“Turn! Turn! Turn!”, or “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)”, is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s and covered by the L.A. band, The Byrds. (I’ll provide the Youtube link at the end of this story.)
I love the Byrds’ sound, their precise harmonies and unique guitar work. Other songs I love by the Byrds include a cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, written by Bob Dylan, and the enigmatic “Eight Miles High” written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn, and David Crosby. Musically influenced by Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane, “Eight Miles High” was influential in developing the musical styles of psychedelic rock, raga rock, and psychedelic pop.
Tom, as a young teen, met The Byrds at the Burbank Airport in Los Angeles. There they were, with their guitar cases emblazoned with the band’s name. He went up to them and told them he loved their music. Also, at various times at the Burbank Airport (he flew out of there to go to San Francisco, where he attended art school, and back to L.A., where his family lived), Tom met Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon (that’s who he met). A lot of people keep their private jets at Burbank.
Burbank is a pretty little airport, much more peaceful and friendly than LAX. If you don’t have to catch an international flight, I recommend flying into L.A. via Burbank. I did just that in 1996 to attend the Science Fiction World Convention in Anaheim.
I reserved a car from the rental agency at the airport. When I went to pick up the car keys and sign papers, the cheerful customer rep told me, “A car just came in, is gassed up and ready to go. Would you like an upgrade? I’ll give it to you for free.”
I said “Sure!” and walked out to pick up the car. It was a dark scarlet Cadillac Seville with a tan leather interior. The driver’s seat was as comfortable as a luxurious living room couch.
I’d never driven a Caddie before—or since. It was like driving a tank. I had no fear of the treacherous L.A. freeway traffic. When I drove into Hollywood, I got plenty of double-takes and stares. Sharon Stone was big then, appearing in Basic Instinct. Her image was on all the gigantic billboards lining Sunset Boulevard. Maybe at a distance, with my fair hair, wearing sunglasses, I resembled Stone?
I parked in the garage of a hotel on Sunset Boulevard. I’d rented a room there for a night and walked down the boulevard to my film rights agent’s office. We had just sold a very nice, high-five option to Universal Pictures of my OMNI story, “Tomorrow’s Child” and Joel wanted to know what else I had.
That evening, I had a wonderful Japanese dinner with Teresa Phalen Rosen and her husband, Russ. A full moon illuminated the Hollywood Hills. It was a magical day.
In the morning, I drove down to Anaheim to the WorldCon and dropped the Caddie off at the rental agency at the hotel. My “free upgrade” turned out to be not so free, after all. The Caddie was a gas-guzzler and set me back a couple hundred bucks. Never mind. The ride was worth it.
The convention was THE best convention I’ve ever attended. Saw lots of writer-friends and editors there. I almost met Ray Bradbury (a near-miss, but that’s another story). I caught the hotel’s free shuttle bus to LAX and from there flew back to San Francisco.
Here’s “Turn! Turn! Turn”” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX6SuX0Z6AQ
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