Ryan Murphy (2019’s Netflix comedy “The Politician”) and partner Ian Brennan have chosen to lessen our COVID-19 pain by engaging in a bit of grave-robbing to unearth old myths, fables of Hollywood’s golden years. Bravo, there’s always been money in remembering.
But does anyone care if Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were lovers? Didn’t we all know Rock was gay? Does anyone even know who Cary and Randolph were? 
Truth be known, it doesn’t matter. In this limited series on Netflix, there are enough laughs, heartbreak and fun to fill a couple of hours of our nervous lives. 
Full disclosure: As a veteran participant and occasional onlooker of the Hollywood of the 1960s and ’70s, I knew, and was befriended by some of the real star players portrayed here by actors too young to have known any of them. 
The story of “Hollywood” is based on the memoirs of the late Scotty Bowers, a soaked-in-tears, real-life owner of an upscale gas station on a seedy corner of Hollywood Boulevard.
Besides gas and oil, the station allegedly supplied well-endowed and gorgeous male prostitutes for Hollywood’s closeted stars.
The menu, according to Bowers, included the departed stars Rock Hudson (played here by Jake Picking), Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter, Katharine Hepburn and the evil, once-powerful Hollywood agent Henry Willson (played by Jim Parsons).
Parsons, from “The Big Bang Theory,” plays Willson with heavy layers of oil and heavy cologne. (I was interviewed by Willson at the start of my tepid career, and Parsons, who never knew Wilson, only touches on the rotten evil of Willson, but Parsons is good and tries hard.)
Even with the flaws — and there are many — the headliners in “Hollywood” supply more than enough reasons not to miss it. 
Starting with the biggest surprise of the show (are you ready?), the completely, for me at least, unrecognizable Dylan McDermott flash-dances as the gas station owner/pimp. He will take your breath away.
McDermott, whom we all remember as Bobby Donnell on the courtroom drama “The Practice,” steals his scenes from everyone, with broad, over-the-top energy, complete with gray, slicked-back oily hair, a Clark Gable mustache and lots of Wrigley’s gum. Give Dylan an Emmy and a big hand.
The great Broadway star Patti LuPone swings her hips as the horny and lusty late-middle-aged wife of a major studio head. All 1930’s coiffed, overdressed and swimming in Chanel. Each day she comes to get her windows wiped.
Licking her lips, she selects the leading stud-man, a reluctant Jack Castello (a very good David Corenswet) to be her nightly “service provider.” Only LuPone could pull off the perfumed and sun-bleached degradation and keep it at a star level.
Others come and go throughout the run.
A tall and handsome co-worker of Jack’s makes his bow providing the male buyers with love. Jake Pickering blossoms into Rock Hudson. He tries hard, but he’s no Rock Hudson.
“Hollywood” stacks the deck with lurid leers and lots of gay and straight muted sex scenes, but in the end, it’s Patti LuPone and Dylan McDermott who offer the biggest surprises and most fun.
“Hollywood” streams on Netflix in seven episodes.
The entire cast consists of David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, Samara Weaving, Laura Harrier, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, Patti LuPone, Jake Picking and Joe Mantello.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.

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