Dearly Departed is the labor of Scott Michaels’ love of Hollywood’s glorious history and seedy undercurrent. The result is a tremendous tour of dark comedy, fascinating trivia and some downright gruesome happenings. Some quirky sightings that stuck out in my mind were Bela Lugosi’s cigar shop. For some reason I imagine him shopping in grainy, slow motion and scaring the other shoppers. Another funny point of interest was the salon where Marilyn Monroe first went blonde, the Happy Days house, the liquor store Halle Berry crashed into, the house from Halloween and the house from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, this man knows his business. As we went on we saw some less light-hearted locations, like the place James Dean had his last meal, the alleged location of the Black Dahlia murder and most grisly, the restaurant where Britney Spears met Kevin Federline.
One of the things I was most impressed by was our host’s speedy recall of an encyclopedic pop culture memory. Any time we drove by a hospital he named dozens of celebs that had passed away there. At one point a fellow tour member from Australia asked if Scott knew where the house Germs singer Darby Crash overdosed in was located. Not only did he know, he casually drove us by it between regular stops on the tour. I was tempted to just throw the most random of trivia out there to see if we could tie them into actual sightings. For the sake of my fellow tour takers, I opted to wait until the end to drop my obscure requests one on one. Like a bloodhound always knows where the bird is, I got dirt on all my inquiries. This guy is good!
If you have even mild to major appreciation for the macabre or a desire to see Hollywood range tacky to tragic, give Dearly Departed a call. If you’re not completely amused send me the bill and I’ll send you a star map and a compass. Fair enough?