Monday, May 05, 2008

Mae West: Hollywood & Vine

Always where the action is, MAE WEST once lived just north of Hollywood's heartbeat.
• • According to L.A. Times staffwriter Bob Pool, the once glamourous intersection — — the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street — — is getting an expensive facelift, preparing for a close-up again.
• • Bob Pool writes: For 80 years the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street has basked in a mystique that is equal parts glamour, gamble and gauche. . . .
• • [Originally] the intersection was known as Prospect and Weyse avenues when landowner Daeida Beveridge gave members of the German Methodist Church the SE corner. Hollywood Memorial Church, with its 4-story steeple, became a community landmark, according to historian Gregory Paul Williams' 2005 book "The Story of Hollywood, an Illustrated History." ...
• • "In Hollywood's golden age, all the studios had offices there" and rival businessmen quickly erected large office buildings of their own at the corner, Gubler said. [Leron Gubler is the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President.]
• • There was an explosion of new construction in the middle '20s as apartments and hotels were built to accommodate actors and studio workers who were arriving to make their mark in the "picture business."
• • The bigger stars, such as Mae West and Marlene Dietrich, rented some of the town's mansions north of the intersection. When the nearby Hollywood Knickerbocker opened for business, it advertised itself as being "around the corner from Hollywood and Vine streets."
• • [Renamed Hollywood and Vine], the corner was in its prime in the 1930s, when it found itself in the bull's-eye of the West Coast's fledgling broadcasting industry.
• • KFWB-AM 980 set up its studios a short distance away on Hollywood Boulevard in 1934, and its announcers often bragged of "broadcasting live from Hollywood and Vine." CBS's Lux Radio Theatre opened a block away on Vine Street in 1938. By the 1940s, Hollywood and Vine was firmly in the limelight.
• • Gossip columnists such as Hedda Hopper regularly mentioned the place in their columns when celebrities were seen in hot spots like Vine Street's Brown Derby, which was steps from the corner.
• • Columnist Jimmie Fidler turned the corner into an iconic symbol for readers of his syndicated feature in 1941.
• • "Ten thousand times I've been asked: Why do hopeless hundreds hang on in Hollywood when they have no chance? Why do they mob studio gates, infest agents' offices, gather in morbid knots at Hollywood and Vine and beg and borrow to pay guild dues?"
• • His answer was pure Hollywood. "Because they can never be convinced they haven't a chance. Because they know (they've seen it happen) it only takes one good break to bridge the gap between starvation and gold-lined fame."
• • By then, Hollywood and Vine was a destination. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Turning the corner at Hollywood and Vine"
• • Byline: By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
• • Published in: The Los Angeles Times — —
• • Published on: 4 May 2008

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• • Mae West • •
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Mae West.

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