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Published: March 01, 2011

Riviera Palm Springs

I’d heard all of the Palm Springs lore – how so many Hollywood heyday movie stars escaped to Palm Springs for a weekend getaway.
   
How actors Ralph Bellamy and Charles Farrell opened up the famed Racquet Club in 1939 to feed a grudge after getting booted off what had been the town’s only tennis court in favor of Marlene Deidrich.
   
How Dean Martin lived within a couple of blocks of other A-listers of the era, like Kirk Douglas and Kitty Carlisle.
   
How they all gathered at the Chi Chi Club to see top-notch headliners like Nat King Cole, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee.
   
How Frank Sinatra turned his nine-bedroom home into a compound in hopes that his good pal President John F. Kennedy would use it as his Western White House. 
   

And how the crooner’s rumored ties to the mafia put a permanent end to all of that.
   
How it was an oasis for the rich and famous. In just a few hours, they could be in an exotic place, breathing in the dry desert air, soaking up the sun. And yet, they weren’t so far away that they couldn’t get back to L.A. should the likes of Sam Goldwyn beckon.
   
And how droves of conventioneers would check into the Riviera – at the time the only place in town with a conference room.
    
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