The Gritz of Old Hollywood.

Link to Today’s Strip

Yup. It’s just a neighborhood covered in billboards. Due to Botcons and TFcons in the area, I’ve been to Hollywood four or five times myself. Because every time I went, there was someone else in the group who hadn’t seen it. It’s certainly a place. I’m glad I got to see it once. Point at the stars on the Walk, go to the pavement of the Chinese Theatre, and put my own hands where Harrison Ford (and literally thousands and thousands and thousands of foreign tour groups) have put their hands before.

But I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite place to go in LA.

Because it’s a street lined with desperation. Every person you pass that isn’t a tourist is an uncomfortable sales pitch waiting to happen: smiling with their mouth but not their eyes, scanning every fanny-packed stranger, hunting for the barest indication of eye contact to swoop in. Its not the kind of place for the untrained midwesterner who is used to benignly waving with all five fingers extended at strangers when they pass them on the highway.

Everyone in the comments has been shocked by the survival of the Chateau, and most of Hollywood proper. But I’ll remind you that there have numerous Southern California wildfires since the hotel was built in 1929. I pulled up my old map I made of the fire last year, just to confirm that Hollywood was probably spared, while Cindy and Mason’s Malibu McMansion went up in smoke.

The Bronson Caves are in Griffith Park.

So yeah, it would have been a near thing. If I was the owner, I would have been nervously sniffing my dinner plate of cocaine, and making calls with promises of bribes to the Fire Chief.

But the REAL non-sequitur today is the Starbuck Jones billboard. The premier for that movie was supposed to be going on during the fires last year. Were we supposed to have some pandemic related delay? Those things aren’t cheap to rent, and Hollywood regularly repaints itself in the trappings of whatever the next big blockbuster will be. When I was last there, every billboard, bus stop, and park bench was painted with the Hellboy 2019 movie that bombed.(#notmyHellboy.)

So, we have two options. One, the movie’s release was delayed an entire year and I’m just forgetting. I mean the 2021 Comic Con badges were Starbuck Jones too.

Two, this is a Tommy Wiseau The Room situation. The movie’s already bombed, but they’re hoping to drum up interest in the DVD sales. So they’ve paid for a single Hollywood billboard, month after month, year after year. Four years from now, Masone Jarree will still be staring with his black soulless eyes through his fishbowl helmet out at the drivers on Sunset Blvd.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “The Gritz of Old Hollywood.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Uh yeah, nice observation there, Cayla. I must have missed the arc where she was retconned into a ditzy twenty year old rube who just left the family mozzarella farm for the first time.

    “Gee Les, it’s all just so gosh-darned excitin’! The glitz, the glamour, the stars!”

    “That’s right baby, welcome to Tinseltown…MY town!”

    Gak. You know, if he’d started this arc with “I can’t believe we’re in Hollywood for the big wrap party AND staying at the Chateau Marmont! I’m so overcome with ditzy excitement!” he could have saved himself an entire week, which is obviously why he didn’t do that. An entire week of premise rehashing just to get Les and Cayla from Ohio to Hollywood, full of Hollywood gags straight from the 1950s. Classic FW filler right here.

  2. Mr. A

    Are we sure the billboard is for the second Starbuck Jones movie? Maybe they filmed a third one while we weren’t looking.

    • billytheskink

      Yes, the billboard is for the second Starbuck Jones film, which was subtitled “Rise of the Zeton Warriors”.

      The great fire definitely interrupted the premiere last year, but did it delay the movie’s release? Perhaps TB is about to tell us COVID delayed the release. More likely we’ll get no answers…

    • William Thompson

      I’m sure “Rise of the Zeton Gorge” was the second film, but I’m sure I don’t remember the title correctly.

    • Mr. A

      Footnote: while I was only being half-serious, I decided to take a quick look at some older strips. It was, in fact, previously established that “Rise of the Zeton Warriors” is the name of the second movie. For example, see

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes, because “Rise of the Zeton Warriors” has been name-dropped a few times in the strip as the second movie.

