This photo almost got me kicked out of Hearst Castle!
A few years back I took in the sights at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. About 10 of us took the tour and it was really amazing. The opulence cannot be adequately described … it was so over the top. Everywhere we turned there seemed to be something made of gold or gilded with gold leaf, as in this bedroom.
When we entered this room I couldn’t help but envision Dorothy Parker here. Some of you may remember that, while a guest at the castle, she had asked for a 2nd martini before dinner. This was a definite “no, no” since Mr. Hearst’s rule allowed for only one drink per person in an evening and she was told to leave at once. It is reported that before she left she inscribed a bawdy poem in the guest book about the hypocrisy of a married man (Hearst) living with his mistress (Marion Davies), but considering it a sin to have a 2nd drink.
With this anecdote in my mind I thought it would be fun to take a picture of the room to take back home, so I took out my trusty little camera out and snapped a quick flash shot. WELL … you wouldn’t believe the uproar this produced. I was thoroughly reprimanded and threatened with expulsion !
I had to meekly hang my head and swear to obedience to the rules before we could continue on the tour. It felt like nothing much had changed since the Hearst days, but secretly I was gloating. I had what I wanted and the result is this photo of that garish bedroom where Dorothy Parker may, or may not, have stayed..
Much more interesting, to my mind, than this stock shot of the castle: