Sometimes while looking for that big break in life, we get thrust onto the sound stage of a reality television show - with roommates straight up cast from the reality TV show reject pile. In this episode, let’s check out the film Camp Hollywood, where the actor and director Steve Markle cuts through the bullshit and creates a gonzo Documentary about his time at the infamous Hollywood Gardens Hotel.
Camp Hollywood and the Highland Gardens Hotel
The Highlands Garden Hotel was opened in the 1950’s, is situated within walking distance from the major attractions, and is located two blocks North of Hollywood Boulevard. The hotel holds a unique place in the history of Hollywood and filmmaking – its registers from bygone eras are filled with star studded guests and longer term tenants which include names such as: Brad Pitt, The Rat Pack, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Moody Blues, C Train, Pulse, Shep Gordon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Butterfield Band, Ten Years After, Joe Cocker Group, Siegfried & Roy, and even L. Ron Hubbard to name a few. The reputation and legacy of the Hollywood Gardens Hotel continues to attract many famous and up and coming celebrities even to this day.
Into this iconic location is thrust the Camp Hollywood protagonist (and our hero of the film) Steve Markel. He packed his bags and booked his stay while making his run at professional comedy. Markel also decides to film a gonzo-style documentary of his stay at the Highland Gardens Hotel to capture a very raw look at the guests and tenants he encounters. For the most part, he captures the essence of what a community filled with tenants straight up cast from the reality TV show reject pile would be like.
A Marylin Monroe impersonator, a former strong arm bank robber, a day drunk former high school music teacher fired for mooning his class and a never-ending motley cast of characters all with a vision to become A-List movie stars - yet each embody every bad Reality TV stereotype that would make the producers of the satirical Reality TV show The Joe Schmo Show cast them immediately.
It’s a veritable poo-poo platter of guilty pleasures in a time capsule cast from the genisis of Reality TV.
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