Sometimes compared to a Bauhaus in Southern California, the social club known as The UpLifters in the early 20th century indulged in hijinks and projects that helped spark careers, and forged an image for Hollywood and its environs that has lasted to the present day. [Read more…]
Forget buying gifts for other people — what should Hollywood fans get for themselves? What about these vintage movie posters, available at emovieposter.com This site carries some of the posters from old blockbusters, from Disney’s 102 Dalmations to Empire Strikes Back to Ghostbusters.
Better yet, arrange a Hollywood tour that’ll bring you to the studios or sets. Now that’s what we call bragging rights.
It looks harmless. Even boring. Just an office building, with names of production companies, which don’t even leave much impact to the average tourist.
Until they know the story behind the street.
8439 Sunset Boulevard, now called Piazze del Sol, used to be the site of Hollywood’s most exclusive brothel, called “House of Francis.” People would go here for a different kind of networking, and whatever happened behind its doors stayed behind those doors.
Today there are still brothels, but they are typically held in private houses.
Some of Hollywood’s hotels can be considered as historical as Hollywood itself — like the Knickerbocker.
It was built in 1925 as a luxury apartment building, and its Renaissance Revival bar was a favorite hang out of the stars. Rudolph Valentino loved to tango here. FIlm director D. W. Griffith spent many hours at the bar, especially after he was “dismissed” by Hollywood after years of pioneering the industry. He was was walking in the lobby when he had a stroke, and died under the huge crystal chandelier.
Another Knickerbocker patron was Frances Farmer, who enjoyed an intense, but brief, career. She appeared in 18 films, three Broadway plays, thirty major radio shows and seven stock company productions, but alcohol, drugs, and weight problems had her career in shambles before she was 28. In 1943 she was arrested while she was at the Knickerbocker, and had to be dragged (half naked) out of her room. Famous costume designer Irene Gibbons also committed suicide here, checking in under another name, then trying to slit her wrists. When that didn’t work she jumped from the window.
The Knickerbocker was also the “lovenest” of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter, a script girl from the Fox studios, Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio. Other celebrity guests were Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mae West, Lana Turner, Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Sinatra, Laurel and Hardy and many others.
The Knickerbocker was also the stage for the last Houdini seance. After an hour, a violent thunderstorm drenched participants and ended their attempts. They later discovered that the storm didn’t occur anywhere else in Hollywood — only above the hotel!
Today a coffee shop called “The All-Star Theatre Café & Speakeasy” stands where the bar used to be, and is frequented by celebrities like Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio.
It usually takes many years for a movie to take the long transition from idea to finished product. The process is brutal and careers are usually put on high risk for each movie project. Not to mention the fact that millions are usually invested in a picture due to the high production expenses (hiring many professionals, actors, building sets, composing music, building sets and marketing the movie).
But because of the almost instantaneous reporting of box office results once a movie is shown in theaters, studios and production outfits will immediately know (usually within a few hours) if the movie that took so long in making and cost so much is a box office bomb or a huge blockbuster.
This is in huge contrast to about thirty years or so ago when movie executives would actually drive to theaters and look at the opening day lines to the theaters ? a much more hands on approach compared to today?s very strategic juggling of advance polling techniques, demographic minded scheduling and usage of historical models.
With the level of accuracy of the agencies that report box office takes for the movies getting more and more accurate, studio executives are relying on them on an ever increasing basis to gauge if they are actually going to make money or not.
The bad thing though with an industry that has become more obsesses with math and the bottomline is that quality and artistic expression has fallen by the wayside. Movies are nothing more than products now that is marketed no differently from a hamburger.
Hopefully the movie studios will also realize that money is not the be all and end all in a place that fuels the imagination like no other.