The Paris Review

Whither The Golden Penetrators?

Still from Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

In Los Angeles, 1968, Dennis Wilson was the beachiest of the Beach Boys, the only Boy who actually surfed. He was the cool guy with the cool car, cool shades, cool hair. When he admired his disheveled reflection in his California-shaped swimming pool, his steely blue eyes must’ve told him: . True, his band’s best years were behind him. And true, his divorce tarnished his reputation; his ex had told the court how he used to beat her. But as sure as his Ferrari purred—as sure as that gold-record sun went swanning into the Pacific every evening—Wilson was going to enjoy himself. With his pals Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son, a cool guy) and Gregg Jakobson (a

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