1995 has begun with a whimper: Chasen's is closing; the Rams moved to St. Louis; Orange County is going bust; the Dodgers are in limbo; Hollywood Boulevard is sinking; Los Angeles lost out on federal funds for empowerment zones; the city remains dusted with the psychic ash of recent floods, fires, quakes and civil disturbances, and the O.J. Simpson trial is a viscous fog that enervates even as it entices.
Los Angeles needs a lift. But what--or who--will provide it? Bill Clinton? Richard Riordan? Heidi Fleiss? This city's in trouble. Our biggest celebrity is an agent. We need something else, something bigger than we are, something bigger than Mike Ovitz and the Simpson defense team combined.
How about the royal family? After hundreds of years, and a series of remarkably unfortunate marriages, the British are tired of them. No doubt the Windsors could use an extended holiday: Why don't we borrow them for awhile, say, 30 or 40 years? Or simply buy them outright?
Sure, they'd be a little steep, but nothing the J. Paul Getty Museum couldn't handle. (The purchase of Britain's beloved treasures is a specialty.) In fact, perhaps they could live in one of the Getty wings part of the year. Save for Aaron Spelling's house, Forest Lawn and a few tacky reproductions of castles, it's the closest thing we have to a stately home. Wouldn't it be grand to drive out to Malibu on a Sunday afternoon to see the Greek statues, the Roman vases, the British royals!
Imagine it: The parties! The intrigue! The rumors! (Prince Charles and Barbara! Charles and Lonnie Anderson! Charles and Madonna!) And more: The UK/LA festival year-round! Indoor polo at the Forum! Terrific Rose Parade grand marshalls for years to come!
(KTLA's Bob Eubanks: "Once Again, that's the Poway High School marching band." Stephanie Edwards: "Aren't they special!" Bob Eubanks: "And rounding the corner is the 1996 grand marshall, Queen Elizabeth II!" Stephanie Edwards: "Doesn't she look great! And how 'bout that coach, Bob!")
On his last, recent visit to Los Angeles, Prince Charles visited an inner-city playground. The Urban League's John Mack said, "He was great!" Which just goes to show how much this city could use some first-class parleying. And what a public-relations coup it would be over the new British outpost of New York: Tina who?
What's in it for the Windsors? Sun, for one thing. Wolfgang Puck, for another. (They're really German, you know.) And guest spots, for the Queen on "Murder, She Wrote," and for those young princes with nothing to do, "Baywatch." And there would be 6,000 long miles between the family and Fergie and Diana. As for Charles and Diana's boys, William and Henry, well, it shouldn't be too hard to entice them out to Malibu, eh? Young, rich and spoiled--gosh, save for their accents and bodyguards, who'd notice?
And the British? Oh, they'd part with their royals with such sweet sorrow. Fleet Street would scream out in extremely large headlines, and funny-looking men would make guttural noises in the House of Lords. And they'd all loathe us money-throwing Americans more than ever.
But, of course, it would serve them right--and even as we smile and embrace, nothing could give us more pleasure than to put the British in their proper place. It's a match made in Southern California heaven.