Friday, March 22, 2019

Research #9 Hollywood Hotel

Research #9
Hollywood Hotel
formerly located at 6811 Hollywood Boulevard

We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. While researching the Hollywood area in period newspapers, we found mention of the new development that took the place of the Hollywood Hotel. So we Googled it.

          The Hollywood Hotel opened in December 1902. It was built by Hollywood developer H.J. Whitley, to support selling residential lots to potential buyers arriving from Los Angeles by the  Los Angeles Pacific Railroad. The hotel was situated among lemon groves then at the base of the Hollywood Hills.
          Initially, the hotel was advertised as a country resort hotel. Surrounding  the hotel was 3 acres of cultivated gardens
          In 1906 the heiress Almira Hershey, who was then living in a mansion on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, took a horse and buggy ride to see the hotel that was being advertised in the Los Angeles Times. She was so impressed with the Hollywood Hotel she decided to buy the hotel and expanded it from 16 rooms to 250.

          By the 1950s, the hotel was rundown and faded from its former glory. Developers were adamant that renovating and restoring the property was out of the question. It was razed in August 1956 to make way for a $10 million development. It was replaced by a twelve-story office building for the First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Hollywood, a shopping center, and parking lots.
          In 2001 those were demolished, and the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping and entertainment complex was built on the site. It includes the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre), the current home of the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

AHA Moment

The hotel was lovely, however, it was gone by spring 1957.  So we decided to make mention of it in the newspaper Skylar during coffee and donuts. But- oh what a hotel it was!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Hollywood Research #8 Pink's

Research #8

Pink's Hot Dogs

709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. Since this was a fact-finding "mission" we decided to take the time to sample the foods in L.A. that our characters would frequent for meetings, dates, etc. (Or an excuse to sample great foods)

          Pink's was founded by Paul and Betty Pink in 1939 as a pushcart near the corner of La Brea and Melrose. The Great Depression was still having an impact on the country, and money was scarce. However, people could purchase a chili dog made with Betty's own chili recipe accompanied by mustard and onions on a steamed bun for 10 cents each. As business grew, thanks to Betty's chili and the custom-made Hoffy-brand hot dogs with their natural casings, so did Pink's. The family built the current building in 1946 at 709 North La Brea Avenue in the Fairfax District in West Los Angeles very close to Hollywood.

AHA Moment
The food is fantastic, a great place for our PI, Skylar Drake, and his partner, Casey Dolan to stop for a bite to eat and to perhaps review a case.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hollywood Research # 7 The Central Library

Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library

630 West 5th Street, Los Angeles

We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. Since this was a fact-finding "mission" we needed loads of background information on Hollywood (the real everyday Hollywood). After spending time at the Hollywood Branch Library we wanted more and headed to the main library.
          The Los Angeles Library Association was formed in late 1872, and by early 1873, a well-stocked reading room had opened under the first librarian, John Littlefield. Aggressive expansion and growth of the system began in the 1920s.

          The historic Central Library Goodhue building was constructed in 1926 and is a Downtown Los Angeles landmark. The Central Library was designed by the architect, Bertram Goodhue. The Richard Riordan Central Library complex is the third largest public library in the United States in terms of book and periodical holdings. Originally named the Central Library, it received a new wing completed in 1993,  The complex (i.e., the original Goodhue building and the wing) was subsequently renamed in 2001 for former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, as the Richard Riordan Central Library.
          We spend a day in the library researching old newspapers, circulars and pamphlets of the area dating to winter 1957. We got a wonderful feel for Hollywood's everyday life, at that time.

          The staff in the Historical/Genealogy section were more than helpful in getting just what we needed.

AHA Moment

We found out about several dance clubs in Hollywood and Los Angeles that catered to specific music, i.e. Jazz, Bepop, Rock 'n Roll. Also, some "high end night clubs"  for the elite.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hollywood Research #6 El Royale Apartments

El  Royale Apartments

450 North Rossmore Avenue, Los Angeles,

          We started researching our book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. We chose the Hancock Park area for the first murder to take place and decided to use it as a base for the book. We took a day and drove around the area and pointed out who lived in what type of home. We came across the most elegant, beautiful building on Rossmore. We stopped to take a look around, but security wouldn't let us in without an invitation from a resident. So we jotted down the El Royale and looked it up on the internet when we got home. Oh were we shocked to see the interior pictures and read about the building.

          The El Royale Apartments was a 12-floor architectural wonder, built in 1929. It was designed to be a "Class A" residential building.

          The apartment building became the go-to home-away-from-home for the rich East Coasters "wintering" in California. Actors including Clark Gable, Loretta Young , Harry Langdon, Helen Morgan, and writer William Faulkner all call the El Royale home. One of the most popular tenants during the 1930s was the notorious actor/Mob associate George Raft, who lived in one of the penthouses and threw parties for friends in the reception room.

          It is said on a clear day, you can see the ocean from the top floors.

