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Andreas Dippel at Hollywood Forever

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 30th, 2011
Apr 30


Andreas Dippel, operatic tenor and impressario





By Allan R. Ellenberger


Andreas Dippel, a once famous tenor in German opera at New York’s Metropolitan Opera house, was distinguished for his progressive and far-reaching vision. Dippel was born in Kassel, Germany on November 30, 1866. His family was not musical and he was destined for a business career. At 16 he worked for a bank and remained there for five years. At the same time he was developing his voice with singing groups and under the coaching of Mme. Zottmayer of the Royal Court Theatre of Kassel.


In 1887 he left home and tried his hand at being an opera singer. In the fall of that year he made his debut in the Stadttheatre of Bremen as Lionel in Flotow’s opera Martha, beginning an engagement that lasted, with one important interruption, until 1892. He sang several smaller roles in Bayreuth in 1889, and become a member of the Vienna State Opera in 1893. He sang there until 1898 in 27 roles, including Marcello in the Vienna premiere of Leoncavallo’s La bohème. During that period he also sang in London’s Royal Opera House.


He made his first American appearance at the Metropolitan on November 26, 1890, in Alberto Franchetti’s Asrael. Except for a concert tour, he did not sing in the United States after that season until 1898, when he became a permanent member of the Metropolitan Company, then managed by Maurice Grau.


For twelve years Dippel was one of the important figures in opera in New York, first as a tenor of exceptional versatility, able to jump into a part at a half hour’s notice, possessing a repertoire of 150 roles; then, from 1908 to 1910, as administrative manager of the company in association with the newly arrived Giulio Gatti-Casazza as general manager. When Dr. Lee De Forest approached the management of the Metropolitan management for permission to attempt the radio broadcast of opera, Dippel enthusiastically consented, even allowing Caruso himself to sing into the microphone.


Early in this regime it was apparent that all was not harmonious in the executive offices. The outcome of whatever disagreements existed was a superficially happy one. Dippel resigned in April 1910, to assume the management of the Chicago Opera Company, which he guided for three years through the difficult period of its beginning and early development. Again rumors of internal discord arose and he left the organization after receiving a year’s salary, $25,000, and other rewards for his promise not to re-enter opera in Philadelphia or Chicago for three years. Thereafter he tried various operatic ventures, none winning more than a temporary success.





In 1914 he formed the Dippel Opera Comique Company which produced the Broadway premiere of Lilac Domino at the 44th Street Theatre on October 28, 1914. It ran for 109 performances and then toured the United States. Rather less successful was Dippel’s next Broadway production, The Love Mill, which opened at the 48th Street Theatre on February 17, 1918 and closed five weeks later after 52 performances.  Dippel had his own opera school at the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in the 1920s.


In 1920 he was reported to be gaining a livelihood by selling life insurance in Chicago. In May, 1921, a large testimonial concert was given for Dippel at the Metropolitan, following a similar benefit in Chicago. Two years later, along with Hugo Riesenfeld, Dippel once again became an advisor to De Forest when he introduced on Broadway, the Phonofilm, or talking pictures. This scheme to give opera in motion picture houses in combination with “jazz” and a fashion show failed, as did his United States Grand Opera Company.  


In 1924 he divorced his wife, the Countess Anita Dippel of Vienna, whom he married in 1890, on the ground of desertion. Once again with De Forest, in 1925 they recorded in the Century Theatre the notable Wagnerian score of the German film Siegfried, arranged by Riesenfeld – the first serious attempt anywhere to utilize the then new sound-on-film for so significant a departure. From then on, Dippel always insisted that the sound-picture would eventually become the medium for the masses of grand opera.


Dippel was brought to Hollywood in 1928 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and worked in the studio synchronization department. The following year he was injured by a street car and spent six months in the hospital. While there he was taken from the studio payroll and was left without finances, yet he toiled indefatigably on his own on the different problems of multi-lingual films.


During the last few months of his life, unknown to most of his friends from whom he had gradually withdrawn, he had become destitute.  On May 15, 1932, Dippel’s body was found in his room at the Hollywood Hotel; the cause of death was heart disease. Because he was penniless, his funeral was placed under the direction of the Motion Picture Relief Fund and plans were made to bury him at Valhalla Cemetery where they normally placed indigent actors. However, several friends donated money to buy him a crypt at Hollywood Cemetery next to that of actress Renee Adoree.


