Tab Hunter, NP Update, and Condos at Cabrillo Ballpark

Hollywood Confidential: When Santa Barbaran Tab Hunter heard that others were planning books about him, he decided to write one himself. “I thought people should get it from the horse’s mouth rather than a horse’s ass,” he said. He spent three years writing what became the surprise best-selling Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Then he looked for a ghostwriter to put the book in shape.

On the Beat

The first, he told a garden party last weekÂ-end at the home of Archie and Leinie Schilling Bard, “had his own agenda” and was rejected. The second wanted “to make my life story sound like a 1950s fan magazine.” But he worked well with the third writer, Eddie Muller, Hunter told a gathering celebrating the Santa Barbara Writers Conference scholarship fund.

“I wrote about an era that’s long gone,” said Hunter, born Arthur Andrew Kelm before Hollywood changed his name. Life wasn’t just a bowl of Santa Maria strawberries. Critics lambasted him. His older brother, Walter, a medic, was killed in Vietnam. He was a finalist for the lead in the movie version of West Side Story, but producers felt that at 29 he was “too old,” according to Wikipedia. Tab appeared in 40 films, but, he told the group, “I was never comfortable” in the public eye.

Now he’s planning to write a book about another Santa Barbaran, actress Evelyn Keyes. (When I looked for Tab’s bio at the Santa Barbara and Montecito libraries, they were gone from the shelves although not checked out. Stolen?)

NP Updates: For those not keeping up on the blogs about News-Press developments: Longtime NP book reviewer Lin Rolens has quit, citing the paper’s recent smear of ex-editor Jerry Roberts. Also splitting due to the Roberts affair are Sunday book columnists Susan Miles Gulbransen and Fred Klein. “I can’t work for an owner who could stoop to such tactics,” Fred said. Also resigning due to the smear was reporter Leana Orsua, hired a few months ago during the meltdown. And Jeff Flanders, a bright young NP exec during the New York Times regime, has penned a powerful blast-posted on his blog the NP over the Roberts attack.

Modest Proposal: “I would like to see the city of Santa Barbara [form a] joint venture with a developer and construct approximately 25 condos on the Cabrillo ballpark,” suggested Ted Marwede, Santa Barbara Softball Hall of Fame member. “The city could realize an approximately $40 million return on this hardly utilized softball field. The condos could be built on the rear portion of the 4.39-acre site and farther away from Cabrillo Boulevard.

“The city could then take that money and purchase the Earl Warren Showgrounds, [which] could be utilized for recreational purposes that have been neglected by the city for years. Earl Warren Showgrounds is 33.9 acres of land that could easily be utilized by a four-plex softball field that most cities of Santa Barbara’s size do have.”

[BB: Problems abound. For one thing, Earl Warren Showgrounds is a state-owned facility and used for horse shows and many other events that draw visitors from afar. It’s not even within city limits. It’s in the county. It’s hard to imagine the state wanting to sell the showgrounds and the city being willing to develop the waterfront open space for condos (can you say “recall”?).]

The dome building at Earl Warren, where flower shows and other events are held “could be utilized as an Arena football stadium and the entity could bring in more revenue for the city,” added Marwede. “This softball complex could provide an excellent source of money for the city with nighttime softball and tournaments along Calle Real and Highway 101,” he continued. “Furthermore, there could be several tennis courts, a skateboard park, Little League and YFL, and an Olympic-sized pool that would all create new revenue for the city. It would be a great alternative for possibly troubled youths, and the horse facilities could remain due to the size of the showgrounds.”

Marwede has lobbed up an interesting pitch, but let’s see if the Common Sense Umpire calls it a ball or a strike right down the middle.

Rubicon’s Hamlet: Gotta hand it to Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre Company. It’s willing to tackle the heavyweights: Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, even The Bard himself. Now on the boards is Hamlet, hailed as the greatest play ever written by the greatest English-language playwright. In simple terms, it’s a thriller. I know people who’d rather clean out the garage than see Shakespeare, but why not give Will a chance? I was glued to my seat Friday night, even though I’ve seen Hamlet a few times and know that the butler didn’t do it. Rubicon staged a fast-moving, pared-down performance, and Joseph Fuqua is a fine, impassioned Prince of Denmark. Through May 20. Call 667-2900.


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