Hollywood_AsstLA

The Hollywood and Assorted LA page contains images of the Hollywood Sign, three of Sid Grauman’s
historic theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, the new face of Hollywood and Highland, two famous props at
Universal Studios Hollywood (the Spinosaurus and the Terminator), the Witch House and O’Neill House
in Beverly Hills, the historic Venice Canals, and a few assorted images from Los Angeles, California.

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HollywoodSign_X7230_16x9


Hollywood Sign X7230 16x9

The Hollywood Sign, atop Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. More images further below.

The Hollywood Sign was originally erected as an advertising sign for a housing development
in the hills below Mount Lee, and originally said “Hollywoodland”, the name of the development.

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Egyptian Theater 3475

The Egyptian Theater was Sid Grauman’s first Hollywood theater and one of the first of the movie palaces in the US.

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El Capitan Marquee 3414

Grauman and Charles Toberman (the Father of Hollywood) later opened the El Capitan to display stage productions.

Sid Grauman was the quintessential American showman, who first saw a motion picture when he was working as a paperboy during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s. He and his father made little in the gold rush, but were made wealthy when they opened theaters in Dawson City, Yukon. Later they moved to San Francisco, where their theaters were destroyed during the 1906 Earthquake, but they opened tent theaters immediately after with a projector saved from the ruins and were instrumental in boosting the morale of the citizens.

They later decided to move their theaters to Los Angeles, and in 1918 Grauman opened the first American Movie Palace, the Million Dollar Theater in downtown LA across from the Bradbury Building. He then began work on the Egyptian Theater, which opened in 1922 at a cost of $800,000 (an enormous sum at the time). The Egyptian was the venue for the first Hollywood Premiere: “Robin Hood”, with Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, one of the most expensive films of the 1920s (budgeted at $1 million). The film and the theater opened together, and in 1922 the film showed in no other Los Angeles theater.

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Egyptian Theater Courtyard Fountain 6162

The exterior of the Egyptian Theater is in Egyptian Revival style, and includes a courtyard with this
fountain, flanked by papyrus and queen palm trees. The Egyptian theme was chosen due to public
fascination with the Howard Carter archaeological expeditions which were searching for the tomb
of Tutankhamun, which Carter finally found two weeks after the theater opened in October 1922.
The theater originally intended to use a Hispanic theme, and roof tiles were already ordered,
so they were used in the roof pans. The courtyard was used for the red carpet ceremonies.

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Egyptian Theater Courtyard Mural 3462 16x9

The exterior and interior walls featured Egyptian paintings and hieroglyphs. This restored mural is in the courtyard.

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Egyptian Theater Main Entrance 6158

The entrance doors at the end of the Egyptian Theater courtyard
opened directly into the theater auditorium, which was a single room
seating 1760 patrons. American Cinematheque bought the theater from
the City of Los Angeles for one dollar in 1996 and spent $12.8 million to
restore it to its past grandeur, splitting the auditorium into a main theater
that seats 616 and the smaller 77-seat Spielberg screening theater.

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Egyptian Theater Main Entrance 3463

Detail of the paintings over the Egyptian Theater entrance and the heads atop the flanking pilasters.

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Chinese Theatre X7454

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Chinese Theatre X7449

The spectacular entrance to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, intended to resemble
a Chinese pagoda complete with dragon above the entrance, two Ming Dynasty
Lion Dogs (Shi-shi or Heaven Dogs) flanking the entrance, and small dragons
on the edge of the copper roof. Authorization had to be obtained from the US
government to import the temple bells, pagodas, the stone Heaven Dogs and
other artifacts from China which adorn the theater. Total cost of construction
was a monumental $2 million, and the theater required 18 months to build.

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Chinese Theatre X7452

One of two authentic Ming Dynasty Lion-Dogs (Heaven Dogs or Shi-shi)
which guard the entrance to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The stone dogs
were imported from China along with artifacts used in the theater’s decor.

Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard was built in 1926-1927
and opened in May 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The King of Kings”.

Built by Grauman and United Artists’ Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Joe Schenck,
Grauman’s Chinese Theater features a forecourt with the hand and footprints of 200 of the
major stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Two years after the opening, Sid Grauman sold
his interest in the theater to the Fox Theaters chain and retired, but Howard Hughes
talked him out of retirement to produce the premiere of his 1930 aviation epic film
“Hell’s Angels”, the first blockbuster film of the sound era. Grauman retired again
after the film ended, but got bored and returned to the Chinese as its managing
director until he died in 1950. The Chinese remains one of the grandest of the
Hollywood Movie Palaces, and it was declared a Cultural Landmark in 1968.

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Chinese Theater Entrance Detail 3444

Wrought-iron masks atop the two coral-red pillars support the copper roof
and frame the dragon panel and temple bell at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Construction was overseen by the Chinese poet and film director Moon Quon
who supervised a team of Chinese artisans that created statuary in the forecourt,
most of which decorate the ornate interior of the historic theater. The forecourt itself
is one of the most famous aspects of the Chinese Theater. Sid Grauman hired the
construction foreman Jean Klossner to formulate an extremely hard cement for the
forecourt. Grauman walked across the forecourt while the cement was still wet,
and decided to call Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge
to add their prints, although the cement was nearly dry so these were faint.
Just before completion of construction, the first formal footprint ceremony
was held when co-owners Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks placed
hand and footprints and their signatures in the center of the forecourt, as
the first of 200 celebrities to grace this most celebrated slab of concrete.
Jean Klossner performed all footprint ceremonies from 1927 through 1957.

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Chinese Theater Pillar and Dragon Panel M

A 1600 x 1290 version of the VLG composite (2500 x 2000) showing detail of the
wrought iron pillar masks and the dragon panel over the Chinese Theater entrance.

In a 10-year deal for naming rights, Television China Ltd. (TCL, a flat-panel TV manufacturer)
bought the right to have their name attached to the theater for $5 million in Jan. 2013, allowing
the owners to upgrade the Chinese theater to the largest IMAX auditorium in the world and to
complete their preservation projects in the lobby of this beautifully preserved historic theater.
The new 986-seat IMAX theater with its 46 by 94 foot screen opened in September 2013
with the gala world premiere of the updated 1939 classic film “The Wizard of OZ - 3D”.

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Road_toHollywood_X7456


Road to Hollywood X7456

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Road to Hollywood X7461

The “Road to Hollywood” entrance to Hollywood and Highland Center, which is an
enormous mall with 75 shops, nightclubs, restaurants, the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel,
the Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater (formerly the Kodak Theater, shown below,
which hosts the Academy Awards) and the Grand Ballroom as well as other facilities.

The Road to Hollywood entrance leads from the Hollywood Walk of Fame (the sidewalk
where more than 2500 terrazzo and brass stars act as monuments to achievement in the
entertainment industry) into the central court, which was inspired by the Babylon scenes in
D. W. Griffith’s epic 1916 film “Intolerance”, considered one of the greatest masterpieces
of the Silent Era. The complex is part of the community effort to revitalize Hollywood Blvd.

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Hollywood and Highland X7464

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Hollywood and Highland X7466

The central courtyard features a Babylonian theme and a fountain lit by a cyclic rainbow of lights.

The image at left is a tricky timing shot intended to capture a broad spectrum of the colors, and
the image at right captures the fountain with just the lavender lights. The Babylonian arch at left
frames a view of the Hollywood Sign. The arch and white elephants are copies from the set for
Intolerance (originally at Sunset and Virgil) which included eight of the elephant statues leading
to a double-wide arch which looked similar to the arch above, including an Appakalu spirit and
a bearded, winged Assyrian divinity holding a bowl (spanned by viewing bridges not in the set).

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Hollywood and Highland X7467

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Hollywood and Highland X7468

An overhead view of the Babylonian courtyard at Hollywood and Highland from a viewing bridge in the arch.

