D, D & B and ME

Dino, Desi & Billy were the Hansen or Justin Bieber of our day. It was the mid-to-late 60’s and the Beatles had hit the States and our hearts. But of course there was room to love other boys. And D, D & B were our homeboys. They were in our orbit; lived on our blocks, frequented the same restaurants. AND, they were CUTE!!!!! Oh, my God, they were — in Paris Hilton’s word — HOT!!!!!!!

About a year into Beatlemania, Dino, Desi & Billy formed their band. They became teenage heartthrobs across the country and were featured in all the popular teen magazines.

At about the time D, D & B were famous, Billy played on my brother Alan’s baseball team. Pony League games. I will never forget them … because they were long fuckin days for a bored little sister. Sitting in those bleachers was tedious. But there were some really cute boys on those teams, like Billy (Alan Harris and Steve Fine). My dad and Billy’s dad became friends in those bleachers. Both were older dads. They seemed to have a lot in common and we were invited to dinner at the Hinsches’. My dad formed his own friendships with Dino, Desi & Billy, and his whole life called Dean, “little Dean” and Desi, “little Desi” to distinguish them from their fathers – Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz.

Just as our dads formed a lifelong friendship, so did Billy and I. When I remarried , my brother Alan and his wife Kris threw us a small wedding party. Billy had been in the Beach Boys for years, so I asked him to give me a special present and sing “God Only Knows.” When he did there was not a dry eye in the house.

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I wouldn’t become close with Desi until my later teens. We shared the same group of friends, so this was a predestined relationship. And talk about cute! Desi might be the most fun person to go out to eat with because of his enthusiasm for, and love of, good food. One unforgettable meal we shared was in New York at the Oyster Bar in the Plaza Hotel. We ordered enough oysters for a small army and managed to finish all of them.

Every year, I celebrated myself big-time with a birthday party at my father’s apartment in the Wilshire Corridor. Nothing fancy, I think I served dip and chips and my friend Bettsie always made me my favorite chocolate cake. People didn’t usually bring gifts but Desi is a big, open-hearted, generous soul and one year he brought me a stuffed Koala bear. I adored Desi for going out of his way to get it for me. I cherished that bear always, and it moved with me from home to home until it finally, literally disintegrated a few years ago.

me and Desi at that birthday party!!!

How could a friendship with Dean, known then still as Dino—not have happened? Dean was the original prankster. George Clooney and his homies are the modern day pranksters, always setting up elaborate ruses. But in those days it was Dean, and he enlisted me for some big ones. One day at his apartment in West Hollywood, he told me to go to his best friend’s apartment in the same building and knock on the door. He called his best friend “Stinky.” Stinky was a world class star fucker. So, Dean said I should tell him I was on an audition and ran into Nick Nolte’s girlfriend, “Legs Nolte.” This was hilarious, if only to Dean … because he was going to be watching through the window at Stinky’s reaction … one that would reveal how taken he was with any kind of fame, even fame once removed. Sure enough, Stinky was way too interested and wanted to know everything about my “encounter” and especially everything about Nick.

Another time, Dean orchestrated a phony phone call to — whom else? — Stinky. This time he had our very young friend Jennifer telephone him. In her sexiest voice she enticed Stinky to meet her on a street corner in Beverly Hills — but when he got there, Jennifer was a no-show. The following day, Dean called his friend and said, “What’d you do last night? Where’d you go?” When Stinky told him he’d been punk’d, Dean couldn’t control himself, laughing, spilling the beans and implicating me. Stinky was so angry, he phoned my then boyfriend and threatened, “The next time your girlfriend does that, I’m going to call the cops.” Apparently, the Beverly Hills Police have a Phony Phone Call Unit.

The night we pulled that prank was great fun because I remember we baked some great brownies. Not pot brownies like you’re thinking. Dean was very clean-living. He died far too young in a fighter jet he was piloting for the National Guard, just one of the many activities he loved. He was also a successful tennis player and actor. And I forgot to mention how handsome Dean Paul Martin was — forgetaboutit!!!!!!

me with Billy on Old Malibu Road where we all had apartments

I will deliver three recipes for this piece, one in honor of each of my old friends, D,D &B.

