Chapter Twenty-three - 1992, 93, and 94
Los Angeles & Palm Springs
Edward Carter's TRAVELS©
morphs into the
RŌM™ TravelVision Network
that morphs into
TRAVELVISION™ - Interactive TravelVision Network
(Equivalent to 76 pages in hard-copy)
Jim and Mary Alinder
Jimmy Wayne Myhre (James/JWM)
Patrick Veitch and David Silvestri
Stella Theodoulou and Marti Harlow
Aunt Ruth and Paul Ransom
Henry and Esther McKenty
John van Vliet
Leslie and Paul van Cott
The Werner Girls
Sally Packard and Dinah Reath
George and Elizabeth Lane
MLC/Mother/Mom/Nanny/Margaret L. Carter
Patrick O’Connell and Reinhardt Lynch
Nat King Cole
Monika and Steven
Rick van Vliet
Grace (Dade) and Wim van Vliet
“Lady Di” Diane Connors
Annette van Vliet
Sarah Sherman Carter
Moments in Chapter Twenty-three
“The Folks who live on the Hill” - We Move to Skyline Drive!
Myhre Management Founded!
Mito joins us in the Woods – it’s a Camp!
MLC and Woof in the Hollywood Hills!
We move to Palm Springs across from Nat King Cole’s!
Villa Royale – not very!
Gaudi Afternoon, Evening, and Night!
Edward Carter, Inc.’s I.P.O. – P.U.!
RŌMing the World!
We create the Interactive TravelVision Network!
U-Haul, We-Haul, We All Haul to… San Francisco!
Update from Chapter Twenty-two…
James/JWM and I are living on Sweetzer Ave. in West Hollywood. JWM is working as an actors’ manager under the auspices of Alan Somers Management.
I am working on Joe DeLuna’s idea of floating a company to market my expertise in travel and to leverage all my experiences running The Point and writing Edward Carter’s TRAVELS©.
Bella Bella, our Maserati Quattroporto is luxuriating in our garage.
We have just returned from a glamorous, European trip with Miss Audré that I had orchestrated as a present for James. Some eighteen months ago, James discovered he was HIV positive, and, these days (1962), many think that the condition is an imminent death sentence but I was determined that our life would be as good as we could make it for as long as possible and we had a great trip.
It’s January 3rd, 1992 - James is happy, dedicated to APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles), and looks and feels healthy.
Mid-January, the Alinders come to L.A., we dine at home, and the next day, visit the L.A. Photo Expo.
Johnny Galliher sends a note…
James falls in love with a Suzuki Jeep, buys it, and names it “Figaro.” It’s almost as cute as he; together, they’re unbeatable!
Buzzing through the Hollywood hills, we spy a “For Rent” sign in front of a house perched at the top of Skyline Drive with views over L.A. to the west and Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley to the east. We look at each other, nod, and ring the bell.
It has a two-car garage, living room/dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath on the ground floor; stairs down lead to three bedrooms, bath, and a long deck hanging off the hill. It is $1900 a month; we move into 8626 Skyline Drive on February 27th.
Front door. You’ll recognize the griffins and Dickenson table from my flat on Union Street, San Francisco in the 70s, and the buffalo horns and green pot from The Point.
The living room/dining room
The Tiffany candlesticks used to sit on Granny’s bureau in the House in the Woods.
“The Valley” - a layer of taupe-colored smog floats on the horizon most days.
Coinciding with the move, I ask James if staying with Alan Somers makes a lot of sense. Frankly, I’d prefer if he were to slow down and take life easy.
In fact, Alan Somers Management had changed its name to Somers–Teitelbaum-David when Alan pulled in two partners from William Morris, then became Pure Arts Management when the company got a production deal at Warner’s Television. These changes help James decide to leave the company.
From an online bio:
Pure Arts Entertainment/Somers-Teitelbaum-David
February 1989 – February 1992 (3 years 1 month) Los Angeles
Responsible for client support and film/TV development at Warner Bros.-based management and production company (studio deal, Warner Bros. Television). Provided client support for independent management company specializing in above-the-line writers, directors, and acting talent. Developed film & TV projects for Warner Brothers Television, Warner Bros., Trimark, CBS, Lifetime TV, and Canal+ Plus, among others. Screenwriting credits: "Gaudi Afternoon" (Lolafilm/Canal+ Plus, director: Susan Seidelman) and "Gumm Sisters" (pilot, Lifetime TV).
So, James leaves Alan under very cordial circumstances and sets up his own company – Myhre Management. His coddled clients happily move with him.
Got a nice letter from Johnny Galliher…
One of JWM’s clients is active in animal rescue and presents us with a lovely cat. James names him “Woof.”
I sound a little foolish calling him to the door in the morning.
One of the reasons I like Skyline drive is the double garage and as soon as we are in, I start converting half of it into a darkroom. Mid-April, I solder the last of the copper and have hot water! We celebrate with dinner at La Luna with Patrick and David; Clint Eastwood was at the next table. Ah, L.A.
On the 29th, the L.A. riots erupt – we can see the fires from our perch on the mountain.
We love entertaining - the kitchen is teeny but opens onto the living/dining room; everyone gets a chance to pitch in.
On May 1, I cook Mito’s Chicken Adobo and Stella and Maryedith stay the night.
