Archive for October 29th, 2008

Hollywood Landmark Razed…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Laemmle Building Demolished!

 

 Demolition of the Laemmle Building last Friday

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

The historic Laemmle Building on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine was demolished last Friday. Preservationists contend that the tearing down of the building, built by Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle in 1932, is federally illegal. The building has been vacant since it was damaged in an unsolved arson fire in April.

 

The intersection of Hollywood and Vine has been famous since the 1930s because many of Hollywood’s important radio stations were located nearby.  “Brought to you from Hollywood and Vine” was a familiar opening to many early radio broadcasts.

 

The Laemmle Building in the 1950s

 

Carl Laemmle, paid the George W. Hoover (builder of the Hollywood Hotel) estate $350,000 for the property in 1925. At the time, that was the highest price paid for real estate in Hollywood (the lot sold for $15,000 in 1912). In 1928 Laemmle refused a $1,000,000 offer for the corner.

 

Originally Laemmle planned to build a 900-seat theater and office building valued at $250,000. At some point in mid 1932 revisions were made to build a one story building with foundation specifications for additional stories to be added later (which never came about). Designed by famed architect, Richard Neutra in the International Style, construction began in September 1932, and was completed early the following year.

 

The Laemmle Building fire last April 30th

 

At the time of the April fire, the building housed the Basque Nightclub and Restaurant, a popular celebrity hangout. Actress Lindsay Lohan celebrated her 21st birthday there and rap star Kanye West partied there earlier in April. Scenes from the movie Ocean’s Eleven were filmed there and the property had recently been sold as part of a renovation renaissance in Hollywood.

 

While many historic buildings have been saved from destruction in Hollywood (and many more have been lost), the sudden demolition of the Laemmle Building questions the commitment of city officials on preservation issues in Los Angeles.

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A Prediction by Kenneth Anger…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Will Kenneth Anger die on Halloween?

  

 (Photo courtesy Mark Berry)

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Kenneth Anger, the controversial filmmaker, is probably best known as the author of Hollywood Babylon and its subsequent follow-up. Among his other claims, Anger has said that he was the Changeling Prince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, even publishing pictures from the film in his books. It turns out that Anger obviously exaggerated this fact (imagine that) and the role was actually played by a girl named Sheila Brown. Reportedly, costars Mickey Rooney and Olivia De Havilland have confirmed this and the Warner Bros. studio casting forms and call sheets have identified Sheila Brown as the child actress who played the Prince.

 

Much has been written about Anger and the inaccuracy of many of his stories, including the infamous (and erroneous) tale of actor Ramon Novarro and his so-called death-by-dildo. In 1992, while researching my biography of Novarro, I interviewed Anger’s friend, Samson De Brier (there is a photo of De Brier with Anger at the grave of Virginia Rappe on page 11 of Hollywood Babylon II) who met Novarro on several occasions. During our chat he mentioned Kenneth Anger and gave me his address, suggesting that I ask him about Novarro.

 

So I requested an interview but what I received was a brief response stating that he was moving and needed some cash, and would I be interested in buying a Swedish poster of Ben-Hur – for $2,000. There was no mention of an interview or an explanation of the dildo story.

 

Anger was a lifelong friend of filmmaker Curtis Harrington and both shared an interest in the occult. When Harrington died in May of 2007, Anger attended the funeral held in the chapel at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Actor Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen in the Superman television series) gave the eulogy but was constantly interrupted by Anger, who blurted out remarks to almost everything Larson said.

 

 

Curtis Harrington’s cremation niche at Hollywood Forever

 

Near the end, Anger once again interrupted and proclaimed that he was dying of prostate cancer (which Harrington also had but did not die from) and that he told Harrington he would outlive him. He then announced that his memorial would also take place at Hollywood Forever and proclaimed, “Oh yes, it’s been confirmed. I know the date of my death. On Halloween 2008. My memorial. Right here! Halloween 2008!” He then added, “Invitation only! Sorry!”

 

So will Anger’s prediction come true? Halloween is in two days. Stay tuned.

 

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Click HERE for Lisa Jane Persky’s account of Curtis Harrington’s funeral from ForteanTimes.

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Celebrity Recipes…Harry Houdini

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

CELEBRITY RECIPES

Harry Houdini

 

 

 

BREAD-AND-BUTTER CUSTARD

 

Three large pieces white bread — buttered. Cut in quarters, and line an enamel pie dish with same. Prepare custard of two eggs, one cup granulated sugar, one quart of milk.

 

Pour custard over bread and butter, and bake it in moderate oven forty-five minutes.

 

“I happen to have a weakness for sweets, and this one you will not find in any other cook book.”

 

— Sincerely yours,

Harry Houdini

 

  

ONLY  2 DAYS ‘TIL HALLOWEEN!

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John Barrymore’s Former Home For Sale…

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

John Barrymore’s Windsor Square Home For Sale

 

 

Former Barrymore home, 454 South Windsor Boulevard, Los Angeles

 

The Windsor Estate, a 1918 home that was once the residence of John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, is on the market again, listed for $6.495 million. (Click on 454 S WINDSOR Blvd for more information and photos)

 

Actress Drew Barrymore’s grandparents, legendary actor John Barrymore and his third wife, actress Dolores Costello, lived in this Windsor Square home in the 1930s.

 

They were having marital troubles at the time and soon divorced, but she stayed in the house with their two children until the early ’50s, when she sold the property to bachelor attorney Odell McConnell.

 

The house, Mediterranean in style, was built in 1918 and had a famous resident before Barrymore and Costello. Lawrence Tibbett, who starred at the Metropolitan Opera as a principal for 27 seasons, lived in the home with his uncle.

 

After the young baritone made his 1923 debut at the Met, his uncle sold the property.

 

About this property:

  • The home has a secret garden off the breakfast room; a kitchen garden; a greenhouse; and the main garden, including a pool and a mosaic pond with a fountain. There is also a trellis on a terrace.
  • Size: There are six bedrooms and 6 1/2 bathrooms in 6,276 square feet. The lot is 27,000 square feet.
  • Features: Original features include a spiral staircase, carved paneling, intricate friezes and the Batchelder tile floor. Newer features are an updated kitchen, a family room and a steam room.
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(SOURCE: CurbedLosAngeles and Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2005)

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