Part 1: Hooray for Hollywood
Part 2: Singing & Studying
Part 3: New York, New York
Part 4: "By Paul Rosenthal"
Part 5: Clan Rosenthal
Part 6: En Garde!

The great thing about growing up in Hollywood and attending Hollywood High was the inestimable pleasure of treading over the Marx Brothers’ footprints every morning as I took a shortcut to school through the famous Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. (It now is called Mann’s Chinese Theater. It always will be Grauman’s Chinese to me.)

A certain wisp of old Hollywood still lingered in the 1960s. The school's mascot was Rudolph Valentino as "The Sheik." Not just any sheik, mind you, but Rudolph Valentino as "The Sheik." The high point of the school year — for me, at least — was the annual visit by Harold Lloyd, who traipsed onto the Hollywood High campus, film reels in hand and dragging along an aged organist, to show one of his silent classics.

At home, I had a solemn familial task. It was my job to fetch the World Book during dinner, generally to sort out some arcane issue that had flared over the pot roast. A substantial percentage of these disputes revolved around the pressing question of whether Israel Putnam (my father’s candidate) or William Prescott said, ?Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.? (That is, assuming somebody said it, and the whole thing wasn't actually dished up by some Early American press agent.)

Today, whenever there is a teen tragedy, pundits try to put it in perspective by reminding us how miserable high school is — the rivalries, cliques, and cruelties. These may well have existed when I was a teen, but I knew nothing of them. Hollywood High seemed a genial place, my friends amiable. If there was indeed such angst burbling below the surface, waiting to break out like a bad case of acne, I never noticed.

Age 15