Q.M.I. Presents
The Blackboard Newspaper
Mystical Journey

From Hollywood Blvd. To Blue Jay Way

by Dr. Derek Lamar

Teen Screen magazine just wasn't the same and things were happening to me inside. I needed to get my music going. That's what it was all about. That's how I ended up working for entertainment publications to begin with; I wanted to be a rock star. I should have just done a photo spread exposé on myself and slipped it in the magazine. Shelly would probably have noticed when the "bluelines" came back from the printer for proofing however and I would get fired. So instead of that happening, why don't I call him a bastard and see if he'll fire me for that?

"What did you say?" Shelly asked. "I said I called you a bastard!" I snapped. (Those words would haunt me my whole life because of the sentence construction. That's what being a writer does to you.) "You're fired. Get your stuff and get out of here!" Shelly yelled. It probably didn't help that this happened in front of all of the girls opening that day's puzzle envelopes. I don't even remember why Shelly pissed me off. He was a cold-hearted greedy conniving Hollywood publisher who only cared about himself. But he wasn't so bad. I was so immature and always seeking the approval of father figures it wouldn't matter what happened. It just wouldn't work out right in my world.

Now I was out of a job and was going to have to get money to live on. I went down to the Department of Employment the next day. I went in and filled out the paperwork and everyone was nice. But a few days later, probably a week or so, they sent me a notice letting me know my claim was being contested. It seems Shelly alleged that language of that caliber wasn't used at Teen Screen magazine. I had to argue my side of the case and an arbiter would make a final decision. It wasn't until a few weeks later, unfortunately, that I did remember the perfect argument for my case. I remembered that Shelly had created his own advertising agency and finally came up with the name of "Copplewaite, Untermeyer, Nathanson and Turner." He thought this would be funny because the girls in the New York offices would be too lazy to type out the whole name and they would abbreviate it: "C.U.N.T." I won my case without it but that would have been sweet.


14 Lost in L.A. Fog;    Ask a policeman on the street;    Entire day breaks

A short time before this I met actress Barbara Gates when she came to Teen Screen magazine. Shelly met her at some entertainment function. She had been in several television shows including Star Trek, Medical Center and others. But this was a slow period and Shelly had her doing some part time work in the office with puzzle club stuff. We became close friends. The house next door to her was available for rent and Michael and I took it. Now we were living across the street from Ray Manzarek of the Doors as the 9000 building loomed above. Teen Screen's bookkeeper lived on the other side of Barbara. She was girlfriend to Bruce Johnson of the Beach Boys. She would tell us weird stories about Brian Wilson that Bruce would tell her in confidence. West Hollywood is real quiet. Right. When you hear someone say "Shhhhh!" they usually add, in a whisper: "I'm trying to hear what they're saying at the next table."

(Above: Blue Jay Way house)

A couple of months later Michael and I were invited to Barbara's birthday party. It was a small Hollywood Hills gathering. I knew I had to go because it was being held on Blue Jay Way. Not just anywhere on Blue Jay Way but in the house where George Harrison wrote the song in 1967. Barbara's lawyer, Ludwig Gerber, was the owner of the house and attorney to various entertainers including Peggy Lee. But to be in "the house" was really amazing. Blue Jay Way had always been one of my favorite songs. It has a very spiritual quality about it, even more so now that my interpretation of the song is deeper and more personal. But the Beatles were spiritual icons at the time to me, voices in the wilderness, voices from beyond, angelic, alien, personal, impersonal. Going to this party was almost a pilgrimage.

Michael and I arrived and knocked on the door. The door opened and a man let us in. It was Ludwig but I hadn't met him yet. Two large Siberian Huskies flanked his sides with blue unearthly eyes that seemed to look through you. He led us to the back of the house where the other guests were gathered and having a good time. Barbara stood up to greet us. She introduced us to everyone. First Ludwig Gerber. Then there was comedian Paul Lynde who smiled and lifted his Vodka. English actress Hermione Baddeley was there (of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Mary Poppins fame) and she smiled and nodded her head. A white haired gentleman named Thane Walker and a young man named Tom Charlesworth who, as it turned out, was the son of singer Marion Bell, star of the original Brigadoon and wife of Alan J. Lerner. A very charismatic woman with silver hair named Norma Keller was there also. And Frank Ralston, former vice president of ABC Television was there, whom I knew from Barbara and became a close friend. Another guest whom I ignorantly thought was the bartender fixed Michael and I our drinks. I made a fool out of myself giving him a hard time about not being able to fix me the drink I asked for. He was gracious, even to an ass.

Barbara was encouraged to open her presents. She picked up a small box containing one of those joke diamond rings with a huge fake stone. Paul Lynde gasped and drew back as if startled and said, in Paul Lynde fashion: "I thought it was a flash cube!" Everyone laughed. You couldn't help it. It was once said that Paul could read names out of a phone book and make you laugh. And this was true. Barbara opened her other presents and the evening continued with warmth and laughter. Michael and I made a few jokes about the old guy with his young companion. We didn't know it was his secretary. Finally everyone began to leave and Thane walked up to me and said: "You should come to our place in Santa Monica some time. We have a school. There are a lot of young people your age there. I think you would like it." I said thank you, shook his hand and he and Tom continued on down the hall. That made me so mad. "People my age." I hated people my age. Was I a child? An inferior human being incapable of mature conversation?                                

(Left: Norma Keller at a Thane Walker gathering)  (Above: Gurdjieff, Derek Lamar, Thane Walker)

I was soon to find out who this man was. He had been a student of the famed mystic, Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. He had studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins and George Edwin Burnell. He and Kahlil Gibran had been roommates. He had met Adolf Hitler and would be one of the few guests to see inside Hitler's famous Eaglenest Retreat in Adlerhorst where the conquest of Europe was being staged in pictures upon the walls even before history could write of the events yet to unfold. I would learn that Thane's school was a Fourth Way school and taught much of what Gurdjieff had taught along with general metaphysics and ontology.

I would end up going to this "School" where I would be immersed in a tradition of mysticism beyond all my imaginings and yet one which would answer all of my questions. I would learn to reach into my consciousness and touch the stars and fall back to earth to face the pain of being a child and why I hated "my own age" and what it all meant. I was on a new journey now, a mystical journey, one which would never end. Now when I think of meeting that man in the Blue Jay Way house I hear the words:

"There's a fog upon L.A. And my friends have lost their way. We'll be over soon they said, but they lost themselves instead. Please don't be long, please don't you be very long, please don't be long, for I may be asleep." (George Harrison, Blue Jay Way, 1967)*

Saga continues: Music, Madness, Mysticism, Memories where Gurdjieff Meets Christine Jorgensen.

© Copyright Derek Lamar 2004


*Blue Jay Way

There's a fog upon L.A.and my friends (Derek Taylor and Harry Nillson) have lost their way
We'll be over soon they said. Now they've lost themselves instead.
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long or I may be asleep
Well it only goes to show and I told them where to go (Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills)
Ask a policeman on the street. There's so many there to meet
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long or I may be asleep
Now it's past my bed I know and I'd really like to go
Soon will be the break of day, sitting here in Blue Jay Way
Please don't be long please don't you be very long, please don't be long or I may be asleep.
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long, please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long, please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long
Don't be long - don't be long - don't be long
Don't be long - don't be long - don't be long.

~ George Harrison (recorded by The Beatles on Magical Mystery Tour)

More information on the Blue Jay Way house can be found here!
Great website and pictures.

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