Dippel’s funeral was conducted at Pierce Brothers Mortuary on Washington Boulevard and was attended by several score of intimate friends and associates, including Joseph Zoellner, Sr., Andres de Segurola and Mme. Sophie Traubman, who sang with Dippel in the Metropolitan; Charles Dalmores, formerly of the Chicago Grand Opera and Dr. Lee De Forest. His crypt marker was paid for by a friend and former student.






Hollywoodland signs stolen

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 30th, 2011
Apr 30


Another mystery beneath the Hollywood sign


 Two historic monument plaques, as shown in a book, are missing from a stone gate in Beachwood Canyon. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)


First it was directional signs for tourists that vanished, and now 1923 bronze ‘Hollywoodland’ plaques marking the stone gateway to the community have disappeared. Theories abound.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
April 27, 2011


Residents living on the narrow lanes beneath the Hollywood sign have quarreled for months over small directional signs pointing tourists to a place where the iconic Tinseltown symbol can be viewed and photographed.


The road signs benefited homeowners on the street that dead-ends at the locked fire road that leads to Mt. Lee and the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the signs funneled sightseers and tour buses onto other nearby streets. Then the signs mysteriously disappeared. Whether that’s a crime depends on which street you live on.


But now real thieves have stolen two signs that nearly everyone in the hillside neighborhood mourns losing: the historic 1923 “Hollywoodland” bronze plaques that marked the stone gateway to the community.


Click here to continue reading the above Los Angeles Times article



Hauschka at Hollywood Forever

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 30th, 2011
Apr 30


 Hauschka in the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever



 89.9 KCRW and Hollywood Forever present

A special performance in The Masonic Lodge on

Sunday, May 1st, 2011 by:


Doors will open at 7:00pm

Hauschka goes on at 8:00pm

Tickets are $18 and are on sale at www.ticketweb.com/hollywoodforever

Parking is FREE on site.


Hauschka is the alias of Düsseldorf-based Volker Bertelmann. Having studied classical piano for ten years, his work as Hauschka is based upon an exploration of the possibilities of the ‘prepared’ piano. Creatively undermining the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned, perfected instrument waiting for a gifted virtuoso to play on it, Bertelmann instead modifies it by placing an assortment of material (gaffer tape, kitchen foil, felt wedges, bottle tops, ping pong balls, guitar string, etc) within its innards. What results are vivid, unconventional pieces made in a spirit of playful research-enthusiasm. As precised by Mojo magazine, “The sounds Bertlemann creates with(in) a piano are nothing short of astonishing.”


Hauschka will perform selections from his extensive catalog, while highlighting tracks from forthcoming LP, Salon des Amateurs. He will be joined by Samuli Kosminen from múm on the drums and a group of very talented local musicians.


For more information visit on Hauschka please visit www.hauschka-net.de

For more information on KCRW please visit www.kcrw.com


Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a beautiful landmark of Hollywood’s past, present and future. Founded in 1899, it is one of the oldest standing landmarks in Los Angeles. The final resting place of many of the early founders and artists that defined the city (including Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Jayne Mansfield), it is also a cultural center for the arts with the popular outdoor summer film series, the annual Dia de los Muertos festival and musical performances at Hollywood Forever’s Masonic Lodge. For more information on Hollywood Forever please visit www.hollywoodforever.com


If you have any questions please e-mail: events@hollywoodforever.com



‘Explosions in the Sky’ at Hollywood Forever

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 30th, 2011
Apr 30


Explosions in the Sky at Hollywood Forever




Hollywood Forever

is proud to present



Saturday, April 30th, 2011 by :  

Explosions in the Sky

Gates will open at 6:30pm

Explosions will go on at approximately 9:00pm

Tickets are $25 at 



 Explosions in the Sky is an American instrumental postband from Texas. The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their cinematic, elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals, what they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows.


The new record Take Care, Take Care, Take Care comes out April 26th on Temporary Residence Ltd. The album’s first single, “Trembling Hands,” can also be previewed in its entirety at Pitchfork, and downloaded for free at www.explosionsinthesky.com


  • We encourage those who attend to bring a picnic and blankets.
  • You are welcome to bring: blankets, pillows, food and drinks.
  • You may NOT bring: tents, coolers, chairs of any kind or dogs/pets.
  • PLEASE NOTE: *** This Event is Rain or Shine ***


Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a beautiful landmark of Hollywood’s past, present and future. Founded in 1899, it is one of the oldest standing landmarks in Los Angeles. The final resting place of many of the early founders and artists that defined the city (including Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Jayne Mansfield), it is also a cultural center for the arts with the popular outdoor summer film series, the annual Dia de los Muertos festival and musical performances at Hollywood Forever’s Masonic Lodge. If you have any questions please e-mail: events@hollywoodforever.com



A special outdoor performance

Grauman’s Chinese Theater to be sold

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 29th, 2011
Apr 29


Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to be sold to movie producers



(PHOTO: Allan R. Ellenberger)


 One of Hollywood’s most iconic landmarks, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, is once again changing hands


A partnership between Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures parent Viacom Inc. has signed an agreement to sell the historic theater on Hollywood Boulevard for an undisclosed sum to a pair of movie producers: Don Kushner, executive producer of “Tron: Legacy,” and the flamboyant and controversial entrepreneur Elie Samaha, two people familiar with the deal said Thursday.