  3. William Thompson

    “On TV it looks much taller.” Which is more-or-less what Peter Sellers said in “Being There.”

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Regarding the “Starsux Jones: Rise of the Zertec Warriors” billboard, I assume it’s got to be A.) The film was fire and/or COVID delayed, like “Black Widow”; B.) The sign was leased by the same person who leased the Angelyne billboard; or C.) the advertising company forgot it’s there. There was a billboard in my town for Rob Schneider’s 2001 “comedy” “The Animal” that remained in place until early 2003.

    The funny thing is, the FW crew could have drawn a smoky haze over the L.A. skyline a year ago as is Battyuk’s custom, and it would still be accurate today. I’m more concerned about the holes in the balcony wall look like Mickey Mouse. Don’t tell me TB thinks Disney might be interested in an FW series (“FunkyVision”? “Les and the Winter Lisa”?), or an actual Starsux Jones movie (“Starsux Jones and the Sentinels of the Solar System”?), or maybe get the Avengers to enlist the Subterranean and Rip Tide, Scuba Cop!

    Incidentally, why is Les welcoming Wife-Not-Lisa to Hollywood? Weren’t they both out there in late 2019/early2020?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Cayla did go to L.A.! Funny how Les completely forgot that happened.

      And speaking of that billboard, wouldn’t that be Mason Jarre on it? You think that would have been noteworthy, since Cayla met him, and went to his house, on that very trip.

      I realize that Malibu is nowhere near Hollywood. But since Cayla has apparently has never seen Hollywood up close until now, it means Les couldn’t be bothered to make a tourist stop for her on that trip. That guy is just a peach, isn’t he?

      I don’t mean to complain about Les every single day, but he’s a piece of shit every single day.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The holes in the balcony wall actually are correct for the balconies on the Chateau.

      Doesn’t mean that House of Mouse won’t come sniffing around.

    • be ware of eve hill

      You found a hidden Mickey!

      That’s actually a thing at Disneyland. People look for them.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Well good! I’ve been looking for Mickey since he disappeared from Comic Con two weeks ago.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Alas, poor Mickey. We hardly knew ye.

          Folks, if you see Mickey walking on the side of the of the road, please give him a ride home.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Coming tomorrow: Cayla gawks at the famous Hollywood sign in slack-jawed amazement as a cashmere robe-clad Les draws on his pipe, sips some cognac and strokes his beard in amusement over his young protege’s homespun naivete.

    “How’d they get them big fancy letters all the way up there like that, Les?”

    “(Chuckle) Oh Cayla, my lovely unrefined diamond in the rough. Sit, and allow me to tell you all about the REAL Hollywood!”

  6. billytheskink

    The Hollywood hills at least were explicitly not spared in last year’s great fire. The fate of Masone and Cindy’s Malibu beach house is undetermined, but their newly-purchased Hollywood house that appears to be located on one of West Hollywood’s winding hillside roads was reduced to greyscale.

    • Hitorque

      Only in this strip can batiuk completely fuck up a “thank god we’re still alive and uninjured!” -moment and make his readership wish all his beloved characters perished in that fire…

    • Charles

      Yes, I sincerely doubt that a fire that somehow spread east over 40 miles jumping plenty of breaks that would otherwise stop said fire (if Batiuk had any idea) would stay on a narrow path the whole way, not expanding into nearby locations with plenty of combustible materials.

      Besides, as the picture you included shows, the fire damage to Mason’s nearby neighborhood was apocalyptic.

      That said, Batiuk has demonstrated that he doesn’t care about this consistency. Mason’s house burns to the ground such that there’s not a structure standing in view, and yet entire neighborhoods just blocks away are untouched. Since they don’t belong to a character he cares about, they don’t exist.