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Kodak Theatre Hard Rock Cafe X7445

Hard Rock Cafe and the Kodak Theatre, now the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards (Oscars)
ceremonies. The theater was sponsored by the Kodak company in a $75 million naming rights deal which
ended in 2012 when Kodak filed for bankruptcy. Dolby Labs signed a 20-year deal to acquire the naming
rights three months later. The $94 million theater was specifically built to house the Academy Awards on
the site of Mann’s Chinese Twin theater complex, which was demolished in 1999 for the construction of
Hollywood and Highland Center. The Kodak Theater housed the Cirque du Soleil “Iris” spectacular until
early in 2013, when the production closed after $100 million in losses, including about $30 million spent
to modify the theater (a loan from the City of LA to lure Cirque du Soleil to the city). “Iris” was originally
intended to run for 10 years, but it closed after only 16 months due to the poor ticket sales. I saw the
show in 2012 and it was truly spectacular, but less than 25% of the theater seats were occupied.

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Babylon Hollywood and Highland 6192

The Babylonian Arch and the two elephants on their pedestals at Hollywood and Highland Center.

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Babylon Hollywood and Highland 6191

The Babylonian Arch frames a view of the Hollywood Sign in the distance on Mount Lee.

The arch and elephant atop the free-standing column are replicas of D. W. Griffith’s Babylon set for the epic
1916 film “Intolerance”, widely considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of the Silent Era. The film
cost a reputed $2.5 million to produce ($46 million in current value), by far the most expensive production up
to that time, and it was such a flop at the box office that Triangle Film Corporation (founded by Harry and Roy
Aitken (who created Hollywood’s Golden Age Studio System) to produce and market films of the legendary
D.W. Griffith, Thomas Ince and Mack Sennett) was put up for sale, and soon ceased its operations entirely.

Griffith could not afford to tear down the original life-size set, and it stood for 4 years until the Fire Dept.
declared the derelict set a fire hazard and tore it down in 1919. Griffith invented false eyelashes for this
film so that Princess Attarea in the Babylon segment could flutter her eyelashes and brush her cheeks.

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Griffith Intolerance Babylon Set

An 1800 x 1472 image of D. W. Griffith’s Babylon set for the 1916 film Intolerance, which was the
inspiration for the central court at the Hollywood and Highland Center. The set was originally at the
intersection of Sunset Blvd., Hollywood Blvd. and Virgil Ave. at Griffith’s Reliance-Majestic Studios.

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Elephant Hollywood and Highland 6185

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Elephant Hollywood and Highland 6200

The two free-standing elephant statues next to the Babylonian arch at Hollywood and Highland Center.

The eight elephants atop pedestals in Griffith’s Intolerance were an anachronistic part of the set. Although
Griffith had considerable research done in the areas of architecture, furniture, decorative art and costumes
in the attempt to create an illusion of archaeological accuracy, but he insisted on the elephants even though
his researchers could not find any reference other than an obscure comment about elephants on the walls.

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Eagle-headed Deity Hollywood and Highland 6203

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Eagle-headed Deity Hollywood and Highland 6206

The Eagle-headed Deity on the Babylonian arch in the courtyard of Hollywood and Highland Center.
This deity is alternately described as Ashur (National god of Assyria) or Nisroch (Agricultural god),
depending on the source, and is shown with a water vessel and a fir cone or spathe (palm bract).

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Eagle-headed Deity Ashurnasirpal 3185 M

1200 x 1600 image of the gypseous alabaster relief from the palace of the
Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (9th c. BC) of the Eagle-headed deity which is
the archaeological reference for the relief on the Hollywood and Highland arch.
The deity is holding a water vessel and a fir cone or spathe sponge to water
the sacred tree. Generally, this deity is described as Nisroch, Assyrian
agricultural god, but some archaeological references list it as a form
of Ashur, national god of Assyria and namesake of Ashurnasirpal.

