In 1956 when you would drive East on Hollywood Boulevard, you would pass a complex of..
storefronts in the 5500 block that featured a WWI type Quonset hut steel building that housed the famous Falcon Studios. In those days every Hollywood actor on contract with a major studio knew the inside of that building very well. When you entered the door you were instantly reminded of the studio’s famous, alumni, Errol Flynn, John Barrymore, Ronald Colman and other movie greats whose pictures graced the walls of the entryway. In those days every Hollywood actor was required to learn fencing and dancing as well as singing and acting. By 1965 the building was often used by TV shows I worked on for rehearsals. I remember being there on a hot summer’s day with the cast of “Shindig.” There was no air conditioning, but the roof was cooled by a sprinkler system that rained water on the hot steel, lowering the inside temperature a few degrees, but making a continuous racket like the sound of pounding rain. Johnny Cash was in the center of a circle of dancers and other performers who were watching him play with a 10 inch switchblade knife while we waited for the choreographer to arrive. He would throw the knife high in the air and let it fall to the floor where it would stick and wobble, and then he would toss it and catch it by the blade without cutting himself. I was terrified, fearing this half-crazy madman was going to really hurt someone. Johnny was a great performer, but he scared the hell out of me. He truly seemed unpredictable and dangerous. I was always very cautious when I talked to him.
Meanwhile, a couple of colorful hippies arrived causing quite a stir and an interesting contrast to the knife tossing maniac in black. They were dressed to the nines in fancy jeans and tops that one could not help but admire. Everyone seemed to know them, but I had no idea they were Sonny and Cher