Marcia Clark Meets Colonel Klink
by Dr. Derek Lamar
Los Angeles is an odd town. It is like Disneyland. You go to those places that suit your needs. It is a city of automobiles and if you do not have a car you will not be very happy. L.A. to some people is “Hollywood” and that means movies and television. For others it means the music industry. For others it means Beverly Hills: money, cars and big houses. There is a variety of well known and secret areas that have just about anything you can think of for everyone else.
I liked living in Hollywood and West Hollywood because of the entertainment industry. I was a musician, a singer and songwriter and it was the place to be. It didn’t do me any good but at least I felt I had taken the first step. Unfortunately you will never be discovered unless you make yourself a pain in the ass. Nobody will pay attention to you unless you can convince them that you have something that will make their life better.
Above right: Hollywood Boulevard stars rest in peace like the cemetery of fame.
During the period from 1978 to 1986 Nancy and I lived in one apartment there on Horn Avenue. It was a small two-story building that only had eleven units. It was flanked on the north side by bamboo that made the most pleasant sound as breezes would make their way up the hill to pleasure us with fresh air. The other side overlooked the driveway with its subterranean parking and the other buildings in the area as they cascaded below us toward Sunset Boulevard.
As I flip through my journals my life seemed to be filled with incredible ups and downs. So much creativity and also disaster and death seem to fill the pages. I realize we often jot down those most impressive moments yet the connections and surreal apparent links of such information seem like a movie. From a metaphysical standpoint it is my personal and professional obligation to attempt to keep an awareness that this is all happening in my mind, in my consciousness, but the intellectual approach soon is pulled into an emotional reaction and often objectivity is lost to the madness of planet Earth.
I was still convinced I was going to be a “rock and roll star”, and it is true much of my most creative projects unfolded during this period. But also my studies and research into metaphysical things and my other writing was escalating as well. I would have to come to terms with these seeming contradictive events eventually. In the meantime I would enjoy my cruise in this building that resembled “A Ship of Fools”. Eight years is a long time to live in any one place unless you own a home. But as the years would roll by they continued to move faster and faster until you began to feel like you are walking backwards on an escalator. Los Angeles was like that. Everything was always moving and if you didn’t move with it you felt life was passing you by; if you could only pass a law against it.
Los Angeles is a big “Lawyer” town. You cannot go for very long until you find yourself dealing with lawyers at one time or another. Back when I was arrested in that commune I ended up with a lawyer. Then when the F.B.I. was looking for me regarding the draft I ended up having to get a lawyer again. Bruce Margolin, a defender and advocate for drug law reform, wrote a column for the L.A. Image while I was there and I saw him all of the time. Now here I am living on Horn Avenue that runs into Holloway at Sunset and that is where Margolin’s law offices are. Small world.
Above left: Mike Hannon, my attorney (pictured many years later) represented me while I worked for Open City when I had been arrested in a commune. The charges were dropped. Later in about 1971 he was my attorney during my conflict with the Department of Defense and the F.B.I. during the Viet Nam war period. Bill Smith was the top "draft attorney" and Michael Hannon was number 2. He had been a police officer with the L.A.P.D. and later ran for Councilman in Los Angeles. It was my letter from my psychiatrist which got me a 4F. Hannon's advice was that I would probably survive being in Viet Nam longer than I would in prison. Thanks a lot. Above right: Bruce Margolin, attorney specializing in drug reform.
Below: Sal Mineo, actor.
Holloway Drive continues for a block and runs right into Barney’s Beanery on Santa Monica. Sal Mineo lived a few doors down and was murdered in the parking structure in 1976 by an ex-lover/up-and-coming actor who feared Sal might reveal their relationship. I’m sure he got a lawyer. Then I met my Teacher at a lawyer’s house on Blue Jay Way. Later that crazy lady I worked for in Santa Monica had a lawyer draw up a restraining order against me. I ended up having to deal with lawyers at the D.A.’s office regarding a hit and run van that ended up in front of our apartment building. That was a wild night. Usually L.A.’s nights were noisy with cars and sirens but often you were so used to it you really only heard loud parties or family disputes. This particular night there was a stillness in the air and suddenly you could hear crashing and banging and finally sirens followed minutes later. We went out to the front of the building to discover some drunk had been involved in several hit and runs quite a few streets away starting at Clark and Sunset, where the Whisky A Go Go is located, and continued to careen down Sunset ending up at the top of our hill. I guess he thought no one would find him there. He was wrong. We saw him still behind the wheel before the police arrived. Bob Ross, a neighbor next door, who was an actor in many television commercials at that time, came out to see what was happening.
Below right: Werner Klemperer, Colonel Klink of Hogan's Heroes.