More images are on the LACMA Asian and Middle Eastern Art page.

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Hollywood and Highland Traffic X7478

A 2 second exposure of the traffic at Hollywood and Highland at night.

On the corner opposite the Hollywood and Highland Center complex are the
Hollywood Guiness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums.

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Hollywood and Highland Traffic X7476 16x9

Another 2 second exposure of the traffic passing Hollywood and Highland at night.

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Hollywood Hills Summit X7342

The Hollywood Sign below the crest of Mount Lee rises above the homes at the top of the Hollywood Hills.

The Hollywood Sign was first erected in 1923 to advertise for the Hollywoodland real estate development.
The original Hollywoodland sign was lit by thousands of bulbs and was a high profile beacon over the city.
Each of the original letters was 30 feet wide and about 43 feet tall, made from 3 x 9 foot metal rectangles
rigged together by a framework of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles, and there used to be a
35 foot diameter white dot which was lit with perimeter bulbs on the hill below the sign to attract attention.

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Hollywood Sign HS4436

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Hollywood Sign X7327

The left image was taken at mid-afternoon on Halloween day, and the right was taken at sunset in February.

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Hollywood Sign X7354

The Hollywood Sign in the late afternoon from directly below. The broadcast tower to the right of the sign
has an interesting history in itself. Mount Lee is named for Don Lee, an entrepreneur who owned exclusive
rights to sell Cadillacs in California in the 1920s. He extended his businesses into radio by purchasing KHJ,
a famous LA station, and other West Coast stations in the late 1920s, and in 1930 he decided to lead in the
development of television, which was at the time an unproven technology. He used his profits from radio to
hire a team to develop technologies of filming, transmitting and receiving television, going live in 1931.

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Hollywood Sign X7233

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Hollywood Sign X7323

Don Lee’s station (W6XAO) aired the first documented television news coverage (1933 Long Beach Earthquake)
and the first Soap Opera (Vine Street), but since at the time television was limited to line of sight, large population
areas in the San Fernando Valley were unable to receive his broadcasts, so in 1938 he purchased the 20 acres
behind the Hollywood Sign from the Hollywoodland project developer and Mack Sennett (innovator of slapstick
comedy and a famous silent film actor, director, producer and studio owner). Don Lee built a state-of-the-art
broadcast studio and filming facilities, and at the time the world’s highest elevation transmission tower.
After the end of World War II, Mount Wilson was determined to be a better location for broadcasting,
and all three of the then-existing television broadcasters moved their towers. The current radio
broadcast tower and the site atop Mount Lee are now operated by the City of Los Angeles.

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Hollywood Sign at Sunset X7377 16x9

The Hollywood Sign at sunset from the steep hillside directly below the sign.

In 1932, just after the conversion to talking pictures, New York stage actress Peg Entwistle
tried to parlay her Broadway success into a Hollywood dream and moved in with her uncle
on Beachwood Drive just below the sign. Unfortunately she did not do well, and after a long
summer of constant rejection she climbed up the hill and scaled a workman’s ladder to the
top of the H, where she jumped to her death. A Hollywood legend says that a letter arrived
the day after her death that offered her the lead in a play about a woman driven to suicide.

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Hollywood Sign at Sunset X7409

The Hollywood sign decayed over the years, and by the 1970s it was in pathetic condition.
In 1978 Hugh Hefner hosted a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion and the old sign was torn
down in August and replaced with the sign that is seen today. This was the beginning of the
Hollywood Revitalization that led to restoration of historic theaters and the Roosevelt Hotel.

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UniversalGlobe_HS1814


Universal Globe HS1814

The Universal Studios Globe at the end of Universal Citywalk near the entrance to the Studio Tours.

