On February 3rd we got up and it was raining. Not exactly what we had thought of when we purchased Universal Studios VIP tickets. The tickets at $359 a person, were purchased many months in advance. LA had been having record rain fall for the last few weeks so we did realize it might be a possibility. The van picked us up at our hotel and arrived at Universal in about 20 minutes. Once there, we made a run for the ticket booth and was directed to the VIP lounge. Our passes, on a lanyard, were given to us. We were told we would have a six-hour tour and would be able to use our passes, for front of the line, after our tour ended.Our Tour Guide, Matthew, was very helpful in taking group photos for us. In fact he placed us in several locations in the lounge. After he …
Next to our hotel was an In-N-Out Burgers. We had heard from interviews with stars after the Oscars that they were going to or had been to In-N-Out Burgers. So on our first night we stopped in to check it out. They serve up hamburgers that have not been frozen and fries from real potatoes cooked in vegetables oil and not salt. They have a small menu but they also haven a secret menu that can be found on the web. Downside to their popularity is that they are always crowded. Mobile POS systems are used during peak hours in order to help curb long drive thru lines. It was crazy how many cars were lined up. The line continued out into the street, almost causing a jam at the traffic light! We met Claudia de Vasco, she was Clementina in the recent revival of Gilmore Girls, as we all …
Hollywood & Highland is located in the heart of Hollywood and sits right on top of the Red Line subway station. The center is isolated from the Boulevard by grand stairs. When we reached the top, we saw many levels and walkways. There were a combination of stores, restaurants, clubs and live theatre. We could see the Hollywood Sign from one of the walkways. The main forces of Babylon court is the archway and elephants, which was inspired from the 1916 film Intolerance. The Kodak Theatre, home for the annual Academy Awards, is also located here. It was closed so we didn’t get to tour it.
In the middle of the ceiling, there is an eye-catching chandelier illuminating the center of a gigantic, ornate starburst surrounded by a ring of dragons. This is then encircled by a ring of icons showing scenes from Chinese drama. The interior of Grauman’s is very impressive. The original painted murals and Chinese decor, such as temple bells and pagodas, were imported directly from China, giving the building its authentic feel. Smaller Oriental lamps glow at the sides of the auditorium, hanging between intricately carved stone columns.
TThese are the views of the Sid Grauman’s private box high above the theatre, the view of the auditorium from the private box and the two projection rooms. Inside the projection rooms. One holds the Christie projectors and the other holds two mammoth IMAX projectors that are dismantled piece-by-piece after each use.One of the clips showed the first premiere which was Cecil B. DeMille’s King of King. This movie theatre is famous for hosting movie premieres of classic films such as King Kong (1933), The Wizard of Oz (1939), the first ever Star Wars film (1977) and LA LA Land (2016). The the Academy Awards were held in the theatre from 1944 to 1946. The curtain is a replica made from an image of the 1927 original that was scanned into a computer, enhanced, enlarged, and heat transferred onto swaths of fabric. The entire process took 2.5 years. The TCL Chinese …
As we entered the lobby, through the bronze doors, the first thing we noticed was the Art Deco architecture and the carpet. It was hand-woven in China, reproduced based on swatches and images of the 1927 original. Leye Luke, from the “Kung Fu” television series, painted the two wall murals in the lobby, above the concession stand and the wall above the exit doors in the lobby. They are the original paintings and have never been touched, only lovingly cleaned and cared for each day (using scaffolding when needed). In a side lobby there was Star Wars memorabilia, full costumes, on display In a glass display case were two tablets, props, from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 production of “The Ten Commandments.” .On display in the side lobby, is a wax figure, one of the three originals, and a chair, purchased in 1923 during a trip to China, that helped inspire the …
One of the reasons that the Chinese Theatre remains so famous today is its legendary hand and footprint ceremonies.  Even now stars long to be immortalized in cement in the theater’s forecourt.  There are several stories on how this first occurred and they all seem to start with someone accidentally stepping in cement.  Some say it was Sid himself. The TCL Chinese Theatre officially attributes the event to Norma Talmadge. These are just a few of the hand prints, and signatures of the stars in the forecourt of Grauman’s. Some of the stars have include more than just their hands, feet and signature. George Burns left his cigar print, John Wayne left his fist, Whoopi Goldberg pressed a deadlock into the cement and Roy Rogers included his six-shooter along with Triggers hoof prints.
The TCL Chinese Theatre, a.k.a. Grauman’s theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard. The theatre rises 90-feet high and two gigantic coral-red columns topped by wrought iron masks, hold the bronze roof. Between the columns is a 30-foot high dragon carved from stone and guarding the theatre’s entrance are the two original giant Heaven Dogs brought from China. Protected by its 40-foot high curved walls and copper-topped turrets, the theatre’s legendary forecourt serves as an oasis to the stars of yesterday and today. Ten-foot tall lotus-shaped fountains and intricate artistry flank the footprints of some of Hollywood’s most elite and welcome its visitors into the magical world of fantasy and whim known as Hollywood. Our tour included stories and fun facts from the theatre’s beginnings to today, ranging from Hollywood premieres, to imprint ceremonies celebrities in the Forecourt of the Stars.
Along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine there was so many activities it was like a maze of tourists. We encounter musicians asking us to buy their CD, protesters and people in costumes wanting us to pay them to take a picture with them. The Walk of Fame runs 1.3 miles and the stars are paced at 6-foot intervals. The monuments are coral-pink terrazzo five-point stars rimmed with brass inlaid into a charcoal-colored terrazzo background. In the upper portion of each star field the name of the honoree is inlaid in brass block letters. There are more than 26, 000 embedded in the sidewalks. For a celebrity to obtain a star on the Walk of Fame there are several requirements. An application has to be submitted with why they want a star, an agreement that they will attend the unveiling ceremony and a $30,000 sponsorship fee. A committee selects 20 celebrities to …
We headed out to the airport at 5:15, it was way too early to be going anywhere but with the two-hour difference in time it would mean we had all day to do some extra sight-seeing. As we were taking off. the sun was coming up, very pretty. It is not often that I see the sunrise. We flew over the is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Basin and Range Province.. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada. As we got close to the LA the buildings below come into sight. As we continue to land, I look out the window again and saw another airplane flying very close to us. Maybe this is normal but it did seem that we should have been further apart!! We stayed …
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