Friday, August 28, 2009
the back story-part 3

I found this picture on the net and it was of great interest to me because of a couple of things....First of all, I love the history of certain things---Hollywood being one of those things---And because this is my neighborhood, it all has even more interest for me. This picture is from around 1927 soon after this great theatre was built. The Hills in the distance are a part of what is known as The Hollywood Hills, and as you can see, it looks almost empty of homes.....The area that I live in and love, was still just an idea, at this point in time.....Over on the left side of the picture is a low building with archways.....That building is still there. This is a most recent picture or rendering, showing Tussuad's Wax Museum---the newest building in that complex of 'entertainment', going from Highland Avenue to the street you see in the picture above, Orange Drive. And there is that one-story building with the we know it is over 80 years old..... Once again, another pristine picture of Grauman's Chinese and those Hills and that building with the arches, way over on the left....You can see that right next to Grauman's, over on the left, is a parking lot. That is where one parked when going to the movies or, in fact, going just about any place right there in the neighborhood. I love that long luxurious Grauman's awning that goes almost to the street---the Box Office was right there, and when it rained, one was very very grateful for that lovely long awning because it went all the way to the doors to the lobby! And of course, this was before The Hollywood Walk of Fame, though not before the Hand Prints and Foot Prints.....Sid Grauman started doing those right after the Theatre first opened. He was a true 'showman'.....!Above, is the early 1950's.....A view looking towards Highland Avenue. You can see a car pulling into the parking lot right there on the side of Grauman's where Tussuad's Wax Museum is now.....That area stayed a parking lot until they began building Tussuad's....and by that time there were other choices for parking....! As you can see here in the above picture.....that iPod Ad on the side of the building and a portion of the Film Strip Mural there on the side of Grauman's says that this picture was taken more recently.....If you look closely you can see some of the Walk Of Fame Stars in the sidewalk there in front of the Theatre. The Walk Of Fame, begun in 1958, was an attempt to revitalize Hollywood which was no longer the exciting glamorous area it once had been....... And above, another two pictures which I did not take....You can see that the rest of that Film Strip Mural on the side of Grauman's is beginning to look a bit tattered.... Fade Out. Fade In. I took this picture through the car window (that's why it has a greenish tinge---and Charles, if you are reading this, that is why the building in my last post looks like it is a different color...The picture was taken through the tinted window of the car) back in March of 2008 when I was out and about on another drive-around.....You can see that this Mural was now in truly terrible disrepair, but they didn't care because they knew it would be gone soon---covered up! And, indeed, it was covered up----well, not completely.....It's almost completely gone in this picture above....The Wax Museum was built flush to the wall of Grauman's and of course, it covered the Mural and the Ad space, too.....Except for that little tiny section, though by now, that could be gone, too....after all this picture and the one below were taken by me in November, 2008..... See, this is the entrance to the Parking structure for the Hollywood & Highland Entertainment Complex and Mall.....Next time I get out, I'll make sure to see if the Mural is completely gone----after all, it is almost 10 months since I took that last picture above......Okay. Now, back to 'the characters' of 2009.....! I had no idea who this guy was supposed to be and Joe said laughingly, "It's Chewbacca!". It turns out if you have never seen STAR WARS or any of the sequels, you don't know who Chewbacca is.....Well, NOW, I! So......will the real Chewbacca please stand up!And there he is above! Now, let's take a closer look at the Chewbacca that was out in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre that day...... Don't you love seeing his watch and his shirt cuff? Oh, and then Joe said, "Be sure to get a picture of Chewbacca's sister....!" His wish was my command! Then we saw this interesting furry person, too......The Lion from....The Lion King? That's my guess. Can you imagine wearing a costume like this on these dog days? I mean it is very very very hot here right now.....I don't know how these people do it. And I hope the "contributions" they get from each person who feels privileged to have their picture taken with them, is worth it! I don't know who this is, but the costume looks quite warm...Well, at least the head thingy does.....And here below, is Elvis and a friend..... Wow! In one picture, Freddy K., Elvis and his friend---I'm not sure who 'the friend' is supposed to be, except, he plays for 'Elvis' so he can sing---Do click on all these pictures to make them bigger, and you will see that 'Elvis' has a microphone....Oh, and his friend? I love looking at his feet...! (lol)! I don't know who this person is, either! Anyone? If you know, please leave it in a comment for me.....And, of course, there below, is good old Spider Man...... He looked like he was taking a break....maybe a little bathroom break....I don't know, but he was definitely leaving The Stage..... And speaking of 'The Stage'.....I think that this three tiered area---(see the people way up there at the top?----) is truly extraordinary. Whoever the designer was and the Architects---well, it is really quite brilliant and awesome to see.....Here below are a few pictures I took in 2008 from a different angle and at the time, they kind of took my breath away..... This is a closer look at the staircases and escalators that take you to the different levels of this complex.....and I love that there are Stage Lights hanging up there as they do on Film Stages and Theatre Stages....Below....Another picture I took from the car back then, getting in as close as I could. At the time I thought...My God, this is fantastic! To be able to see The Hollywood Sign from up here..... Well, it is brilliant and amazing beyond words! And after really thinking about it more carefully, I came to the conclusion that it is a beautifully painted/photographed backdrop and a perfect thing to put right there....In truth, there is no way one could possibly see the Hollywood Sign that close up from this vantage point---it is too far away---and to see it so clearly, too. I could be wrong. In fact, I'd love to be wrong about this. But, I'm afraid is ain't 'the real thing'.....But, what a great great idea. And after all, Hollywood is all about illusion, isn't it? So why not give the people this illusion, too?