Universal Studios was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle and partners as a vertically integrated company
in New York to produce, distribute and exhibit motion pictures and avoid paying Edison for his processes.
Laemmle bought out his partners and moved the operation to Los Angeles, forming Universal City Studios
in 1915, the oldest studio in the US and the fourth oldest in continuous operation in the world. Laemmle
financed all of his own productions, which occasionally caused problems, but with the signing of the
character actor Lon Chaney in the 1920s (Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera),
the studio became a major success. Laemmle was the only studio owner who opened his studio
to tourists, and the Universal Studios Tours have been a major Hollywood attraction ever since.

Laemmle and his son ended up losing the studio after the stockholders forced them to get a loan
for the lavish production of Show Boat in 1936. The production went over budget, and the capital
company called in the loan. Unable to pay, the Laemmle’s lost the controlling interest in the studio.

The new owners slashed budgets and the studio became known for mostly producing B-pictures for
many years, often borrowing stars from other studios, or bringing in stars such as Abbott and Costello
from radio. The studio was taken over by a series of conglomerates over the years, ending with Comcast.

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LA Angst 7305

LA Angst is a billboard in Citywalk, the entertainment and retail district at Universal Studios.

Universal Citywalk is the entrance plaza from the parking lots to the Universal Theme Park. Stretching
3 blocks, Citywalk has over 30 restaurants, a 19-screen theater, 7 nightclubs, and more than 30 stores.

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Spinosaurus 5958

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Spinosaurus 1569

The Spinosaurus at the Jurassic Park attraction in the Universal Studios Theme Park.

Spinosaurus aegypticus (spine lizard) was the largest known terrestrial carnivore measuring
over 40 feet and 9 tons. It had a tall sail on its back for which it was named. Spinosaurus was
first discovered in 1912 in Egypt by Richard Markgraf and lived during the early Cretaceous
from 122 million to 97 million years ago (another species lived in Morocco). The crocodilian
skull of this bipedal dinosaur was long and narrow, and it preyed on fish more than animals.

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Spinosaurus 1433

The Spinosaurus at Universal Studios Jurassic Park attraction, posing for a close portrait.

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Spinosaurus 5998

The Spinosaurus appeared in Jurassic Park III, where it ate two of the mercenaries, chased the
lead characters into the jungle nearly into the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus, which then chased them
right back towards the Spinosaurus, which fought, killed and ate the Tyrannosaurus for dessert.

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Spinosaurus 6031 M

The gaping jaws of the Universal Studios Spinosaurus threatening to eat the photographer.
The linked image is a 1000 x 1600 pixel M-sized version of the available VLG master image.

Jurassic Park was a spectacularly successful franchise for Universal and Steven Spielberg,
generating a world-wide box-office of over $2 billion and profits of nearly $1.8 billion. The fourth
film in the franchise has been in limbo for many years, but is now scheduled for release in 2015.

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Terminator 1556

Terminator_1554


Terminator 1554

The full-size Terminator T-800 prop at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Terminator 1557 M

A 1000 x 1600 image of the Terminator T-800 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The T-800 was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger before his role as California’s Governor.

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Terminator 3580

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Terminator 5925

Close portraits of the Cyberdyne Terminator T-800 showing detail of the cybertronic endoskeleton.
The android as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger had a living tissue sheath over the endoskeleton.

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Terminator 1378

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Terminator 1385

The Terminator T-800 was reprogrammed by John Connor and sent back
in time to protect John and Sarah Connor from the more advanced T-1000,
a liquid metal, shapeshifting Terminator played by Robert Patrick, which was
sent back by Cyberdyne to kill John and Sarah Connor to prevent him from
forming and leading the human Resistance against Skynet in the future.

Terminator_1388M


Terminator 1388 M

A 1000 x 1600 portrait of the smiling T-800 Terminator at Universal Studios.

The Terminator franchise was one of the most successful for Universal Studios.
The film series did a worldwide box-office of over $1.4 billion for a profit of nearly
$925 million, and a new film (Terminator: Genesis) is slated for release in 2015.

