It’s never happened before but the ladies of Paradise Leased are stumped! As you may know, these gals pride themselves on knowing EVERYTHING, but here they have hit a brick wall. I haven’t seen them this depressed since Sanjaya was voted off American Idol. This has become a real crisis here and nothing I drink seems to help. Clearly, something needs to be done and I am therefore appealing to our super sleuthing Paradise Leased readers to solve this mystery and get the girls back to work. Here’s the mystery – a set of postcards showing the homes of Wallace Beery in Beverly Hills and Irene Dunne in Holmby Hills. While no one would ever get these two mixed up in a bar their houses seem to be another matter altogether.
So did they simply both live in the same house at one time or another? Swapping mansions was, and remains, a favorite sport of movie stars. A logical explanation but an apparently incorrect one. No record I’ve ever seen has connected them to the same house. And I’ve seen a lot! Well then maybe they used the same architect who was lazy and just changed the dormers? Hey, it’s happened before. Check out these postcards.
Most people assume quite reasonably that Charles Ray and Betty Compson lived in the same house, but its not true. These are postcards of two entirely separate houses! Charles Ray’s house was located at 901 North Camden Drive in Beverly Hills and Betty’s was all the way over in Hollywood at 7315 Hollywood Boulevard. Now that’s a lazy architect! The house so nice they built it twice. Charles Ray’s home still stands, in altered form, but Betty’s, which was later rented by Sam Goldwyn, has gone the way of the Dodo.
But back to the question at hand. It turns out both Wallace Beery and Irene Dunne built houses at exactly the same time. But did they build exactly the same house? In 1935, Beery built a French Colonial mansion at the corner of Alpine Drive and Sunset Boulevards in Beverly Hills and Dunne constructed a French Colonial mansion at the corner of Parkwood and Faring Road in the Holmby Hills. Aha! Well, not quite. Here’s what they looked like as built.
As you can see, the “Loveable Ole Cuss” Beery’s place perfectly matched his postcard, but Dunne’s…well, no so much. No lazy architect here. In fact very busy ones. The Beery house @ 816 North Alpine Drive was designed by Max C. Drebin, a prolific designer of the period while Dunne’s was designed by the venerable Sumner Spaulding of Webber & Spaulding.
Could Irene Dunne have rented Beery’s house then? No! swear the ladies of Paradise Leased (and do they swear). The place was all Wally’s until his death in 1949. Dunne needed not the Beery house. She lived on Faring until her passing in 1990. Plus, if you look carefully at the two cards, they are not quite exact. There are several notable differences including the dormers and the sidewalk, etc.
So what gives? I was fairly ready to chalk this up as a trick/mistake of the post card vendor, but again, problems. The “wrong” Dunne house was printed on cards by both Western Novelty and Tichnor Art. We’re confounded, baffled, befuddled and bewildered. We need the Awful Truth here. What do you think?
Oh, and “Get a life,” has already been suggested. Thank you.
These are the kind of weighty issues that keep us up nights at Paradise Leased.