Dean Paul Martin Prank Phone Call Brownies (RIP Dean and Happy what would be your 60’th birthday tomorrow! We all miss you!) That night we made Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines but this is my current favorite brownie recipe
10 Tablespoons (1 and ¼ stick unsalted butter)
1 and ¼ cup sugar
¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces (optional)
preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at the bottom of the pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sugar cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes, add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes, stir in nuts. Bake in an 8 by 8 by 2 inch baking pan for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Fudgy in the middle and chewey on the outside.

My husband found a late 60’s era cookbook called (Cookbook of the Stars), in which celebrities, each depicted by his or her dated publicity shot, supposedly shares a favorite recipe. It includes one from Desi Arnaz Jr., though Desi once denied to me knowing anything about it.
Billy’s mom is from the Philippines and often makes a famous Filipino dish like an eggroll or spring roll called Lumpia. I was often the lucky recipient of Celia Hinsche’s lumpias if I came by her house on a day she might be cooking them — and I think I pre-arranged that more than a few times.
Billy’s Version of his Mom’s Famous Lumpia Recipe
Ground round, diced onion, diced celery, diced sweet potato, black raisins, salt & pepper to taste.

Cook in large pot on stove until meat is fully cooked, drain excess fluids.

Buy round lumpia wrappers in frozen section of Filipino or Asian market (20) per package, allow to thaw then separate being careful not to tear.

Whisk several egg yokes into small bowl and use as adhesive when folding and wrapping ingredients into wrapper – eggs act as a sealer. Use same fold as an eggroll or enchilada.

Fry wrapped lumpia in frying pan using olive oil – turn and brown on all sides.

Place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and serve with white rice and dipped into small bowl of vinegar and fresh, chopped garlic.

Enjoy !

Pony League players, including Billy Hinsche and Alan Duke

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20 Responses to “D, D & B and ME”

  1. Augie duke says:

    Nice mamma…

  2. Ellen Bloom says:

    Excellent post, Fredde! Of course we all remember D,D & B from our BH years. For the split second that Desi went to BHHS, I sat behind him in Spanish class. Naturally, he was the BEST Spanish student ever!!

    This is another post that should be on Amy E’s “One For the Table!”

  3. Jennifer Dudley Arbaugh says:

    Fred. I have memories to fill my own pages but you have capsulized them into such wonderful “song” and verse. I still have a crush on Billy.Photos of him in Concert with the Beach Boys here 15 yrs ago in our old Reds Stadium. We sat in the dugout and our son Dudley(now 28) was non-plussed but Erin (25) recalls them saying “HI JENNIFER DUDLEY” from the middle of the field. At the time she thought I was a STAR. She visited with Billy, Carl, Al and Bruce backstage. Gina Martin was with Carl and he died a couple of years later. So much history. Dino, so handsome and funny. Remember the Red Ferrari Dean gave him for his 14th Birthday? He drove it and the BH Cops took it in stride. The lunches and dancing at the Daisy. We had overwhemingly good times. You have a habit of bring them back in droves…
    Another Duke classic rewind. What would I do without them or you..


  4. quichi minujin says:

    What a fun filled article,I remember Desi in one of my classes,I think it was Mr.Maksiks’I have no stories to tell,so it’s so nice to have writters in our midsts to make us smile


  5. Robin says:

    Hi Freddie:
    We met years ago through Barbara (I’m John Sofro’s niece–the old one lol) my dear Jen forwarded this to me. She’s right you’re terrifically talented. I knew the three of them as well a few years later and you brought back some fun and tender memories for me as well. Billy, too, was very generous as was Desi and Dean Paul (as I knew him) well….let’s just say he will always hold a special place in my heart. So many stories to remember and enjoy. Thank you for yours and for reminding me of mine. You are a talent. Keep writing…..and baking 🙂 Thanks for sharing and evoking all our memories. 🙂

  6. Munson Hinman says:

    I loved this post Freddie. Ulrike & I were friends with the Martins. Dino was a nice “kid” and was really sad to hear of when his jet went down. I remember how badly his Dad took the news, it was really sad. I am still freinds with Dina but haven’t heard from Ricky in a long time.

