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)