Saturday, August 22, 2009
the back story

Oh look! There's Shrek! Now what was he doing? Well, he and a number of other 'characters' who dress up for The Tourists, were out in full force! You can see just a tiny bit of the top of 'The Chinese Theatre' up there on the upper right part of that picture above.....My friend called out to him so he would turn around towards us and I was able to get this pretty good picture of him from the front..... It was a Monday afternoon and Hollywood Boulevard was busy. Think of that----busy and crowded on a Monday. Especially busy around Grauman's Chinese Theatre.....A good friend took me for a ride and we went down the Hill to see what was happening there at Hollywood & Highland and The Kodak Theatre and Grauman's Chinese and at the new Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum.....There was Freddy Krueger, looking quite haunted. It actually looks like a pretty good mask/make-up. He had a bad looking hand, but I couldn't get a very good picture of that. I was in the car and not about to get out of it and mingle with all the world and their possible germs---I was happy to just be out in a car for a lovely outing. You can just barely see the edge of his hand in the picture above--he just happened to be facing the street so that is why I was able to get a good shot of him from the front.....All of this activity down there on Hollywood Blvd. is startling to me. Grauman's was my neighborhood movie theatre when I first moved to Los Angeles back in 1961. (I've always lived in this area....) And Hollywood was in a downward turn back then and remained so for many many years....Of course Grauman's was always 'the' place to go because of the Hand Prints of all the "stars" in their courtyard and it is a beautiful theatre with a lot of Hollywood History....And The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, across the street, still had a certain rather worn and tattered elegance, and, a wonderful History, but generally speaking, Hollywood Blvd. was pretty depressed and depressing if one was expecting something else. And most people were. And, as time went on....Hollywood Blvd. got worse and worse. was my neighborhood. Some of my favorite places in L.A., were there on Hollywood Blvd. The Pickwick Bookshop----three floors of fabulousness....anything and everything you could possible want where books were concerned. You cannot tell how great this bookstore was from the picture above....but, it was THE Primo Bookstore in Los Angeles. And I spent a lot of time and money there, and loved every minute of it. One could spend hour upon hour just browsing and looking for hidden treasures. It's gone now, the way so many privately owned book stores are now extinct and just a memory in people's minds. Sad, really. The Cherokee Bookshop was another favorite haunt of mine. I loved old Movie Magazines and The Cherokee was known to have an amazing room on their second floor, filled with "old"...I mean OLD Movie Magazines from the 1920's and 1930's.....those were the ones I was interested in---I was doing some research for a particular project....Back then, you could just go into that little room all by yourself---it was like a big closet---and sit and look at anything and everything you wanted.....That all changed as time went on. Years later you had to ask for a particular Magazine, issue date and all, and they would get it from some filing cabinet---(the magazine protected by a glassine envelope)----for you to gaze at....No more freedom to just explore it all at your leisure with everything right there before you in big piles. Somewhere along the way they realized the value of these magazines.....They also had the most extensive Comic Book Collection of just about anywhere....! But my interest were those treasured Movie Magazines.......Musso & Frank, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood....that is still there and still looks pretty much the same as it has since it opened in 1919.....The Menu has been the same for as long as I have been going there on a regular basis, and that is 48 years now---except I cannot go anymore because of my health. But kind and caring souls bring me goodies from Musso's occasionally. And, it is a Restaurant that Hollywood people still do go to....On any given lunchtime or dinnertime you might see just about anyone of note there.....They have "specials" every day and those haven't changed either. Thursdays is "Chicken Pot Pie"....Oh My! So Hearty and Yummy...what I call 'Mommy Food'......A meal that makes you feel warm all over..... This is the long block above, where Musso's is---you can see it there towards the right side of the picture.....The Vogue Theatre was on the same side just West of Musso's and The Pickwick Bookshop was further on down the street on the same side. My first California Dentist was in that large building on the corner of McCadden. The very tall building beyond my Dentist's "Medical Building" is the corner of Hollywood & Highland, and across from that, still on the North side of the street, is where that whole Hollywood & Highland complex is now---including The Kodak Theatre, The Renaissance Hotel, all the smaller theatres there at Grauman's, The H&H Mall and the most recent addition at the end of that block...Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum. I watched this being built from my home.....This picture above was taken in November of 2008, on another car outing day....The Wax Museum wasn't finished yet.....It's not a great picture because it was overcast and late afternoon, too.....but, it gives you a bit of an idea about the size of the building, from behind....Straight ahead there going down Orange Drive that building is The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel that sits on the south side of Hollywood Blvd..... The picture above---taken the same day---shows a closer look at the construction progress---with the TV Guide Building across the street..... I didn't take this picture above----in fact it almost looks unreal because there is no traffic on Hollywood Blvd., and not one car on Orange Drive....I have never seen it like this....So it is probably a rendering of sorts....The building is 40,000 square feet of space and reportedly cost $55 million to build and is three stories high. And I am deeply grateful that it isn't a ten or twelve story building because it would have changed my view considerably......Here below is a closer look at what was on that table sitting just off center in the first Museum picture above. Marilyn Monroe. I don't know if that is Wax, but it is something that can sit out in the heat and not melt, that's for sure....This figure of Marilyn is recreating the day she put her Hand Prints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese all those many years ago...maybe 1957. I don't know how popular this Museum is, but there were certainly a lot of people milling about in front of it..... Look at this adorable little boy below..... You have to see who he was reaching out for there on Hollywood Blvd......Good old Barney. He, Barney that is, was all over the place....people wanting their picture taken with him and that darling little boy just wanting to touch him...... Way over to the right side was one of the two 'Captain Jack's' that were working the street that afternoon....Everyone wanted their picture taken with this guy, too..... We never did see this Captain Jack from the front....only from the back, being in the car and all....Do click on these pictures and then you can see them much bigger..... This guy above was the other Captain Jack, and the only reason he was facing us with that gun...(oy)..was that my friend Joe yelled out to him to get his attention.....He obviously takes his work very seriously....! I think this little boy is so darling---I just had to show you a closer look at him and the 'the baby' he was toting on his back....Adorable, beyond words.....! There will be a Part 2......!

