Archive for the ‘Hollywood and Vine’ Category

Lon Chaney’s Ghost…

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

HOLLYWOOD AND VINE

Ghost of Lon Chaney once played a part in a City Councel controversy

 

 

by Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Would you believe that the ghost of actor Lon Chaney once played a prominent role in a heated controversy at the Los Angeles City Council? It’s true. It seems that Chaney’s ghost was reportedly seen sitting on a public bench at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Then in October 1942, Chaney’s bench disappeared and his ghost no longer was seen. Whether anything paranoral played a role in the mysterious disappearance of the bench are questions that councilman Norris Nelson was demanding.

 

The reputed visitation of the ghost was mentioned at a Council meeting by Nelson as he announced he was against granting permits to various businesses to place benches, painted with colored advertisments, on street corners or in the middle of the block.

 

 

 

The Lon Chaney Bench that Councilman Norris Nelson placed on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine where Chaney’s ghost was reportedly seen. Lon Chaney Jr. is at the far left.

 

 

Before he became a councilman, Nelson claimed that he put an ornamental iron bench on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine and there it remained for fifteen years (see photo above).

 

“Lon Chaney used to sit on that bench and wait for a bus when he was an extra boy,” declared Nelson. “When he became a star he used to drive by it and pick up poor devils who were still extras: after he died his ghost was reported seen sitting on the bench and finally a spot was reserved for the ghost and nobody ever sat in it.”

 

Nelson indicated that his bench was becoming famous when one morning, only a few weeks before, he noticed that it had vanished and in its place was another that had an advertisement for a certain brand of cigars that sold for two for 5 cents.

 

“No self-respecting ghost would sit on such a bench,” maintained the councilman. “I want my bench put back.”

 

Unfortunately the results of the City Councils decision was never made public. Evidently Norris failed in his attempts because benches with advertisements have been placed around Los Angeles ever since. Until recently, a bench still graced the northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine at the bus stop. Below is a recent photo of that corner – ghostless and benchless.

 

 

 

The northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine where the Lon Chaney bench once sat

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The Laemmle Building

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Hollywood and Vine:

A History

 

by Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Arguably the most famous intersection in the world, Hollywood and Vine sometimes disappoints tourists who search it out. Yesterday’s fire at the intersections northwest corner made me think about its history. The intersection first became famous in 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.

 

Historic 1920s office buildings are located on three of its corners. On the northeast corner is the Equitable Building (1929), a Gothic Deco commercial building, designed by Aleck Curlett. The B. H. Dyas building (1927) on the southwest corner at one time housed The Broadway-Hollywood department store. It’s famous sign still stands on its roof. And on the southeast corner is the Taft Building (1923), by architects Walker & Eisen in the Renaissance Revival style. This building once housed offices for Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, Hedda Hopper, Photoplay magazine and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 

On the northwest corner is the building devasted by yesterdays fire. At first glance it may not be mistaken for a Hollywood landmark, however, it was built in 1932-1933 by Universal founder, Carl Laemmle and bore his name (Laemmle Building) for many years. Designed by famed architect, Richard Neutra in the International Style, the building has been altered many times over the decades (beginning in 1940) and no longer retains any of its original features.

 

Below are photos from the Laemmle Buildings past:

 

Vine Street at Hollywood Blvd. in 1907. The house on the left is the
approximate location of the Laemmle Building

 

The former Laemmle Building in the 1950s

 

The Laemmle Building’s (left) incarnation as a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant

 

 

 The former Laemmle Building in the 1990s

 

Currently, the building housed the Basque Nightclub and Restaurant (6263 Hollywood Blvd.), a popular celebrity hangout. Actress Lindsay Lohan recently celebrated her 21st birthday at Basque 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.

 

 

 

As the intersection appeared yesterday morning (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

 

Sadly, the 75 year-old Laemmle Building’s future is unclear. It’s not known at this time if the building is a total loss and will be demolished or if it can be saved. Once it’s fate is known, it will be reported here.

 

 (Bob Chamberlain/Los Angeles Times)

 

Hollywood & Vine Fire UPDATE…

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Fire Burns Popular Nightclub

At Hollywood & Vine

 

KNBC

April 30, 2008

 

 

 

  Anita Rosenberg / Los Angeles Times

 

LOS ANGELES — A huge fire burned through the roof of a building housing a popular nightclub at the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood on Wednesday morning, but no injuries were reported.

  

Firefighters were sent to a large single-story building in the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard about 5:30 a.m., said d’Lisa Davies of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire was extinguished at 7:58 a.m., she said.

 

But less than an hour later, firefighters were seen battling a flareup on the roof of the building at 1707 N. Vine Street.

  

Firefighters — concerned that the roof could collapse because of heavy air-conditioning units atop the building — moved into a “defensive” posture after about 20 minutes and worked to prevent the flames from spreading to other structures.

 

A large billboard atop the building shifted, causing some concern that it might collapse.

  

Crews using aerial ladders poured water on the flames from above, and utilities to the building were shut off.

  

Metro Red Line trains were unaffected, but officials re-routed bus lines 163, 217, 780, 210 and 180, said Metro spokesman Luis Inzunza.

  

The fire apparently began in the attic of the building, which houses the Basque Nightclub and Restaurant, a firefighter said.

  

Water filled the street outside the building, and traffic was routed away from the area, which appeared likely to remain closed off for much of the day.

  

The blaze was designated a major emergency fire, one that involves the deployment of at least 16 fire engines. This morning, 23 fire engines were sent to the scene, Davies said.

  

It was the second major fire at a Hollywood restaurant in a week. On Saturday afternoon, a fire apparently sparked by faulty wiring gutted “Off Vine,” 6263 W. Leland Way, near Vine Street and about two blocks south of the site of this morning’s blaze.

  

The weekend fire, which left two firefighters injured, caused about $450,000 in damage to the century-old two-story house that had been converted into an eatery, said Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

  

Owners vowed to rebuild the restaurant, which has served celebrities and families for more than 20 years.

 

Hollywood & Vine Fire…

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Crews battle building fire at Hollywood and Vine

 

 

 

By Francisco Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
8:01 AM PDT, April 30, 2008
A large commercial building on the famed intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in the heart of rapidly renovating Hollywood is in flames this morning, authorities said, creating a plume of smoke that could be seen for miles.

Firefighters were sent to the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard about 5:30 a.m., said d’Lisa Davies of the Los Angeles Fire Department. About 30 minutes into the battling the flames, firefighters had to exit the building, so they are not sure if it’s a one- or two-story structure, Davies said.

 

Crews are using aerial ladders to pour water on the flames from above and working to prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings.

 

 

“We do have firefighters on three sides of the building to protect the nearby businesses,” Davies said. Fire is on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine, in the center of numerous high-end redevelopment projects underway such as the new W hotel and residences. The building involved is home to Basque, a nightclub and restaurant.

 

The building on fire has not been declared a total loss yet but has been deemed as “under demolition,” Davies said.

 

In addition to trying to protect the buildings nearby, crews were dousing the area underneath a billboard on top of the building to prevent it from collapsing.

 

There are no initial reports of injuries 90 minutes into the firefight, Davies said.

 

Forty-foot flames could be seen shooting through the roof by early morning commuters nearby.

 

Traffic was was routed away from the area, Davies said, adding the Hollywood Freeway is slowing as some people watch the flames.

 

“It should be a while, we’re still trying to get to the base of the fire,” Davies said.

 

Photos from Los Angeles Times and KTLA

 

Times staff writer Nita Lelyveld contributed to this report.