1. HOLLYWOOD sign appeared was an advertisement once
When workers were constructing enormous letters on the top of the Mount Lee in 1923, they hardly could thought that they were taking part in a historical event. They were just fulfilling an ambitious advertising project aimed at attracting attention to freshly built houses and other real estate in vicinity.
Initially, the sign consisted of thirteen letters – 15 meters in length and 9 meters in width each – which read “HOLLYWOODLAND”. The letters were installed in 1923 as an advertisement for new Los Angeles residential areas by Harry Chandler, who spent twenty-one thousand dollars on the project. The letters were illuminated with dozens of electric lights and could be seen from forty kilometer’s distance. The owner planned to demolish the installation in two years or so, but Hollywood became so famous due to its film-making industry that it was decided to let the sign stay. Years later it became one of the essential symbols of Los Angeles and the US cinematography.
2. A fall from the letter H
By later 1920s Peg Entwistle had already been rather famous on Broadway. She enjoyed a fair share of fame and even had a small army of devoured fans, but she craved for more. In 1932 she left New York for LA on a quest for wealth and glory. Little did she know about the Great Depression: the rows of theater-goers dwindled and so did the actor’s revenues. Peg hardly managed to earn for living, she couldn’t even afford to move back to New York.
Once she was (un)lucky to get a role in one of the movies, but almost all the scenes, which featured Peg Entwistle, were cut out. Her ego was irreversibly hurt. On the 16th of September, 1932 she left her house. When the policemen reconstructed the sequence of events, it turned out that Peg Entwistle committed suicide by leaping down from the letter H of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign: a roughly 40-meter’s fall. Ironically, it was the dramatic way of doing away with herself that eventually made Peg popular with media.
3. Fake Oscars
It was Faye Dunaway who first commented on the Oscar statuette’s substantial weight when she got the award for her role in 1977’s “Network” movie. Ten years later Estelle Parsons got an Oscar for “Bonnie and Clyde” and made a similar comment, thus establishing a sort of tradition. During the Second World War, though the winners had no problems holding the prized trophy. Due to overall lack of metal, in 1943, 1944 and 1945 Oscar statuettes were made of gilded plaster, although retaining their original appearance.
The plaster Oscars looked like cheap “fakes”, in the guise of really valuable things. Along with the plaster figurine, the winners received a document, which stated that when the war was over, winners could exchange the plaster substitutes for conventional statuettes. The “fakes” were extremely fragile: it was easy to scratch, disfigure or even break them apart. Maybe that is why the most expensive statuette sold at an auction was made from this very material.
4.Funds were raised to repair the HOLLYWOOD sign
By the end of the forties the HOLLYWOODLAND sign had been almost destroyed, so it was decided to restore it to the full glory, omitting the last four letters in the process. In 1949 a new huge HOLLYWOOD inscription was installed on top of the hill, but the material – wooden bars and sheets of metal – were not strong enough, while thousands of illumination lamps required constant maintenance. As a result, soon the construction was nearly falling to pieces.
Urgent measures had to be taken, so Elis Cooper, a well-known singer, launched a campaign to raise funds for the reconstruction of the installation. He payed for the letter O, Gene Autrey and Paul Williams sponsored letters L and W. The overall campaign brought 27,777 dollar for the project and a new sign was erected from the most resilient steel. By the end of the 70-s the letters corroded again and were totally demolished in 1978. Later that year Hugh Hefner, the founder of “Playboy” magazine, raised funds for the complete overhaul.
5. Who the first star of the Walk of Fame is dedicated to?
Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the major LA places of interest. This monument to show-business is undoubtedly one of the most successful marketing moves throughout the history. Every Hollywood actor, musician or TV anchorman wants to see his name on its pavement along with more then ten million tourists a year.
Joan Woodward, a famous actress, is commonly called the first to be awarded by a Walk of Fame star, but it is not entirely true. Here photos with an associated star were the first to hit the media – that is a fact, but actually all the eight initial stars were placed simultaneously and the ceremony was one for all. Another candidate for being the first is Stanley Kramer, a film director and producer. His star is said to be the first one which was finished by workers on the 8th of February, 1960.
