Stroll on the Strip
Hollywood had a lot of glitz, not to mention a plethora of stars and film studios, during its heyday in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Some years later, however, Hollywood’s image began to fade as crime and blight marred the area, chasing away the movie industry.
But, seeking to ensure the old Hollywood is not forgotten, the restoration group Hollywood Heritage Inc. offers monthly walking tours of the community and its historic landmarks.
“The tours give people a (sense of) past history,” said Sally McKibbin, coordinator of the docent-led tours focusing on Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. “People walk away and say, ‘I never knew that.’ ”
The Sunset Strip tour, created by author and Hollywood Heritage docent Laurie Jacobson, emphasizes the more notorious night life of the area. It focuses on the glamour and gossip associated with a 1.7-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
The tour includes a stop of the site of legendary celebrity hangout Schwab’s Drug Store and a number of other hot spots where stars partied and fell in love.
Docents also talk about the sites of celebrated scandals from the old days, including Cafe Trocadero, a trendy nightclub that was the last place some of actress Thelma Todd’s friends saw her alive.
In contrast, the Hollywood Boulevard tour focuses on the architectural history of the area. The first stop is the Pantages Theater, site of the Academy Awards ceremony during the 1950s. Thought to be the first Art Deco theater built in the United States, it was intended to be a skyscraper until the crash of the stock market made funding scarce.
Docents highlight various other landmarks, including the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, Capitol Records.
Tours are two hours and are given alternatively on the second Sunday of each month.
Said McKibbin: “It breaks my heart to see what has happened to Hollywood . . . preservation of the buildings and history of Hollywood is so important.”
The next Sunset Strip tour is Sunday at noon. Meet at the Laugh Factory, 8001 Hollywood Blvd. The next Hollywood Boulevard tour is Sept. 11. Cost is $6. Information: (213) 874-4005.