Over the years, I cannot tell you how many people have driven by my house and when they would see me out front working in my garden, they would ask me...."How do we get to the Hollywood Sign from here?" Well, in fact, they are many miles away from the Hollywood Sign being up there on my Hill----it is much further East. I guess now if I am asked I could say: "You can go on down to the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, only it isn't really the "real" thing........"

More To Come...........

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Fascinating stuff Naomi. I have often wondered where you were in relation to the Hollywood sign. Just shows how valuable it is to record things as Hollywood - like most places - is a moveable feast.

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 3:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I think the kitty head in a dress is supposed to be Hello Kitty, then again what the hell do I know

I love all these photos, and all this history

I've only been to LA once and wasn't there long enough to see a lot, it was a business trip

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 6:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear, these recollections and photos of yours are really bringing back some memories for me from when I was a kid. I need to dig out my dad's slides from that time to further refresh my own recollection.


Friday, August 28, 2009 at 8:34:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I remember some of what you are talking about from when I was there in the 90's, but in truth, I was so excited to be "in Hollywood" that I only remember the highlights. Isn't the carousel close to Graumann's too?

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 2:54:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I think Dianne is right about Hello Kitty; that's what I thought when I saw it.

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 2:54:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

LOL, sad, but funny just like life. The Hollywood sign, I bet you are right. Well, if a buck can be made...

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 10:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

The red guy in the Bryant jersey is Elmo from "Sesame Street" in a Kobe Bryant jersey. In your tiered pic you also have Jack Sparrow and Barney the Dinosaur over on the left. I have an autographed picture of the real Chewbacca (by the actor Peter Mayhew) and that costume is not even close.
I love those old pics! As for that Hollywood sign, I found a website that said that the Hollywood and Highland complex offered a "postcard perfect view" of the Hollywood sign.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 12:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This tour is fantastic! I never thought I'd see Elvis and Freddy Kruger in the same photo, and who knew Chewbacca had a sister? lol Come to think of it, she could've been the Lion King's sister (as far as we know).

Speaking of Hollywood, real or not, I love the view of the sign in the hills! It makes a beautiful photo.

I love the black and whites and comparing yesterday and today. I hope you get out again soon and take more pics of your beautiful city!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. Btw, I watched Grey Gardens last night (the documentary). If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's bizarre and you can't help feeling something for these ladies. I love Little Edie's scarves and the outfits she keeps putting together...and that dancing with a flag scene was my favorite! :) E-mail me your thoughts if you have time. I'd like to know more about the TV movie version of this film.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 4:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You really do live in a fantasy land. I am so amazed at how people just walk past these characters without appearing to notice. You brought up an interesting concept, bathroom break. Couldn't be easy.
Always wondered how the foot prints got started.
Thanks so much for the informative trip from a different perspective.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 4:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love your pictures of 'old Hollywood.' I am always dismayed that, here in Southern California, we tend to tear down old buildings. I much prefer the attitude of the east coast where old buildings are revered and maintained so that future generations can enjoy their beauty.

