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Hollywood Ups and Downs

1886: H.H. Wilcox buys a 120-acre area of Rancho La Brea at $150 per acre and christens it Hollywood.

1889: The main street, Prospect Avenue (later changed to Hollywood Boulevard), is paved.

1893: Vine Street is named after former Senator Cornelius Cole’s vineyard.

1901: French painter Paul DeLongpre builds an elaborate residence and gardens, which become Hollywood’s first tourist attraction.

1903: Herman Janes purchases a residence on Prospect Avenue. In 1911 his wife and three daughters, the Janes sisters, start the prestigious Misses Janes School from their home, for the children of the Hollywood community, including those of Cecil B. De Mille and Charles Chaplin.

1903: The Hollywood Union High School District is formed; 30 pupils are enrolled.

1905: The Hollywood Hotel opens at 6811 Hollywood Blvd. Bought by chocolate heiress Almira Hershey, the hotel becomes the epicenter for Hollywood’s social scene; it is here in 1919 that newlywed Rudolph Valentino is thrown out of the honeymoon suite by his first wife, Jean Acker. Louella Parsons turns the hotel into a national institution when she begins her radio show, "This is Louella Parsons, broadcasting from the Hollywood Hotel." It will be torn down in 1956 and replaced by an office tower.

1910: Lack of water and sewage access forces Hollywood to annex to the city of Los Angeles. One of the last official acts of Hollywood’s Board of Trustees is to change the name of Prospect Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard.

1911: Al Christie and David Horsely of the Nestor Film Co. rent the former Blondeau Tavern and barn at the corner of Sunset and Gower, starting Hollywood’s first studio. In 1912, Nes tor merges with Universal Film Manufacturing Co., then in 1916 becomes ä Christie’s Studio, which it remains until 1938, when CBS builds Columbia Square at this site, 6101 Sunset Blvd.

1911: The Idyl Hour Theater, Hollywood’s first moving-picture theater, is built at 6525 Hollywood Blvd.

1919: John Musso and Frank Toulet open Musso & Frank’s Grill at 6669 Hollywood Blvd.

1921: At seven stories, the Security Trust & Savings Building is one of the first high-rise buildings on Hollywood Boulevard.

1922: Sid Grauman starts the tradition of announcing Hollywood premieres with spotlights crisscrossing the night sky at his new Egyptian Theater. The 1922 classic Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks is the first movie to premiere here.

1923: The Christie Hotel at 6724 Hollywood Blvd. is the first of Hollywood’s luxury hotels.

1923: Hollywood’s first nightclub, the Montmartre Cafe, opens on the second floor at 6753-6763 Hollywood Blvd.

1923: The $21,000 Hollywoodland Sign is erected by real estate developers atop Mount Lee to promote the subdivision at the tip of Beachwood Canyon.

1923: Henry’s Cafe & Deli — later changed to Sardi’s — opens a few doors down from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Charlie Chaplin is a regular.

1927: Cecil B. De Mille’s The King of Kings opens Sid Grauman’s second movie palace in Hollywood, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. It’s intended to be a monument to Chinese art, culture and architecture; official Chinese government authorization is needed for the importation of temple bells, pagodas, Fu dogs and other rare artifacts. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks are the first to immortalize their prints in cement, on May 18, 1927. ä

1927: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, at 7000 Hollywood Blvd., opens.

1927: Located in the B.H. Dyas Building, the Broadway is the first major department store on the boulevard.

1927: Taking its name from the establishment’s trademark on the front marquee — a dancing, flute-playing pig — the Pig ’n’ Whistle restaurant and soda fountain opens.

1928: The first Santa Claus Lane Parade is held.

1929: Birthplace of the cobb salad (named for manager Bob Cobb), the Brown Derby, shaped like a fuzzy brown hat, opens at 1628 N. Vine.

1929: The first Academy Awards ceremony is held at the Roosevelt Hotel.

1929: C.C. Brown’s Ice Cream Shop, at 7007 Hollywood, is home of the hot-fudge sundae.

1930: The last and largest of a chain of theaters operated by vaudeville magnate Alexander Pantages, the Pantages Theater, opens at Argyle and Hollywood at a cost of $1.25 million as part of the Fox theater chain. From 1950–1960, the Academy Awards ceremony is held here. The Pantages will show its last film in 1977.

September 3, 1930: The first issue of the Hollywood Reporter hits the stands.

1932: Designed by famed architect Richard Neutra for Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, the Laemmle Building, home of the Melody Lane Cafe, opens at the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

1932: Struggling actress Lillian Millicent "Peg" Entwhistle gives her most memorable performance by swan-diving off the "H" of the Hollywoodland Sign to her death.

1933: The first issue of Daily Variety is published.

1936: Sixty-one years before the film L.A. Confidential uses it as a set, Crossroads of the World opens at Sunset and Las Palmas.

1938: The Larry Edmunds Book Shop, a theater-and-film-only bookstore, opens at 6644 Hollywood.

1938: During the ’30s and ’40s, the radio networks broadcast from Vine Street; ABC is located in the Hollywood Recreation Building, home to Louella Parsons and Tom Breneman’s popular radio show, Breakfast in Hollywood. The NBC Radio Studios are located at 1500 N. Vine during the ’40s and ’50s, with such legendary radio shows as The Jack Benny Show and The Bob Hope Show. The building will be destroyed in the 1960s. ä

1939: Maintenance of the Hollywoodland Sign is discontinued; all 4,000 light bulbs used to illuminate it are promptly stolen.