The sale, which is scheduled to close May 20, also includes the operating lease of the Mann’s Chinese 6 multiplex, located in the adjacent Hollywood and Highland retail mall.  


The single-screen Grauman’s — known for its giant, red Chinese pagoda, signature Chinese dragon guard dogs at the entrance and cement block footprints and hand prints of famous Hollywood figures — was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968.


Neither Samaha nor Kushner were immediately available to discuss their plans for the theater, but one person familiar with the matter said the theater will continue to screen movies and host premieres and that the new owners plan to upgrade food and beverage services.


The sale involves the Grauman’s building only and not the land the theater sits on, which in 2007 was sold to the CIM Group, which owns the Hollywood and Highland complex and other commercial properties in Hollywood.


Representatives of Warner, Viacom and Mann declined to comment on the pending sale.


Samaha, who has owned dry cleaners and nightclubs in Los Angeles, made waves more than a decade  ago when he ventured into the movie business, producing such films as Bruce Willis’ hit “The Whole Nine Yards” and John Travolta’s box-office flop “Battlefield Earth.”


But his business practices led to a high-profile legal battle with the German company Intertainment AG, which alleged in a fraud and racketeering lawsuit in 2000 that Franchise Pictures, the independent film company headed by Samaha, had made up inflated budgets for such movies as “Battlefield Earth.”  Samaha had denied any wrongdoing. Intertainment was awarded $122 million in damages, but was unable to collect the money and ultimately settled the complex legal brawl for $3 million.


Warner and Viacom have been trying to sell the historic theater for more than a year but had struggled to find a buyer.


Warner and Viacom acquired Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 2001 along with six other theaters owned by Encino-based Mann Theatres after the circuit declared bankruptcy in the face of rising competition from large theater chains.


Mann continues to operate theaters in Hollywood, Glendale, Van Nuys and Thousand Oaks.


Ted Mann, owner of the Mann chain, had purchased Grauman’s Chinese in 1973; it then operated under the Mann name for nearly three decades.


Sid Grauman and partners that included silent screen stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks financed construction of the theater, which opened in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film “The King of Kings.”  Over the decades it has hosted several Academy Awards ceremonies and was used for scores of high-profile premieres, including George Lucas’ “Star Wars” in 1977.


SOURCE: Los Angeles Times



Dorothy Arzner home

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 27th, 2011
Apr 27


Landmark Arzner-Morgan residence in Los Feliz Oaks


 Director Dorothy Arzner and her partner, dancer and choreographer, Marion Morgan



This is Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #301, a.k.a. the Arzner-Morgan residence at 2249 Mountain Oak Drive. Built in 1930 for director Dorothy Arzner, the first female member of the DGA, and her lifelong companion, dancer-choreographer Marion Morgan, the 3,600-square-foot Greek Revival in Los Feliz’s Oaks features three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two fireplaces, and gardens designed by famed landscape architecture team Florence Yoch and Lucile Council. The property has been “revived inside and out by architect Annie Chu, along with the addition of a pool.” 










Hollywood Forever offers to buy Grandview

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 24th, 2011
Apr 24


Hollywood Forever Cemetery makes an offer on Glendale’s Grand View


 Grand View cemetery


The Hollywood facility’s executives say they have the expertise to turn around the troubled Grand View Memorial Park, where state officials in 2005 found 4,000 bodies improperly buried.


By Mark Kellam
April 25, 2011


The owners of Hollywood Forever Cemetery say they are interested in buying Glendale’s troubled Grand View Memorial Park, which fell into scandal in 2005 when investigators discovered that 4,000 people had been improperly buried.


The sale of Grand View — where public access has been limited for years since the facility fell into a state of disrepair — is required under the terms of a $3.8-million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the cemetery’s operators.


The lawsuit came in the wake of a 2005 state investigation that found the remains of 4,000 people who had not been properly buried. The cemetery shut down a year later. It reopened with a new operator but closed again due to financial struggles.