More To Come........

had this to say:

I'm glad you had a good "Out Day." I know all about that. I'm having one tomorrow that should be really fun and goofy. I'm going to "Soap Nation." Ask your friend (Lee M.) if you don't know what that is.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 1:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for taking us along. Fear this is as close as I will get so I appreciate seeing it thru your eyes and camera. You are a great tour guide.
Driving down the street there is like going to Disney with all the characters. Please keep the historic places and stories coming.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 4:20:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like your day was a good one and yes that little child was precious he certainly seemed happy. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the moments and memories I wish I knew our city like you know yours it's fascinating to remember what things were like years gone by.

Dorothy from grammoloyg

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 5:57:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How wonderful that you were able to get out and about in your old 'hood. I love hearing about Hollywood history. It's changed so much, even from when I was last there 17 years ago (my office was in the old Gower studios at Sunset & Gower). Looking forward to part 2.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 6:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

such fun photos, Naomi, love the real "neighborhood feel" of this. By the way, that is a wonderful restaurant, it is an experience going there.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 6:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Seeing those Hollywood photos reminds me of the glitz surrounding the October 1967 premier of The Jungle Book for which my Dad weaseled tickets from Lord knows where. It was the first time I wore a suit and tie.


Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 10:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Here I am In Missouri after spending forty plus years in Southern California and I never went to Hollywood.
I'm guessing your narration and pictures are much better than the gritty reality. The view of Hollywood from your wonderful yard is, I'm sure, much more forgiving than the street view. I did notice that poor Barney had lost his velcro and the gent inside couldn't see that his black shoes and bare leg may had caused some dismay to Barney's loyal fans.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 7:41:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Going down those streets must be like going to a theme park and seeing the characters. Neato!

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 8:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

You're bringing back some good memories for me, Naomi, of the convention I went to in LA back in the late 80's. After we got checked in at the hotel, the first place we went was Rodeo Dr. and then to Hollywood, to see the theater and the stars in the sidewalk. I will probably never get to see it again, so I really enjoy taking that walk/ride with you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 8:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oooo you got out and about!! And in Hollywood! I feel like it is my old stomping grounds given that I went there every weekend for a number or years to clean up AC Lyles and DeForests stars (did Widmarks at times too)
You saw so much going on! wow! I wonder how many times I walked by the Roosevelt? and walked on the handprints at Manns? it seems a lifetime ago.. and so it must seem for you too Naomi..

