Friday, May 7, 2010


"Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don't; but keep on dreamin' - this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin'."
~Pretty Woman

I had that above quote in my head the whole time we were in Hollywood!

Before we really get started, just a quick note about how I'm going to tackle these recaps: rather than posting one enormous all-inclusive recap, or dividing things up by days like I've done in the past, I'm going to do three general activity recaps: Hollywood, Downtown L.A., and Warner Bros. Studios. I'm obviously starting with Hollywood today, but we did spend some time on Hollywood Blvd. on both Sunday and Monday. For sake of organization, I may be posting pics of Hollywood from both days in this post. So, don't think we made costume changes all morning - there are pictures from two different days here! At least, that's my plan. Let's see if I can put my "OMG everything needs to be in chronological order" OCD aside and make this happen.

So, here we go! Before missing our flight, our plan had been to do some leisurely Hollywood sightseeing on Saturday afternoon, then spend Sunday afternoon at a Dodgers game accompanied by some downtown L.A. sightseeing. As I mentioned yesterday, when we lost our Saturday, we just decided to combine those two days-worth of stuff into One Huge Sightseeing Day (see #2 on my list of Things I Learned in Los Angeles!).

We got up early on Sunday morning, planning to catch the 8:30 shuttle from the hotel to the metro station. We ended up just missing it though, so we decided to just walk. The walk was perfectly fine - it only took about 10 minutes and was no trouble at all. The metro itself was also very nice! We had heard mixed things about it, but we were really impressed. The stations were clean and beautifully decorated, and the price was reasonable ($1.25 one way, although after you buy a ticket you don't have to put it in a machine or anything to give you access - they claim they just do random checks to make sure you have a ticket. So really, we could have ridden the train for free all weekend if we were dishonest people. But, we're not). Granted, we only took the red line, so I can't vouch for the rest of the metro system. And, I do see that there are large chunks of the city NOT serviced by metro, so I could see how that would be frustrating, and I understand why people told us we would need to rent a car in L.A. But, we made it work and were very pleased with the red line's ability to get us where we needed to go for two days' worth of general sight-seeing.

We took the train to the Hollywood & Vine station, which was decorated with benches that looked like old cars and movie reels on the ceiling. Way to set the mood, metro!

Eric in the Hollywood & Vine metro station

Well, you can't really make out the film reels on the ceiling, but they're there. I also liked this big palm tree!

As soon as we came up the escalators out of the metro station, we saw our first landmark: the Capitol Records Building!

Hooray! Capitol Records Building!

And of course, as soon as we got out to the sidewalk, we were on the Walk of Fame. We spent quite a bit of time over the course of those two days, wandering up and down Hollywood Boulevard and looking at all the stars. We took pictures of about 50 different stars, mostly stars of celebrities we liked or stars we found funny or interesting (Godzilla, for example).

At the beginning of the Walk of Fame (on Monday morning)

Posing with statues at the beginning of the Walk of Fame

Walk of Fame as viewed from above at the Hollywood & Highland Center

Eric with Ronald Reagan's star (Sunday)

The center star is the star at the start of the Walk of Fame.
The rest, clockwise from top left, are: Lassie, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Dr. Seuss, Mister Rogers, Alfred Hitchcock, Kermit the Frog, The Munchkins, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Paul Newman, Betty White, Winnie the Pooh, Tom Cruise, Walt Disney, Bob Hope (the plaque below his star names him "Hollywood's Citizen of the Century"), Mickey Mouse, The Beatles, Godzilla, and Marilyn Monroe.
To get a closer (zoom-able) view, just click the picture. To see the rest of our Walk of Fame star pictures, click here for a full album.

As we continued on our way, we also finally caught our first glimpse of the Hollywood sign! How cool to finally see it in person. We also stopped at the Hollywood & Highland Center (a big shopping/dining center) to get a better view of it, and took some pictures. We actually did this several times during our two days in L.A.!

Our first view of the Hollywood sign

Relaxing at the Hollywood & Highland Center, with the Hollywood sign in the distance (Sunday)

Us with the sign! (Monday. Also, shout-out to the Gorillapod!)

Probably my favorite picture of the Hollywood sign from our trip. I love the cross on the hill, also.

The Hollywood & Highland Center itself was also pretty nice - lots of restaurants, a nice fountain, and a "Road to Fame," which was a little path (very yellow brick road-esque) that had anonymous quotes from people in the movie business about how they got their start.

On an upper level of the Hollywood & Highland Center

My favorite story from the Road to Fame!

Another highlight of our Hollywood sightseeing was Grauman's Chinese Theater, with all the celebrity footprints and handprints in the cement out front. We had a great time wandering through there, checking out the prints and even putting our hands and feet in some of our favorites.