Stella (with cigarette) sits next to a horny lamp from The Point sitting on top Aunt Ruth’s 1896 Louis Vuitton trunk looked over by Cousin Amelia in the portrait on the wall. The silhouettes are my maternal great, great, great grandparents.
That night, Woof did not come home. He returns the next morning smelling of cigar smoke. I try to wash him and end up with shredded forearms. I’d never had a cat before!
James and I celebrate his birthday on the 20th at the Hotel Bel-Air…
followed by a bash on Skyline Drive that ends with breakfast…
The next day, James, Maryedith, and I fly to Burlington, Vermont, pick up a rental car, board the Grand Isle Ferry for the Adirondacks, and drive to WaAwA.
Cousin Alix assigns us to two-bedroomed Jubilee (it has baseboard heating!) and we settle in overlooking Square Pond.
I don’t have a clue how he knows where I am, but Mito calls! He wants to come up from Manhattan!! He takes the bus!!!
June 22nd Mito arrives. That evening we have salmon corn cakes and blueberry pie. He beats us at Monopoly with hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk, then sleeps in the Guides Cabin… under an electric blanket!
The next day we walk to Lone Pond along the Mosnar (Ransom spelled backward) Trail that had been blazed out by the boys of the Adirondack-Florida School established by my great aunt Ruth and her husband, Paul Ransom. (See Chapter 15.)
Mito refuses to go with us – he doesn’t want to see “Blazes,” the cabin we turned into our home the summer my father died, that I had sold a few years previously. He’s probably right – one should never go back… anywhere, or to anything that holds precious memories.
JWM and Maryedith on the Mosnar Trail
The 24th – It’s raining so we drive to the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake and stop at Maggie’s on the way back. I used to buy most of my farm produce from Maggie when I was at The Point. That evening, I cook “Chicken Mito” (he wouldn’t help me with the recipe); Alix and Maryedith make apple & rhubarb pie.
The 25th dawns as “A Typical Adirondack Day” – clear blue skies and no humidity.
Obviously, it is ‘HAPPY, HAPPY, LAUNDRY DAY.”
After the 40-year-old machine had done its shaking and spinning, and we had draped the laundry over the lines strung between the trees, we (less Mito for the same reason) row the new guideboat and paddle one of the old canoes up Rainbow, through The Cut…
The Cut was dug by the boys of the Adirondack-Florida School to be able to boat from Clear Pond into Rainbow Lake and its connecting waterways.
past the foundations of the Brett’s houses, up through The Flow, and into the hidden, clear circle in the bog.
My old, high-wing, Piper J3, on-floats, that had been Eddie Carroll’s birthday present to me in 1985, is moored at a small boathouse… I’d forgotten to whom I had sold it.
We pass Birthday Cake island, go back through The Cut to the bottom of Clear Pond where Maryedith catches a Perch! The same spot where Henry McKenty, our caretaker, and I used to catch breakfasts of Perch (Sunnies were too small) when I was eight. His wife, Esther, our housekeeper, used to fry them. I don’t remember them being very good, but the memories are.
Back through The Cut, into Rainbow and down past Leonard Island.
Leonard Island on the right. At the foot of the lake, you can see
Leonard’s Dam and the roof of the boathouse.
We are back at WaAwA before 5. Alix cooks chili; more games before bed.
The next day we drive to town – Saranac Lake – and drop Mito off at the Hotel Saranac to catch the bus back to Manhattan. We drop in on Charlie Keough whose been taking care of our boats from before I was born. We go on to Lake Placid and to the horse show.
On the way home, we dawdle in Onchiota – our “hometown.” Tormey’s was the general store where we bought almost everything we needed and got our mail. It was the “Store of Wonders” the sign said. “You wonder if we have it, we wonder if we’ve got it, we both wonder how much to charge for it.”
Tormey’s son, Bing, is sitting on the steps; the years fall away. I am a kid again, there to fill my 3-gallon gas can with white gas to lug it back down the hill to the river and my boat, to take it home for the Chris-Craft. My grandfather would strain the Amoco through a chamois… that was the best cared-for Chris-Craft in the world. The boat was the same age as me. It sort of evaporated after I gave it to my nephew, John, but I don’t really remember much of what happened immediately after I sold The Point.
That evening, Alix and I take out the new guideboat while Maryedith and James fish from the canoe. Later we go into town to Leslie and Paul’s for dinner. Leslie is Alix’s eldest daughter. She married Paul van Cott, the son of one of the Werner girls from Rainbow Lake’s “Gold Coast.” After dinner, we go dancing at The Waterhole, the only “joint” in town.
June 27th is our last day in The Woods. Walt Patnode, an ex-caretaker of WaAwA and mine for a couple of years, and part of a well-known baseball-playing family from nearby Bloomingdale, walks over from the Stafford’s ex-camp on Rainbow’s “Gold Coast.” While James naps in Jubilee and Maryedith is screenwriting on her laptop, Walt rows Alix in the new guideboat up to the top of Rainbow against the wind, intending to drift back with it. But just as they reach the top of the lake, the wind shifts, and he has to row against it all the way back to Leonard’s Dam – damn.
I meet them at the boathouse and take one of my favorite photographs – “Esker Pebbles.” (The topography around our lakes is an esker – rubble left behind by a receding glacier; scientists often come to look.)
After a dinner of barbequed ribs, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and chocolate ice cream pie, we take the customary, last cruise down the river to Lake Kushaqua in the Chris-Craft; there are Northern Lights! How fitting.
