February 03, 1986 12:00 PM

by Jim Heimann

To hear designer-illustrator Heimann tell it, there was not much in the way of real conflict, illness or unhappiness, let alone drug overdoses or depression, in Hollywood back in the good old days. There was only glamour and fun and demure hints of sex. But then that was the idea the motion picture industry managed to sell with such astonishing success. Somehow it came to be part of the American belief system that it was intrinsically interesting to learn that, say, John Wayne and Vera Hruba Ralston, or Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers or Ronald Reagan and Susan Hayward had been seen together at the Trocadero or Mocambo, whether or not there was any real romance involved. Movie stars came to be people who were paid outrageous sums of money, as is true today, partly in exchange for leasing their private lives to the public for our fantasy purposes. This is mainly a scrap-book about the brighter side of Hollywood nightlife from the early 1900s through the 1940s. And it’s hard to resist such tidbits as a report that Tom Mix once drove his car into a club and bought drinks for the house or a photograph of the impossibly suave Cary Grant having lunch with the impossibly beautiful Ava Gardner at the Brown Derby. Why don’t we face it, folks; we’re hooked. (Abbeville, $39.95)

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