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WitchHouse_WaldenDrive_3986


Witch House Walden Drive 3986

The Witch’s House (also known as the Spadena House) is a Storybook house on Walden Drive
at Carmelita Avenue in Beverly Hills. Built by Hollywood art director Harry Oliver in 1921 as the
offices and dressing rooms of Irvin Willat Studios in Culver City, the house was moved to its
current location in 1934 and converted to a private home by the Louis Spadina family after
Willat Studios were closed when silent films gave way to talking pictures. The home was
surrounded by an intentionally overgrown English-style garden and a moat-like pond.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3616

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Witch House Walden Drive 3621

The lopsided peaks and warped, sloping roof of the Witch’s House
are accented by unusually-shaped shingles and the tiny asymmetric
windows with oddly-shaped shutters. The bizarre landscape and the
warped unpainted picket fence add charm to this Storybook house.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3617 M

A 1000 x 1600 image of the Witch’s House (Spadena House) in Beverly Hills.

In 1997, the house went on the market, and realtor Michael Libow discovered that
all of the prospective purchasers planned to raze the property and build a mansion.
To prevent this, he purchased the property himself and worked with the art director
Nelson Coates to restore the house, adding Gaudi-esque elements to the interior.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3980

The Witch’s House (Spadena House) on Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue in Beverly Hills.

The original private owners were actually Ward and Lillian Lascelle, who took in a renter named
Louis E. Spadina, who actually married Lillian after she divorced Ward. Nobody knows how the
name Spadina got changed to “Spadena” in the name of the house (from owner Michael Libow).

In the 1960s, my uncle lived in my grandfather’s old house at the other end of Carmelita and I often walked by this house.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3981

Ms. Green, who owned the Witch’s House at the time, used to really get into the character of her Storybook house and dress as a witch on Halloween. We thought she really was a witch.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3982

WitchHouse_WaldenDrive_3983


Witch House Walden Drive 3983

Michael Libow rebuilt the interior with curved walls and doors. There are only two or three right angles
inside the house, and all structural elements are made to appear as if they are melting into or growing
out of the floors. The bathrooms are fabulously tiled and they all have tree-like elements in the designs.
In back, there is a broken-tile mosaic pool guarded by a bronze crocodile, and the bridged moat and
overgrown gardens add to the spectacular character of the oldest and most famous Storybook home
in Los Angeles, which is visited every Halloween night by up to 3500 children in a four hour period.

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Witch House Walden Drive 3984

The Witch’s House (Spadena House) on Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue in Beverly Hills.

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O'Neill House Rodeo Drive 4042 16x9

The O’Neill house on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is another Gaudi-esque home, but for this
house both the exterior and the interior were constructed in Antoni Gaudi’s Art Nouveau style.

In 1978, art dealer Don O’Neill decided to remodel his guest house (in the rear) as a vision
inspired by his favorite architect, Antoni Gaudi. After the guest house was completed, Don
and his wife Sandy decided to rebuild the main house in the same style. Don died before
the project was completed, but Sandy finished the 5200 square foot home (designed by
the architect Tom Oswalt), which later was used in several films and television shows.

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O'Neill House Rodeo Drive 4043

The surrealistic facade of the Art Nouveau O’Neill House at 507 N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
The house is located next to Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church a block north of Santa Monica Blvd.

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VeniceCanal_1171


Venice Canal 1171

One of the historic canals of Venice California, founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905.

Abbot Kinney dredged several miles of canals to drain the marshlands south of Santa Monica and create
a seaside resort named after Venice Italy, complete with 1200 foot pleasure pier and a shopping arcade
designed with Venetian architecture. The seven canals (arranged as a rhombus) were originally lined with
small bungalows and had gondoliers and arched bridges along with a beautiful lighting system to draw in
publicity and help to sell lots in the development. The area fell into disrepair in the 1930s and remained
an eyesore until the area was renovated in the late 1990s, becoming a quaint but fairly upscale area,
with newly renovated homes and many larger modern houses now lining the fully restored canals.

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Venice Canal 1161

VeniceCanal_1224


Venice Canal 1224

The picturesque Venice Canals are three blocks inland from famous Venice Beach.