The next morning, June 28, we drive to Burlington and fly to L.A., arriving just after 9 PM.
We spend Independence Day at Liz Dalling’s on the beach. A couple of days later, Sally arrives bringing a wonderful gift of cocktail glasses she’d bought at New York’s Metropolitan Museum – they are supposed to be the shape of the dome of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, and I still have them.
Mid-July, we get a fun letter from George and Elizabeth. How we miss them!
On the 31st, Sally departs and MLC (Mother) arrives. As soon as she sees the glasses on the bar she says, “Santa Maria della Salute, I’ve been there!” She’s amazing!
MLC with Woof in a real Adirondack chair.
JWM – The Al fresco Barber!
I’d been supporting Joe DeLuna’s project to take Edward Carter, Inc. public and thought that Patrick Veitch would be a good executive. Excerpts from his bio:
From 1989 to 1991 Mr. Veitch was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Ballet. He recruited new management personnel and once they were in place, resigned in order to relocate to Los Angeles.
From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Veitch led his own company, Patrick L. Veitch & Co., Pty. Ltd. in Sydney, Australia. With a staff of five specialists, he devised marketing strategies for several government and private organizations, including World Expo 88, Queensland Performing Arts Trust, and the Victorian Arts Centre.
As General Manager & CEO of The Australian Opera in Sydney, 1981-86, Mr. Veitch managed Australia's largest performing company with a budget of $25 million and 300 full-time employees. It presents 250 performances annually at the Sydney Opera House and on tour.
Other job experiences include being the first Director of Marketing of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Director of Publications of Manhattan College.
You’ll recall that James had met Patrick through APLA. He was a charmer and comes by with flowers for MLC on August 13.
The 16th - my birthday celebrants are Patrick and his partner, David; MLC; Stella and her partner, Marci; Liz Thorburn, the sister of our London admin executive, who works for the other Liz (Taylor); and JWM and his partner… me! It’s a family affair!
On the 20th John Kay comes for dinner. Almost lost in the banter is his casually-dropped suggestion that we move in with him and split the $1500 rent. I file it away.
The next week, we all go window shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills. In the window of a gallery is a Picasso lithograph, identical but for the number, to one I owned in London in 1967. The sticker says $100,000! Oh dear, all the things we’ve sold or left behind… it sometimes makes the knees weak.
MLC flies home to Naples on September 9; Woof smells of her… nice.
Mid-September, JWM holds an APLA Buddy Group meeting at the house and five days later, strides proudly in the APLA AIDS Walk. We round out the month with dinner for Liz, Stella, Patrick, and David.
Mid-October, James and I drive to Palm Springs and stay with John Kay for the weekend in his very nice house with a pool and views of the mountains. He again brings up the idea of our sharing it; we say we’ll think about it but not right now.
I am far too busy running back and forth to Spokane, Washington where Joe DeLuna had chosen a brokerage house, Empire, Inc., to oversee the establishment of Edward Carter, Inc. and underwrite its Initial Public Offering.
I am in Spokane on the 20th, fork over $50,000 to Empire to do the formalities; Edward Carter, Inc. is incorporated on October 23.
We finalize the basic wording of my prospectus and leave it with them to put it into what they believe will be marketable form…
While much of the following can be found as answers to specific questions in different sections of this document, the Company feels a brief outline here of the evolution of this offering would be useful:
Following an international business career, Mr. Carter retired to his home in the mountains of New York. With hotel space in short supply, he was convinced to accept “paying guests” during the 1980 Winter Olympics in nearby Lake Placid. Two years later, his unique style of entertaining guests as though they were family, earned his “hotel”, The Point, membership in Relais et Châteaux (one of only four establishments in the United States at that time which met this Paris-based association’s strict membership requirements). The next year, he was appointed Relais et Châteaux International Delegate for much of the Western Hemisphere.
Following seven years of running his non-stop “house party”, Mr. Carter sold The Point and returned to London where, under the auspices of Townsend, he established Edward Carter + Associates, a hotel, restaurant, and resort consultancy firm.
Then, in the autumn of 1987, as the result of an ever-increasing tide of letters from previous guests of The Point seeking the plain truth about where to stay and what to do in Europe, Mr. Carter created an informal, monthly newsletter.
“Telling it as it is”, Mr. Carter’s integrity and style attracted subscribers. One turned out to be an advisor to the CEO of British Airways who soon commissioned Carter to write a hotel guide in the style of his newsletter, and a series of travel anthologies for their First Class sections around the world. As this would require more than a part-time effort, Carter convinced Townsend to support the effort and help professionalize the newsletter into a proper journal.
More than $950,000 was invested in design, development, travel, printing, and distribution to prepare it for an extensive world-wide market test.
The test culminated in a survey of the subscribers who acclaimed the effort a definite success and, as many showed considerable interest in investing if such an opportunity were to be available, a corporation was formed, and an established securities firm was commissioned to develop and offer this private placement.
BUSINESS AND PROPERTIES
3. With respect to the business of the Company and its properties:
Question 3 (a) "THE COMPANY"
Edward Carter, Inc. (the “Company”) has been formed to establish three strategic niches in the trillion-dollar international travel industry, by providing:
1) Information essential to the Discerning Traveler through a unique and unbiased Journal and related Fax Service, and
2) An Itinerary Planning, Reservation, and Ticketing Service, internationally accessed by fax, and,
3) An Hotel, Restaurant, and Resort Consultancy Service associated with many of the world’s acknowledged experts.
