Bygone Hollywood

The Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles 1952

Hollywood Tours of Ages Past

Hollywood tours include many decades-old landmarks like the Capitol Records Building or Jess Lasky’s Studio, but sadly there are some landmarks whose names live on in Hollywood history but they no longer exist. Such is the fate of the Brown Derby. The Brown Derby restaurant was an iconic Hollywood eatery that was established in 1926 by Robert H. Cobb, a renowned restaurateur. The restaurant was famous for its distinctive design and its association with the film industry, as it became a popular haunt for movie stars and celebrities during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Over the years, the Brown Derby became an institution in its own right, and its image was synonymous with glamour, sophistication, and fine dining.

The Brown Derby’s signature feature was its distinctive building, which was shaped like a man’s derby hat, hence the name “Brown Derby.” The building was originally designed by architect Herbert R. Brinkman and was built in a Spanish Mission style with stucco walls and a red-tiled roof. The interior of the restaurant was equally impressive, with its ornate furnishings, rich carpets, and elegant chandeliers.

The Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles 1952

The Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles 1952

From its early days, the Brown Derby was a favorite haunt for Hollywood’s elite. The restaurant was located in the heart of Hollywood, close to many movie studios, and its proximity to the industry made it an ideal place for movie stars, producers, and directors to meet and socialize. Many Hollywood legends were regular patrons at the Brown Derby, including Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Charlie Chaplin. The restaurant was also a popular destination for out-of-town visitors who wanted to experience the glamour and excitement of Hollywood.

But it wasn’t just the atmosphere that made the Brown Derby a famous establishment. The restaurant’s menu was also renowned for its high-quality cuisine and innovative dishes. The menu was a mix of traditional American fare and international dishes, with a particular emphasis on seafood and steaks. One of the most famous dishes on the menu was the Cobb salad, which was created by the restaurant’s owner, Robert Cobb. The salad was a combination of lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, chicken, avocado, and Roquefort cheese, served with a special dressing that became a signature item of the Brown Derby.

In addition to its food and atmosphere, the Brown Derby was also famous for its role in Hollywood history. The restaurant was featured in many movies and television shows, and its image became a symbol of the glamour and glitz of Hollywood. Perhaps the most famous appearance of the Brown Derby in popular culture was in the movie “Sunset Boulevard,” where the restaurant was used as a location for several scenes. The film helped to cement the restaurant’s place in Hollywood history and added to its mystique and allure.

Over the years, the Brown Derby expanded to several locations throughout Los Angeles, including the Beverly Hills and Los Feliz neighborhoods. Each location had its unique style and atmosphere, but they all shared the same commitment to high-quality food and service. The restaurants continued to attract celebrities and movie stars, and the Brown Derby became an essential part of the Hollywood scene.

Unfortunately, the glory days of the Brown Derby were short-lived. With the advent of television in the 1950s and the decline of the studio system, Hollywood’s star system began to fade, and the restaurant’s popularity waned. By the 1960s, the Brown Derby had fallen on hard times, and the various locations began to close one by one. Today, only a few remnants of the Brown Derby remain, including the iconic hat-shaped building on Wilshire Boulevard, which now houses a Korean restaurant.
Despite its decline, the Brown Derby remains an essential part of Hollywood history and a symbol of the glamour and excitement of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The restaurant’s distinctive design, high-quality cuisine, and association with Hollywood legends have ensured its place in the annals of American popular culture. Even today, many people still associate the Brown Derby with the magic and allure of Hollywood’s past, and its legacy continues to inspire and captivate those who are drawn to that Golden Age of Glamor.

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Old Theaters In Hollywood

New Life in Old (and Historic) Buildings

If you’re taking one of our Hollywood night tours you’ll definitely want to see our local, historic theaters, lit up in all their glory. Two of the most famous theaters in Hollywood have been around here for ages. And while these are not the only two in the area each one has a unique story to tell.

The Pantages Theater

The Pantages Theater is a historic theater located in the heart of Hollywood, California. It was originally built in 1930 by Alexander Pantages, a Greek-American vaudeville and motion picture impresario.

The Pantages Theater was designed by the architect B. Marcus Priteca in the Art Deco style, and it is one of the most beautiful and ornate theaters in the United States. The theater features a grand lobby with a marble staircase, a chandelier, and a mural painted by the artist Anthony Heinsbergen. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 2,703 and is adorned with intricate plasterwork, hand-painted murals, and a stunning proscenium arch.

