Posts Tagged ‘vintage photo’
A Funny Los Angeles Tour Means Memories of Robin Williams
If we are not the capitol of funny here in Los Angeles, at least we have tour guides who know their way around a joke and funny story. If our private Los Angeles tour guests want to be amused while sightseeing in Hollywood and Beverly Hills then we have the tour driving comedians to do it. Our people also share a love of the history of comedy and its Los Angeles influences. We pay particular attention for our passengers so inclined to the world famous comedy clubs all around the city. One in particular is The Comedy Store right on the Sunset Strip in W. Hollywood. An important historic denizen of Sammy and Mitzi Shore‘s (Pauly’s parents) comedy palace was Robin Williams. His distinct comedy voice was tragically lost year and now memories of him here at the The Comedy Store are wistful. But what do we do when we get too sad thinking about what used to be? We tell a funny anecdote and focus on what comedians are present and dream of those to come. Whatever happens, The Comedy Store will be a guiding light of humor and fun on any dark Los Angeles night.
Dining Then Is Dining Now at
It is always thrilling to take our guests on a private custom tour of Los Angeles into Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard. Why? Because the past really comes alive for them. Our guides have prepared our visitors for this particular historic destination with tales of old Hollywood and even some stories of ancient Hollywood that we have researched. Which famous movie stars ate here, where they preferred to sit, their cocktail of choice (martinis are a specialty). There are even some servers here who harken back to Golden Age Hollywood and can tell tales if we get there at a quiet time and decide to order a drink or a meal. The restaurant originally opened next door to its present location back in 1919 when Hollywood was still an enfant terrible in the business world but people and money were flooding westward to participate in the growing enterprise of filmed entertainment. D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille and Charlie Chaplin reigned supreme at the numerous tiny (by today’s standards) studios nearby that were churning out silent films. The best place then for steak and a stiff drink? That’s right, Musso & Frank Grill. The best place today? You guessed it. Great food and a touch of real Hollywood history in the heart of town.
The Changes in Hollywood Are Apparent
to Our Private Tour
It is really only a hundred years ago that Hollywood began making a name for itself as nickelodeons spread across the country and movie houses began to appear. What was definitely not good for the vaudevillian performers of the day was the beginning of a huge entertainment enterprise whose capital would be Hollywood. Folks moving west to be a part of this startup industry had to live somewhere. Enterprising businessmen of the time purchased a large stretch of property above the growing studio neighborhood below, up into the hills almost to the top of what would later be called Mt. Lee, and created Hollywoodland. Unlike today’s planned residential developments there was only land. Prospective residents purchased a plot and built their own homes. That is why as we drive up to visit what remains of the original development billboard, now the Hollywood Sign, our private Los Angeles tour guests can see how unique and remarkable each house is all the way to the top. Along the way we can pull out photographs like this one so our guests can compare what was with what is.
Our Private Tour Now Drives on the Grand Lagoon
The Midway Plaisance shown in this vintage photograph was Abbot Kinney‘s idea of a resting place in an area of high activity around the Venice Pier. Sit down, enjoy some food and the fine weather, grab a gondola to navigate all the beautiful canals that crisscrossed the newly minted community on the sea just a half-day’s drive from downtown Los Angeles and almost that long a ride from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. There were street cars to help make the journey and bring the beleaguered population out to enjoy a day at the sea, to swim in the ocean, play in the sand, eat in the restaurants, frolic in the dance halls and enjoy the extravagance of Kinney’s concept of an American Venice, a retreat on the bay. Those were the days of numerous carnival piers and all sorts of recreation away from the growing city. Today we drive the large roundabout in central Venice with our custom tour guests enjoying a private luxury sightseeing excursion through Los Angeles and describe what is seen in this photograph that at one time occupied the asphalt circle we are circumnavigating. There remain a number of the old canals in a part of Venice for us to walk and explore and there are other signs of the once great playground that continues to attract beach lovers, body builders, skateboarders and street entertainers as well as many of our tour guests who are curious about Los Angeles of yore.
Our Private Tour Guests (Generally) Love This Drive
For this Throw Back Thursday (TBT) we feature a vintage photograph of the oldest freeway in the west, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, which connects downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) with Pasadena. A little over 8 miles long it follows the sinuous pathway of the Arroyo Seco river (safe and cemented and seen on the left in the image above). This picture looks south toward Highland Park and the tower of the Southwest American Museum (opened in 1914). In 1940 when the parkway was completed automobiles were large, lumbering and not driven as fast as modern cars are. The on ramps still have stop signs to control traffic leading onto what is now commonly called the Pasadena Freeway or in L.A. lingo “the 110.” A real Los Angeles driver can find themselves challenged entering or leaving the freeway anywhere between the beginning and end of the parkway. However, the views along the roadway are magnificent in both our “green” (rainy) and “brown” (dry) seasons. Our private Los Angeles tour guides are kept very busy both describing the sights to see and navigating the treacherous curves.