1) INFORMATION: Edward Carter, Inc. will provide unique, copyrighted information, essential to the Discerning Traveler:
a) by publishing a highly-accurate and devastatingly-impartial JOURNAL devoted to personal reports of individually-selected and secretly-tested establishments of character and value whose combination of location, atmosphere, amenities, service and clientele assure an enchantingly-memorable travel experience; and,
b) by providing similar, travel-related advice by FAX, specifically tailored to the profile and requirements of an individual subscriber.
The JOURNAL: As the industry of leisure travel rapidly overtakes the few unspoiled reaches of our ever-shrinking globe, those discerning persons seeking genuinely memorable places of honest character and value are discovering that timely and reliable travel information is hard to find: most sources are either terse newsletters or advertisement-filled magazines, and travelers cannot afford to reconnoiter each suggestion personally. Edward Carter's TRAVELS ,“An Eccentric’s Monthly Journal; Adventures, Discoveries & Inside Facts” can satisfy this growing world-wide need for unbiased information.
Edward Carter, one of the world’s most respected arbiters of style and taste who created and managed The Point, one of the most highly acclaimed hotels in the world, and became International Delegate for the prestigious, Paris-based Relais et Châteaux, will write and edit this subscription-only, advertisement-free journal which was trial-published in various formats between 1987 and 1991.
Each issue will contain narrative reports of his personal experiences in those hotels, resorts, inns, restaurants, shops, and museums etc. which are currently being featured in the world press, as well as those he has sought out on his own personal itineraries. These totally unbiased critiques and caveats will enable the traveler and travel agent/advisor to make decisions with confidence.
THE FAX TRAVEL ADVISORY SERVICE: Utilizing the data generated in producing the journal, the Company plans to initiate a subscription-only, rapid response, travel planning service that will provide recommendations, via facsimile, concerning restaurants, hotels, sites of interest and other travel related matters. It will be called The Inside Fax®, “Edward Carter’s Candid Comments, Personal Recommendations, and Inside Facts for Discerning Travelers.”
Using a detailed profile of an individual traveler's desires and tastes, this separately sold and supported service will provide specific travel advice tailored to a traveler’s particular criteria, within hours of the request.
This unique service is designed for individuals, travel agents and advisors, as well as being available to subscribers to the journal.
2) THE INTERNATIONAL ITINERARY PLANNING, RESERVATION, AND TICKETING SERVICE:
While Edward Carter, Inc. is not a travel agent, it has long-standing associations with extraordinarily efficient agents in many countries around the world. And while it would never wish to compete with a client’s own agent, many subscribers to its services are in rural areas or do not have the benefit of a close working relationship with an experienced travel/ticketing agent. Consequently, the second unique area of service that the Company will provide the discerning international traveler is its International Itinerary Planning and Reservation Service which also will be a profit center for the Company.
3) THE INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, RESTAURANT, AND RESORT CONSULTANCY SERVICE:
As the International Delegate of Relais et Châteaux for the United States, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Mexico, Edward Carter was responsible for vetting and advising many establishments which wished to become members of this august organization. His international viewpoint is invaluable. Today, acknowledged as the travel world's arbiter of style and taste, Dr. Carter is constantly asked to advise owners and operators of hotels and inns, restaurants and dining rooms, and resorts and retreats. His recommendations are augmented by his fellowship with architects, interior designers, management consultants, culinary and hospitality training establishments, chefs, and engineers around the world. This association of experts will now manifest itself as an international consultancy to be known as EDWARD CARTER + ASSOCIATES which will be launched as soon as Edward Carter's TRAVELS is generating positive cash flow.
Registered Office: Suite 304, North 1212 Washington, Spokane, WA 99201-2401
Board of Directors
Edward G.L. Carter Andrew M. Clarke The Lord Elphinstone Patrick L. Veitch Chairman Canada United Kingdom United States
END OF GENERAL BACKGROUND
I drive home from Spokane on October 29th to find JWM feeling weak. He improves and we host dinner on Halloween.
Waiting for news from Spokane, I begin to mull the idea of moving to Palm Springs, and, on John Kay’s suggestion, send a proposal to Villa Royale, a pretentious little inn with delusions of grandeur.
From its current website…
Built in 1947, Villa Royale emerged in Palm Springs during a period of Post-World War II development in the Coachella Valley. Adding a small pool of guestrooms to the south end of Palm Springs alongside the Deep Well Guest Ranch and Smoke Tree Ranch, Villa Royale was heralded as one of the earliest small hotels in south Palm Springs. Owned and managed by a woman by the name of Evelyn Pell, family lore has it that the California ranch-style hotel took its name from the first initials of Evelyn’s children – Valorie and Richard. As tourism boomed following post-war development, Villa Royale joined the host of hotels frequented by Hollywood celebrities as screenwriters, actors, actresses and industry stars descended upon the Palm Desert oasis that met the “Two-Hour Rule” imposed by Hollywood studios – one that stipulated actors and actresses under contract could venture no further than two-hours from set. Frequented by Hollywood stars the likes of Mickey Rooney and prominent screenwriter Irving Shulman, the man credited with writing “Rebel Without a Cause”, Villa Royale’s colorful heritage is carried on today under the bright, bold design of a 38-villa hideaway that calls to today’s class of creative spirits.