Pantages theater Hollywood website

Pantages theater Hollywood website

Over the years, the Pantages Theater has hosted a variety of performances, including movies, vaudeville shows, and Broadway productions. Some of the most famous performers who have graced the Pantages stage include Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and the Marx Brothers.

Today, the Pantages Theater is owned and operated by the Nederlander Organization, and it continues to be a popular venue for touring Broadway shows, concerts, and other live events. The theater has been designated a historic landmark by the city of Los Angeles, and it remains an important part of Hollywood’s cultural and architectural heritage.

The Montalban Theater

The Montalban Theatre is a historic venue located in Hollywood, California. Originally opened in 1927 as the Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre, the building was designed by architects Charles R. Selkirk and Arthur G. Lindley in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

The theater was named after actor Ricardo Montalban in 1993, and was extensively renovated in 2015 to update its facilities and restore its historic features. The renovation included the addition of a new rooftop event space, a state-of-the-art sound system, and new lighting and projection systems.

Today, the Montalban Theatre is a popular venue for live performances, film screenings, and other events. The theater has a seating capacity of 1,157, and is known for its beautiful interior and excellent acoustics. It has hosted a wide range of events over the years, including concerts, plays, movie premieres, and art exhibitions.

The theater is located in the heart of Hollywood, just a few blocks from the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre. Its location and historic significance make it a popular destination for visitors to Los Angeles who are interested in the city’s rich cultural heritage.

If you’re staying in Hollywood for any length of time it’s always fun to catch a show at the Pantages theater. Also, check out what the Montalban Theatre has to offer, if for no other reason send peek inside this historic edifice.

There are other famous buildings in and around Hollywood and if you’re staying in Southern California and you’re a fan of early 20th century architecture (or art) you have a wealth of opportunities open to you. If you’d like to put together a special private tour of Los Angeles buildings, we a Star Track Tours would be happy to put together a package for you. There’s no better way to see what SoCal has to offer in terms of architecture than in one of our open top buses where you’ll be able to gaze up at the buildings with an unimpeded view!

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Iconic Intersection: Hollywood And Vine

Historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine

Tours of Hollywood Include These Legendary Streets

No Hollywood bus tour worth its salt would neglect to point out the world famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine St. Such is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Hollywood and Vine is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Hollywood, known for its historic significance and association with the entertainment industry. This intersection has been the center of Hollywood’s entertainment district since the early 1900s and has played an important role in the development of the American film industry.

Historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine

Historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine

The history of Hollywood and Vine dates back to the early 1900s, when the area was still a small town outside of Los Angeles. The intersection was originally named Prospect Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. In 1910, the name was changed to Hollywood Boulevard, and in 1911, the intersection was named Hollywood and Vine. This new name was meant to reflect the growing importance of the entertainment industry in the area.

During the early days of Hollywood, the intersection of Hollywood and Vine was the center of the entertainment industry. The first movie theaters and studios were located in this area, and it was the place where many of the most famous movies of the time were made. The area was a hub of activity, with actors, directors, producers, and other industry professionals all working and living in the area.

As the entertainment industry grew, Hollywood and Vine became even more important. In the 1920s, the first Hollywood film premiere took place at the Egyptian Theater, which was located just a few blocks away. This event marked the beginning of Hollywood’s love affair with the premiere, and soon many other theaters in the area were hosting premieres of their own.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood and Vine was at the height of its glory. The area was home to some of the most famous movie theaters and studios, including the Pantages Theater, the Capitol Records Building, and the CBS Radio Studios. The intersection was a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it was often featured in movies and television shows.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Hollywood and Vine began to decline. The movie studios moved to other parts of the city, and the area became known for its seedy reputation. Many of the famous theaters and studios were torn down, and the intersection lost much of its historic significance.

In recent years, Hollywood and Vine has undergone a revitalization. The area has been the site of many new developments, including hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. The famous Capitol Records Building has been restored, and the Pantages Theater has undergone a major renovation. The area is once again a popular destination for tourists, and it is still considered to be the heart of Hollywood.

Today, Hollywood and Vine is a bustling intersection that is home to a variety of businesses and entertainment venues. The Hollywood Walk of Fame runs through the intersection, and there are many restaurants, shops, and clubs in the area. The intersection is still a popular destination for tourists, and it is often featured in movies and television shows.

In conclusion, Hollywood and Vine is a landmark that holds a special place in the history of the entertainment industry. It has played an important role in the development of the American film industry and has been the center of Hollywood’s entertainment district since the early 1900s. While the area has undergone many changes over the years, it still remains an important part of Hollywood’s history and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

If you want to read more about this iconic location, it has a page on the historical marker website.

