Many of them should be on the list
The most famous Hollywood landmark of all: the sign that once read “Hollywoodland,” built to promote a new subdivision. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
FOR SO MANY of the past 50 years, there was no “there” in Hollywood.
Visitors from around the globe had few choices when it came to checking out world famous landmarks. The community was run down, filled with derelict buildings and people.
That has changed dramatically recently.
Redevelopment is proceeding apace. Construction and renovation is booming.
It began over a decade ago with the Hollywood/Highland complex (we wrote about it May 2 in World landmark site for tourists from around the globe) but the pace has picked up of late on the eastern edge of Hollywood, where half a dozen major new projects are under construction.
Today we visit some of the lesser-known landmarks, those you won’t easily find elsewhere on the web. But, many of them should be included; they are offbeat, inspiring and worth the time to visit.
OUR FIRST STOP is actually a world-famous landmark: Crossroads of the World, on Sunset Boulevard.
The Crossroads of the World with the Blessed Sacrament Church next door. You won’t easily find this combination anywhere on the web. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
Indeed you will see it on the web, but not quite from this perspective.
Most images show just the front of the structure; they omit the Moorish-style Blessed Sacrament Church right next door. You can see it in all its glory in our image.
Next, is what is affectionately called, by locals, the “Blue Whale” but officially known as the Pacific Design Center. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli and built in 1975, the PDC’s blue building for many years dominated the skyline of West Hollywood, the tiny municipality founded in 1984 and completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles.
The “Blue Whale” aka Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. It should be on the list of famous landmarks. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
It is no longer alone, however.
To the north (but not visible) are two companion structures; one green, the other red. The most recent addition, the “red whale” is stunning in its curved shape that comes to a point (like the bow of a sailboat) on the eastern edge.
The now 1.2-million-square-foot complex (of three buildings) definitely deserves a place on the world-famous landmarks list – but you won’t see it there.
Of course Grauman’s Chinese Theater (no longer its official name) is on everybody’s list (not ours, therefore) but just a hundred yards west on Hollywood Boulevard is a landmark that caught our attention.
Elif Okuyucu stands under what we dubbed the “west gateway to Hollywood” on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
One might call it the “west gateway to Hollywood.”
Perched on a traffic island at the corner of La Brea Avenue is the four-statue monument to some illustrious maidens of the movies.
Closest to the camera, holding up the southeast corner is Anna May Wong, who starred in “Thief of Baghdad” and “Shanghai Express,” among other movies.
On her left, the southwest corner is supported by Dorothy Dandridge, the first black woman ever nominated for an Academy Award for her role in “Carmen Jones.”
Not visible in the image, the northwest support is provided by Mae West, star of “I’m no angel” and “My little Chickadee.”
The final pillar, the northeast corner, is Dolores Del Rio, star of more than 30 films including “What price glory.”
In the middle, her arms outstretched in joy, is Elif Okuyucu from Istanbul, Turkey, visiting with her husband Hasan and their two kids.
NOT QUITE GEOGRAPHICALLY in Hollywood, but just the other side of the hill, is arguably the world’s most famous cemetery: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood is not actually IN Hollywood but is arguably the world’s most famous cemetery. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
Our image shows the entrance, with the neo-colonial style Mortuary building that fronts onto Forest Lawn Drive, almost right across the street from Warner Bros. studios – a not-very-attractive complex of sound stages that won’t be on anybody’s list of world famous Hollywood landmarks.
Finally, back to where we started: the Capitol Records building is, of course, on every list, but this particular view is not that common.
The iconic Capitol Records building, evoking an image that is now obsolete. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
It is the east side, looking west.
The iconic 13-story structure was designed by Welton Beckett and completed in 1956. It is an ironic twist of history that the pile of vinyl records it’s design evokes is obsolete; who on earth these days uses vinyl to play recorded music?
Living a stone’s throw from Hollywood is one of the fringe benefits of life in L.A. Since I moved to “the Valley” in 1995, I used to go there rarely.
These days, there are more and more reasons to visit. The revitalization is proceeding apace. There is now more “there” there than there has been for 50 years.
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