Tobacco baron Abbot Kinney’s Venice of America development included casinos, a social club,
an aquarium, a dance pavilion, an amusement pier, a shopping arcade and over two miles of canals
surrounded by a miniature railroad, a boat house, a bath house and bathing lake, and other attractions
that attracted Angelenos who arrived on the Red Car trolleys for over 30 years, but after Kinney’s death
in 1920, the “Coney Island of the Pacific” began to deteriorate and many of the canals, which formerly
offered gondoliers brought in from Venice Italy, were filled in to create roads in 1929. The currently
existing canals were built to the south and linked up with Kinney’s Grand Canal and were called
the Short Line Canals after the interurban Venice Short Line Railroad. These six canals are
the only remnants of the original canal system to survive today. Kinney’s canals are Venice
streets: Coral Canal is Main St., Grand Canal is Grand Ave., Altair Canal is Altair St., etc.

VeniceCanal_1178


Venice Canal 1178

A quaint area of the Venice Canals with renovated cottages that contrast with the larger modern homes.

By the 1920s the popularity of the automobile made the canals and Venice’s pedestrian-oriented environment
an area which was seen as an obstacle to progress, and the lack of parking was impacting business owners,
so the Pacific and Electric trolley-ways were widened and paved (becoming Pacific Ave. and Electric Ave.),
Kinney’s canals were filled in to become new roads, and Venice became a part of the City of Los Angeles.
The six Short Line canals were spared from this fate as the area had too few residents to levy the required
property assessment to fill in the canals and pave them over. This saved the historic area, although it took
seventy years of deterioration before the Venice canals were transformed into the quaint site seen today.

VeniceCanal_1192


Venice Canal 1192

A group of canoes and rowboats lead the eye to a bridge over one of the Venice Canals.

In the 1960s, the Beatniks adopted Venice as the perfect place to live their Bohemian lifestyle.
Jim Morrison lived on a rooftop on Westminster Ave. in Venice, where he wrote poetry that would
later become hit lyrics when he and Ray Manzarek formed The Doors on Venice Beach in 1965.
The Beatniks were later replaced by Hippie flower children in 1967 during the Summer of Love.

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Venice Canal 1212

A line of modern homes on one of the Venice Canals leads to one of the small original cottages
at the end of the canal. The 500-1000 square foot original cottages were built in the early 1900s.
Canoes, kayaks, paddle-boats and rowboats are used by area residents to navigate the canals.
Lots on the Canals are 30 feet wide by 80-95 feet deep. Home prices are now $1.6-$4 million.

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Venice Jaya Mural 1122 16x9

The Jaya Mural in the Venice Canals area was painted in 1975 by the Jaya Women’s Artists Collective
to portray the contrast between the Canal people’s zest for harmonious living with the developers, who had
little clue about the importance of the quality of canal life. It depicts the sterile white marina (out of frame at
left) trying to destroy the Bohemian lifestyle of the canal community. The mural caused controversy among
Marina del Rey developers, and in 1981 a crew sent by a developer-sympathizer painted out the mural.
A crew of canal folks immediately came with hoses and brushes and removed the paint before it dried.
The next morning developers came back with police escort, professional painters and oil-based paint
and sprayed the entire mural with thick green paint. The Canal community came in with paint thinner
and scrubbed it all off, but a green residue remained, especially over the sterile white marina area.

The story of the “paint-out” finally emerged: the building owner, who lived in Texas, received a letter
from a pro-development Canal homeowner who told her that “dirty words” were painted on the wall
and offered to paint them out. The building owner granted permission and the fiasco ensued. Later
the owner found out that the “clean-up” she had authorized led to obliteration of a city-funded mural,
and she rescinded her permission. The media got wind of what happened and came in on the side
of the Canal community, and after stories appeared in newspapers, the homeowner backed down.

