the "Spider Pool"? WARNING: PG NUDITY

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caramia
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the "Spider Pool"? WARNING: PG NUDITY

Postby caramia » Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:46 pm

I just received an inquiry from someone looking to locate a pool which may or may not still exist. It was the sight of many nude cheesecake shots in what appears to be the late forties to early fifties and is referred to as the "Spider Pool" because of a rather large tile spider in a web that existed along side the pool.

The design is what I would call interesting, kitchy and rather fun - though certainly not architecturally significant. It looks like it could have belonged to an eccentric B-movie horror director. The location appears to be on the north side of Mulholland, facing the valley, Cahuenga pass and Burbank. As my husband is an architect who does a fair amount of work in that area - he is trying to locate the exact spot using photos, landmarks, topography, building records, etc.

I thought someone here might have heard of the pool or know where its remants might be (if there are any). If you'd like some background information - there is a blog dedicated to the Spider Pool - spiderpool.blogspot.com. Please be advised - if you are offended by tasteful female nudity - you will be offended by the pictures on the site.

TIA for any help!

Cara

caramia
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Never mind!

Postby caramia » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:19 pm

My husband and I found it today. My husband is an architect who decided to look at the general site from across the Cahuenga pass using a house that appears in some of the photos as a landmark. Well, one of the distinctive retaining walls with the sloped wall sporting a spider in its web - is still intact and revealed itself to us via a high powered telescope.

So, mystery solved. Thanks anyway!

Cara

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Postby Futura Girl » Mon Nov 08, 2004 12:09 am

please post some pics of your find!!!

and where is it?

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The link is interesting tho

Postby modfan » Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:51 am

If it's found, I guess that negates the post about putting it on E! as a hollywood mystery or on the History Channel ( or A& E) about History's Lost & Found-they might say at the end of the piece-'The Spider Pool was found located on an estate in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Cahuega Pass'.

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Postby L.A.kevin » Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:41 am

Shoot a video and pitch it to "History Lost and Found." What the hell.

:)

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Postby caramia » Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:06 am

We're going up to take photos today. I'll be sure to post them later along with some of the vintage photos (if that's permissible) and directions to the site for anybody that's interested.

Stay tuned!

Cara

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Postby Lynxwiler » Thu Nov 11, 2004 1:50 pm

I loooove it! Please e-me with directions. I've got to go photograph it for myself. Thanks for researching this lost treasure.

caramia
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Here's few photos of the Spider Pool. Enjoy!

Postby caramia » Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:02 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Postby SpudGirl » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:57 pm

Your pics are amazing! Can you e-mail or post directions to the Spider Spot? I'd love to check it out for myself.....and does anyone know the story behind it, like who built it and why? Thanks :-)

Spudgirl

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Postby caramia » Fri Nov 12, 2004 5:23 pm

Thanks! There are loads more!

The SP property is located in the Cahuenga Pass (N. Hollywood technically) on Goodview Trail (way above the 6800 block of Pacific View) which is a path that exists on paper only. It is an offshoot of Hockey Trail - but the connection there is blocked by someone’s property. There is a couple living there with a small child and one on the way who really do not want to be bothered with sightseers. For this reason they would not give us access to their property and so we had to climb around it, and within the public right of way, along a hillside fence and through very dense foliage to finally climb up to the site. The SP site is surrounded by private property. So, I would advise anyone going up there to make sure they are staying in the public right of way or they run the risk of prosecution for trespassing. It appears that the house that must have originally owned the SP property is below it to the SE - as there are visible stairs (though now blocked off) leading downward and those houses (on Vallevista) were built at the right time. Another possible access route might be where Sycamore Trail meets Goodview. We did not try that way - so, I don’t have any advice as to what path to take except to say make sure you’re not traipsing through private property without permission. The locals have very much appropriated the SP lot as their own little fairyland and I'm sure will be loathe to give up its privacy.

As far as who built it and why (other than to take lots of nudie shots) is something I'm still researching. I'll be sure to post what I find out!

Cara

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More on the Spider Pool House

Postby lasvegaslynn » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:08 am

I belong to a newsgroup for Silent Movie fans and one of the posts concerned the Spider Pool House.

Here's some more info courtesy of Chris Snowden at ASM:



Here's a taste of "The Strangest House in Hollywood," from
PICTURE-PLAY (July 1927):

* * * * * * * * * * *

John McDermott calls it his "crazy house." A low, rambling
structure, strung out along the face of a cliff high above Cahuenga
Pass in Beverly Hills, it greets the eye as a thing part Egyptian, part
Turkish, part Navajo, and with such touches of modern architecture as
may be found anywhere "east of the water tower."

There are angles reminiscent of igloos constructed during the Eskimo
renaissance, and others suggesting medieval castles with moats and
drawbridges. There isn't another house like it in Hollywood, nor, in
fact, in the entire world.

It is made of studio props!

John McDermott is a scenario writer for Famous Players-Lasky-- just
a man trying to get along on a salary of something like two thousand
dollars a week. Three or four years ago he found himself in need of
physical training, but didn't want to waste his time and energy in a
gym.