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 2:54:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love your 'now and then' posts as I privately call them. They always give another perspective on wherever you're writing about that is filled with wonderful memories adn warmth that says so much more about a place than a brochure could. Thanks for such a personal perspective :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 4:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That baby is a cutey. Love his haircut. My kids and nieces and nephews all had "lovey" backpacks like this one. Have lovey, will travel.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 5:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great Hollywood round trip and having you as a guide is really exciting - what an adventure - thanks for sharing!

Btw: Got the link to NYT's 36 HOURS IN OSLO from you, sent to Tor - very interesting!

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 11:22:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You are just fabulous.
Whoe else can combine the past and the present like you, and put it togehter this way.
I'm really amazed.

PS. I invite you to a lunch at George Sand's home in France. At my blog;-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 11:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That baby boy is adorable with his little lion on his back. I love how he's reaching out to his purple friend. :)

It must amaze you to see all the changes around town since you've been in the area for so many years. I'm sad to hear you don't get out much, BUT WHEN YOU DO get get around! I love the characters you photographed, especially the "other" Captain Jack. Nice.

The magazine room reminded me of the football publication room at the publishing company I used to work for...only yours looks much more interesting and entertaining. What a shame it's not what it used to be and that you aren't able to spend hours in there, freely, looking for what you want. Imagine if you could still do that.

I'd love to take a drive around your city, but since I can't do that I am SO looking forward to your Part II.

Happy Sunday, my friend! My Grey Gardens should arrive in the next few days! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 1:55:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Oooohhh would you look at those. I always find Freddy Krueger quite scary. The day looks nice and oh what a cute boy! Lovely photos as usual!

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 2:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh that outing looks like so much fun! I had no idea there would be so many "characters" milling about on the streets. And what a dear little boy! LA certainly has changes since the days you remember.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 6:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great tour! I've never been there (but I'd like to!) ... but I feel like I have now :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 6:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh wow, what a wonderful Hollywood tour guide you are. So much history and so many changes through the last 40 years or so. Its fascinating. I loved your photos and I adore Shrek, what a great photo and the wee boy is adorable. Naomi, how often can you get out in the car for a drive?

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 5:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

My 102yr old aunt loved those areas. I just hate the loss of old book stores, cuts me the most---is new and "modern" always so much better? I'm only 52 and I don't think so. All mirrors and smoke and greed, less feel for customers and product. Very sad really. In the 27 years I have lived in Seattle so many wonderful bood stores are gone, I will never forget their rich scents of books well-read and well-held.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 7:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

All the more fun because you give a neighbourhood narrative and some of the way it was pictures. I remember walking around here - The Kodak was still under construction but most of the rest was in place.

There were not so many of the cartoon characters - I assume this is a promotion or something, but there were a few well known people around. I'll have to dig out some pictures or video.

I also met a 'Hollywood Town Crier' which was quite interesting and who gave a story or two, and whose angle was more about getting noticed by the business and was quite happy to while away a little time with a fellow Brit.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 9:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

that little boy is precious, and the look on his face is so wonderful

we should all try to be child like as much as we can, keep that sense of wonder

it's one of things I love about you :)

Craig Ferguson often talks about all the characters on the Blvd. He seems especially interested in Spiderman's "package" - which I know we have talked about before

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Another great set of photos! Sounds quite a lot of fun viewing it all from the car too.

My older daughter loved Barney so I have a soft spot for him too! Was Baby Bop there as well?

I did visit this area about 8 years ago in the heart of the Winter and it all seemed a bit bleak, but seeing your wonderful photos makes me want to go back again in the summer!

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 4:28:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How cool was this stroll down Hollywood Blvd. again? My husband worked at Pickwick when he was young. As I read out loud, he started remembering guys he worked with there! As he said, to work at Pickwick you HAD to read and know what you were selling! Thank you, Naomi! xoxox

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 4:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great Hollywood reportage, Naomi! Just amazing! I am glad you had a nice day looking and taking photos of your city!
I will soon to see the Part 2! Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 1:29:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

Great day out and wonderful shots!!
Yes, the little boy is adorable! and his lion too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:13:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi!! Sorry I'm so far behind.
But with my computer down and my nephew having a heart attack I put the computer things on the back burner. My nephew is doing well BTW!

It's so wonderful that your friend took you out for a drive. Amazing the things you see in Hollywood out on the streets!! That little boy has a leash attached to his backpack. Don't see many of those around here, but certainly a good safety precaution, even if they aren't holding onto it at the time you took the photo!

I'd love to eat at that restaurant, Musso and Frank!

I'll read the next part now!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 4:03:00 PM PDT 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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