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Doing Business in Hollywood

View of Hollywood from Highland Ave.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

Our community is not just about tourism and Hollywood bus tours, but like every other city the country, those who do business here do what they do to make a profit and a living. In addition to Star Track Tours, there are hundreds of other businesses in the Hollywood area from restaurants to car washes to legal firms. Star Track Tours is proud to be a member the city’s preeminent business and networking organization: the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is an organization that represents and promotes the interests of the Hollywood community, including businesses, residents, and individuals. It was established in 1921 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious chambers of commerce in the United States.

View of Hollywood from Highland Ave.

View of Hollywood from Highland Ave.

The Chamber’s mission is to promote and enhance the business and cultural interests of the Hollywood community. It does this through a wide range of programs and initiatives, including advocacy, networking, marketing, and community outreach.

Advocacy is a key focus of the Chamber. It works closely with local and state government officials to ensure that the interests of the Hollywood community are represented and protected. The Chamber also advocates for policies that promote economic growth and development in the area, such as tax incentives and infrastructure improvements.
Networking is another important function of the Chamber. It provides members with opportunities to connect with other business leaders and community stakeholders through regular events and programs. These events include networking mixers, business luncheons, and educational seminars.

Marketing is also a key activity of the Chamber. It promotes the Hollywood community through a variety of channels, including social media, advertising, and public relations. The Chamber also works to attract new businesses and residents to the area by highlighting the benefits of living and working in Hollywood.

Community outreach is another important focus of the Chamber. It works closely with local schools, nonprofits, and community organizations to support initiatives that promote education, health, and safety. The Chamber also sponsors and participates in a wide range of community events and festivals, including the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the Hollywood Farmers Market.

One of the most visible programs of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This iconic attraction honors the achievements of some of the most significant figures in entertainment history, from actors and musicians to directors and producers. The Chamber administers the Walk of Fame, which includes over 2,600 stars embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

The Chamber is also involved in a wide range of other programs and initiatives that support the Hollywood community. These include:

• The Hollywood Entertainment District, which is a public-private partnership that promotes tourism and economic development in the area.
• The Hollywood Film Office, which provides support to filmmakers and production companies who want to shoot in Hollywood.
• The Hollywood Economic Development Summit, which brings together business leaders and government officials to discuss economic development strategies for the Hollywood community.
• The Hollywood Business Improvement District, which is a business-led organization that provides services and programs to improve the cleanliness, safety, and overall appeal of the Hollywood community.

Overall, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in promoting and supporting the Hollywood community. Its programs and initiatives help to create a vibrant and thriving business and cultural environment in one of the most iconic and recognizable places in the world.

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Famous Hollywood Sights: Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory on Mt. Holllywood

Tinseltown Isn’t Just for Movie Stars

The Hollywood tours you take with Star Track Tours will take you in and around Hollywood as well as surrounding areas. All the while, standing guard over the city, perched on the aptly-named Mount Hollywood is the Griffith Observatory. The Griffith Observatory is an iconic observatory located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. The observatory is named after Griffith J. Griffith, a Welsh-American philanthropist and amateur astronomer who donated the funds to build the facility in the early 20th century.

Construction on the Griffith Observatory began in 1933, and the building was officially opened to the public in 1935. The observatory is situated on a 3,015-foot hill and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding city, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood Hills. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles, drawing over 1.5 million visitors each year.

Griffith Observatory on Mt. Holllywood

Griffith Observatory on Mt. Holllywood

The Griffith Observatory has a long and fascinating history, and its mission is to inspire curiosity about the cosmos and foster an understanding of science and astronomy. The observatory has several exhibits, displays, and programs that showcase the wonders of space and the universe.

One of the most impressive features of the Griffith Observatory is the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which has a 290-seat theater that offers visitors a stunning visual experience of the night sky. The planetarium has a Zeiss star projector, which is capable of projecting over 9,000 stars and other celestial objects onto the dome-shaped screen. The planetarium also has a state-of-the-art digital projection system, which is used to show stunning visual presentations that simulate the universe.

Another popular attraction at the Griffith Observatory is the Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. The pendulum is a massive metal ball that swings back and forth, and as the Earth rotates underneath it, the pendulum’s path appears to shift. This exhibit is a fascinating way to observe one of the fundamental principles of astronomy in action.

The observatory also has a range of telescopes, including the Zeiss refracting telescope, which is one of the largest public telescopes in the world. Visitors can use the telescope to observe the moon, planets, and other celestial objects in the night sky. The observatory also has a solar telescope, which is used to observe the sun and sunspots.