6. There are several types of stars on the Walk of Fame
The stars are assigned for a substantial contribution to the development of motion pictures (emblem of a film camera), audio recording/music (phonograph), theater (mask), television (TV set) and radio (radiomicrophone). There are about 2600 stars on the Walk of Fame and only four of them had been stolen since it was established: the stars of Kirk Douglas, James Stuart, Jane Autry and Gregory Peck). Not only people can be awarded with stars, but also film or cartoon characters – Mickey Mouse, for instance – buildings, companies, etc. There are also several empty stars.
Many celebrities are waiting for their chance to appear on the Walk of Fame. The procedure is not so simple: with the celebrity’s consent, the requests are sent to the committee. From roughly 300 annual requests only about twenty-five are approved. Once the request is approved and the sponsor contributed a substantial sum of money, the celebrity has five years to choose the date for the ceremony, which he or she has to attend in person.
7. Who has all the five emblems on his star.
Jean Autry was not just a singer, he is a legend. His creative activity has had great impact on how people all over the
world perceive American national culture. He impersonated country music for the two generations of people, he sang cowboy songs for the most part of the 20th century and represented American music culture for the rest of the world.
He was an actual media-star: the most famous country western singer, available on gramophone discs, radio and TV screen from the early 30s to the mid 50s. From 1929 to 1964 he managed to record three hundred songs: nine golden discs and one platinum one. His 93 films, comprising a large epoch of film-making, brought joy to millions of people and made several producers (including Autry) exceptionally rich. His TV- and radio-shows were even more popular, while some non-country songs became cornerstones of modern American popular culture.
8. Kodak Theater – a tourist’s dream
The Dolby Theater (formerly Kodak Theater) is a life performance arena, where official Academy Awards ceremonies are traditionally held. The building is situated in the heard of Los Angeles, in its historical part, although the theater – part of the Hollywood and Highland Center – is rather new. The establishment opened in 2001 and it can accommodate up to 3332 visitors. The entertainment center also includes a wide range of shops, restaurants, night clubs and several cinemas.
The theater is named after the Eastman Kodak company, which contributed 75 million dollars to its construction. Apart from annual Oscar awards, this is a popular place for concerts and other major events. Sometimes the theater is rented to perform important wedding ceremonies. It is also a popular tourist attraction: when the auditorium is free, everyone can pay $15 to have a look at the famous red carpet and portraits of Oscar winners, which adorn the hall.
9. Watch a film at the cemetery
In Hollywood motion pictures are everywhere from stalls, posters and screens to cemeteries. Hollywood Forever Cemetery was founded in 1899 to commemorate the memory of great contributors to Hollywood film-making industry. The cemetery is not unique in its purpose, but it is far the oldest and extravagant. It doesn’t look like a place of eternal rest at all: a typical ideally planned American park with perfect lawns and fancy flower-beds.
This cemetery is not prized for its silence. On the contrary, it is a popular place for various cultural events, including concerts and night open-air movie screenings. Thus, during the summer “Cinespia” movie events new films are projected on the wall of Rudolph Valentino’s mausoleum. In addition to this sex-symbol of the 20s, many cinema stars – directors, actors, scriptwriters and producers – are buried here. It is unsurprising, that the cemetery is so popular and has a status of official memorial of the US history.
10. Hollywood smile has an author
The term “a Hollywood smile” was coined by a French dentist Charles Pinkus in 1930-s. A young specialist not only knew the medical part of his profession well, but also understood the aesthetic aspects of a brilliant smile. For Hollywood actors and actresses, willing to pay, Pinkus invented a new method of cosmetic dentistry, called Hollywood Laminates — ceramic plates, which were fixed on existing teeth with the help of the adhesive powder for tooth implants.
Pinkus was dubbed “Dentist of the Stars” for his specific clientele, which included Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, Fred Aster and many others. Pinkus founded the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry and became one of its first presidents. For his great contribution Pinkus was named an honorable member of the University of Southern California Dentistry Hall of Fame.