In a city that is constantly updating and reinventing itself, it can become difficult to find reminders of classic Hollywood history. But fear not as they do exist. And, if your tastes run to the silent or black-and-white Hollywood days, you’ll want to visit these LA landmarks.
Musso and Franks
6667 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
This restaurant has been a fixture on Hollywood Blvd since 1919. Just walking in is like stepping through a time machine. Every actor, producer, writer, you name it, since the dawn of Hollywood has dined here. It is still a cool spot for Hollywood types and you will likely see celebs both young and old, no matter the time of day or night, making deals over martinis.
7156 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Founded in 1925 and right across the street from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbank PickFair Studios (now The Lot) this restaurant/bar has long been a favorite of Hollywood royalty. Stars from every era has spent an evening here. There is even a story about John Wayne having slept over after one too many, and waking up to make breakfast for himself and the staff.
TCL Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
6925 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
The only great movie house left on Hollywood Blvd opened in 1927. The Chinese Theatre has its world-famous handprints in the courtyard, but also wonderful artifacts from its long history in the lobby, in addition to all the amazing stories that come from the decor. For example, one mural was done by band leader Xavier Cugat. The theatre is dark for the summer of 2013 but they are conducting hard hat tours throughout the summer.
Million Dollar Theatre
Los Angeles, CA 90013
This theater, built in 1918, was also created by Sid Grauman and is one of the first movie houses in the United States. Housed in an ornate, Spanish Colonial-style building and with its extravagant interior, it is a time capsule of the glamor of Hollywood that no longer exists. It occasionally shows films but is available for viewing on Saturdays morning tours with the LA Conservancy Broadway Walking tour.
TCM Classic Film Festival
For the ultimate in Classic Hollywood experience in LA, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a must-attend event. Usually scheduled in April, Turner Classic Movies hosts thousands of fans for four days of classic films and celebrity speakers. Last year’s festival featured Mickey Rooney, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jane Fonda. Screenings take place at TCL (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre, The Egyptian, El Capitan, and The Roosevelt Hotel (all on Hollywood Blvd.). Also displayed are vintage costumes, home movies, and discussions with living legends of the silent and talkie era. In 2014, the festival will be its fifth year.
Will Rogers State Park
1501 Will Rogers Park Road
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
This park was the home of Will Rogers, who in the early 30s was the highest paid actor in Hollywood. You can tour his house, stables, and if you schedule it right, watch a game of polo. This estate is also in many films. The ranch once covered 186 acres and features many hiking trails to enjoy with views of the city.
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
You can begin a hike from the historic and cinematic (most notable being “Rebel Without a Cause”) Griffith Observatory to the peak of Mount Hollywood. Along the way you get views of the entire city and some of the best views of the iconic Hollywood sign from various angles.
3400 W. Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505
There are many studios in LA but they are not all created equal or maintained alike. Warner Bros. has maintained a great deal of the back lot, where you can recognize sets from many of your favorite classic films, including the French cafe from “Casablanca.” They also have original props and set dressings from films like “Mildred Pierce,” “The Maltese Falcon,” and “Auntie Mame.” If all that weren’t enough, there is an entire floor of their museum with rotating exhibits of classic film costumes and set pieces. W. Riverside
Related: Best Studio Tours In Los Angeles
1416 N. LaBrea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
This Tudor-style studio now known as Henson Studios was built by silent film icon Charlie Chaplin in 1917. Tours are not available, but you can get great pictures from the street and through the gate into the studio. The studio was designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument in 1969 and was renamed The Jim Henson Company Lot in 2000 when it was purchased by Jim Henson’s children for $12.5 million.
Elise Crane Derby writes the blog Elise’s Ramblings about Film, TV, Theatre and all entertainment.