In 1997 the original core of four artists who painted the mural in 1975 restored it to its former glory.
In 2006, the mural was so badly tagged with graffiti that the building owner was going to paint it out.
Emily Winters (the original designer and lead artist) and her team again restored the mural in 2008.

Venice_JayaMural_detail_1233


Venice Jaya Mural detail 1233

Detail of part of the Jaya Mural in the Venice Canals area (316 South Venice Blvd. at Dell Avenue),
showing the idyllic life in the Venice Canals in the early 1970s. Note the post-hippie clothing styles.

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LionDance_7845


Lion Dance 7845

Lion Dance at the Japanese New Year Oshogatsu Festival
held at Weller Court in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.

The Japanese Lion Dance (Shishi-mai) derives from the Chinese Lion Dance,
but the lion design and style of dancing are different (they also differ by region).
The Japanese lion is a lacquered wooden head (shishi-gashira) on a cloth body,
usually an olive green cloth with white designs, manipulated by one or two people.

HopLouie_Pagoda_9734


Hop Louie Pagoda 9734

Erected in 1941 for the Golden Pagoda restaurant, the five story pagoda of the current Hop Louie
restaurant was the last major landmark built in the New Chinatown Central Plaza in Downtown LA,
and the tallest structure in Chinatown when completed. The best table in the house is in the pagoda.

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LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 7975

A life-size female Columbian Mammoth screams as she sinks into the large La Brea Tar Pit.
In the background at left is the Japanese Pavilion of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA).
More images of the Mammoth and the Japanese Pavilion are on the Scenic Potpourri page.

LACMA_JapanesePavilion_TarPit_9179


LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 9179

The LACMA Japanese Pavilion and an American Mastodon are reflected in a La Brea Tar Pit.

The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of pits from which natural asphalt (brea in Spanish) seeps up
from the ground and is covered by a coating of rainwater. For tens of thousands of years, animals
would come to the tar pits to drink and become mired in the tar. Predators such as saber-toothed
cats, dire wolves, and American lions would come to feed and also become stuck in the tar. Their
perfectly preserved bones, turned dark brown by the asphalt, have been excavated for 100 years.

LakeShrine_9019


Lake Shrine 9019

The Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in
Pacific Palisades, California. The wall-less temple is on the edge of a natural spring-fed lake in
the midst of a lush garden framed by natural hillsides, and houses a thousand year old Chinese
sarcophagus which contains some of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi. His ashes were scattered
in nearly every important river and sea in India, but the only ashes outside India were the ones
sent to Lake Shrine founder Paramahansa Yogananda not long after Gandhi’s death in 1948.
The sarcophagus in the golden Lotus-topped memorial is flanked by two statues of Guanyin.

Yogananda founded the Lake Shrine in 1950 (more images on the Scenic Potpourri page).

Sunset_BallonaCreek_HS6166


Sunset Ballona Creek HS6166

A spectacular Pacific sunset at the mouth of Ballona Creek south of Marina del Rey in Los Angeles.

Ballona Creek used to be a part of the Los Angeles River, but during the major flood of 1825,
the Los Angeles River changed its course to its present location and Ballona Creek became
a separate waterway, draining the area from Rancho Las Cienegas to the Pacific between
Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey. Around 1820, Augustine Machada, a mestizo rancher,
was grazing his cattle on the Ballona wetlands and claimed a 14,000 acre Mexican land
grant which was named for Baiona in northwestern Spain, where his family originated.
Many of the minor tributaries have been paved over or lost to development, but the
major tributaries still exist and have been kept open in case they are needed to
transport lava to the Pacific, as seen in the Tommy Lee Jones film “Volcano”.

The wetlands area at the mouth of Ballona Creek are designated the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.
This is one of the last significant wetlands areas in the Los Angeles Basin, and is named for Ballona Creek,
which runs through the area as a flood control channel. The wetlands and Ballona Creek are a haven for
 for shorebirds, pelicans, egrets and herons. Images can be seen in the Bolsa Chica Wildlife section.

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