I propose a Management Consultancy Contract; they say they are interested and invite us for a long weekend starting Thursday, January 16.
When I was a senior at Horace Greely High School, I was the star prosecutor in a courtroom drama by Ayn Rand, “The Night of January 16th.” The jury is picked from the audience and comes up and sits in their box on stage. The combative lawyers ply their cases, and the jury decides the verdict - all very real! I won two out of three times. I was hoping for a win in Palm Springs.
In the meantime, Empire is hemming and hawing about our IPO. We can keep track of Empire’s development of Edward Carter, Inc.’s IPO by reading my Reports to the Directors. Here’s an extract from the first one…
Edward Carter, Inc.
Report to the Directors
November 20, 1992
This week I gave Empire 113 names of people of means who know either James or myself and whom we feel are good prospects, or who have friends who would be interested.
In summary, Empire has been given a total of 221 leads, and has received 11 phone calls.
Of course, we hired Empire primarily for its own prosperous client list it had built up over the years, so I would hope any shortfall from our target of $500,000 would be made up easily by them.
Edward Carter, Inc.
Report to the Directors
December 14, 1992
Unfortunately, even though Empire has built up a client list of its own, Ron now tells me that its “accredited” clients are “not actually very good prospects” and, unless our subscribers demonstrate keen interest, he doubts if their clients will invest.
This morning, my personal broker at Alex Brown says he thinks the prospectus looks very good and has shown it to several clients. He is virtually certain about one who is a travel agent in Westchester County but: “Of course, nothing will be finalized until after the first of the year.”
This seal of approval by one of the country’s most prestigious firms is very encouraging.
Stressed, we decide to “get out of Dodge” and head east for Christmas. We fly to Manhattan on the 18th and move into a B&B on East 74th Street. It has one bedroom on the second floor and is rather funky and fun at $150 a night.
We celebrate being back in Manhattan with dinner at our favorite Chinese, Shun Lee Palace. The next evening, we dine with Johnny Galliher and the next with Bill Raidy. Then lunch on the 21st with Sally Packard and her daughter, Liz.
On the 22nd, I meet with Dan Strone at William Morris, my PR and publishing agents – nothing happening - and relax over a giggly dinner with Bobby Short.
On the 23rd, we train and taxi to Sally’s in Baltimore for Christmas. We help decorate the tree, hang our stockings, and play Santa with Sally and the delightful Dinah Reath, their kids (Liz got a black Lab puppy!), and friends. We gave Sally and Dinah an adorable Viatrie breakfast set – “for two romantic people.” A few days later, Dinah and Sally partner under a beautiful cloud of bright balloons; as I write this, it’s been 26 years!
Boxing Day we dine at Sally’s favorite, local, Asian restaurant, and organize a limo to Washington for the next day.
The 27th, we check into The Four Seasons in Georgetown, do the Georgetown Mall, and find a cute Scottish pin for MLC.
On the 28th, we lunch with George, Sally’s son, then James and I “limo” to The Inn at Little Washington that I had recommended be allowed membership in Relais et Châteaux after an incognito visit Sally and I made several years ago. We let Patrick O’Connell and Reinhardt Lynch coddle us with divine food and caring comfort, and usher us into 1993. This really is one of the great hostelries in the world.
The first week of January, we’re back on top of the Hollywood hills; Villa Royale calls asking us to come early. We drive to John Kay’s on the eighth, spend the night at Villa Royale on the 9th and the owners sign the management contract with Edward Carter, Inc.’s affiliate firm, Townsend Properties, Inc.
The place is a mess and totally unorganized. James and I take copious notes… I start on the rooms, James on the kitchen.
Edward Carter, Inc.
Report to the Directors
January 11, 1993
1. We have received our first check for the offering.
2. As the prospectuses didn’t get out until nearly Christmas, I am writing those I feel are potential investors the attached letter.
3. Bill Gillespie of Alex Brown has been asked by someone he feels is a good prospect, to talk about an investment with us.
4. Villa Royale signed our Townsend Properties management contract to take effect February 1.
They also want shares in us in return for shares in them; perhaps even the rolling in of the hotel to our balance sheet after which we could do an amended offering helped by the $2.5M of bricks and mortar. It’s early days, but perhaps we can get closer to clarification by the end of the week.
The point is, they want Villa Royale to be the flagship of what will be a group of special properties we all could have fun identifying and doing up etc.
Nothing else for the moment.
I tell Barbara Cody, our landlady, that we are moving to Palms Springs – a more relaxing environment for James and a business opportunity for me. She is charming in her understanding and, after taking inventory (we missed one grill pan which I am still enjoying), wishes us well.
I get a cute card from Tom Boyd who’s visiting The Oriental in Bangkok. You remember him from my Northern Ireland, London, and Hong Kong adventures. It’s the last mail we receive at the house on the hill.
On the 25th, we hire a pick-up truck and drive our office files and machines to John’s, then back to L.A. to pack up the house. The next day we take another load and stay the night as tomorrow is John’s birthday. We cut the cake and dash back to L.A. to be up for the movers the next morning.
January 28, as the movers, “Load, Lock, and Roll,” pack up Skyline Drive, James has a meeting with Bebe Neuwirth and Sean Young. After JWM’s meeting, we follow the truck and move into 1255 Rose Avenue, Palm Springs.
