / Friends 1994-2004.}

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{Cast signed final shooting script / ER 1994-2009.}

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{Lynda Carter Costume / Wonder Woman 1976-1979.}

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{A nod to all things WB Animation. I loved Animaniacs!}

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{And your host (me!) hanging out on the famous Central Perk sofa from Friends.}

Highlights

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Another busy but great week under my belt. Although, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath lately and I’m exhausted. I’ve been getting to bed at decent times, eating well, and did stick to my yoga class this week, but I am in total need of a B.R.E.A.K.

The good news is that I am beyond excited for my mini-vacay next week. I really want to use the time to recharge and reflect on my next steps personally and professionally. I’ve even decided to write a list of goals (big and small) that I want to accomplish over the next year, something that I want to do in celebration of my upcoming milestone and to appease my “love-to-cross-things-off-my-list” O.C.D. personality.

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One big highlight within this week of complete chaos, was spending a quiet afternoon in the 90210 (window shopping only, of course). My boyfriend had never been and we wanted to check out the new ice cream craze so we rolled it into a short trip. Rodeo is such a fun street to stroll down and analyze: 1) who in the world can actually afford this stuff? 2) given the limited number of people who can, how do these businesses manage stay open and survive recessions? and 3) if I had the money, would I really spend $5,000 on a handbag? (If I were totally loaded – I could see I probably would, but would find it pretty surreal and strange when that day comes). My first purchase would be the classic Chanel Quilted Calfskin. The one thing we actually could afford was the ice cream and you can read more of my thoughts on the new Ice-Cream Lab here. I give it a year….tops.

This weekend will be all about celebration: prepping for my little b-day getaway and treating myself to a few splurges here and there that I’m still trying to decide upon. And in honor of Cinco De Mayo, at least one margarita and a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant is in order.

Since next week will undoubtedly be a bit chaotic with birthday stuff and the fact that I’m giving myself some much-need relaxation time, you might not see me post everyday as usual. Rest assured, I’ll be back with lots to share with you!

Have a great weekend! xx

Sfixio, Beverly Hills

Location: 9737 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

A night out with the girls for dinner. A new dress. An Italian restaurant. Beverly Hills. Free Parking. All the makings for a perfect Saturday night.

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, 9 of us met up at Sfixio located on little Santa Monica Boulevard just past Wilshire. I was elated that parking turned out to be a breeze. After 6:00pm the parking structure no longer uses the meters. Score!

Alternating neon lights over the outside restaurant signage draw you in as you walk into a 2 story dining room dressed completely in white. The ambiance: sexy low lighting, candles on the table, and music at an appropriate level (meaning I didn’t have to yell at my friends over dinner and end up sounding chain-smoking-hoarse the next day).

I went with the Salmone ai 3 pepi con Patate in Crosta. Translation: Grilled salmon topped with a mini potato hash brown looking thing, with a side of asparagus and spinach. Things always sound better in Italian.

While it took forever to get appetizers and then the main course, it allowed us gals plenty to time to catch up. I was slightly disappointed with the speed of service, but learned from my more well-traveled friends that this is likely intentional, attributed to a more European way of dining where it’s supposed to be more of a lengthy experience. I can appreciate that, but it seems to be pushing it to take almost an hour for 3 salads and a serving of calamari to come out – but you live and learn. I did think it was pretty cool that they make all of their pasta in-house from scratch.

You know me, I always L.O.V.E. checking out a new place so I’m glad we got to spend a night in “The Hills” supporting a small privately-owned restaurant run by a husband and wife duo. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be someplace I would likely ever go again. Since there are too many restaurants in the City of Angels to explore and a new one popping up every 5 minutes, I can’t say it left an impression on me in any special way. The positive experience came more from being with my girlfriends than in the dining itself. The food was delicious, but servings were small (not surprising); and the service (because we’re in L.A., not Italy) could be picked up some. Us L.A. gals have places to go, people to see, and things to do!

{Salmone ai 3 pepi con Patate in Crosta.}