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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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January 13, 2017     The Catalina Islander
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January 13, 2017
 

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Sometimes Catalina residents come into town to see the visiting boats in the harbor. Courtesy photo World Class Assisted Living and Memory Care with an Ocean View! You can't get any better than Crawn Cove Assisted Living dr Memory Care in Corona Del Mar. This is truly what aging in style is all about. Enjoy gorgeous views of the ocean any time of the day or night. Indulge in delicious home cooked meals daily in our restaurant-style dining room. Enjoy your life the way it was meant to be. Meridian's Montessori Moments in Time Memory Care is world-renowned and proven to be one of the most effective and successful programs in the industry. Our compassionate, caring staff is highly trained and available to residents 24/7. We invite you to stop by, take a tour and see the Meridian difference first hand. Call today and stick your toes in the sand at your new home! CALL TODAY for your private lunch tour. MONTESSORI ROWN COVE A M RtDIAN SENIOR L~VING COMMUNITY ,,, California Department of. Fish and Wildlife Calendar for January 2017 Jan. 18 California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee, 10 a.m., Redding Library Community Room, 1100 Parkview Ave., Redding (96001). For-more information, visit www. fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2016/index. aspx. Jan. 19-22 International Sportsmen's Expo, Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento (95815). CDFW personnel will be active- ly involved in the annual event, which will feature exhibitions, free seminars, an archery contest, a youth fair and other activities. For more information, visit www. sportsexpos.com/attend/sacra- mento/. Jan. 20 Duck Season, Scaup Season and White Goose Split Season Close in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, visit www.wildlife. ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl. Jan. 27 Proposal Deadline for the California Duck Stamp Grant Program. Qualified nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for funding for waterfowl and habitat projects using State Duck Stamp funding. For more information, visit https://nrm.dfg. ca.gov/filehandler. Watson From page 1 luck. That is to say, dumb luck combined with hours and hours of poring over vintage yellowed newspaper articles or combin- ing unlikely search strings on the internet, always with the phrase "Catalina Island" thrown in. Such was the case with this week's column and the death on Catalina many years ago of a profoundly accomplished screen- writer, well-known in his day, but alas long since faded into obscurity. The myriad films he worked on, however, are n.othing short of the stuff of Hollywood legend. I was perusing the website for the vener- able American Book Exchange the pre- miere clearing house for valuable rare and collectible books when something caught my eye. Under a listing for a First Edition copy of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," I noticed that this particular copy had "belonged to screenwriter Jerry Cady" who had "died of an over- dose of sleeping pills on his yacht off Catalina Island." The Nov. 11, 1948. edition of this very newspaper, the Catalina Islander. confirmed this tragic event. "'Jerry' Cady Found Dead on Cruiser 'Hart'," screamed the front page headline. According to Avalon's constable at the time, L. Moricich, Cady's yacht had arrived full of friends and rela- tives late in the evening the pre- vious day. Who was Jerry Cady? The name rang a bell so I immedi- ately took to the internet and the archives of the Catalina Islander to learn that Jerome "Jerry" Cady had indeed perished here on Nov. 7. 1948. This after an accom- plished life of writing screen- plays ranging from the legendary Charlie Chan series to wartime dramas like "The Purple Heart" and "Guadalcanal Diary" to post- war blockbuster hits like "Call Northside 777" starting Jimmy Stewart. In 1944. he was nomi- nated for an Oscar for his work on "Wing and a Prayer." He had lived one of those Jim Watson olumnist rags-to-riches stories that some- times occur in Hollywood on both sides of the camera, rocket- ing to the top of the slush pile of screenwriters in the span of only a couple of years. For such a high profile person in the motion picture industry, much of Cady's life is surpris- ingly shrouded in mystery, albeit partly owing no doubt'to the pau- city of early record-keeping (read "pre-intemet"). For reasons upon which we can only speculate, much of his earlier life was apparently kept from even his children. (His first wife report- edly knew little of his childhood, or wasn't willing to share it with others if she did). He was born in West Virginia and was by some accounts orphaned at the age of 13. He moved from New York to Chicago where he wrote copy for an unnamed newspaper. Despite the handicap of being a newspaperman, by 1935 he found himself on the West Coast where the census has him list- ed as "Screenplay Writer." His movie credits begin two years later, in 1937, with a gangster film titled "The Great Hospital Mystery" along with "Charlie Chan on Broadway," the first of what would be several Charlie Chan films. The official account of Cady's death never evolved beyond the "overdose" scenario and once again we are left with specula- tion. The Los Angeles Express newspaper even stirred the scandal pot with their blazing headline "Screen Writer Dies in Mystery." But since his yacht was load- ed with friends and family, a solo "swan dive" trip to Catalina can apparently be ruled out. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes an overdose is just an overdose. For more than a century, Catalina Island has been a prime destination for celebrities and Hollywood film types. They come here to work and they come here to play, but as was the case with Jerome Cady and later with Natalie Wood-- sometimes Catalina Island is their last stop on this earth. 8 1 Friday, January 13, 2017 THE CATALINA ISLANDER