So he decided to build a home with his own hands, the like of which
no one ever had seen. It would dazzle with originality, with plaster
gods, sliding panels, underground passageways, good books, and mystery.

He had seen motion-picture sets of exquisite design, used an hour or
two, then discarded when the picture was finished. He had seen these
artistic creations lie for weeks and months disintegrating in the sun
and rain, when, if they had been salvaged, they would have lasted for
years. This gave him the idea for his hillside home, and he began
collecting.

The walls of John McDermott's house were made from composition board
discarded from sets at the Universal studio.

The girders were salvaged from the enormous palace built for THE
THIEF OF BAGDAD.

Some of the roofing came from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

The tip of the smallest tower was cut from the broken propeller of
an airplane wrecked during the making of Buster Keaton's THE NAVIGATOR.

The tombstones built into the wall had been made for THE HUNCHBACK
OF NOTRE DAME.

Some grinning skulls of cement were found on the old Metro lot when
that historic spot was abandoned.

A huge, slant-eyed goddess, modeled in plaster, was salvaged from a
set of Nazimova's SALOME.

A table McDermott placed in his living room had originally been
built for ROBIN HOOD.

The great oaken door was taken from Norma Talmadge's THE SONG OF
LOVE.

A wooden pulley above a well-- in the living room of the house--
came from Mary Pickford's TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY. A fence was
plucked from the scraps of Rudolph Valentino's THE EAGLE. And three
small cannons on the parapet had originally been made for THE SEA HAWK.
Lynn in Sherman Oaks

www.classiclasvegas.squarespace.com (blog)

www.classiclasvegas.com (website)

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Postby Velas » Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:18 am

OH man! Does anyone have more archival pictures of this place?
How Amazing!
How Extravaggant!
I must MUST see MORE!
ww.panoramaonview.org

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The Spider Pool House

Postby lasvegaslynn » Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:20 am

Velas,

I have been in contact with the original poster on the ASM list and asked for permission to post the info he has found to date.

As soon as I get his okay I will be sure to post it here!

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MD²
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Postby MD² » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:04 pm

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Last edited by MD² on Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

lasvegaslynn
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Owners Identified

Postby lasvegaslynn » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:39 pm

Here's some more info on the Spider Pool House from the ASM:


I have been researching an old Hollywood Hills estate and recently
confirmed that it was once owned by silent film writer/director John W.
"Jack" McDermott (1892-1946). I know he bought the property in 1937,
possibly after the Depression forced the previous owner into default.
In 1946, when Jack died at age 54, the property passed to E. J.
McDermott, who may have the younger brother, Edward. I am trying to
find some biographical info about him other than what shows up at IMDB.
Ultimately I would like to contact descendants if that should prove
possible...I don't know if Jack married and/or had children.

Can anyone provide or point me toward further infoprmation about this
gentleman? Googling him certainly turns up an intriguiung anecdote
(though I would like to verify it):

"Jack McDermott was a Hollywood film writer and director during
the 1920s and 1930s. McDermott is described as one the "biggest
jokester in Hollywood film history".
"One of McDermott's favorite gags was to take a guest for a ride in
his Model T Ford. He would drive recklessly through the mountains, and
when his passenger complained he would yank the steering wheel from its
column and throw it out the window -- the car was actually steered by
specially-installed foot controls.
"It is also said that the McDermott home was known for wild parties.
The house featured secret tunnels and sliding panels, and one very
special room where everything was upside down. Rugs and furniture were
fastened to the ceiling, and drapes, pictures, and even the chandelier
hung 'upwards'. McDermott deposited inebriated party-goers there and
would watch through peepholes as they came came to in the disorienting
chamber."

I might know where the scant remains of that house are, but I need to
know more about Mr. McDermott to be sure.

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MD²
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Postby MD² » Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:27 am

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Last edited by MD² on Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Wed Aug 17, 2005 6:52 am

VA-VA-VAVOOM!

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Tony
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Postby Tony » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:07 am

MD,

Thanks for the terraserver work! It's a really valuable addition to this group!

Now, if only a member had a helicopter. . .

Tony
Tony Merchell

Architectural Photographer
www.glassandsteel.com

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Postby Joe » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:24 am


caramia
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Hello

Postby caramia » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:18 pm

I never expected to get a reply after 9 months - especially one with such fascinating information!!!

One of the Spiderpool "members" did a title search on the property and came up with John McDermott's name. We also did an IMDB search and found out his professional background. But the information you provided from the ASM is icing on the cake.

Having been to the site - I really don't think the house survived in any part. None of the adjacent houses either date from that era or look like the whimsical confection described.

I would LOVE to hear any more information that you dig up. And, of course, if the Spider Pool people come up with anything (before it's posted on the blog) - I'll be happy to pass it along. Unfortunately, many of them seem to have become more obsessed with a place they call "the Hacienda" which was the site of a good many vintage nudie shoots.

Cara

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Just a tidbit.

Postby ptahhtp » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:47 am

I have been researching John McDermott, born 1893 died 1946 the very year the photos started at the Spider pool. In the list of his films one title leapt out at me, The Spider and the Rose 1923. It will be interesting to see if someone can locate some production stills from that film. They might be revealing. All for now.


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