Archive for the ‘Hollywood News’ Category

Space Shuttle Endeavor flies over Hollywood

Friday, September 21st, 2012


Hollywood welcomes the Space Shuttle Endeavor


(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


The Space Shuttle Endeavour atop a modified 747 passes the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory as seen from Dodger Stadium, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in Los Angeles. Endeavour will be permanently displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. 



Goodbye Kodak Theatre…Hello Dolby

Saturday, June 9th, 2012


Kodak Theatre is no more



The former Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland has a new name and the Oscars will be staying there. According to a press release from H&H Center owners CIM Group, they’ve signed a 20 year deal with Dolby Laboratories, Inc. to rename the Kodak to the Dolby Theatre; “Kodak” was stripped off the building earlier this year after that company declared bankruptcy. They’ve also struck a new 20 year deal with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to keep the Oscars at the 3,400 seat theater: “Under the new contract with the Academy, the Dolby Theatre will host the Academy Awards through 2033.” The name will official be unveiled Monday evening. (Curbed Los Angeles)



 The former Kodak Theatre as it looking this morning with the name above the entrance covered, reportedly waiting for Monday evening’s unveiling.


 The side sign already reveals the new name of the former Kodak Theatre.



Hollywood Heritage on proposed studio demolition

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012


Hollywood Heritage comments on the proposed demolition of the historic Pickford-Fairbanks Studio


In recent days, there have been inconsistent reports of the scope of the demolition, ranging from the demolition of select buildings to leaving only a facade remnant along Santa Monica Blvd.


Unfortunately, this is a case which stretches back a number of years and received approval at that time for the scope of work then submitted. The original development plan was approved in 1993. In 2006, the City of West Hollywood issued a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a revised development plan, focusing on the project’s impacts on historic resources.


Both the Los Angeles Conservancy and Hollywood Heritage testified at the Planning Commission and the City Council hearings, focusing on the Supplemental EIR’s failure to consider alternatives to demolition. In May 2007, the West Hollywood City Council approved a revised development plan that included the demolition of some, but not all of the buildings at the site.


Any loss of a building which relates to community and industry leaders like Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford is a significant loss. In addition to the studio, Pickford and Fairbanks were also instrumental in the construction of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and the formation of the Motion Picture Academy and the Motion Picture Country Home.


For more information, please go to the Hollywood Heritage website which will be updated as the project develops: Hollywood Heritage. Information is also available on the Los Angeles Conservancy website at Los Angeles  Conservancy



Old United Artists Studio to be razed

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012


Storied West Hollywood studio buildings to be demolished




The studio lot, once owned by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, has had many names and housed many productions over the years. Its new owner intends to raze and replace several buildings.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2012


Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks worked there. So did Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and practically everyone else. Soon, though, wrecking crews will be at work at the storied West Hollywood movie lot at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.


Once known as the Warner Hollywood Studio, it’s now called “The Lot.” Its new owner, CIM Group, intends to raze its aging wooden office buildings and sound-dubbing stages and replace them with glass-and-steel structures.


According to West Hollywood planning officials, the first phase of work involves the demolition of the studio’s Pickford Building — built in 1927 and remodeled in 1936 — and Goldwyn Building, which was built in 1932 and is used for sound editing. Later phases will involve the removal of the studio’s Writers Building, Fairbanks Building and Editorial Building and a block-long row of production offices that line Santa Monica Boulevard. Replacement buildings will rise to six stories.


The redevelopment plans have riled many in the entertainment industry, particularly those who know the studio from past film shoots and television programs. “A lot of people have a lot of affection for the place,” said Doug Haines, a film editor who has worked on movies there for two decades. “You really had a sense of history when you worked there. Another glass building — that certainly says ‘Old Hollywood,’ doesn’t it?” CIM Group executives declined to discuss details of their development plans.


Film and TV production companies that rent space at the studio say owners have let leases expire in buildings slated for demolition.


The studio was built in 1919 by silent-movie maker Jesse Hampton. A short time later, he sold the lot to screen stars Pickford and Fairbanks, who renamed the 18-acre place Pickford-Fairbanks Studio. It later became known as the United Artists Studio when the pair teamed up with Chaplin and D.W. Griffith to form United Artists. Over the years, the now-11-acre lot was also called the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and the Warner Hollywood Studio.


The studio’s old buildings are packed with tradition. Legend holds that a tunnel once connected the soundstages to a bar across the street — the Formosa Cafe — so that stars like Errol Flynn could slip off for drinks between scenes without being pestered by fans. Fairbanks had a steam bath and gym and is said to have had a private outdoor area where he could exercise in the nude. Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, who kept an office at the studio during his movie-making days, had a secret garage he could wheel into from Santa Monica Boulevard and park without anybody noticing.


One studio building was said to be equipped with an ornate wooden door hand-built by Harrison Ford, who was working as a studio carpenter when he was “discovered” by filmmaker George Lucas. Director Sam Peckinpah not only worked at the lot but lived there as well in the 1970s. “Sam had a suite on the ground floor of the Writers Building right down the corridor from Mike Medavoy’s office,” recalled producer Katy Haber, who worked with Peckinpah on eight feature films at the studio. “He used one of the rooms as a bedroom.” Haber said Peckinpah loved the place. “Working at a studio like that, you always felt you were part of it. It was a creative environment. I’m sad to see anything with an historical heritage torn down. The walls there speak multitudes. It’s sad indeed: Developers aren’t into aesthetics or history.”


Although West Hollywood has described the studio as a landmark, officials have never taken action to formally designate it as one. A street sign on Santa Monica Boulevard in front of the studio calls it a “historic building.” But smaller print on the sign labels it “Potential Cultural Resource No. 60.”


West Hollywood senior planner David DeGrazia said that CIM Group intends to begin demolition in a few weeks and that construction will be done in six phases. The project will more than double the studio’s space to 671,087 square feet, he said. Three new soundstages will join the seven that are now mostly used for production of the HBO vampire series “True Blood,” according to plans filed with West Hollywood. DeGrazia said the development agreement expires in March 2013, although he said CIM Group’s position is that the agreement remains in place once construction of the first phase begins. Complicating things is that the West Hollywood-Los Angeles city boundary slices through several sound-dubbing buildings on the south edge of the studio lot.


A nearby bungalow that Frank Sinatra used when he worked on the lot is on the Los Angeles side of the boundary. It is out of West Hollywood’s jurisdiction, although the six-room structure is listed by DeGrazia as scheduled for demolition.


As part of the development agreement, CIM Group will preserve a wall-like facade that extends along Santa Monica Boulevard around Hughes’ secret garage entrance. Preservationists at the Los Angeles Conservancy said they have been asked to help get historic landmark status conferred on the whole studio to block the demolition. “We’ve gotten calls from people who are concerned. The problem is it’s an approved development. The West Hollywood City Council essentially has already approved the project,” said Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy. “Saving a facade is not preservation.”



Head found in Hollywood Hills

Thursday, January 19th, 2012


More body parts found near man’s head in Hollywood Hills park



Police discover a hand, then another, and, as they are about to end their search for the day, they find two feet below the Hollywood sign.


By Alan Zarembo and Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times
January 19, 2012


As the sun set over the Hollywood Hills park where police spent Wednesday searching for human body parts, they still didn’t have a name to go with the man’s head discovered there a day earlier.


What they did have were two hands and two feet. Authorities were optimistic that the hands were in good enough condition to obtain fingerprints.


The homicide investigation began Tuesday afternoon after two dog walkers in Bronson Canyon Park noticed their dogs playing with a plastic bag and went to inspect it.


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Arsonist in Hollywood

Friday, December 30th, 2011


Hollywood arson rampage: Residents fear culprit may strike again



Los Angeles Times
December 30, 2011


With at least one -– and possibly multiple -– serial arsonists on the loose after a rash of fires in West Hollywood and Hollywood, some residents were wondering where to park their cars Friday night.


At least 17 fires were set early Friday morning. Most targeted cars directly. Others were set in carports or underground parking structures.


At a carport in the 7700 block of Romaine Street where a fire broke out early Friday, Lillian and Rick Nothem said they hadn’t decided whether to park in their nearby apartment complex’s nearly identical carport.


“It’s freaking me out,” Lillian Nothem said. “What’s triggering this?”


In the 1800 block of North Vine Street, a BMW parked in the back carport of an apartment complex was destroyed and much of it had melted. A Volkswagen next to it was also damaged.


MAP: Hollywood arson fires


Musician Zach Smith lives in the complex and said his neighbor owns the BMW and knocked fiercely on his and other tenants’ doors early Friday to wake them up.


Smith said he walked out to see flames coming from the BMW’s hood and engine. Neighbors tried to move the Volkswagen before the fire spread to it but were unsuccessful, he said.


“Straight fire,” Smith said. “The whole hood in straight flames.”


Lucas Dick, a comedian who lives nearby, said he is not particularly worried about an arsonist striking his car because “the trick is you’ve got to buy a cheap car.”


He opined that if his old Toyota Avalon that he purchased for $900 “was set on fire, it would probably be an improvement.”


