Posts Tagged ‘cemetery’
Our Private Tour Guests Think It’s a Fine Neighborhood
While the kids may not exactly recall the shtick of Rodney Dangerfield most adults fondly remember his bug-eyed quips and his silly movies and TV specials. His opening line for his standup routine was often, “I get no respect.” We have to say that when we bring one of our Los Angeles private tour groups to the best little cemetery in the west, Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery, Rodney Dangerfield’s headstone epitaph elicits at least smiles if not outright laughing and he still gets plenty of respect all these years after his passing. There are a number of funny and meaningful “last words” here in this intimate stone garden just behind a Wilshire Boulevard movie theater. Many names bring pause to our guests as they reminisce about moments spent in movie theaters, watching their television sets or just listening to music and enjoying the work of some of Hollywood’s most illustrious artists. Peter Falk, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe…it’s a very long list of familiar celebrities in such a small area. Contrary to Mr. Dangerfield’s quip it is a very nice neighborhood. Enjoy a beautiful day in this neighborhood on your custom tour of Los Angeles.
Paramount Pictures Is the History of Hollywood for Our Private Tour
If we pass by any movie studio on a Los Angeles private tour it will be Paramount Pictures. One of the big six, this studio began here in Hollywood in 1912 and continues to produce movies and television shows every day. Originally known as Famous Players and helmed by Adolph Zukor, the production entity soon merged with Jesse Lasky‘s production company and the distribution company both producers used, Paramount Pictures. Through these gates the greatest stars and filmmakers of the earliest days of Hollywood came and went. The business flourished as the U.S. and the world developed a growing hunger for feature films. New studios opened in and around Hollywood and in 1923 the giant sign, Hollywoodland, appeared at the top of the mountain overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Hollywood was now the capitol of filmdom. Our luxury tour guests love to talk about their favorite Paramount films and television shows like The Godfather and Star Trek and our guides will bring up other movies and programs to talk about as we drive around the studio. The studio has a lovely walking tour of the lot where our guests can visit some of the departments in action and see what a working movie studio looks like. Right behind this landmark “dream factory” is Hollywood Forever cemetery which we can drive slowly through and remember many of the celebrated actors, directors and artists whose creative efforts are cherished today. Many of these famous people were themselves Famous Players at one time.
A Cemetery Worth Visiting on a Halloween Private Tour
Talk about Halloween decorations, some of the very best in the world must be the ones we show our Los Angeles private tour guests as we drive through some of the fanciest neighborhoods in and around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Some of these homes go all out for a real “spooky” experience. A good example is this cemetery that we discovered as we were pointing out some of the beautiful celebrity homes we like to visit with our custom tour groups. We didn’t count or photograph all the grave markers but there were many more than what you can see in this picture. Some Hollywood special effects after dark, maybe a loudspeaker playing the Mephisto Waltz or Night on Bald Mountain, and this could be the best of the best for Halloween house hunting. Our After Dark tours generally focus on neon and nightlife in Los Angeles, sometimes the Griffith Observatory to observe the stars above Hollywood but at this time of year, Halloween, we look for the wonderful yard displays designed to be seen when the sun goes down.
Happy and Sad Moments for Our Private Tour in this Little Cemetery
With our more mature Los Angeles private tour guests we often will visit one of the many local cemeteries where the plaques and gravestones will recall wonderful movie and television memories. Several of the nearby memorial parks are sprawling (Forest Lawn with its two spacious locations, Hillside), Hollywood Forever is just a city block in size and right in Hollywood, and then there is our favorite, Westwood Village. This pocket park requires the least amount of walking and offers the highest number of recognizable names. We find it fitting that it is located directly behind a movie theater and encircled by nearby studios and film production companies. Our guests today were big fans of Charlie’s Angels (the television series, 1976-1981) and in particular of Farrah Fawcett. Sometimes we think her death from cancer overshadowed her illustrious career (4 Emmy nominations, 6 Golden Globe nominations) and, like so many glamorous stars, her marriages and relationships sometimes drew more attention than the quality of her work. She was much more than a pin-up girl. She had real acting chops and worked on Broadway (Extremities) as well as significant dramatic roles on film (The Burning Bed). Our visit to her grave brought back wonderful memories for our guests and enlivened the discussion of past television and movie stars as we meandered through the tiny memorial park.
Our Private Tour Folks Still Like Her Hot
Marilyn Monroe was a star of stars and continues to imbue the air of Hollywood with her beauty and style. She has been gone now more than 50 years yet we can expect almost daily questions about her from our Los Angeles private tour guests. We not only know much about her but we can take our guests to see the homes where she lived, where she succumbed to a drug overdose, where she is buried, where she met Joe DiMaggio, where she filmed Bus Stop and many more interesting places around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Along Hollywood Boulevard we might even run into a Marilyn Monroe doppelgänger happy to pose with visitors walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame in exchange for a couple of ducats. A girl has to make a living, after all, and diamonds are a girl’s best friend. She has a star on the famed sidewalk. Nearby her handprints in the Grauman’s Chinese Theater courtyard are unquestionably the most touched and photographed. Her grave in a tiny cemetery not far from Hollywood is always decorated with flowers, mementos and lipstick kisses on the granite face of her tomb. She is never forgotten.
