“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, September 6, 1921, Room 1219, St. Francis Hotel, corner of Geary and Powell Streets, San Francisco, California

Film actor Roscoe Arbuckle, 34, is waking up in this posh hotel room and slowly starting to remember what a disaster last night’s party had been.

St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco

His butt is still sore from a stupid accident back home in Los Angeles a few days ago when he sat on some rags soaked in acid that burnt through his pants causing second degree burns.

But Roscoe’s friends insisted that he still come with them for this planned Labor Day weekend bash to celebrate the hit films Roscoe starred in this year—and his new $1 million contract with Paramount. One of them bought him a rubber padded ring to sit on for the long drive.

The suite in this hotel—two bedrooms for them and a party room for everyone—the women and the booze have all been arranged by his friends.

Roscoe is familiar with two of the women from Hollywood. Virginia Rappe, 26, is an actress and sometimes model who had been in a film a few years ago with Rudolph Valentino, also 26. Since then he has become quite a star based on his most recent picture, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But Virginia has only done bit parts and is mostly known for getting drunk and vomiting at every party.

Virginia Rappe

Her friend, Maude Delmont, 35, has an even more scandalous reputation. She provides young women for wealthy men who are then accused of rape and blackmailed. Delmont has even been convicted of fraud and extortion.

Maude Delmont

Roscoe was a bit concerned when he first saw those two in the suite yesterday morning. If the local cops find out, they might feel they have to look into this illegal liquor party.

Yesterday afternoon he had found Virginia in his bathroom, vomiting, as usual. He carried her into his room.

But a bit later, Virginia was on the floor, screaming and ripping at her clothes. Other guests tried to cool her down in a tub of cold water. Roscoe called the hotel manager and doctor, who decided that the young woman had just had too much to drink and could sleep it off. The doctor gave her some morphine.

Roscoe figures he’d better get up now and see how she and the others are doing. Virginia was pretty sick last night.

From the other room he hears one of his friends call him,

Hey, Fatty…”

Disgusted, Roscoe yells back,

I have a name, y’know.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

2 thoughts on ““Such Friends”: 100 years ago, September 6, 1921, Room 1219, St. Francis Hotel, corner of Geary and Powell Streets, San Francisco, California

  1. To paraphrase the character, Mr Dryden, in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (and played by Claude Rains) … ” on the whole, I wish I had stayed in Los Angeles” …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s