      (Also remember that he had Hollywoodland Studios burn to the ground, where ever the hell that was, and the fire was close enough to Pete and Mindy’s motel that they could see massive flames. Again, where ever the hell that was)

  7. Hitorque

    Kayla is acting awfully superior in her assessment of Hollywood, given that she’s from freaking northeast Ohio…

    And didn’t she already see Hollywood in Jan. 2020, when she stayed at Masone’s Malibu beach mansion for a week?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Northeast Ohio is a great place to live, despite Batty’s depiction of it as a dreary, cancer-laden hell hole.

      I gave my assessment of California below and would not look down on others assessment of Ohio. The value of one’s opinion isn’t dependent on where you live.

      A lot of my family is interested in moving back to Ohio once they retire. Better cost of living, less traffic, etc. Their jobs are tied to Hollywood so they can’t leave yet, but they plan to.

      • Hitorque

        Fair enough… I just want Kayla to quit bitching and moaning about flying first class out to Hollywood parties and staying in five star hotels on someone else dime only to say Los Angeles is somehow underwhelming to her.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yeah. Her, Les, and Batty give Ohio a bad name. I remember my first trip out to California, I was so excited to go.

          Nowadays, I usually visit the Getty museum, enjoy some nice meals, dip my feet in the Pacific, then head on up to see my other cousins in Santa Barbara.

  8. Charles

    Nothing is ever good enough for Batiuk’s “good” characters.

    It’s just surprising that Les didn’t have a look of disdainful revulsion when he asked Cayla what she thought.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “What do YOU think?” sneered Les, smugly secure in the knowledge that his unrefined hick wife couldn’t possibly appreciate what she was seeing.

      “Gee whiz, Les, it sure does look different than what I seen on the pograms on Ma’s old Philco!” brayed Cayla, as she gawked in amazement.

      “That’s what I love about you, Cayla” he chortled derisively. “You don’t overthink things. Now get inside, we’ve got to get you out of those tatty rags and into something decent so you don’t humiliate me in front of my important friends”.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Les doesn’t really care what Cayla thinks. He’s just fishing for praise for himself. “So, what do you think? Isn’t this an amazing place I’ve taken you to? Aren’t you married to a wonderful guy?” Because he thinks he’s being so magnanimous to Cayla, after a year-plus of ignoring her so he could tend to Dead Lisa. It like he’s pretending to overcompensate.

  9. Sourbelly

    It seems that the whole point of this week’s strips is to show us that New Cayla is a shallow, moronic, superficial dipshit. Is this leading to a Voldemoore gets divorced arc, or is it just moore time-wasting wankery on Batboy’s part?

  10. be ware of eve hill

    What happened to Les’s ring finger (panel #2) Bad game of five finger filet? Looooooser!

    Now is your chance, Cayla! Push Les off the roof!

    • be ware of eve hill

      What am I saying? It’s a balcony, not a roof. Les wouldn’t have a penthouse suite.

      Push him anyway, Cayla.
      Newspaper Headline: Obnoxious Idiot Ohioan Jumps From Hotel Room Balcony

      • William Thompson

        According to his grief-stricken widow, his last words were “To the Batmobile, Robin! We can make it from here!”

    • J.J. O'Malley

      I assume he lost a bet over a cigarette lighter with Peter Lorre in the hotel lobby.

    • William Thompson

      Somebody punched him in the nose.

  11. Eight is un oeuf

    I don’t know how this pair manages to pull themselves up from the bootstraps after the hourly hardships they endure.

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Agree with you CBH, and this strip. I’m glad I got to see Hollywood, but it’s definitely better on TV than in person.

    Now I do not enjoy visiting out there. The long plane ride, the traffic, the overall shabbiness of California. It has changed a lot since the 70s when I first travelled there to visit family.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Starbuck Jones is on the billboard for one reason only: because it’s a goddam silver age comic book. It’s just like Phantom Empire at this point: it’s A Thing Tom Batiuk Approves Of, so it must be shoved into every panel possible. Even when it distracts from the story, and actually contradicts it. Right in the middle of Lisa’s Story, after we had a month-long comic book arc. He can’t leave his precious comic books alone for even a week anymore.

