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Monday August 19th 2019

Travel – Los Angeles: Hollywood 2


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Dolby Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard
Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard – the heart of tourist Hollywood

The purpose-built 3,332-seat Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, included in the complex, has finally brought the Oscar ceremony back to Hollywood Boulevard after its long exile downtown. It was originally the Kodak Theatre, changing its name in 2012 when the original sponsor hit a serious financial wobble and audio specialists Dolby Laboratories stepped in.

No, the theatre doesn't stand empty and deserted for the other 364 days of the year. It hosts live concerts, symphony performances, and even other awards shows (there are others?).

Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Boulevard
The Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard – site of the very first Academy Awards

The first Oscars were presented in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, almost opposite Grauman’s Chinese’s, in May 1929. The ceremony wasn’t such a big deal back then. It lasted a mere 15 minutes, the winners had already been announced back in February and Best Actor Emil Jannings chose to go sightseeing instead.

Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Boulevard
The Twenties-style lobby of Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard

The Roosevelt Hotel itself is a piece of real Hollywood history. The celeb stories are legion, and you can’t miss its red neon sign towering over Hollywood at night. Take a peek at the beautifully restored Twenties lobby (which stood in for the ‘Tempe, Arizona’ hotel in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous).

It still commands its share of celeb guests; but before you feel to sorry for the tear-stained starlet lashing out at the paparazzi with a heartfelt “Leave me alone!” as she stumbles out of the Roosevelt’s grand ceremonial Hollywood Boulevard entrance, it’s worth remembering that everyone else uses the perfectly discreet valet parking area to the rear.

Steven Spielberg turned the whole Roosevelt Hotel around for Catch Me If You Can, with its Fifties poolside area in the rear standing in for West Hollywood’s long-gone ‘Tropicana Motel’, where Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) narrowly misses catching up with charming conman Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio).

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