LA used to give BROADWAY A RUN FOR ITS MONEY..and its comign back...
all Photo Credits: BILL DOW ( AND CLICK ON PICS TO SEE FULL SIZE)
On Thursday, June 28th, Los Angeles theatre lovers were given a gift of a very rare and unique experience that took them back in time, when the Broadway theatre scene in downtown Los Angeles used to rival
that of New York's Great White Way. An eclectic list of Hollywood representatives have been known to take Red Lines walking tours of the silver screen capital's Hollywood Boulevard. It was an equally impressive list of individuals who gathered for the recent tour of Broadway theatres. What do these personalities all share in common? A love for theatrical history and its preservation.
“I highly recommend this fun, informative, personal, insider's tour of the magnificent movie and vaudeville palaces, that are right here in downtown Los Angeles. What fun, what history, and you can hear every word because you have your very own headset. Wonderful!”-JoAnne Worley
For years the downtown theatres have been closed to the public and now (with recent renovations underway) an eclectic group including Michael Learned, George Chakiris, JoAnne Worley, Kate Linder, Tippi Hedren, Ilene Graff, Ben Lazarone, Dee Wallace, Romi Dames, Remi Lyons, Lee Purcell, Erin Murphy, Stanley Livingston, and celebrated artist, Andre Miripolsky, among others were allowed to go inside six or the still existing twenty-three venues, including the United Artists, Los Angeles, Palace, Tower, Warner and the Orpheum Theatres with a quick
stop at the Lowes “State” theatre that is now being used as a church until their lease expires, upon which it will be restored as a performing venue. Some of these theatres have storefronts now, but the theatre themselves actually still exist, in all their dusty glory, behind them. “I had some knowledge of LA's theatrical history, but no idea how glorious and glamorous it had been,” said Hanna Montana's Romi Dames. “I recently attended the “Daytime EMMY Awards” at the Orpheum Theatre, but had no idea theses other remarkable venues were still around as well. I'm thrilled,” added Kate Linder of The Young & the Restless.
Tony Hoover of the Red Line Tours in conjunction with the theatre owners graciously allowed the thespians of note to experience two to three hour tour of Los Angeles theatre history.
Among some of the many discoveries were
*** Artworks in the United Artists Theatre feature founders Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin in depictions of good, while their competitors are featured on the opposite wall as evil.
*** A hidden away image of Charlie Chaplin taking his best friend, Albert Einstein, to the Los Angeles Theatre for the opening of City Lights
*** LA's original and oldest Orpheum Theatre was the home theatre to Sophie Tucker Harry Houdini and many others.
*** The Palace Theatre was the first to allow patrons of color access to the main theatre lobby. However, the third balcony (which can only be accessed from outside) was originally the colored (Asian, Latin and Black) only level, offering benches rather than seats.
*** How Frances Gum (later Judy Garland) opened at the State Theatre (the previously mentioned church).
*** During World War II, while men of age were fighting the war “over there,” teenagers were hired to run the Orpheum theatre. One fateful night, a youth failed to replace the holding pin after the cleaning of one of its elaborate chandeliers, causing it to come crashing down.
*** Th e original and still hanging stage curtain of Los Angeles Theatre is made entirely of silk and itsdepictions are hand beaded.
*** How Joe Kennedy hired a starlet to come running out of Alexander Pantage's office screaming rape to cause a scandal that shut down his competition by sending him to jail for two years.
*** The Palace theatre has an estimated 22 spirits, of past actors and patrons, still traipsing the boards.
*** The Tower Theatre, originally designed as a vaudeville house, was the location for the Los Angeles screening of the first full length talking feature, “The Jazz
Singer,” as well as the first talking short, starring Baby Rose Marie (later known by millions as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
*** Laws wouldn't allow two Orpheum Theatres, so one was renamed The Palace. The new Palace marquee was placed over the old neon Orpheum, and it wasn't discovered until 70 years later, that the original Orpheum sign had never been turned off. The oversight cost an estimated $80,000 in electricity.
Dee Wallace, who recently filmed scenes from the soon to be release “Lords of
Salem” at The Los Angeles Theatre, remarked “I can think at least 20 friends off hand that are going to want to take this tour.” Academy Award winner, George Chakiris, recalled, “I have worked in theatres across the country and abroad, but the architecture of these houses is truly unique and awe inspiring.”
Red Line Tours Hollywood Behind the Scenes is undisputedly one of Hollywood's most popular and enduring attractions and has become part of Hollywood's modern history. One of the most appealing features of Red Line Tours is their unique “live-audio" system, provided by Williams Sound. This unique low-frequency radio broadcasting system allows customers to hear their tour guides even over the most extreme city noises, such as traffic, construction noise and other potential distractions, while giving them the freedom to wander freely and enjoy the live commentary.
Red Line Tour guides dispel myths and often reveal unknown behind the scenes stories, classic movie palaces, history of the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame lore... and Hollywood's hidden hideaways of the Stars, while taking patrons inside venues generally restricted to the public. Even many native Angelenos discover new tidbits about their own city such as:
* At which Theatre for which film was the first gala movie premiere?
-Robin Hood, 1922 at the Egyptian Theatre
* Which Star on the walk of fame is the most sought after by tourists?
* Who saved the Hollywood Sign from destruction?
-Alice Cooper and Hugh M. Hefner
* Who was the first female actress to demand $1 million for a film?
-Elizabeth Taylor for “Cleopatra”
* Where was the first Academy Awards Held?
-The Roosevelt Hotel and they lasted 20 minutes.
“Such an exciting way to view and re-discover the history of a forgotten era. Tony (Hoover) is a jewel in the crown of Los Angeles Theatre!” said Michael Learned