AHA Moments

This apartment building is perfect for murder, conspiracy, abduction, name it. So plotting something traitorous would be perfect.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Hollywood Research #5 Langer's Delicatesseon-Restaurant

Research #5
Langer's Delicatesseon-Restaurant
704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

We started researching our book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. Since this was a fact-finding "mission" we decided to take the time to sample the deli. that our characters would frequent for meetings, dates, etc. (Or as an excuse to sample great food).
          Langer's Deli is a kosher-style delicatessen located in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
          Founded in 1947, Langer's is known for its No. 19 pastrami sandwich on rye, described by the Los Angeles Times as "the Marilyn Monroe of pastrami sandwiches".] Since its founding, the restaurant claims to have sold over ten million pounds of pastrami, and its pastrami has been deemed by some as being the best in the world.
          Langer's Deli was opened in June 1947 by Albert J. Langer, originally a deli catering business.  
Langer's initially operated with only himself, his wife, Jean and a dishwasher, all working sixteen-hour days. 
          The neighborhood suffered a significant decline by the 1980s, but Langer kept his restaurant open, convinced that it would continue to have customers. By 1993, the restaurant was seriously doubting its future, with it even considering closing entirely.

          However, Langer's credits its survival to the opening of the Red Line of the Los Angeles Metro Rail, with the Westlake/MacArthur Park station opening just a block away. Office workers in downtown Los Angeles would take the Red Line from 7th Street/Metro Center to Langer's, providing a steady stream of business.
          When we learned heard about this wonderful #19 pastrami sandwich we just had to try it. So we found the deli and had lunch. It has the best pastrami  (#19) and hot tongue sandwiches. THEY ALSO HAVE GLUTEN FREE BREAD!

AH Moment

Our characters are definitely stopping here for lunch!! Either on a date or for a casual meeting to exchange information. MacArthur Park is just across the street. Perhaps a walk along the lake after lunch or dinner?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hollywood Research #4 Frances Howard Goldwyn-Hollywood Branch Library

1623 Ivar Avenue, Los Angeles

We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. Since this was a fact-finding "mission" we needed loads of background information on Hollywood (the real everyday Hollywood). We started with the Hollywood Branch Library.
          The Hollywood Regional Library opened in 1986 after an arson fire destroyed the original structure. The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation built the new library, eliminating entirely, the dark and musty quality of old-style libraries. With plenty of light, modern design, and lots of open space. The new library has plenty of airy, comfortable reading spaces for patrons. 
          The original Hollywood library opened in 1906 in two rented rooms on what was then Prospect Ave. (now Hollywood Boulevard). A project of the Woman’s Club of Hollywood, the library’s first permanent home was built in 1907 by Andrew Carnegie at Ivar and Prospect. It quickly outgrew its space by 192 and moved to its present location. After a 1982 fire, only 20,000 of the library’s then-90,000 book collection was salvageable.
          It features special collections which are focused on Hollywood and the local community. The special collections room is filled with books, scripts, and archival collections that directly relate to the film and television industry

AHA Moment

We were surprised how normal everyday life was in the 1950's Hollywood, California. We found books with photos of film stars talking to their neighbors over the backyard fence (They did not look staged). The trauma of the intrusive Hollywood Freeway was all over the newspapers including a scandal. Hmmm!!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Hollywood Research #3 The PIg 'n Whistle

Hollywood Research #3

The Pig 'n Whistle
6714 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. Since this was a fact-finding "mission" we stopped at things we came across that looked interesting. After scouring the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, we turned the corner and found the Pig 'n Whistle Restaurant and Bar. It wasn't open yet so we looked in the windows and walked around. It was fascinating, the decor and that wooden pig was eye-catching.
          The Pig 'n Whistle was originally a chain of restaurants and candy shops, founded by John Gage in 1908. 

          The Hollywood location of the Pig 'n Whistle was first opened in 1927] next to The Egyptian Theatre. The building housing the new restaurant featured carved oak rafters, imported tiles, artistically wrought grilles and balcony and paneled fresco paintings. It was frequented by celebrities such as Spencer TracyShirley Temple and  Howard Hughes
          The original Hollywood location closed down after World War II and its distinctive wooden furniture, decorated with hand-carved whistle-playing pigs, was sold.
          By the late 1990s, the location housed a fast-food pizza restaurant, and all that remained of the original tenant was a bas-relief pig on the front of the building. In 1999, British restaurant operator Chris Breed remodeled the building, recovering the spectacular original ceiling ornamentation, and re-opened the restaurant.
          The restaurant name originates from two Old English words, piggin, a lead mug, and wassail, a wine drunk during the yuletide.
          It still remains a staple of Hollywood serving family style food and a great bar.

AHA Moment

It would have been the perfect place for Sky and a suspect to meet for lunch as he gathered info on the case. Unfortunately, the Pig 'n Whistle was not open for business in Spring of 1957. So we decided to make mention of the place during interviews our PI has with suspects.