  7. Freddie,

    I enjoyed reading your blog!

    My father used to own a recording studio, “Devonshire Sound”, in North Hollywood and one of the engineers dated Dino’s sister. I almost got to meet her! Anyway, your post brought back memories of that time. I haven’t posted on my blog in quite awhile, but I did include the website should you want to check it out. I will be posting on it a lot once we’re living in Italy. Ciao!

  8. DBoos says:

    What great memories of them Fred. As you well know…I have a few of my own..:-), but the one’s on Old Malibu Road were great! God I miss Dean and was so lucky to see him when I did…just before he died. A gift that was really special. Great piece…as always!

  9. Mumy says:

    As always, a terrific read, Ms. Duke. For some reason, it made me miss “The Daisy Club”. I used to see D.D.&B. up there the handfull of times I went… shooting pool with Sajid Kahn and Christina Ferrari… Silly sixties memories… I don’t think Dino dug me, cuz I was dating Gina when she was 15… she had the greatest laugh in the world… You got me thinkin’ about the past, Fredde!
    Dig you.

  10. Pauli says:

    Thank you for the great story and the FANTASTIC brownie recipe which is in the oven right now. Love the detail about letting the butter foam and get the brown bits going. You are stirring up the past…in a good way!

  11. Alan says:

    Pony League. Good old days. I remember one game I was playing in when there was a big commotion in the stands. Turned out that Dean came to watch Billy and all the girls in the crowd were making a big fuss over him. The only guy on our team who was not jealous was Alan Harris who was also very good looking (still is) and got all the girls like Dean. And where did you find the player list? Love it.

  12. Mitch says:

    Wonderful stories.

  13. cristi ulrich says:

    Another 10+ story. I remember Desi but much younger… No teenage memories. Love your stories Fred – never ever stop. xxoo

  14. toni miller says:

    I went to Palms Jr. Hi and my best girlfriend Kathy Boggs actually talked her parents into sending her to Rexford in the 9th or 10 grade so that she could meet Dino and (no doubt what-so-ever) become his girlfriend. I frantically tried to poke holes in this hair-barined scheme of hers, but she eventually got her way. Within weeks of starting Rexford, she did indeed become Dino’s girlfriend and our friendship was all but over. Having a secret crush on her (she looked like a beautiful Alice In Wonderland with l-o-n-g blonde hair, blue eyes and perfectly straight white teeth) I was destroyed by her betrayal and spent the rest of my public school experience resenting her for it and trying to find her after she moved to Balboa… I wonder where she is now… She would be 60 too and that’s hard to picture! Great evocative story Ms.D…xot

  15. Susan H says:

    I remember that red Ferrari of Dinos and the dent I put in it’s rear end one afternoon in Palm Springs. I also remember him in his beautiful tan cashmere sweater sitting on my mom and dads sofa. I think we kissed, but really don’t remember that. You’re bringing up some old memories Freddie. Gotta make those brownies soon. xo

  16. Susan H says:

    Another memory just came back to me. I watched the three boyz at a recording session. I also remembered Dinos’ mom Jeannie glaring at me because I was a couple of years his senior. I thought she was thinking I would teach him something that he probably had already learned by 16 years of age.

  17. I went to El Rodeo with Steve Fine, I’m sure he wouldn’t remember me, but we were in the same graduating class at BHHS. I’ve never met Desi or Dino, but I do read Desi’s wife’s blog. You should check it out if you’ve never read it. You can find it at http://www.themagictutu.typepad.com/

  18. Eileen Mumy says:

    stuff i didn’t know about you…cool.

  19. Ken says:

    I swear i wish I’d have been a little more in the BH “in-crowd”. Did you tell stories like this then, or are these just recent reminiscences? I love this story. I knew them as most people did as celebrities and children of celebrities; great to hear behind the scenes and touching stories like this. 🙂

  20. Linda Mancini says:

    Another great story … I love my brownies, and this is the first time I’m tempted to try another recipe. Mine is similar, so I know these will be delicious.

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