5 Reasons We Love Hollywood
There is so much to love about Los Angeles. From the beach to the mountains and everything in between. If you are in LA, you can go surfing in the morning and be on the ski slopes in the afternoon. You can hike up a mountain and turn around to look out at Los Angeles. You can always find something happening in LA. And, of course, there is Hollywood. From the Hollywood Sign to the Walk of Fame to the theatres, Hollywood is definitely one of our favorite places to be in Los Angeles. Here are 5 reasons why.
The Hollywood Sign
One of the most iconic signs in the world, The Hollywood Sign truly shows that you are in L.A. It is not only indicative of Los Angeles, but of the entertainment industry, which L.A. is famous for. When it was built in 1923, it was meant to be a massive outdoor ad campaign for a new housing development known as “Hollywoodland”. Constructed from metal squares, each of the 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall and lit up at night. While the housing development eventually failed due to the Great Depression, the sign still stayed and the city eventually removed the “land” from the title to create the now famous sign, “Hollywood”. While you would have to hike up to the sign itself, there are also many places to take a photo with the sign as a back drop. It is a favorite spot with our customers on our variety of tour opportunities.
El Capitan Theatre
If your kids love the magic of Disney, it will be brought alive for them again at the El Capitan. It may be old but don’t worry, you will only find one mouse in this this theater! This historic landmark was originally built in the 1920’s as a part of Hollywood’s theatre district and was originally the theatre for “spoken dramas”. The only drama played out there today is in the Disney movies shown on the big screen, always with a happy ending! For 10 years, there were over 120 productions in the theater. Clark Gable even starred in one. And the world premiere of “Citizen Kane” was there. While the theatre changed hands many times, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the Walt Disney company purchased it and refurbished the beautiful Spanish Colonial style building. One of the most wonderful things about this theater is the experience you have there. While you are seeing a movie on the big screen like any other theater, it is almost as if you are paying for a live theater experience. The theatre’s East Indian interior boasts decorations from the current movie it is playing. And there is usually some sort of pre-show happening on the stage before the show starts or you can listen to the music being played on the 1920’s Wurlitzer, so be sure to get there early. And like a lot of Disneyland rides, each show exits though a specialized Disney Store – in this case it is a Soda Fountain. Don’t forget to wear your favorite Disney costume (many children do!) and come experience the Disney magic in Hollywood.
The Walk of Fame
In Hollywood, stars are everywhere. In fact, only in Hollywood you can see stars by looking up and by looking down. Of course, we are talking about The Hollywood Walk of Fame. No doubt about it, one of the most iconic things about Hollywood is the historic Walk of Fame – where you can literally walk all over your favorite stars. Running 1.3 miles East to West on Hollywood Boulevard, the walk consists of over 2,500 five pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded along the sidewalk. The Hollywood Walk of Fame attracts 10 million visitors annually. Some of our favorite actors, directors, producers, musicians & performers have the opportunity to be nominated for a star in 5 different categories – Motion Picture, Television, Recording, Radio and Theatre/Live Performance. A celebrity can have a star in all of these categories. The only person, to date, to receive all 5 is the incomparable singing cowboy Gene Autry.
The Pantages Theatre
The Pantages Theater in Hollywood is one of the most iconic theaters on the West Coast. A Los Angeles Landmark, the Pantages Hollywood opened its doors in 1930. It was the last theater built by Alexander Pantages, a famous Vaudville producer and financier who built his empire on building theaters that showed both film and live productions. This beautiful and historic art deco building sits on Hollywood & Vine and is one of LA’s leading venues for live theater. In the early days of motion pictures, the Pantages was a movie theatre as well, but closed its doors in the 70’s and re-opened to focus on live theatre productions only. Many productions and concerts have found a home at the Pantages Hollywood including Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, Westside Story, The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, and many others.
The architecture of the Pantages is incredible. While its stone façade on the outside is a little plain, it is anything but on the inside with its vaulted lobby and grand staircase that are a pleasure to behold. While it was redone in the year 2000, you still enter the Pantages and feel like you are in old Hollywood. And you almost expect one of the long ago stars to meet you at the entrance. It truly is a magical place to see a show.
Graumans Chinese Theatre
Since 1927, Grauman’s Chinese Theater (now known as TCL Chinese Theater after the naming rights were sold to a Chinese corporation) has been THE spot for Hollywood’s biggest premieres. One of the most well-known features of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is it’s front walkway where you can see the handprints and footprints of famous movie stars. There have only been about 175 star prints made so far, and the remaining empty space in the theatre’s small forecourt is scarce – so the honor is has normally been reserved solely for true Hollywood superstars.Eddie Murphy, Tom Cruise, Michael Keaton, Mel Gibson received the honor of placing their hands and feet in the famous wet cement. So did directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, along with the “Star Wars” characters of Darth Vader, R2D2 and C-3PO.
In July of 2007, the three young stars of the “Harry Potter” movies (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint) placed their hand, foot and wand-prints in the wet cement.
In November 2011, the three main stars of the Twilight saga were similarly enshrined. The prints of Taylor Lautner, Kristin Stewart, and Robert Pattinson are a real hit with our younger travelers.