Werner Klemperer, who also lived next door, did not peek out that night at the goings on. But he was no stranger and everyone in our building was familiar with him, though we never called him Colonel Klink. He was much too serious for that. His wife, Kim Hamilton, did not emerge either. They probably slept through the whole event. Kim Hamilton is this beautiful African American actress whom I always thought had an air of regalness about her. She was tall, thin, short hair, and very Shakespearean in her execution of the things she would say. Except for the fact that many of her parts were that of a maid, her roles were interesting and she played them like a professional knowing that her characters mattered. She was in “To Kill A Mockingbird” in 1962 but found more work in television over the years in programs such as “Twilight Zone”, “The Thin Man”, “Leave It To Beaver”, “Ben Casey” and “Dr. Kildare”, “77 Sunset Strip” (not far from Horn Avenue as the area portrayed), plus later with “Kojak”, “Mannix”, “In The Heat of The Night”, “Star Trek: TNG” and more recently “The Practice” and “Law and Order”. Yeah, more lawyers.
Below: Kim Hamilton, actress and wife to Werner Klemperer. Scene from "The Parking Attendants" TV series. Also shown is an article from TV Guide.
One evening Betty Cuff, my mentor, was coming over for dinner. Again, it seemed a somewhat calm evening when suddenly we could hear this wretched noise chugging up the hill with an incredible clatter and scraping. I went out front to find my mentor trying to get her car up the steep hill with its muffler dragging on the ground. By this time it has separated, is useless and is no longer muffling anything. I finally get it to break loose and I show her where to park her car. A tenant was out of town so I had her pull in that empty spot. However I was a little nervous because I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that she was parking in someone’s stall. There had been issues about this in the past with friends of tenants. Her car was already loud without the muffler and now the echo of the concrete driveway and parking structure were magnifying it. This, on top of the fact that her car was one of those huge boats and she was having a hard time turning it into the end spot that was next to a wall. She was having a difficult time getting the steering wheel to turn. I think her arms were getting weak from trying to negotiate the steering and then to complicate things her ability to maneuver was all askew. She would move forward and then back up to get into a better position only to have to repeat the process. However she wasn’t making any headway and she just kept going back and forth, back and forth. Meanwhile I am getting anxious expecting tenants to start leaning over their balconies to find out what the hell is going on. I grab the steering wheel and help guide her into the spot and we then go upstairs to the apartment.
Below: Kim Hamilton from the film, The Leech Woman and a scene from "The Big Tall Wish" from the Twilight Zone with Ivan Dixon of Hogan's Heroes and Steve Perry. Far right below: Mt. St. Helen's explodes on May 18, 1980.
We had a great time as usual. We were all close friends and enjoyed each other’s company and shared so many of the same interests. When it was time to go, already quite late, I walked Betty out to her car. She had a difficult time backing the car out into the driveway in order to proceed on down the street in much the same manner as when she arrived. I wanted to die. Which is not a funny use of the English language. Finally she and her locomotive were making their way toward Sunset and I was exhausted from the whole nerve-wracking event. The next day we find out that during the night three people in the building at the top of the hill had their throats slashed and all had died. I told Betty about it and said that her car was making so much noise probably no one could hear anyone screaming. She didn’t think that was funny. I guess it was a little over the top. Four days later Mt. St. Helen blew. There was an astrological configuration happening at that time called “lunar node instability” which always expresses extreme energy and actions that are often regretted later as well as poor decision-making. The old man refusing to come down off the mountain could be seen as one of those poor choices.
Not long after this Gordon Clark and his girlfriend, Marcia Kleks, moved into one of the apartments. Gordon rode a motorcycle and Marcia had a small compact car. Gordon was a scientologist and going to school and Marcia had been a dancer. By this time, however, she was a lawyer and having been disappointed in some of her defense cases she chose to go to work for the district attorney’s office. Soon Gordon and Marcia got married and Marcia Kleks became Marcia Clark. Marcia and Gordon used to get into some heated arguments but probably no more than anyone else. They did, however, have the unfortunate opportunity of living next door to an elderly lady who on a couple of occasions called the police. This was not only annoying to Marcia but also embarrassing as you might imagine. It would be years later in Bakersfield that I would have my television set on as I watched the opening statements in the O. J. Simpson trial on the evening news and wondered who that woman was. Finally it all clicked and I yelled: “Nancy? Come in here. You’re not going to believe who one of the attorneys is on the O. J. Simpson trial. It’s Marcia Clark!”
Above: Famous O. J. Simpson mug shot.
Below: Marcia (Kleks) Clark in court, on her books and posing. Marcia was thrust into the public forum unprepared for the circus atmosphere which would follow. She handled herself well but with any fame it comes with a price.
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2006
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