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June 18, 2006 - Icons

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Palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard

Here's an iconic shot, palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard.  It's the basic California shot and falls under the category of "stock photography" - good for a brochure or whatever. Basic stuff.


It's from late afternoon, Wednesday, June 14, 2006, when the light was just right. The building in the frame is a new glass thing, home of Stephen J. Cannell Productions - the outfit that crated stuff like The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, and other such television shows. There's more at the link. But the palm trees in the afternoon light are just fine.

The real icon is below, or the top of it in the same light - the most famous hotel in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was named for Theodore Roosevelt and financed by a group including Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer. It opened for business on May 15, 1927, and Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Greta Garbo, and Gloria Swanson were all there. The banquet and presentation of the first Academy Awards was here, in the "Blossom Room" - May 19, 1929. Douglas Fairbanks and Al Jolson did the honors. The Roosevelt is on the National Historic Register.

What else?  Marilyn Monroe lived here for two years when her modeling career started to work out for her, before the movies. Her first magazine shoot was on the diving board at the pool - now gone and replaced by a trendier one. She stayed in Cabana 246, overlooking the pool, and the mirror that hung in her room is now in the lobby - they say it's haunted by her spirit. Right. The staff also claims that the ghost of Montgomery Clift haunts the ninth floor (Suite 928) - he used to pace the halls back in 1953, memorizing his lines for the next day on the set of "From Here to Eternity" - so there are those loud noises coming from the empty suite, and word of phones left mysteriously off the hook that no one can explain. Whatever.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed in the penthouse when that cost five dollars a night. It's thirty-five hundred a night now. During Prohibition, Errol Flynn mixed his special gin concoctions in the back room of the hotel's barber shop, and Shirley Temple took her first tap-dancing lesson - from Bill "Bojangles" Robinson - on the hotel's tile stairway.

There's more here -


David Niven roomed in the servants' quarters when he first came to Hollywood, and Mary Martin began her singing career performing at the hotel's nightclub, the "Cinegrill," for $35 a week.

... Like most of the surrounding area, the grand Roosevelt Hotel went into a decline in the 1950's; one owner demolished its archways, covered up its elaborately painted ceilings, and painted the entire hotel in a shade of "seafoam green." They came close to tearing it down in the 1980's, but fortunately, the Roosevelt was rescued. A luxury hotel chain, Radisson, bought the historic hotel and set out to restore it to its former glory. Armed with original blueprints and historic photos of the hotel's Spanish Colonial architecture, they undertook a major $35 million renovation, and now, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel shines again.

... At the northern entrance to the hotel was the Cinegrill, a restaurant and cabaret nightclub which hosted top entertainers in the 1940's, and was a major celebrity hangout. Marilyn Monroe was a frequent patron, preferring a dark corner booth.

... That old Cinegrill space reopened as "Teddy's", part of a major renovation that began with the Roosevelt adding star-autographed plaques to their rooms: the first was from Steven Spielberg (who shot some of his Tom Hanks / Leonardo DiCaprio movie, "Catch Me If You Can" in the hallways of the Roosevelt).

... Its new poolside Tropicana Bar was attracting them by the droves, giving Sky Bar at its prime a run for its money. Celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria , Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Topher Grace, Hugh Hefner and Hitch's Eva Mendes have been spotted partying at the hotel recently. In 2005, Courtney Love passed out at the hotel and was taken away in by paramedics. But in April of 2006 - just days after a live performance by Prince - the venerable Hotel pulled back a bit from its new party image, severing ties with the architect of their hot scene, Amanda Demme, and temporarily closing Teddy's until they could replace the ultra-lounge's management.


An interesting building.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The old and the new...

Palms on Hollywood Boulevard

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
Timestamp for this version of this issue below (Pacific Time) -

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