Second in a series
Although the terms “Hollywood” and “film” and “movies” instantly project glamourous images, film historian Ross Hawkins – who died last week — turned such assumptions on their well-coiffed haircuts.
He was workingman all the way.
He looked and acted that way.
The Ocean Park neighborhood native spend his younger days relatively obscurely on sound stages – performing mundane tasks such as shifting parts of sets, but also quietly drinking in details and habits of the acting and directing people around him.
He was much more than workingman, and two of those to-be-addressed qualities elevated him over the crowd.
Possessed by a driving curiosity about early Hollywood and Culver City’s role, he plunged into a study of history with the dedicated intensity of an A-plus scholar.
He wrote with an uncomplicated clarity that resonated with readers, a talent that has eluded more celebrated chroniclers.
Should you doubt that assertion, check out this report from May 25, 2006 (“The Fifth-Place Finisher”).
His everyday looks made a stentorian case for the workingman charge.
His casualness masked an enviable, deeply probing mind. Probing for information, he did not settle for less than his goal.
Medium tall and stocky, his dress was reliably casual.
Often he resembled a late finisher in a marathon.
That, however, would be a misreading.
Among film historians-documentarians, Ross Hawkins was dealt a winning hand.
(To be continued)