After decades of putting it off or not caring or whatever, Hollywood Elsewhere finally visited San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado today. Which for me has always been the “Seminole Ritz” of Some Like It Hot fame. My first time, yes, but I felt as if I knew the place like the back of my hand.

Tatiana and I stood on the exact same spot where Tony Curtis‘s “Joe” (masquerading as a Shell Oil heir called “Junior”) and Marilyn Monroe‘s “Sugar Kane” (pretending to be a rich girl whose family has threatened to cut her off, wink wink) first flirted. The hotel, built in 1888, has been modernized quite a bit since Billy Wilder‘s classic shot here in the summer of 1958, but…let’s just say that the 19th Century mystique hasn’t been totally eradicated.

What disturbed me (as usual) were the low-rent, low-tide tourist visitors. The creme de la creme of 20th Century society used to stay here — U.S. presidents, movie stars, industrialists — and now the place is crawling with…I don’t want to use the same old epithets. What I am I supposed to do? Applaud the fact that not one visitor today even began to resemble Osgood Fielding III, Spats Colombo, Sweet Sue or “Beanstalk”?

Posted on 12.29.19 after visiting San Francisco’s Top of the Mark: “A time-traveling anthropologist comparing the differences between 20th and 21st Century clientele would be struggling for the right politely descriptive phrases while conveying an honest assessment, as I am now. The truth is that over the last 60 or 70 years certain aspects of American culture have not only gone downhill but sunk into the swamp. We’re talking about the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire here.”