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Hollywood and Vine: Where Old Meets New

Jun 25, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Hollywood and Vine is one of Los Angeles’ most famous intersections.

Who would have thought that one intersection could be packed with so many attractions–both new and old. Beginning in the 1920s, Hollywood began to see an influx of money and influence, as the previous nascent movie and music businesses began to evolve and move in, creating the "Golden Age of Hollywood."

Each corner of Hollywood and Vine is graced with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star commemorating the first lunar landing mission, Apollo Eleven, featuring Neil Armstrong, Edward E. “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. I remember watching the moon landing on television, sitting huddled around a small black and white television with my parents.

Capitol Records

Just north of the intersection lies the world’s iconic and first circular office building, the Capitol Records headquarters.

Its unique design–and creative and playful exterior–resembles a stack of 45s sitting on a turntable; for those of you old enough to remember that before CD’s and MP3 players there were LP’s, and before that 45’s.

The Capital Records Building, built in 1956, is also nicknamed, “The House that Nat Built” in reference to Capitol Recordings musical superstar, Nat King Cole.

Although Capitol Records no longer owns the building; it stands as a permanent testament to a time gone by, with such musical giants as Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, to Billy Idol, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay holding court in the building’s corridors of musical power past–just looking at the building brings back memories of long hours listening to record albums.

Just across the street from the Capitol Records building is the Avalon Hollywood Theater:

Avalon Hollywood Theater

Built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the then Hollywood Playhouse opened its doors in 1927. Over the years, this theater has been named and renamed: the Hollywood Playhouse, the WPA Federal Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, The Jerry Lewis Theatre, The Hollywood Palace and The Palace.

Avalon up close and personal

In 1952, it held the first nationally televised telethon to help raise funds for the US Olympic team. It was hosted and attended by such Hollywood legends as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.

No tour of the corner of Hollywood and Vine would be complete without the Pantages Theatre:

Pantages Theatre

From 1949 to 1960, the Pantages Theatre hosted the Academy Awards. Although the Academy Awards are now held at the Kodak Theatre, the Pantages was a movie theater during the Depression and now it hosts live theater production– currently showing Dirty Dancing.

What I found amazing about the entrance to the Pantages Theatre was its magnificent Art Deco Ceiling:

Art Deco ceiling

From the minute I walked in, I knew I was someplace special. Its grandeur is from a bygone era.

By the 1960s, however, many studios and broadcasters had moved into more upscale enclaves, and the area fell into disrepair and disrepute, with many abandoned stores and offices, and the streets themselves, claimed by squatters and panhandlers.

It took several decades; hundreds of master plans created and discarded, and billions of dollars from the City for the area’s comeback to occur and take hold.

All too frequently visitors looking for Hollywood dreams were often taken aback by the area’s contrast with shinier tourist Mecca’s. I know that I was!

The Hollywood Redevelopment area is part of the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency.

Now, Hollywood is undergoing rejuvenation, with one of the the construction projects being a new super-modern and chic W Hotel being developed directly across the street from the Pantages Theatre:

New W Hotel

Where old meets the new, life will be different, but in Hollywood, you’ll never know what you’ll find just around the corner while Travelin’ Local.

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Culture, Hollywood, SoCal

6 Responses to “Hollywood and Vine: Where Old Meets New”

  1. Davina says:

    Hi Lisa. This architecture is incredible — especially the Art Deco Ceiling in the Pantages Theatre.

    PS. I have just nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award. I hope you will accept. :-)

    Davina’s last blog post..It’s All About Me — Or Is It?

    [Reply]

    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Davina, I couldn’t believe how great the ceiling looked. I went there with a friend of mine and she finally told me, stop taking pictures of the ceiling. :)

    Thank you for the award, Davina. It means a lot to me, especially coming from you.

    [Reply]

  2. David says:

    Great pictures of the Capital and Pantages building. Interesting back stories as well.

    Fantastic job as well in your reporting. The W hotel being constructed certainly adds more credence to the “old” v “new” Hollywood.

    [Reply]

    LisaNewton Reply:

    @David, I wonder what it will look like when it’s finished. BTW, the Red Metro Line stops is right under the building.

    [Reply]

  3. Sara says:

    Lisa,

    I really enjoyed this trip to Hollywood and Vine.

    Not only are your photographs wonderful, but the story you tell about the history of this place makes me want to visit.

    Thanks for sharing this bit of Hollywood with us:~)

    Sara’s last blog post..I’m a blogger and a winner!

    [Reply]

    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Sara, Thank you for stopping by a taking the time to comment on my article. I loved going there and writing it, but the fact that you enjoyed it, made my day. :)

    [Reply]

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