Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Disappearance of Hollywood

There have been stories in the news that the 138 acres around the Hollywood sign, owned by a Chicago investment group are about to be redeveloped, bulldozed and turned into luxury homes. You can click on this link to read an article in the L.A. Times website.

Supposedly these homes are not likely to obstruct the view of the Hollywood sign but it's not the point. The Hollywood sign has always been nestled in the green hills, seen for miles for as long as I can remember, a tourist attraction. It's difficult to imagine looking towards that hill and see houses around it. It's difficult to imagine that the many people who take hikes up to sit near that sign and look out at the fantastic view will no longer be able to do it because it will be surrounded by public property.

Sadly, I'm not surprised at this turn of events. Why not just tear it down, I wonder sarcastically. They've torn down practically everything else that use to be a symbol of Hollywood. If you've watched t.v. at all you're familiar with I Love Lucy and her infatuation with movie stars and their trip to Hollywood. Gone are all the places that used to be a part of Hollywood, places that in my eyes should have been kept as historical landmarks. Old Hollywood. Gone.

The Brown Derby - how could they tear that down? How could they let someone ever change it from what the original look into something pink and clownish? It was a landmark during Hollywood's golden era known for the celebrity clientel. It's nothing but a memory for many and soon no one will even know what it was, what it used to be.

The Ambassador Hotel and The Coconut Grove - once hotel and nightclub to the stars. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in this hotel after winning the California primary. The hotel was demolished in 2006 and the only remaining part of it, The Coconut Grove club is marked to be the auditorium for a school to be built there... maybe.

Those are just two examples of the Hollywood that our city has let disappear. There are homes in historic neighborhoods in this city with rules that govern what you can and cannot do to improve the homes so that the homes remain historic and yet they've done little to preserve the historic buildings and streets of Hollywood.

When I was in high school Hollywood was the place to go on the weekend. It was great to walk the streets, hit the stores, take in a movie, check out the footprints of celebrities along the street. It's not the same. Hollywood and vine is not the same. The famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre is still there but Hollywood and the glitz and glamour of it... it's just not the same. Hollywood has disappeared. It didn't just disappear they slowly tore it down and let it go to pot.

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