I was raised on Vince Lombardi time. If you’re any younger than I am you may be unfamiliar, but the members of our household were raised with a strict adherence to his principle that one should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early—whenever and wherever—or you are LATE! So recently, on two separate occasions to meet friends and family on Hollywood Boulevard, I arrived nice and early with time to walk around, camera in hand!
I thought in honor of the upcoming 84th Academy Awards I’d share a little slice of my tour. Hollywood is much more than a few famous streets, but probably none is more iconic than a small stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.
No, it’s not really leaning. It was just a challenge for me to take a great shot of a thirteen story tower! Located just north of the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection, this is the home of the West Coast operations of Capitol Records, and is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles. For trivia buffs, the first album recorded in the tower was Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color, 1956.
The Pantages Theatre, the first Art Deco theater in the United States, opened in 1930 as part of the Fox Theatre chain and from 1949 to 1959 the Academy Awards were presented here. The theatre has been through many changes over its illustrious career, but in 2000 after a $10 million extensive renovation the beautifully restored Pantages began housing limited engagements of national Broadway tours. I am a nut for musical theatre, so I refer to this building as one of my happy places!
Directly across from the Pantages is another building with a little history, the often overlooked Taft Building. The Taft was the city’s first high-rise office building and in Hollywood’s golden age Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, and all the studios occupied office space. Located at Hollywood and Vine the Taft still offers retail and office space in the heart of Hollywood.
Of course, it’s a mixed view along the Boulevard. When I was young the street was heavily lined with rows of buildings offering X rated shows and attracting a rather seedy crowd. The boulevard has been significantly upgraded over the last 15 years, but a few haunts still hearken the past.
The Walk of Fame is enjoyable and the stars are plentiful. On February 6th the 6,752nd star will be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Recording, to AMERICA, the Grammy Award-winning duo who gained popularity in the 1970′s. Remember “Horse With No Name?”
I think the glamor of the past is probably a little more interesting. One of my favorite movies is High Society so I made a point of tracking down Grace Kelly’s Walk of Fame Star and found it at 6153 Hollywood Blvd.
Well, I was able to take all these pictures and enjoy the sites all in the hour before meeting my daughter and others for a theater event. Vince Lombardi time provided a very nice window of opportunity.
Meet me here on Saturday and I’ll take you on a brief tour of another stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, including Grauman’s Chinese Theater, site of all those movie premiers and over 200 famous hand and foot prints captured in cement. I know you all know Grauman’s Chinese. Hasn’t everyone seen Lucy and Ethel prying John Wayne’s cement block out of the ground? I’ll be here, so be sure to bring your walking shoes.
Your personal tour guide, Debra