I’m fascinated by old Hollywood. Even modern Hollywood interests me mildly, but the silent era and the Golden Age draw me like a beautiful woman (no doubt the prevalence of beautiful women in the town’s lore has a lot to do with that).

So I downloaded Hollywood Stories: a Book about Celebrities, Movie Stars, Gossip, Directors, Famous People, History, and more! by Stephen Schochet. (The hardcover’s pretty pricey, but the Kindle version isn’t bad.) I found a fascinating, highly entertaining collection of anecdotes, loosely organized by theme with little regard to chronology. A special plus was that – contrary to my expectations for Hollywood books – this one is conservative-friendly. Author Schochet, whose main career is doing Hollywood tours, has made a special effort to find conservative, and even Christian-friendly, incidents in the wicked old town’s long history, thus offering a generally fresh angle.

He describes Jim Caviezel suffering through the filming of The Passion of the Christ: “At one point, when he was on the cross he was actually struck by lightning. The people on the ground scattered for cover while Jim Cavaziel (sic) looked up to the sky and asked, ‘What, you didn’t like that take?’”

And he delights in telling of how Shirley Temple once plinked Eleanor Roosevelt in the bottom with a slingshot. He goes on to say:

Extra: Later that year, Shirley met Massachusetts Governor Charles Hurley (1893-1946). The Democrat politician accidentally slammed a car door on Temple’s hand and chased the kids away from his limo. The ten-year old star didn’t like the way Hurley treated others and decided that she would be a Republican.

I don’t know if all these stories are true; probably no one does. But I enjoyed them immensely, and recommend this book highly.

Lars Walker is the author of several published fantasy novels, the latest of which is Hailstone Mountain.