The person or people responsible for Friday morning’s string of fires in Hollywood and West Hollywood may have chosen cars because they’re easy targets, one fire expert said.


“They’re a quick source of fuel,” said Robert Rowe, a fire investigator in Long Beach with nearly 30 years of experience. “You break a window, you throw some type of object inside and it burns quite vigorously with the plastic, the upholstery and the gasoline.”



Fire damages Hollywood’s Magic Castle

Monday, October 31st, 2011


Fire damages Hollywood’s Magic Castle



The Magic Castle, the spooky headquarters for generations of stage magicians, was closed by a fire Monday that damaged the Hollywood landmark and shut down its Halloween activities, including a seance.


The blaze was reported shortly after 12:30 p.m. and took more than an hour to douse. Smoke rose from dormer windows at the height of the blaze.


No injuries were reported. There was no immediate word on the extent of damage.


On its website, the castle said it would be closed Monday night in order to assess that damage. Planned events had included a Halloween dance party and costume contest and a late-night seance to summon the spirit of Harry Houdini.


The ornate building with castle-like turrets was built as a private mansion in the early 1900s and had its ups and downs before it was opened as a private club for members of the Academy of Magical Arts in the early 1960s.


With a hillside view of Hollywood, the building has numerous theaters, bars and dining rooms that offer everything from sleight of hand to elaborate grand illusions.


The club, which is open to members, magicians and guests, prides itself on a show-biz spook atmosphere that includes a ghost-playing piano that takes requests and a hidden door that opens to the command “open sesame.”


The building has a large collection of props and posters from great magicians and an extensive library of magic. (AP)








Hollywood Riot

Thursday, July 28th, 2011


Riot police respond to rowdy film crowd in Hollywood


 Noel Buller, 21, of Los Angeles stands on his skateboard in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, flashing a peace sign, as Los Angeles Police Department officers move into the area to gain control. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / July 27, 2011)


Movie about Electric Daisy Carnival attracts thousands of gate-crashers.


By Andrew Blankstein, Ricardo Lopez and Sam Quinones
Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2011


The premiere for a movie about a music festival with a controversial past got out of hand itself late Wednesday when thousands of people attempted to crash the Hollywood event, police said.


Crowds spilled into the street around Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, with some people throwing bottles at police. Witnesses said others were dancing on a police car, taunting officers and “planking” — lying down in the street. There were also sporadic fights among people in the crowd.


Police in riot gear shut down streets around the theater, and dozens of other officers in police cruisers responded to the disturbance.


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Missing Hollywoodland plaques finally reported stolen

Saturday, June 4th, 2011


Theft of historic ‘Hollywoodland’ signs is finally under investigation


Two plaques were pried off the stone gateway to the residential neighborhood below the Hollywood sign in April. The bronze markers said “Hollywoodland Est. 1923.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times) 


Residents tried to report the plaques missing in April, but police are only now launching an investigation. Why? The signs were city property, and the city hadn’t filed a formal crime report.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
June 4, 2011


Six weeks after two historic plaques were stolen from the entrance to one of Hollywood’s most famous neighborhoods, Los Angeles police are launching an investigation.


The delay was because no one had yet filed a formal crime report about the missing bronze “Hollywoodland Est. 1923” markers, which were pried from the stone gateway to the historic residential area beneath the Hollywood sign.


Residents say they attempted to file a theft report on April 16 after they noticed the plaques’ disappearance but were not allowed to because the markers are considered Los Angeles city property.


No one from the city filed a report, either.





New Hollywood & Vine Project

Friday, May 13th, 2011


Big building project planned around Capitol Records Tower



A computer rendering shows the proposed development around the Capitol Records Tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. Buildings on the 4.5-acre site would be situated to preserve views of the tower. (Handel Architects / May 14, 2011)


Owners of the tower are seeking approval for Millennium Hollywood, a 1-million-square-foot project including two skyscrapers that would be mostly residential but would also have a hotel, offices, restaurants and stores.


By Roger Vincent
Los Angeles Times
May 13, 2011


After going mostly on hiatus during the economic downturn, Hollywood is poised to debut a major development project around the famed Capitol Records Tower near Hollywood and Vine.


The owners of the Capitol Records building on Vine Street are seeking approval to build 1 million square feet of structures, including two skyscrapers, surrounding the famous cylindrical office tower resembling a stack of record discs. The mixed-use complex could be valued at as much as $1 billion.


The Millennium Hollywood project, proposed by developers Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures, would be primarily residential but also have a hotel, offices, restaurants and stores. It would be built on the Capitol Records parking lot and another parking lot across Vine Street.


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