The New Kid in Town… Pre-Order, Signed

$26.95

Coming in 2021

An intimate profile of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner as the legendary editor icon Jim Bellows attempted to resurrect the Hearst empire’s flagship newspaper in the late 1970s after the longest strike in newspaper history.

Author Tony Castro writes passionately but critically about Bellows and how the crusty, charismatic editor sought to channel the magic of Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin and the New Journalism into the young, hungry columnists and writers helping him take on the bigger, richer Los Angeles Times.

Castro, whose political manifesto Chicano Power had fueled the Latino civil rights movement in America, chronicled Cesar Chavez and California’s ambitious new Mexican American power brokers he christened The Golden Palominos, a moniker they soon adopted for themselves.

At the Herald Examiner Castro befriended the most important writer of his age, Tom Wolfe, when he wrote a column reworking the Nicene Creed into the New Journalism Creed centered around Wolfe and his works. Wolfe loved it.

Castro’s columns on then Governor Jerry Brown’s friendship with Hollywood restaurateurs Lucy and Frank Casado unveil an unusual, caring power couple who helped feed and nurture many of the ‘California sound’ rock stars before they were famous: the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne among others. 

That time is also Texas-born Castro’s coming of age.  After a traumatic divorce and a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, returning home is not an option — and he accepts Bellows offer to relocate to LA without even meeting him.

He agreed to do it for six months. He stayed the rest of his life.

Product Description

IT’S 1978, AND THE GREATEST editor in America has just hired me to come to  L.A. to write about the Golden State’s rising political star governor whose girlfriend is the hot darling of rock ‘n’ roll and who wants to be president of the United States…

I’m to do this as a columnist at the near-bankrupt flagship newspaper of publishing legend William Randolph Hearst, whose granddaughter — kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst — is still in state prison for a crazy bank robbery, all symbolic of the calamity of the wealth and power in California.

Only problem is I’m broke, with credit as bad as Argentina’s, a bad boy reputation to match, and my Porsche just blew up in the middle of Harvard Square. But God looks out for working girls and boys. When record rains that almost destroy the Hollywood sign also flood my hotel, I’m relocated to the celebrity haven Chateau Marmont Hotel, where my neighbor is Audrey Hepburn. When my company leases me a car, through a weird mix-up, I wind up with a Porsche convertible.

I still have only $63 to my name, but I’m eating for free at a Tex-Mex across from Paramount Studios where the owner keeps calling me “The New Kid in Town,” as in the Eagles’ song, maybe because he used to feed the Eagles and other soon-to-be rock superstars when they, too, were broke and starving.

And one day Linda Ronstadt, in short shorts and a Dodgers jacket, roller-skates into that restaurant, Lucy’s El Adobe Café, to visit her pal, the owner — and he introduces us. I’d committed to stay only six months. I fell in love and stayed a lifetime.

No, I didn’t get that girl, but I later married one just as great — and got a lot of margaritas and great stories along the way. Come read about it.