Stop the Presses!

Danny Getchell
Created by James Ellroy

"I wiggled wires. I circumscribed circuits. I rigged reciprocal reverb and sent sound to both rooms. I picked up my Polaroid and flew off the floor.

I hammered down the hallway. I banged both doors off their bolts. I found the fetching foursome perched in Pat's parlor.

Pat was knock-kneed nude. Parker's pants pooled at his patellas. Polly was baby-buff and tantalizingly tan. The stacked steno stared at her -- savagely Sapphic.

I popped one perfect Polaroid. Insurance for loss of life or limb. I buried it by a burger stand at Beverly and Berendo."
-- from "The Trouble I Cause"

Fans of James Ellroy's sprawling neo-noir 1990 classic L.A. Confidential about crooked cops set loose in 1950's L.A. may recall the pivotal role that the notorious Hollywood scandal sheet Hush-Hush played. And more than a few people probably recall Danny's Devito's sublime performance as sleazy Sid Hudgeons, a writer for the rag in the Oscar-nabbing 1997 film adaptation.

Perhaps in tribute to DeVito's performance, Ellroy named his spin-off series character DANNY GETCHELL. Getchell's the unctous editor-in-chief and headwriter of Hush-Hush, who appeared in a short string of short stories appearing in GQ. Danny's an ace of alliteration, a hate-filled homophobe joy-juice junkie with the killer instincts of, well, a demon dog, digging up and dishing out dirt on such sin-tillating celebs as Sinatra, Rob Mitchum, Lana Turner and Rock Hudson. Okay, so fact and fiction are a little blurred here, but the stories are a hoot.

The stories are told in a series of reminisces by the weaselly Getchell, from his bed in an AIDS ward, and are only being published by GQ because, Danny claims, he has "an artful array of dirt on Art Cooper--the editor-in-chief."

The tales have been collected in book form but do yourself a favour, and hunt down the actual issues of GQ they appeared in, right away. It'll be worth it--the stories are chockfull of actual photos of the celebs skulking about, and they all sport primo illustrations by guys like Riccardo Vechhio and Owen Smith.

By the way, there actually was a magazine called Hush-Hush. And Detective Freddie Otash of the LAPD, who appeared in L.A. Confidential, sold dirt to tabloids, and later became a private eye? He was a real guy, too. Evidently Ellroy actually knew him. One can only wonder if someone as slimy as Getchell also once slid across the face of the earth....

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels -- The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz --were all international bestsellers. Other books include American Tabloid, his memoir My Dark Places, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood's a Rover. He lives in Kansas City.

SHORT STORIES

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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