One of my famous predecessors from the Territorial Enterprise, Lucius Beebe, wrote a collection of vignettes entitled: Snoot if You Must. He was famous nationwide in the 1950s for his wit and humor. Coming from an upper crust family with money, he was raised in a rather posh, privileged environment. And with that came an extraordinary education. For some crazy reason, he left the glitter and glamour of Manhattan, and moved to the wilds of the howling deserts and barren mountains in rural Nevada.
He was totally out of place, but I guess people with a lot of money are allowed to be eccentric. A story still told in Virginia City is of the morning that Lucius ran out of ice up in his Victorian on A Street. Undaunted, he simply strode, silver ice bucket in hand, down to the main drag on C Street in his silk dressing gown. He got his ice at the Bucket of Blood Saloon and proceeded back up the steep street. En route, he encountered one of the bewildered townspeople who called out incredulously, "Champagne at this hour?" To which Lucius simply replied: "Doesn't everyone?"
While I was living in that same Beebe House decades later, and still publishing the Enterprise in a traditional newspaper format, I had a visitor from New York who had never been camping. He was a kinky sort of guy with all manner of sexual fantasies. He was a serious devotee of gay male porn in the genre of Falcon, Colt, and Raging Stallion studios – places that were churning out all manner of arousing fare, shot on locations everywhere from sunny California beaches to ski resorts in Aspen, Colorado.
His fantasy was to shoot a porn flick of his own somewhere in the wilds of the High Sierra. He had even brought his movie camera just in case. So I bit: "I know just the place," I said. "But I have no interest in participating – but Dale will!" I proceeded confidently. "He loves to be the star of the show! I'll run the camera."
Dale was my partner at the time. And we worked together too. On our staff was a fellow named John Holloway. "He likes camping and has all the gear. And like, what all could you really need?" I asked.
John loved the idea, and volunteered to go up to a particularly remote campsite and set up the tent, the fire pit, and all in advance. We were to follow. It was early November and there was some snow already at that altitude, but not enough to discourage us or dissuade us from our mission – to make a movie. Bruce, Dale, and I arrived at the appointed time and place in my black Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The small remote campground was totally deserted. But John, true to form, had the whole campsite prepared with a fire going and steaks at the ready. I was flabbergasted at all the stuff he had brought ... dishes, silverware, a nice table cloth, and – above all – dry martinis with olives, in proper stemware.
We dined in style, planning to begin the movie in the morning when the light was good. (That story is another vignette, and one about camping, not cinematography.) Well, when it came time to retire, Bruce and John crawled into the sleeping bags inside the tent, and Dale and I slept in the Rolls – Dale in the front and I in the back. A car like that is very comfortable, as you can stretch out all the way. We talked a bit before falling off to sleep. "Isn't this the weirdest thing?" Dale mused. "Who goes camping in a Rolls Royce?" To which I replied, quoting Lucius: "Doesn't everyone?"