Our Private Tour Guests Love Their
Present Day Photos
Every day, in numerous languages and accents, our private Los Angeles tour guests request to drive up to (or hover in front with our helicopters) the Hollywood Sign. Without doubt it is the number one destination on any custom tour we create for our guests. We make it a point to describe the history of Hollywood, the film industry and the Hollywoodland sign and maybe show our guests vintage black & white photos such as this one. Way back in 1923, as Hollywood was just becoming the movie industry capital, savvy developers saw that there would be a need for housing in the vicinity. Hollywoodland was the name of that early development and what better way to get folks talking and thinking about a home in the hills than to erect a giant billboard spelling out the name of the upcoming neighborhood. Mules, horses and the occasional tractor allowed the building crew to carry the material up the side of Mt. Lee to build the bright white 30′ tall letters. While the “Land” part of the name is gone today the spirit of Hollywood remains and this place is our favorite location to photograph with our guests.
Did They Even Have a
Private Los Angeles Tour Back Then?
We enjoy this opportunity to look at a THEN photograph when we take so many Now photographs with our guests sightseeing on a custom Los Angeles tour with us. This corner, the very well known Hollywood and Vine intersection, is a stop we often make just down Hollywood Boulevard from the more popular block along the Walk of Fame where Grauman’s Chinese Theater catches everyone’s eye. But this corner is not without its charm, history and stories. There were streetcars back THEN rumbling up from downtown Los Angeles and then through Hollywood along Hollywood Boulevard. To the left and not pictured is the Pantages Theater, likely at this time the place where the Academy Awards were staged. Next door to the Pantages is the notorious Frolic Room. Straight ahead down Vine Street on the left is the Brown Derby restaurant popular with Hollywood newsmakers. Up the hill behind us will be the Capitol Records building in 1956. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce would not begin to place its Walk of Fame terrazo and bronze stars along these two streets until 1958. The Rexall drugstore and the streetcars are gone but there is a whole lot more here today. Hollywood has really changed over the years.
A Los Angeles Amusement Pier in
the Good Old Days
Our private Los Angeles tour guests truly enjoy their visit to the Santa Monica Pier which is a modern manifestation of the great wooden piers of old that once adorned the bay just a streetcar ride from downtown or Hollywood. One of the great piers seen above in this vintage aerial photograph demonstrates how extensive these structures were and how much fun they would have been. Built (and rebuilt when they would burn down) in the early 20th century and instigated by Abbot Kinney who designed and created Venice, these extensions into the sea offered roller coasters and other exciting rides, carousels, carnivals, dancing (watch THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY) and lots and lots of eating and drinking. Long before beach culture became what it is today fully dressed denizens of Los Angeles would spend entire days at the shore strolling from one pier to another.
Our Private Tour Guests Would Apply, Too
Once again Elite Adventure Tours fans out there in Internet world come through with a really interesting vintage photograph taken in 1925. These beautiful ladies are applicants at the Paramount Motion Picture School. Our crack researchers back in the office went to work to find out more about this school, the photograph, whatever could be found out. Nada! Zilch! Nothing at all! We still wanted to post the photo because our readers love when we step back into the past in this blog which is about all we do when we are with our guests on a private Los Angeles tour. We have good contacts at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and we will look to find out more in the future. Please contact us if you have any information about this photo or the Paramount Motion Picture School. Were they wanting to be become cinematographers, do you think? Producers? Famous actresses? What’s with the knee highs?
We Find Fun Diners for Our Private Tour
Sadly, the Zep Diner is no more. Gone along with America’s fascination with dirigibles and blimps. With the exception of the Goodyear blimp moored in Carson just south of Los Angeles and the regular visits of several other television camera-equipped, sporting event covering floating airships, our skies are much more filled with passenger aircraft and police and news helicopters. But back in the day (1920s, 1930s) massive airships like the Hindenburg, the Graf Zeppelin and the U.S.S. Los Angeles captured our imagination and inspired our art and design. One manifestation of this inspiration was the Zep Diner, home of the “Hinden Burger,” which sat on a major road leading into downtown Los Angeles coincidentally near a Goodyear tire manufacturing plant. There were a large number of programmatic (or mimetic) structures (designed to look like common objects) all around Los Angeles (like Mother Goose giant shoe and the Brown Derby). There are few of these structures remaining today though our private Los Angeles tour guides do know where they were located and can talk about this with our guests.