Front (I’m taking the photograph from the house that Nat King Cole lived in)
Looking toward the bedrooms from Entrance Hall
Just inside the front door - Living Room straight ahead (Dining Room is on the left)
Dining room – (You’ve seen these same mirrors in many of my residences around the world.)
Early February was consumed by tweaking Villa Royale: New phones, Xmas lights in the dining room, new lunch and dinner menus, etc. etc.
Valentine’s Day, Stella and Marti arrive. On their last visit, they were surprised by the tour buses that regularly drive down our street. We explained that Nat King Cole used to live across the street. This visit they brought presents… Nat King Cole Halloween masks! We put on the masks, sit on the lawn, and wave at the buses!
Later in February, we produce Staff Advisories and a Newsletter for Villa Royal. Palm Springs is a small town and the word quickly got out…
James has been involved in a totally new project – getting the option to adapt Barbara Wilson’s book, Gaudí Afternoon, to a movie and write the screenplay.
I muttered something like, ”You’ve never written a screenplay before.”
He responded with, “And I’d never cooked before, hosted a resort before, nor managed actors before.”
Quite right; he is better than most at anything to which he sets his mind.
“How did this all begin?” I ask.
“Barbara Wilson wrote a series of “Cassandra Reilly Mysteries;” Gaudí Afternoon is one of them. I found Gaudí at the Different Lights bookstore after it won A Lambda Literary Award and a British Crime Writers Award.
“My client, Amy Madigan, was happy to be attached to the project. It was because of this that Barbara Wilson agreed to provide a free option.”
He goes to L.A. to meet Barbara on March 2 and returns the next day with the option! He starts screenwriting Gaudí Afternoon on March 4, 1993.
The same day, Monika, the co-owner of Villa Royale, comes into my office at the hotel and hands me my first check. My smile freezes when she says, “You may have to wait a bit for the next one, we have to save money.” Oops
On the twelfth, the Palm Springs Film Festival opens and Maryedith comes out from L.A. to stay with us. It’s also my nephew, Rick’s, birthday. Fun for some; not for me… Empire is a dud!
Edward Carter, Inc.
Report to the Directors
March 19, 1993
Empire’s totally incompetent handling of our affair has destroyed our credibility with our customers and within the industry and derailed what would have been a successful offering.
While they have never shown us the actual sales agreement, we have constantly been assured that they would do the job and we have a contract that they would make their best efforts.
As they have so desperately failed to make those best efforts and have so damaged our position, I have taken more legal advice and will write Ron demanding our $50, 000 back, the control of the escrow account, and the termination of our association, or I will make a formal complaint to the National Association of Securities Dealers, and to Mr. Beatty of the Securities Division of the State of Washington who recommended Empire, and we can then determine what further steps to take.
Our house is almost as busy a hotel as Villa Royale - the next day, my sister Grace and her husband, Wim, arrive. We haven’t seen each other in years but get along like a house afire.
John Kay, Me, JWM, and Wim
Mar 21 – Grace and Wim return to L.A. to continue their trip and Stella and Marti arrive for five days.
March 26 – Dianne (Lady Di) Conners arrives for the weekend and we go up Indian Canyon.
Monika is two weeks late with my check due April 1. The next day, David Garrett to whom I sold The Point, called to say that my neighbor/secretary/bookkeeper/friend, Gean Farr, who had been my Gal Friday for all my years at The Point, was deathly ill.
I fly to San Jose overnight to explore a CD-ROM idea.
Gean died on the 26th. I was very sad.
Edward Carter, Inc.
Report to the Directors
April 27, 1993
1. I did not write Ron “on Monday demanding our $50, 000 back etc. Instead I talked to our lawyer who, because of a conflict of interest put me on to someone else in Spokane. He is an experienced litigator and, after reviewing all the correspondence, begged to take the case on a contingency fee basis. The complaint was filed today in the Superior court. As Empire stands to lose their license, they may come back with an offer. Otherwise, it will take 9 months to get to court but we could win a settlement in excess of 1/2 million.
2. Villa Royale is still meeting its commitment to us but I would guess there will be problems.
3. Visited San Jose last week to meet with some computer nerds, see following.
4. I am putting together plans to create a CD-ROM of all our data and perhaps install “kiosk” machines in travel agents and sell to the retail market through bookstores, computer stores etc.
5. I am designing a brochure to mail to hundreds of hotels who will be asked to pay a registration fee of $500 each. That will pay for the software work and initial hardware. Travel agents will pay an as yet undetermined subscription fee and we will lease them the kiosk. Retail purchasers will pay $49.50 for the disc and, like the travel agents, an annual subscription fee for the updates. Please let me know what you think. The hotels will need selling and each of us can help this project succeed.
On May 1, I conceive RŌM™ (pronounced roam)…
It’s still mainly a blank page but this is the concept…
Edward Carter's TRAVELS©, Private letters from abroad of the world's underrated treasures and overrated pleasures will soon be part of the world’s most exciting new development in travel information…
The world’s first single-author, independent, international, CD-ROM Travel Guide including an amazing, interactive, multimedia index of thousands of hotels around the world which meet Carter’s criteria of character, quality, and value.
I buy FileMakerPro as a database front-end and start to design a data sheet that can also be used as a questionnaire. I come up with 90 criteria and start to input data from all my travels since 1986. James helps when he has time and, later, his sister, Christie comes to help.
