McNulty recalls the Cary Grant case that made the Tinseltown P.I.’s career. 2,623 words. Part Two tomorrow. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.
On May 31, 2015, McNulty watched the bulldozers and wrecking balls smash and grind Hollywood Park into dust. It was being torn down to make way for a new multi-billion dollar football stadium. Ironically, it had neither been a park nor in Hollywood. It was a race track. And for decades horse racing was the only legal form of gambling in California. By the mid-1980s, Hollywood Park had become one of the most popular horse racing venues in the world. But now, as McNulty watched its destruction, he recalled how it had helped put the then 25-year-old’s newly-established detective agency on tinseltown’s radar. In later years, newspaper columnists would refer to McNulty as “The Hollywood Eye.” But back then he was just another Hollywood gumshoe looking for a few well-heeled clients.
“A friend of mine is in need of a good private eye,” McNulty’s Pal, comedian Lenny Hazeltine, said over the phone. “I couldn’t think of one so I gave him your name.”
“I appreciate that,” McNulty said. “Who is it?”
“You’ll know him when you see him,” Lenny laughed and hung up.
Ten minutes later, the door to McNulty’s office opened and in walked Cary Grant.
Yeah, that Cary Grant, the legendary actor and leading man from all those old movies on TCM. He was 81 when he walked into McNulty’s office, a bit thicker but still handsome with a full head of perfectly-barbered white hair and chicly-attired in a crisp white shirt, blue blazer and grey slacks.
“Lenny tells me you’re a detective,” Grant said after the introductions. “Are you a good one?”