I was 24 and a broke reporter.
I often could barely afford to eat after paying my rent, but I somehow saved enough money throughout the year to travel to Los Angeles, Calif. for the 2013 Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival. It was my first time traveling alone on a plane, and I was heading out without much of a plan. My mom was a nervous wreck, which I shrugged off. Now I understand why.
Nine years later, the night before I head out to Hollywood for the first time in three years, I can’t help but think of that first trek across the country by myself. Now, I like to be organized and well planned. But in 2013, extreme youth was on my side. I wasn’t thinking about much other than meeting Robert Osborne and online friends in person. I hadn’t considered things like how I would get into Hollywood once I landed at LAX or how I would afford to eat.
But somehow my chaotic, unplanned adventure went okay, because I floated by on the kindness of people who were strangers at the time. In a way, this is a thank you to those folks (who now are friends), who helped out a greenhorn traveler:
• One person and his wife landed in LAX around the same time I did. They invited me to ride into Hollywood with them.
• I was staying with a friend (who I hadn’t met yet), who was kind enough to open her home to some rando from Twitter.
• While I waited for my friend to get home from work, another friend let me freshen up in her hotel room.
• My cousin helped me get to the airport on the way home.
It was all such a whirlwind. I arrived in Hollywood on a Thursday, the same day the festival began, and within a matter of hours was with online friends watching SOUTH PACIFIC (1958) poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel, introduced by Ben Mankiewicz, Mitzi Gaynor and France Nuyen.
And I did meet Robert Osborne. He introduced a screening of THE DESERT SONG (1943). At that time, the film hadn’t been seen in 50 years (it’s now on DVD). Robert stayed and watched the movie, and he was kind enough to take a photo with me after, even though he was in a hurry.
See y’all in Hollywood again for the first time since 2019.
Good friends are forever. Thanks for sharing, Jessica.