Topic: Historic Hollywood
Architectural Detail and Hollywood History
To the right, a lamppost at the Hollywood Guaranty Building, 6331 Hollywood Boulevard at Ivar, a twelve-story 1923 Beaux Arts office building by the architects John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley.
Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. De Mille invested in this building and the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper worked here. Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson and Cecil B. De Mille all once had their offices in this building. The Bank of America owned it for a time, and the building was sold in 1988 to the Church of Scientology in a straight cash transaction. It's now the executive offices for the international operations of those folks.
The building is dull. The lamppost is cool.
Below, details of the Security Pacific Bank Building at 6383 Hollywood Boulevard, at Cahuenga, from 1921 by the architects John and Donald B. Parkinson - also know as the Cahuenga Building, Philip Marlowe's office in Raymond Chandlers The Long Goodbye. It's part of Raymond Chandler Square, previously covered in these pages here. The building has interesting detail.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, 1313 North Vine at Fountain, built in 1947-48 as a radio and television studio facility and designed by Claude Beelman and his associate, Herman Spackler, and recently restored by Offenhauser/Mekeel Architects. It's amusing.
Ah but for real Hollywood history you can't the Knickerbocker Hotel, 1714 North Ivar Avenue, just off Hollywood Boulevard, built in the early twenties. It has a cool history, first a luxury apartment building, then a hotel, now apartments for seniors, almost all of them Russian. In the old days Rudolph Valentino hung out at the hotel bar, and liked to tango there. Harry Houdini made a deal with his wife Bess that if he died before she did he would try to contact her from the great beyond. On Halloween 1926, exactly one year after he died, she conducted a séance on the roof of the Knickerbocker, but he, or his spirit or whatever, didn't show. She tried that each Halloween up on the roof for the next ten years. No good. Oh well.
And then there's D.W. Griffith. He died of a stroke on July 21, 1948 under the crystal chandelier in the lobby. And that strange actress Frances Farmer was arrested here in 1942, dragged from her room, and that ended in her lobotomy and all. They made a film about it. The word is William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter, a script girl at Fox, began their eighteen-year affair here. Marilyn Monroe honeymooned here with Joe Dimaggio in January of 1954, and Elvis Presley stayed in suite 1016 back in 1956 while he was shooting "Love Me Tender." Who else lived here? Frank Sinatra, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Mae West, Laurel and Hardy, Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, and Cecil B. DeMille. And William Frawley, who played Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy," lived here for decades and on March 3, 1966, died of a heart attack on the sidewalk in front of the place.
Quite a place. You can't get in now, even to see the chandelier in the lobby. History is over. The building has been "repurposed."