The Chinese Theater

Eric's hands are about the same size as Sylvester Stallone's!

Awesome footprints: R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars!

Standing in Donald Duck's footprints

Awww. I thought Shirley Temple's tiny prints were so cute.

Judy Garland had tiny feet! Look how small!

Eric at the Chinese Theater

In addition to these notable landmarks, we spent quite a bit of time wandering up and down Hollywood Boulevard and checking out others. We saw the Kodak Theater, the Egyptian Theater, the Max Factor Building, Mel's Drive-In, Hollywood High School, the El Capitan Theater, and the Roosevelt and Knickerbocker Hotels. When we remembered to look up from the stars at our feet, there were actually signs up on posts along the street, pointing out historical Hollywood landmarks and giving a little of their history.

View down Hollywood Blvd.

The Knickerbocker Hotel
A little historical info: Built as a luxury apartment house in 1925, this later became a hotel. Its Lido Room was a popular hang out. Rudolph Valentino was often seen here dancing the tango. In 1954, Marilyn Monroe would sneak through the kitchen to meet her future husband, Joe DiMaggio, at the famous watering hole. Elvis Presley, Red Skelton, D.W. Griffith, Bette Davis and Cary Grant all lived here. Bess Houdini conducted a seance from the roof, trying to communicate with her deceased husband, Harry Houdini.

The Kodak Theater

Hollywood High School, which had many notable students over the years, including Lana Turner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Judy Garland, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Baio, and Mickey Rooney.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
A little bit of history: Built in 1927 by a group of celebrities that included Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Louis B. Mayer. Site of the first Academy Awards in 1929. A hideaway for Clark Gable and Carol Lombard. Marilyn Monroe did her first commercial shoot by the pool. The Cinegrill, which opened in 1936, was a popular nightspot, giving stars such as Mary Martin a start. Regular patrons included Frank Capra, Dick Powell, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan.

The Warner Pacific Theater
A little bit of history: Built by Warner Bros. in 1928 to be the crown jewel of its West Coast theaters. Sam Warner oversaw construction but died before it was completed. His ghost is said to haunt the building. The Italian Renaissance exterior design theme is continued inside. The two towers [on the roof] were originally used for radio broadcasting and displayed the call letters KFWB, which is said to have stood for "Keep Filming Warner Bros." Carol Burnette was an usherette here in the 1940s.

Us on Hollywood Blvd.

The final very cool thing we did in Hollywood was visit the Hollywood Museum in the Max Factor Building. (Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside, so you will have to make do with the few I could find online.) The museum included lots of celebrity artifacts, including costumes from movies such as Transformers, Inglorious Basterds, Star Trek, and Dreamgirls. They also included a lot of the history of the Max Factor Building, a huge collection of old celebrity autographs, and quite a bit of Marilyn Monroe memoribilia, including her dresses, death certificate, autopsy report and headlines covering her death. Some of our other favorite items included Rocky's boxing gloves (and the story of how Sylvester Stallone came to play the role of Rocky), Indiana Jones' whip and the Holy Grail.

The Hollywood Museum, located in the pink Max Factor Building

Marilyn Monroe artifacts

Rocky's boxing gloves

The Holy Grail from Indiana Jones

And, my personal favorite exibit at the Hollywood Museum: Hannibal Lecter's cell! Remember in Silence of the Lambs when Clarice Starling walks down the cell hallway and then sits on that little folding chair in front of Hannibal Lecter? All of that was there, in the basement of the museum. I got to walk down that hallway and sit in front of Hannibal Lecter's cell. Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies (we have discussed my obsession with serial killers and the criminal mind before), so I thought this was really, really awesome.

Inside Hannibal Lecter's cell

The front of Lecter's cell

As far as eating, we did have a couple of meals in Hollywood, both on Monday. We had lunch at In-N-Out Burger, which Eric had heard people rave about. I thought it was very tasty, but as far as burgers go, I'm a Five Guys girl all the way. We also had dinner at Mel's Drive-In. Mmm, Oreo shake!

In-N-Out Burger in Hollywood

Mel's Drive-In

And that was our Hollywood sightseeing! Very touristy, yes, but lots of fun.

Up next: My recaps will resume on Monday with our time in Downtown L.A. This weekend will be recap-free so I can focus on other things, like Sunday's holiday (Happy Mother's Day!) that I will want to address, as well as spending time with Eric all weekend. He is rescheduled for a trip to India next week and will be leaving on Monday. When he is coming back is still up in the air, but I'm hoping he'll be back on Friday. So, we'll be enjoying our weekend together before he has to leave.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

1 comment:

Dad said...

Looks like so much fun!!