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The Ambassador: A Hotel Wonder*

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jul 7th, 2013
2013
Jul 7

DOCUMENTARIES

The Ambassador: A Hotel Wonder

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The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times a few days after the opening of the Ambassador Hotel in 1921. Today the Ambassador is gone, destroyed by those who are without respect for Los Angeles’ glorious past. A new documentary, After 68, by Camilo Silva is in the works to chronicle the remarkable story of the Ambassador Hotel. The producers will use this film to “raise awareness about the importance of historic preservation worldwide.”

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After 68 is a feature length documentary film that examines historic preservation through the lens of the 15-year struggle to save the famed Ambassador Hotel from demolition. This film will recount the monumental history of the Ambassador and investigate the importance of historic preservation within contemporary urban landscapes.

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To learn more about the making of After 68 and to have a chance to participate in its making, go to their website at http://www.after68.com/

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Los Angeles Times
January 20, 1921

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With the completion of the ultra-modern Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles can boast the most commodious hostelry in the West; and it is to the enterprise and vision of a Los Angeles and New York syndicate that we owe this latest and most welcome addition to the city beautiful.

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Placing $5,000,000 in a hotel project at a time when the finances of the country and the world were swaying a bit unsteadily, when the pessimists were noisy and the optimists were dumb, required both courage and foresight. Such projects have been promoted repeatedly by local speculators, but on paper. At one time, a ge3neration ago, they went so far as to build a foundation for a metropolitan hotel down on South Main Street; but they made it so big that their money was all spent by the time the basement was finished. It never rose even so high as a first story.

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Only those who have passed through the portals of that palace of comfort and pleasure can form an adequate idea of what the last word in hotel construction really says. The location is unsurpassed; the lawns, grottoes and gardens form a charming bit of landscape that might have escaped from a canvas of Corot or Monet; the architecture of the building is of that classic Latin type that awakens visions of the best works of the Italian and French masters of the eleventh and twelfth centuries; the furnishings combine modern comfort with antique charm.

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It was with faltering footsteps and longing glances backwards that the greater number of the 3,000 guests of the opening night retired after the music ceased and the lights were turned low, like fairies fleeing at the approach of dawn. Visiting the Ambassador while in Los Angeles is like being received at the palace of the Queen. It recalls the sigh of the Arab poet, “It is easier to enter the enchanted gardens of Hadjiz than to depart again.”

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after68

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Click here to learn more about the making of After 68 and a chance to participate in its making.

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4 Responses

  1. Allan Ellenberger Says:

    Makes me sick to my stomach that this historic place was destroyed! When will the insanity stop? Hollywood has the most memorable history RECORDED on film, yet that history is falling to the hands of the wrecking companies. Part of the mystique of Hollywood is to visit the old haunts of the “Golden Age Stars” of Yesteryear. Thank you Allan for posting these important items on your blog.

  2. Anne Says:

    I agree completely with Allan Ellenberger’s comments regarding the deplorable destruction of historic places in Hollywood.

  3. Tim Minear Says:

    Ahhh, the Ambassador! I did a show called “Angel” several years ago and we shot there many times. Last time around October of 2001. I can recall walking those haunted hallways, going into the Grove and breathing in the history. It really was a magical place, even in its decay.

  4. Annabelle Says:

    It is very sad that LAUSD could not find a happy medium with the conservationist group in honoring the Ambassador Hotel. While I understand that there are strict standards that needs to be complied in building schools, you would think that with a place of historic significance, a school district would want to show that they believe education can be achieved in many different ways, asides from reading textbooks.

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