In addition to its exhibits and telescopes, the Griffith Observatory hosts a range of programs and events throughout the year. The observatory offers regular public telescope viewing sessions, where visitors can observe the night sky with the help of knowledgeable staff members. The observatory also hosts lectures, workshops, and other events that focus on topics related to astronomy and space science.

The Griffith Observatory has played a significant role in astronomy research and education since its inception. During World War II, the observatory was used to help track satellites and other objects in space. In the 1960s, the observatory played a key role in the development of the Apollo program, which sent the first humans to the moon. Today, the observatory continues to be an important center for astronomy education and research, and it collaborates with scientists and educators around the world.

In recent years, the Griffith Observatory has undergone a significant renovation and expansion. The renovation included the installation of new exhibits and displays, as well as the addition of a new terrace that offers panoramic views of Los Angeles. The observatory also added a new exhibit on the life and work of Griffith J. Griffith, the philanthropist who funded its construction.

The Griffith Observatory has become an important cultural and educational institution in Los Angeles, and it continues to inspire and educate visitors from around the world. Its iconic architecture, stunning views, and fascinating exhibits make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in astronomy, space science, or just the wonders of the universe.

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Hollywood Area Museums

Hollywood Blvd, near Hollywood Museum

Augment Your Hollywood Tours

Our Hollywood tours show you what others don’t, but there’s even more to do when visiting Hollywood. One aspect you may want to explore are our varied museums. There are several museums in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Hollywood Museum: Located in the historic Max Factor Building, the Hollywood Museum showcases the history of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, featuring exhibits on stars from the silent era to modern times.
  2. Museum of Broken Relationships: This unique museum is dedicated to the artifacts of failed relationships, with exhibits ranging from love letters and photographs to wedding dresses and furniture.
  3. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood: This museum features a collection of oddities and curiosities, including shrunken heads, a two-headed calf, and a portrait of Jimi Hendrix made entirely out of chewing gum.
  4. The Petersen Automotive Museum: While not technically located in Hollywood, the Petersen Automotive Museum is a short drive away and is worth a visit for car enthusiasts. The museum features a collection of classic and exotic cars, as well as exhibits on automotive history and design.
  5. The Hollywood Wax Museum: This museum features lifelike wax figures of celebrities from Hollywood’s past and present, as well as interactive exhibits and photo opportunities.

There are many other museums and cultural institutions in the broader Los Angeles area, so if you have the time and interest, there’s plenty to explore beyond Hollywood as well!

Hollywood Museum

The Hollywood Museum is located in the historic Max Factor Building at 1660 N. Highland Avenue in Hollywood, California. The museum was founded in 1985 and is dedicated to preserving the history of the entertainment industry.

The museum has four floors of exhibits, featuring over 10,000 authentic showbiz treasures, including costumes, props, photographs, scripts, and other memorabilia from classic films and TV shows. Some of the most notable exhibits include the original jail cell from “The Andy Griffith Show,” the Hannibal Lecter jail cell from “The Silence of the Lambs,” the original costumes from “The Wizard of Oz,” and Marilyn Monroe’s famous white dress from “The Seven Year Itch.”

The Hollywood Museum is divided into several sections, including the Max Factor Makeup Room, which showcases the history of makeup in Hollywood, and the Hollywood Legends section, which features memorabilia from Hollywood’s Golden Age. The museum also has a special section dedicated to the history of horror movies, with props and costumes from classic horror films such as “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.”

In addition to its exhibits, the Hollywood Museum also hosts special events, such as film screenings, book signings, and panel discussions with industry insiders. The museum is open to the public every day except for major holidays.

Overall, the Hollywood Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Hollywood Blvd, near Hollywood Museum

Hollywood Blvd, near Hollywood Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

The Hollywood Wax Museum is a museum located in Hollywood, California that features wax sculptures of famous celebrities and historical figures. It was founded in 1965 by Spoony Singh, and is one of the longest-running wax museums in the United States.

The museum features over 100 wax figures, including movie stars, pop culture icons, and political figures. Some of the most popular figures on display include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Beyoncé, and President Barack Obama. The museum is also known for its interactive exhibits, which allow visitors to pose for photos with their favorite wax figures.

In addition to the Hollywood location, there are also Hollywood Wax Museums in Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The museum in Hollywood is located on Hollywood Boulevard, near other popular tourist destinations like the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Whether before or after your tour of Hollywood with Star Track Tours, check out one or more of Hollywood’s fabulous museums!


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