1940: The world’s largest serve-yourself record store, Wallichs Music City, opens at 1501 N. Vine. This is the first store to seal record albums in cellophane and put them in display racks for customers. Owner Glenn Wallichs will go on to form Capitol Records with Johnny Mercer and Buddy DeSylva. The store will go out of business in 1978.

1940: L.A. Times publisher Norman Chandler commissions the Hollywood Palladium at 6215 Sunset. Lawrence Welk will appear here weekly for nearly 15 years.

1942: Marilyn Monroe marries her first husband in the Florentine Gardens, at 5951 Hollywood.

1947: Frederick Mellinger moves his lingerie business, Frederick’s of Fifth Avenue, to its new West Coast location, creating Frederick’s of Hollywood.

1949: A windstorm blows down the "H" in the Hollywoodland Sign. The Parks Commission decides to repair the first nine letters only and tear down the rest.

1954: Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye is published. In it, Philip Marlowe drinks gimlets in the backroom of Musso & Frank. Marlowe’s office is Room 615 of the Cahuenga Building, on Hollywood near Ivar.

1954: The $55 million Hollywood Freeway, a.k.a. "the biggest parking lot in the world" (Bob Hope), is completed, connecting the three L.A.s: downtown, Hollywood and the Valley.

1956: The Capitol Records Building, resembling a stack of 45-rpm records, opens as the world’s first circular office building at 1750 Vine.

1958: The Hollywood Improvement Association is formed. ä

1960: Ground is broken for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Joanne Woodward receives the first pink-terrazzo, bronze-engraved star.

1960: Future Starwood club owner Ed Nash opens a sandwich stand called Beef’s Chuck on Hollywood Boulevard.

1966: Found with a needle still dangling out of his arm, 41-year-old comedian Lenny Bruce dies of a drug overdose at his about-to-be-foreclosed home at 8825 Hollywood.

1966: William Frawley (Fred from I Love Lucy) dies of a heart attack on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1973: The Hollywood Sign becomes Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 111.

1975: Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson establishes the Revitalize Hollywood Task Force to attempt the turnaround of what has become known as "Sin City."

1976: The task force issues a report stating, "Hollywood is at a crossroads," calls for redevelopment, and recommends that the large gay community living in Hollywood be acknowledged and that law enforcement lessen its hostility toward homosexuals. The Community Redevelopment Agency gives the Revitalize Hollywood Task Force $100,000.

1977: The punk club the Masque opens just south of the boulevard on Cherokee, hosting such groups as the Germs, X and the Go-Go’s.

1978: After the Hollywood Sign’s "O" falls down the hill and an arsonist sets fire to the bottom of the "L," Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper make significant contributions to help save the sign.

1978: Denis and Beverly Lidtke announce plans for the development ä

of a multimillion-dollar entertainment and production center at the Palace on Vine.

1978: The new Hollywood Sign is unveiled.

1980: Johnny Grant is named the honorary mayor of Hollywood.

1985: The Hollywood Boulevard commercial and entertainment district is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places to protect the neighborhood’s important buildings and to ensure "that the significance of Hollywood’s past will always be a part of its future."

1986: City officials approve a 1,000-acre area for Hollywood’s redevelopment plans.

1987: During the Iran-Contra hearings, the Hollywood Sign is illegally altered to read "Ollywood." Later in the year, it becomes "Holywood" in honor of Pope John Paul II’s visit.

1988: The Hollywood Guaranty Building, a 12-story Hollywood landmark on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Ivar, where such legends as Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson and Cecil B. De Mille once had offices, is sold for nearly $5 million to the Church of Scientology.

1991: Pacific Theaters — a division of Walt Disney Co. — restores the El Capitan Theater.

1991: The $48 million Galaxy Mall at Hollywood and Sycamore Street opens in December, featuring the first new movie house built on the boulevard in 50 years.

1991: The Hollywood Farmers’ Market begins to operate Sundays on Ivar between Sunset and Hollywood boulevards.

1993: In response to merchant complaints that drug dealers and prostitutes are driving business (i.e., tourists) away, the CRA hires security guards to patrol a 1.5-mile area of Hollywood Boulevard. The cost is $750,000.

1993: The Screen Actors Guild moves from its location at 7065 Hollywood to a new home on the Miracle Mile.

1994: Construction begins for the Vermont/Hollywood Extension of the Metro Rail Red Line Subway, which will run under Hollywood Boulevard from Vine to Highland. The entire Red Line project is given a budget of $4.5 billion, with the final Hollywood Boulevard station, at Highland and Hollywood, scheduled to open in the year 2000.

August 1994: A nine-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard sinks 9 inches due to water seepage during construction and tunneling for the Metro Rail Red Line.

March 1996: The CRA approves a $2 million loan for the Hollywood Entertainment Museum, which leases 33,000 square feet of space on the lower level of the Hollywood Galaxy Complex to house, among other things, original TV and movie sets and props.

1998: The city begins working to restore some 50 neon signs along Hollywood Boulevard.

December 1998: Frederick’s of Hollywood puts its landmark building at 6608 Hollywood Blvd. up for sale, citing rising real estate prices.


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