William Powell helped create a starry atmosphere in Palm Springs
In the 1960s, Palm Springs was primarily a “movie colony” and visitors could grab that idea just by walking around town. The city’s population was made up of people from all walks of life and came from all over.
William Powell, the suave detective who starred in the 1934 film The Thin Man, when asked why he rarely returns to New York City, said, “Why should I? Everyone I know comes here sooner or later. “
Powell and his wife, Dianna Lewis, whom he called “Mousie” because of her small size, lived in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood and played tennis at the Racquet Club. An exclusive private tennis club, the Racquet Club was owned by actors Ralph Bellamy and Charlie Farrell.
The club attracted many who lived and worked in Hollywood, but wanted a place where they could do heels on the dance floor as well as on the tennis courts. Many of those who came to play stayed and became part of the business community.
Hollywood stars were linked to many local businesses.
As you walked through the town and surrounding area, you could see Melody Ranch by Gene Autry (now Parker Palm Springs) Indian Wells Hotel by Desi Arnaz and L ‘Horizon by Bonita Granville. Even though William Holden didn’t put his name on the marquee, he owned half of the El Mirador Hotel (now the Desert Regional Hospital) with the extraordinary promoter, Ray Ryan.
Even Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, Claudette Colbert, Phil Harris, Bill Goetz and Bill Perlberg owned Blue Skies Village, a trailer park in Rancho Mirage. Now if you needed to buy anything from tack mat to chandelier, Alan Ladd’s gear located on S. Palm Canyon Dr. was the place to go.
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There are tons of ways to find out more about Palm Springs, which turned 83 in 2021. One of the most intriguing ways is to explore the history of the city.
The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place matches today.
For more information visit pshistoricalsociety.org, or visit their location at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.
• READ NEXT: Discover other interesting historical facts about Grand Palm Springs.