On a side note, my daughter tells me that the Michael Jackson impersonator on Hollywood Blvd has been raking in the cash lately! (She lives near Hollywood & Wilcox.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 9:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The two you didnt know was the first one you asked about was Miss Kitty. and the other was my youngest daughter said was Elmo.. Ok Dianne got that one Not Miss Kitty but Hello Kitty. Taht was what I was thinking..

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 9:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, this is so unbelievable that there is so much fantasy in Hollywood and that you are so close and have so many fabulous memories to remember and think about I still hope to someday visit Hollywood and make my own memories and pictures to enjoy as well.

Dorothy from grammology

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 1:41:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love all these movie characters patrolling the street, truly amazing! Do you think this is how they make their living, or are they really doctors and dentists and corporate lawyers just having some fun in their spare time???? Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 3:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

P.S. I think the chappie with the guitar accomanying Elvis is a reincarnation of Peter Sellers!

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 3:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I just finished your last two posts and loved looking at the photos!

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 5:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

First, how amazing is it to call Hollywood your old neighbourhood. I wonder how many people can do that? It's changed since I was there - happens fast doesnt it? So many of your posts could be turned into a great book. Have you seen - I think you could make some great, great books you know. I would buy one! Especially of your photography.

As for those people dressed up as movie chatacters etc, I bet they have fun doing what they do, entertaining and making people happy. I hope so anyway and I hope they get rewared for it too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

as you know, when i lived there i was in hollywood every weekend to take care of Deforests star. I was there when the star trek people added their signatures to "manns" Chinese Theater..and often wandered in their myself just to see those honored by being there.

as always..fantastic photo's Naomi!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 3:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hollywood, land of illusions. :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 4:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful tour of Hollywood past and present. It really is so interesting to see how things have changed over the years. From your pictures it looks like the new Tussauds building is wonderful. I love the many layered affect and the "view" of the Hollywood sign. I must say, that I'm not as impressed with some of those costumes, especially the Chewbacca one. Thanks for sharing your virtual tour and pictures with us :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 10:22:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Just finished reading Part 1, 2 and 3, it's been awhile since I visited, so I had my bowl of cereal and cup of coffee while I savored your writings like a good Sunday paper! :)

It surely was a busy Monday with all those characters out and about. When we visited that area last year, we had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then walked over to the Chinese Theater afterward to have a look around. They had been filming a commercial for Ocean Spray cranberry juice and had a ton (not even kidding) of cranberries on the ground that they were cleaning up that apparently had been used to stomp on or something. It was unreal. I took some pictures, but it was very low light and they didn't turn out very well, but enough to where if you knew what it was you'd just shake your head.

There is no place in the world like Hollywood. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 10:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't know who those characters are Naomi! A few I knew but not most! Sure is an interesting place you live in!

I'm surprised the Hollywood Sign is far away from you. I had wondered how far you were from it.

I am enjoying this tour and look forward to the next part!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 4:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Amazing photos and background details as always. It always appears to be sunny in your photos!

Yep that's Hello Kitty. I think she's one of the view cartoon characters that doesn't really work that well in real life dressing up clothes.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 5:13:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Randy Las Vegas
had this to say:

Love the Hollywood History photos as always Naomi. I have stood on that walkway facing the Hollywood Sign and yes that's the real thing! The building was designed so you had a perfect view of the sign in that spot... So no back drop when I visited.
The Madame Tussauds Museum here in Las Vegas is wonderful - you can go up to the wax figures and put your arm around them for pictures, etc. they are not behind ropes which makes it much more fun! I am sure the Hollywood one will be great - and am sure the old Hollywood Wax Museum down the street is not happy Madame Tussauds is moving into their neighborhood!! Thanks for the fun!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:34:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous JC
had this to say:

I so hope you are out of harm's way.
Best wishes...

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 11:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post, Naomi! I had the same question of PI, I have often wondered if you live near the Hollywood sign...
I enjoyed seeing this fantastic tour! I also enlarge those photos and it's amazing seeing those characters...Lol!
Thanks for sharing!

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 12:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I hope the smoke from the terrible LA area fires is not causing you health problems. The stories sound horrendous :(

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 3:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

With precice words and photos you describe a fabulous timeline of the area you have learned to love and also present like nobody else.
As said before, I have to find a fraction in my Timeline to visit you and experience in realyour world.

hugs from Norway

Monday, August 31, 2009 at 3:45:00 PM PDT 

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