On the 9th of May, James’ Suzuki jeep is stolen right from the curb in front of our house. We never saw it again.
On the twelfth, we get James’ test results. He goes to his doctor in L.A. on Friday, the 14th and is back on Sunday. Getting off the scales on Monday, he is shocked that he had lost six pounds over the weekend. By Wednesday he has gained strength and continues to improve until, by the first of June, he is working on Gaudí every day.
June 6 - I get a memo from Stephen, Monika’s husband and co-owner of Villa Royale:
“Talk with Monika, I can’t afford to pay you any more until the fall.”
Attached was what we were due to date:
On June 12, MLC arrives; she’s with us until the 29th!
A visit to nearby La Quinta in the Coachella Valley
On June 21, we start mailing the RŌM feeler brochures to places I’ve stayed that I’ve accredited for inclusion in the CD-ROM. The brochures are inserted in regular, clear plastic CD-ROM “jewel boxes” and look exactly like any CD-ROM you’d buy in a store.
Two days later, the Charlotte Inn in Martha’s Vineyard called to say they couldn’t play it as they didn’t have a CD player. I explained that it really isn’t a CD, just a brochure that explains it all. (Maybe I was too clever for my own good!) “Please have another look.”
June 24, the first establishment, the Hostellerie de Bressane, calls to say they will happily pay the $500 to join! YES!
On the 29th, the Charlotte Inn calls to say, “We figured it out, our $500 is on the way. Thanks!” We take MLC to the plane in a festive mood.
The next day, this fax arrives from Wim…
With everything clicking, we fly to Manhattan on July 3 for a three-week break. Checking into the Paramount Hotel, we get to the theatre as the curtain rises; Sally and Dinah didn’t think we’d make it. They come to the hotel in the morning, we taxi to Cordelia Street Café then walk the area and visit The Guggenheim. Fourth of July dinner at La Metairie is terrific!
The next morning, we take the Amtrak train to Plattsburgh and a Hertz to WaAwA. Later in Saranac, Charlie Keough takes us for a ride in James’ ex Chris-Craft, Blanche DuBois. It has a new deck arrangement we don’t much like. We go shopping at the Grand Union to stock up the camp’s larders.
We spend ten days on chores, stacking firewood, and clearing the view to Square Pond.
Alix’s husband, Tom, has a new boat – an I/O Maxim; fast!
Our old point on Clear Pond has a horrid, multi-globed, street lamp but the house looks great with fresh paint.
We clean up Beulah’s room.
Beulah is a rubber-faced witch who’s occupied that room for at least 60 years.
Dody Baker/Becker/Oliver comes over from the “Gold Coast” to visit Cousin Deb (Leonard) who, with her brother, Uncle Dan, currently are the title-holders of the Camp. Deb is great – used to race boats, married a nearly-royal Dane, swam with Buster Crabb, and bitches one to the extent that “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” Typical Leonard; so am I!
James fixes the “speed bump” in the oak floor in the Main Cabin caused by a shifting foundation stone. He also makes a beautiful birchbark box and a lampshade to match. You can see it on the table behind Leslie; the floor in front of the table is where the “speed bump” used to be…
We sign the book…
We return to Manhattan on the 17th, check in to the Royalton Hotel, have drinks across the street at the Algonquin, dinner at Le Metairie, and to bed at midnight.
The next day, we wonder the city, and the next, Andrea Vaucher, a great travel writer who used to contribute to Edward Carter’s TRAVELS visits us at the hotel. We all go to MOMA, then the Museum of TV and Radio and close the day with dinner at Luxe with Freddie.
We return to L.A. and Palm Springs on the 20th - me working on RŌM, James on the Gaudi script.
A week later, I get a call from a Walter Glaser who wants to represent us in Australia!
“The more the merrier!” I laugh.
James’ sister, Christie, comes to help on RŌM – there is so much data to enter.
Andrea agrees to deal with Travel Weekly – we need publicity.
August 5, a German man calls about having the exclusive for Mexico and Central America; it’s beginning to feel like the days of I.O.S.
August 18, we fly to San Francisco for a few days of merriment culminating in Stella and Marti’s beautiful wedding held in a grove of trees in a park near the Presidio.
RŌM is launched on September one…September 1
The excitement is shattered by James who is suddenly feeling terribly weak. I drive him to the hospital in the dark… not knowing where it is.
We find it
An I.V. and one Tylenol later, the bill comes to $900.25!
Thank God, the crisis is over as fast as it began.
Toward the end of the month, Patrick and David come for the weekend and we explore the concept of using the corporate shell of Edward Carter, Inc. to develop our vision of an interactive network of travel data.
Strategy decided, we got on the speakerphone and held a Board Meeting…
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF
EDWARD CARTER, INC.
October 2, 1993
The Board of Directors of EDWARD CARTER, INC. , a Washington Corporation, held a meeting at 1255 Rose Avenue, Palm Springs, CA October 2, 1993, at 9:00 a.m. The following Directors were present in person, facsimile, telephone, or by proxy and so sign:
EDWARD G. L. CARTER
ANDREW M. CLARKE
THE LORD ELPHINSTONE
PATRICK L. VEITCH
The President of the Corporation presided at the meeting and the Secretary of the Corporation acted as Secretary.