Our Guests Direct Their Private Tour to Visit Don Knotts
We are generally not very far from our guests’ hotel by the time we already have determined who their favorite celebrities are. Some guests board our luxury SUV with very complete lists of who their favorite movie stars are, which television shows they grew up loving and what they like to watch now. Favorite musical performers, radio personalities…we generally have wonderful suggestions as to where to take them as we enjoy a private custom tour around Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This day we were talking right away about the Andy Griffith Show and funny man Don Knotts. “Would you like to visit him at a tiny little city cemetery?” Our guide was astounded by the joyful response from his large group. They were like kids again excited about meeting a movie star. Well, almost. But as you can see above this was the top spot for them at the Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery. Sure, we went to see Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Farrah Fawcett and many other important and familiar Hollywood names while we were there but it was Barney Fife and the Incredible Mr. Limpet that our guests were most pleased to spend time with and we were happy to give them all the time they wanted.
We believe that the name of Marilyn Monroe will never fade from the minds of movie lovers. Despite not having a large filmography the beautiful blond star left a lasting impression on Hollywood history and in the minds of fans born long since her passing. Our custom luxury tour around Los Angeles can include stops at any number of important cemeteries to find the final resting places of filmdom celebrities from the very beginning of the industry until recently. One of our favorite stops is Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery. This tiny graveyard sits behind a movie theater (how appropriate) and a tall office building hidden from the passing street and business traffic. Despite its small size there are big names here to fans of movies and early television. The visits to cemeteries are not the least bit sad on our tours because the names we see bring up happy memories of wonderful films, television shows and music. This cemetery is popular with our guests because so many of the epitaphs are as memorable as the people brought to mind. Forest Lawn, Hollywood Forever and Hillside Memorial are usual stops for us as we take our guests to their pay respects to their favorite movie stars and celebrities.
Special Private Tour Guests
Start at Gravesite
Many of our tours begin with a request or even a list of celebrity homes to visit, Hollywood Walk of Fame stars to find and locations around Los Angeles associated with movie stars and famous performers. Often, too, our private Los Angeles tour guests will want to visit a particular cemetery or grave to connect with a favorite star now departed. Recently we were struck by the devotion of a young man from Brownsville, Texas who was a full-hearted fan of Avenged Sevenfold drummer and founder Jimmy Sullivan whose “band” name was The Reverend Tholomew Plague though he went by the moniker The Rev. We drove our guests down to Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery in Huntington Beach and located The Rev’s headstone. The Orange County metal scene produced a number of high voltage groups that rocked the music scene including Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions some of whose members were present at the funeral. The Rev’s drum kits are on display in a couple of Hard Rock Cafés across the country. His music lives on with the memories of his fans.
Our Private Tour Group Visits
Marilyn Monroe’s Grave
August 5th is remembered every year by many people who adored, and continue to worship in their way, Marilyn Monroe. That Monday in 1962 was a shock to the entire world that induced in many what psychologists refer to as “flashbulb memory,” the exceptionally clear recollection of whereabouts and circumstances when the news was first heard. Much like the assassinations of the Kennedys or Martin Luther King or the Challenger or Columbia space shuttle disasters, the news of Marilyn’s apparent suicide caused the world to stop and take notice. Marilyn Monroe is interred in a tiny but beautiful cemetery in Westwood which is a regular stop for many of our older private Los Angeles tour guests who remember the stars of yesteryear many of whom are buried here. On this particular day there are bouquets and wreaths placed all around her crypt and the lipstick prints left by her many remaining fans. Not a solemn requiem at all but a joyful remembrance of her beauty and vivaciousness and the wonderful films she left us.
Our Private Tour Guests Learn How Big
Los Angeles Really Is
When we hike up to the top of Mt. Lee our guests are often surprised that there is so much more to see than the Hollywood Sign and the views south over the Los Angeles basin from downtown to the sea. On clear days Santa Catalina Island is gloriously visible as is the promontory peninsula of Palos Verdes. Then we meander over to the north side of the mountain and stretched out before us is the San Fernando Valley, all 260 square miles. Almost two million residents. Home to four major studios: NBC, CBS, Disney and Warner Bros. The orange building above, just beyond the green expanse of Forest Lawn cemetery, is the heart of Disney Studios. This valley was once a great manufacturing center for Los Angeles (automobiles, aircraft) but today the San Fernando Valley makes its money with content production and entertainment. Most of the valley is a part of Los Angeles with several incorporated cities like Burbank. Besides this hike up to the top of Mt. Lee we know a number of other overlooks from locations on Mulholland Drive where we can stop on our private Los Angeles tour if our guests are not interested in hiking. Different places with different views of the valley but all leaving a distinct impression on our guests of the size and scope of Los Angeles.