A Walk on Hollywood Boulevard

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.

You know you’re in Hollywood  with  super-sized billboards–you can’t miss them!

Capitol Records Building

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.

Stunning example of high ornate Art Deco architecture

Interior view of Pantages Theater

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.

Taft Building

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.

Can you read the tag line? Hilarious!

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

37 thoughts on “A Walk on Hollywood Boulevard

  1. It will be 3 years ago next week since my husband and I shared our final journey along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was the final week of a 3 month overseas journey of joy. Your post has brought a flood of wonderful memories.
    We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary at a restaurant called, I think, Third and Olive in Burbank, where a delightful singer crooned to us, then gave us a copy of his CD as a gift. I have searched the internet but it seems the restaurant, has either closed or changed its name. Sadly my darling Rod collapsed and died in my arms 6 months after our return home to Australia.
    Thank you for the joyful memories your pictures and words have brought me.
    Tricia

    • Tricia, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to think the post brought joyful memories. I can tell you that I know I will think of you next time I’m in the Hollywood Blvd. area–stories like yours really stay with me. And I am going to look into your restaurant, Third and Olive, and see what I can learn. I do think I have heard of it, but you’re right, there could be a change in ownership/name. I’m now curious! Thank you for coming by to leave such a meaningful response. Debra

  2. Ah! you bring back memories of my years living in LA. At one point, I lived on Cahuenga Blvd and drove by the Capitol Records building and some of the others on my way to work… One of my old hoods. ;-)

  3. Thanks, Debra, for taking us on your mini tour. I’ve only been to LA once for a brief visit but, when I return one day, I’m going to make a point of seeing the Pantages Theater. It looks remarkable! And yes, Lucy & Ethel stealing john Wayne’s hand & foot prints was one of her classics. :)

    • I hope you can visit again sometime, John. You’d have fun with all the cultural reference points! Not very sophisticated, for sure, but fun in its own way! I often think of the old Lucy episodes in which she was so Hollywood star-struck! Those were the best episodes, and I never get tired of them!! Debra

  4. What a wonderful walk! The Pantages Theatre is so ornate and beautiful. I can only imagine walking into this treasure when it was first opened – and now. To see a musical there would be pure bliss.

    I’m giggling just thinking about Lucy and Ethel and the John Wayne heist, all while humming “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, It felt good to be out of the rain” la, la, lalala.

    Thank you for the tour, Debra. See you on Saturday.

    • I’m glad you came with me on my walk, Penny. I would have known you could recall the words to The Horse With No Name! LOL! I’ve been humming it today, too…and what I often do when I’m in this part of town is really try to imagine what it must have been like. Thankfully there is some attempt to preserve the buildings, but other than that, probably very little resemblance. We’ll go further up the street tomorrow :-) Debra

    • I’m sure you would enjoy it, Sharyn. About a year ago my cousins in the Bay Area took me to the Orpheum (or was it Orpheus) in San Francisco, and it really reminded me of the Pantages. There are few beautiful building that haven’t had significant earthquake damage, right? Debra

  5. I enjoyed reading this ……..really nice way to share some of the iconic places that make Hollywood what it is. Thanks for taking the extra hour to do this!

  6. Dear Debra,
    Like Perpetua, I’ll probably never get to Hollywood, much less Hollywood and Vine, but I so enjoyed this mini-tour. And that Grace Kelly star brought back so many memories of her roles and how much I enjoyed watching her perform.

    I, too, operate on Vince Lombardi time. My mom insisted that being early was a sign of respect for the people–friends, business acquaintances, family–I was meeting.

    Peace.

    • When you’re raised to be punctual, it’s almost impossible to turn it off, don’t you think? Then I have to learn to be patient with others who don’t obsess over this. LOL! I’m glad you enjoyed the little tour, and I’m with you about Grace Kelly! I thought she was enchanting, in the same way I appreciated Audrey Hepburn. Something calm and elegant about the two of them! And I wouldn’t count you out on a trip to Hollywood just yet! I think you have a very adventurous spirit! :-) Debra

    • Yes, Kate! You have your forests, cathedrals and castles…and I have my glitzy strand of concrete! LOL! Home Sweet Home! Ha! You are someone I would LOVE to show the sites…your observations would probably be quite hilarious, except I think you’d try to be polite! Debra

    • Thank you so much for stopping by today, Wanda! What a surprise :-) We will have to take a little walking tour soon, just to get caught up with our Hollywood lore, don’t you think? And yes, I don’t ever think of Lucy without thinking of YOU! Ha! D

  7. Debra, I wish I had known you when I stayed in Hollywood back in October. This would’ve helped me so much. Your company and personal touring would’ve made the trip. I got some horrible news in LA, and I fear it tainted my view of the whole of it.

    • Oh my, Andra. I’m really sorry to hear that the trip doesn’t bring back a more positive memory, of course! And I DO wish we’d made acquaintance then. What fun that would have been. I suspect I will be here for a long, long time :-) so perhaps there will be a happier occasion for another try! I’ve enticed more friends for a visit to our congested and sometimes not-so-friendly landscape with promises of a good dinner and nice wine overlooking the Pacific! Keep that in mind :-) Debra

  8. Debra, great walking tour of a very grand old place, just kicking in a memory of my first driving double date in maybe 1960 with my 1948 Ford 2 door sedan to see Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. Thanks again, and look forward to what’s up your sleeve for Saturday. Interesting history of STAR #6752 and yes, you have me humming _____________ tune

  9. Loved the tour and new insight of the Taft building. Truly, nothing like the Pantages for stunning and ornate art deco (my personal fav) and the Capitol Records building is still an icon. Remember when a heated city debate erupted as it that building was going to be demolished for an upgrade? I’m glad it never happened. And, I’ll be sure NEVER to be “on time” when meeting you again. Early it will be dear friend! ~~ Ellen

    • Yes, my secret anxiety about being “late” is now made public! I do remember when almost all of these buildings were in jeopardy…California is rather “late to the party” in recognizing the value of preserving historical buildings. Un-cool! There’s a great little Irish Pub right next to the Pantages so maybe we need another jaunt. And Billy Elliot is coming? :-) Debra

  10. Pingback: Hollywoodland–Here we come again! | breathelighter

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  12. I took some friends there just last week and am posting about it on my blog tomorrow (2/20). It’s one of those places I always take people who come to visit just because it’s so famous. Now I almost always park at one of the park and ride lots and we take the train. It’s a pretty easy way to go and is a novelty in itself.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

    • Thanks for coming by, Arlee. I’ll be sure to check out your blog and I’ll be interested in what you share about Hollywood. It’s true that taking the train is a great way to go…we have done that a few times. It is a place everyone seems to want to see, isn’t it? I work in a university and it’s not uncommon for our Center to host a little trip down there (usually by train) just because the students are curious! See you tomorrow, Debra

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