Now, a $500,000 restoration of the cemetery grounds — including a new irrigation system and the removal of dilapidated buildings for additional grave space — is about 85% complete, said Paul Ayers, the attorney for the plaintiffs’ families who was appointed to oversee the restoration.


Several potential buyers have expressed interest in the property, but Ayers cautioned that a sale could take several years as final settlement details are worked out.


“I think there are bona fide people interested in the cemetery,” he said. “But I’ve been around this end of the cemetery business for a long time, and it’s very slow.”


Hollywood Forever officials on Monday said they have a list of ideas for making Grand View a viable business again, citing their experience in turning around the Hollywood cemetery, which was on the verge of closure when they bought it in 1998.


“We have made a formal offer,” said Hollywood Forever President Tyler Cassity. “The offer is with the ownership interests; we can do nothing further until they resolve their interests.”


Hollywood Forever, the final resting place for a long list of celebrities, is now an active cemetery and regularly hosts community events, including summer movie screenings.


“It was a bankrupt cemetery,” said Yogu Kanthiah, Hollywood Forever’s chief executive. “We took over the cemetery and turned it around, and now it is a cultural landmark for the community.”


The state will have to sign off on any buyer.


“I think the state is going to be extremely discerning about who they allow to purchase that property,” Ayers said. “They’re going to want to see someone who has expertise in this field.”


In the meantime, family members will continue to be confined to limited openings at Grand View, with the first of the year scheduled for Memorial Day.





Identify the mystery celebrity

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 21st, 2011
Apr 21


That’s right, it’s Montgomery Clift!



Can you identify the boy in this photo?



The boy on the left became a famous actor and appeared with many leading actresses of his day. The girl on the right is his twin sister.

CLUE: His mother named him after the physician who delivered her.

Can you name the mystery celebrity?



Boris Karloff booksigning at Larry Edmunds in Hollywood

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 19th, 2011
Apr 19


“Boris Karloff- More Than A Monster” booksigning at Larry Edmunds Bookshop



Friday, April 22, 2011

7:30 p.m.

Larry Edmunds Bookshop

6644 Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood, 90028





The new biography, “Boris Karloff- More Than A Monster” by Stephen Jacobs weighs in at 3.5 pounds and 568 pages. According to Sara Karloff, this authorized book is “the DEFINITIVE book on my father!”


Drop by on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. as Sara Karloff signs copies of Stephen Jacobs book when she joins us for a salute to her father. Come watch “Boris Karloff- THIS IS YOUR LIFE” and see color home movies of Karloff as the monster. A true celebration of the legend !


This is the new authorised and definitive biography. Boris Karloff – a name synonymous with horror. Drawing on detailed research, previously unpublished letters, and interviews with those who knew him this new biography dispels the often repeated myths associated with the star – many perpetuated by Karloff himself – and reveals a wealth of new information about the private and professional life of Boris Karloff. Although forever associated with his breakthrough role of ‘the Monster’ in Frankenstein (1931) Boris Karloff had a career that spanned almost 50 years and over 150 movies – from the era of the silent picture through to the days of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. His roles in “Bride of Frankenstein”, “The Mummy”, “The Black Cat”, and many others – most now considered classics of the genre – ensured his reputation as ‘The King of Horror’. Born William Henry Pratt in Camberwell, South London in 1887 Karloff defied family expectations and rejected a life in Government service. Instead he emigrated to Canada were he finally found work as a professional actor. After years touring Western Canada and the United States he arrived in Hollywood and tried his hand at movie acting. But success did not come overnight and the actor worked in pictures for over a decade before being asked to test for the role of the Monster. As public tastes changed Karloff was willing to adapt to the times and embraced work on the theatre, radio and television. His experience of the movie studios treatment of his colleagues led Karloff to advocate actors’ rights and he became instrumental in the creation of the Screen Actors Guild. Few actors ever achieved the iconic status Karloff has been awarded. This is the only book that tells the whole story!



Arthur Marx Obituary

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Apr 15th, 2011
Apr 15


Arthur Marx dies at 89; writer son of Groucho


Arthur Marx


Arthur Marx went his own way with his career, becoming a TV writer, playwright and celebrity biographer; but his favorite, recurring subject was his famous father.


By Elaine Woo
Los Angeles Times
April 15, 2011


Arthur Marx, a veteran television writer, playwright, celebrity biographer and memoirist who wrote extensively about an often fractious life with his father, comedic legend Groucho Marx, has died. He was 89 and died of natural causes Thursday at his Los Angeles home, said his son, Andy.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Arthur Marx



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