    Funky Winkerbean may be transitioning into Act IV. Les, Funky, Dinkle, and the rest of the cast will fade into the background as the strip becomes nothing but Atomik Komix and Comix Corner stories. Judging from this week, the conclusion of the decade-long Lisa’s Story is barely keeping Batiuk interested anymore. He’s already previewed a future story that will take place at the Palm restaurant in New York City. This is almost certainly another comic book publishing story.

    Batiuk gives no hint of retiring. And why should he, when he can just keep droning on about the one thing he actually cares about, with no performance standards of any kind?

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think you could be right. Westview High School has been completely dropped. Dinkle may be phased out after his upcoming Tournament of Roses appearance. Funky may continue to make occasional appearances because the strip is named for him (and possibly because TomBa frequents Luigi’s).

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Good point. Montoni’s is important enough to Tom Batiuk to have a continued presence. So we’ll probably get more limp one-week arcs that can take place there, like “Funky whines to Crazy Harry about his house renovation.” And we’ll get the stupid-ass pizza box monster every Halloween.

        We’ll also get the Ohio Music Educator’s Association trip in mid-January. But even Kent State seems to serve no purpose in the strip anymore, except on random t-shirts worn by graduates. Summer and Keisha are the only college-age characters left, and they could have become doctors by now.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    “It looks better on TV.”

    Well, yeah. TV is fantasy.

    My first experience of LA nearly twenty years ago was different. I hate the artificiality that hype creates, so I was pleasantly surprised to find (but shouldn’t have been) that there was a real city there with a diverse population, living very much the lives we all share, experiencing the everyday triumphs and tragedies.

    It was a family trip, so of course we did the Walk of Fame, but a short drive away are the La Brea Tar Pits and the adjoining museum.

    Of course we did Disneyland. (Unlike its Orlando counterpart, the crowd appeared to have a greater number of local people, more economically and racially diverse.)

    We also went to the Farmers’ Market (very similar in atmosphere to Philly’s own Reading Terminal Market), out to Santa Monica to visit the pier and to Venice Beach. But we also shopped at Target, Ralph’s, and Von’s. (Traveling with a three-year-old and a ten-year-old keeps you pretty grounded in the necessities.)

    So, yes LA isn’t pristine like in the movies. But, that’s because it’s a real place.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    be ware of eve hill
    August 5, 2021 at 1:14 am

    Who wants to bet that ‘Old Miserable’ isn’t even wearing a tie?

    • be ware of eve hill

      Ha! Thanks! I just love nitpicking Les.

      There’s another thing I noticed. Here’s this couple travelling away from home with a chance to spend more time together. They’re on a balcony, sharing an experience that could be romantic. Does Les show any signs of affection? Is he putting his arm around Cayla? Is he holding her hand? It may as well be Funky out there with him. What a dead fish.

      It’s not the billboard, Cayla. It’s with whom you’re sharing the view. Being with Les would spoil the Grand Canyon.

      • beware of eve hill

        Have you ever noticed Cayla is always driving when she and Les are together? She’s not really his wife. Les just wants someone to take care of him. Cayla is Les’s housekeeper/chauffeur/mommy.

        • William Thompson

          “Driving Mr. Lazy,” starring Cayla Moore as Morgan Freeman and Margaret Hamilton as Les Moore.

  16. bayoustu

    That image of Les in the masthead- with a single tear running down his cheek (as he no doubt watches the proper version of “Lisa’s Story”- is the funniest thing I’ve seen in this strip in ages!

  17. The fire had but two purposes: to get Les to allow Marianne to view the Lisa tapes, and for Jff to find a rock. I doubt it will be mentioned at all; if it is, it will be obliquely.

    • William Thompson

      The fire also allowed Les to live up to Mason Jar’s claim that Les was a hero. Perhaps that enabled Les to say he’d ben w-w-w-wrong in not wanting Marianne Winters to play St. Lisa (that may be a unique event: did Batiuk realize he’d written himself into a corner with Les hating on her? That he couldn’t simultaneously say the movie was great but the actress was horrible?)