The President presented to the meeting the written Waiver of Notice and Consent to Holding a Meeting of the Board of Directors signed by all the Directors of the Corporation and instructed the Secretary to make it a part of the records of the meeting and to insert it in the minute book immediately preceding these minutes.
Upon motion the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
"RESOLVED, that the Articles of Incorporation be amended changing the name of the Corporation to Interactive Travelvision Network, Inc."
The following business description was approved…
Interactive TravelVision Network
Publishers of tourism information for discerning travelers worldwide, and
consultants to accredited travel-related service providers.
The Carter Collection©— the world’s only online, interactive, editorially-independent, pictorial database of more than 2000, incognito-inspected, individually-rated hotels, inns, and resorts personally accredited by Edward Carter in 120 countries.
Edward Carter's TRAVELS© - “Private letters from abroad of the world’s underrated treasures and overrated pleasures”, a unique, subscription-only, twenty-four page, full-color, monthly journal of Adventures, Discoveries, and Inside Facts.
The Inside Fax for Travelers™ “Edward Carter’s Candid Comments, Personal Recommendations, and Inside Facts for Discerning Travelers.” — a subscription-only, fax-on-demand, advisory service.
The ITN Management and Marketing Support Program for service providers.
"As the creator of The Point, one of the most extraordinary small hotels in the world, former International Delegate of Relais et Châteaux for the United States, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Mexico and the creator and author of his famous travel monthly, Dr. Carter is respected internationally as an arbiter of style and taste. His readers are sophisticated international travelers who appreciate his forthright assessments and advice because, independently paying his own way, he 'tells it as it is'."
October 4 is MLC’s birthday. In a phone call to her, JWM says, “Ain’t life grand – Ted taught me to canoe, boat, eat lamb, make a fire, eat artichoke, water ski, sail and duck the boom… DUCK THE BOOM!!
Christy is here entering data and stuffing envelopes; Lady Di comes visiting; John has house guests; there’s a lunar eclipse, and then we get seriously good press...
We make some marketing pieces…
December 19, 1993 – It is our 13th anniversary!
December 23, we fly to Baltimore for Christmas and New Year’s Eve with Sally and Dinah and return to Palm Springs on New Year’s Day.
James’ Valentine to me…
Some responses to our mailings…
In March, I hire Derek O’Connor to represent us in the U.K. He visits the establishments I have chosen, closes the sales, collects or confirms my data, and coordinates photographs for the Living Brochures.
April, I fly to Minneapolis for Annette’s (my sister’s daughter) wedding on the 16th to the charming Mr. Duncan Leighton. It is a very happy affair.
While visiting Dade (left, above), I mentioned that friends at Christie’s could sell the bureau she had inherited from Granny, our grandmother (Sarah Sherman Carter). I thought it was quite valuable. We shook on my getting 50% if a sale was successful.
I called Elizabeth Lane in London. George’s charming wife was a member of the main Board of Directors of Christie’s. Elizabeth arranged for a valuer from the Manhattan branch to fly to Minneapolis to have a look. He confirmed that it would be well received at an upcoming auction and Dade and Wim shipped the bureau to New York.
It was on the cover of the catalog and brought $100,000. I received $1000 and a petulant letter from Dade – so much for the thickness of blood.
Returning to Palm Springs after Annette’s wedding, I respond to a fax from Walter Glaser…
… then to San Francisco for five days of meetings and home for…
Christie was the best help imaginable!
May 20 – We celebrate JWM’s birthday with goodies and lunch by the pool…
Getting ready for MLC’s annual visit from June 13 – July 23.
For some time now, James and I have been discussing moving back to civilization. RŌM is proceeding well and it’s time to join the fray in the heart of the interactive world – San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
August 4, we board Woof at the vet, fly to San Francisco, check in to the Star Motel (!) and start house hunting. We concentrate on Russian Hill; Union Street, where I lived in the ’70s; and California Street. Teeny flats’ rents start at twice what we were paying for the big house in Palm Springs, but, God, I love this town!
We pound the pavements but are getting nowhere fast. I call an agent who takes us to Lombard Street.
I recognize the house! It is Rick Booth’s place; Billy Gaylord used to live here in a most magnificent flat on the second floor!
I couldn’t believe it – Rick says it’s for rent and he’d love us to have it! Even though James is a little concerned about the compatibility of Woof’s claws and the upholstered silk walls, we sign the lease on the spot – it took us ten stressful days to find our new home but what a prize!
August 12, we fly back to Palm Springs to pack. Picking up Woof at the vet’s, we ask how problematical is a “claw job?” The vet poo-poos it as easy; “pick him up tomorrow.”
August 16 – my birthday – a beautiful robe and shirt from Dada (my most affectionate name for JWM); Korean food from his mother, Kim; lovely flowers from Christie; and… SHINGLES from me! I rush to the doctor for a shot and pills. I told you house hunting was stressful.
The moving men come on the 18th – two men and a truck at $65 per hour make packing a breeze – we were going to do the actual move ourselves!
Christie arrives with a truck and trailer for stuff we didn’t need and gave to her.
On the 22nd, pulling Bella Bella behind us, we set off in our U-Haul truck and make it half way to San Francisco before tucking into a motel for the night.
The next day, we arrive at 1210 Lombard Street and start a whole new chapter
End of Chapter Twenty-three
All hand-drawn illustrations throughout this book and site
by Sue Hunter