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Vintage Places in Hollywood Part 2

Updated on October 9, 2012

The Dresden Room

The Dresden is a hip bar. It became the Dresden room in the 50s, and to this day the interior is perfectly preserved. This vintage spot has coral walls, faux Noveau glass panels, and white wraparound booths with high backs. They also have the best cobb salad and signature drink called The Blood and Sand, named after the 1941 Tyrone Power movie. The Dresden room was immortalized in the 90s when it was featured in the hit film Swingers. In effect, it was ruined for all of us when it was discovered, but enough time has passed that it was no longer overrun by tourists. Now it's back to it's low-key, yet totally psychedelic, Rat Pack roots.

Address and phone number: 1760 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood. (323) 665-4294.

The Egyptian Theater

Los Angeles is an industry twn, and the product produced is film. Not going to see one of this city's first movie palaces would be like going to Philly and not trying a cheesecake or driving by the Grand Canyon without a peek. Built in 1922 by Sid Grauman (the same year King Tut's tumb was discovered), this is where Hollywood's very first star-studded premiere took place, which was Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks. At Hollywood's Egyptian, you can step into the same floor that Ava Gardner glided across her arm linked with Sinatra's, and gaze up at the theater's spectacular ceiling. Today the theater is run by the American Cinemateque, and hosts a variety of screenings, tours and events for those who live for cinema. The Egyptian's calendar is always with awesome film festivals, like a recent Marx Brothers retrospective, the annual Mods and Rockers festival of the 60s rock n' roll flicks, or the can't stop the musicals fest, where they show so-bad-they're-good cult classics, like 1980s Xanadu. You can also attend great film tributes wth legendary stars and special Q and A sessions following the films. Jane Russell has dished on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Terence Stamp charmed the audience about making The Collector, Carol Baker chatted about Baby Doll, and Leigh Taylor-Young gossiped about Peter Seller's Superstitions. And if hungry after the movie, the Egyptian courtyard hosts two places to chow. You can grab a pint and nosh next door at the renovated landmark Pig n' Whistle Grill (great crab cakes), or if you are craving something sweet, try the delicious old-fashioned frozen custard at Lickety Split.

Address and Phone Number: 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-3456.

El Capitan Theater

Originally opened in 1926 as a vaudeville house, the stunning East Indian-themed theater is now owned by Disney, who has painstakenly restored it to it's original movie palace gry-the kind of theater where even the opening of the sparkly curtains before the film is part of the show. Also, before the film, a gorgeous, gilded Mighty Wurlitzer rises out of the floor, with an organist playing the film's soundtrack. Now that's worth the admission alone! They mostly show Disney movies but they alsohost classic film festivals. Oson Welles classic film Citizen Kan, which first premiered here in 1941, it was at this theater. It was the perfect setting for such a mind-blowing film.

Address and phone number: 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 467-7674.

El Cholo Restaurant

This is the original location of L.A.'s favorite, and oldest, Mexican restaurant chain opened in 1927, it's still a popular choice for perfect margaritas, green corn tamales, and nachos (which are believed to be invented here), with it's stellar, old-fashioned Spanish cooking in a kitschy, old-world, fiesta-inspired setting. Bing Crosby, Harold Lloyd, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and Maddona have all been here.

Address and phone number: 112 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 734-2773.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

This is one of Hollywood's most famous landmarks, built in 1927 by the movie palace developer Sid Grauman. As a child of vadeville performers, Grauman watched the birth of cinema happen, and became obsessed with movie magic. As a child he dreamed of building a golden palace to showcase the pictures that he so dearly loved. As an adult he was the first to use floodlights, and thus he invented the hollywood premiere as we know. The design of Grauman's Chinese Theatre was inspired by Sid Grauman's travels throught China, and it is one of the most important architectural structures in movie history there's even a replica of it at Disney World. Regardless of the casually attired tourists that crowd the courtyard (along with bad Elvis and Batman impersonator). In an age when movie theaters are about as glamorous as jail cells, it is nice to go someplace special like Grauman's. It's a theater where you can still dream in the dark, and where you can dress up and make moviegoing a special occasion. The theater's slogan in the 40s was, aproppriately, a shrine to art. Charlie Chaplin broke the first ground at the chinese in 1927, and it is home to so many historical film experiences. The first film to premiere here was Cecil B. DeMiles King of King's, as well as the premiere's of Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (which also marked the debut of Jean Harlow), Singin' in the Rain, Ninotchka, and hundred's more. It even hosted the Academy Awards in the 1940s.

Honorary mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant still remembers how his good friend Sid Gauman began the longtime tradition of the cement footprints. It started when silent-film star Mary Pickford's dog, Zorro ran across the wet cement of her new driveway, and when she told Grauma about it, laughing, now we'll have Zorro forever," a lightbulb went off Grauman's head. Naturally, Mary and her husband Douglas Fairbanks where the first to leave their prints followed by Hollywood legends like Betty Grable, The Marx Brothers, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner, Sean Connery, Bette Davis, Shirley McLane, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, Frank Sinatra, Bogie (who wore his lucky shoes from Casablanca), Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen, (who always, the rebel, left his prints upside down), and even Shirley Temple and her tiny feet. Don't think just because the courtyard is full of tourists in bad shorts with cameras on their necks that it isn't worth stopping by to pay homage to film history and to be dazzled by the structures beauty. After all, where else on earth can you literally walk in Marilyn Monroe's footsteps?

Address and phone number: 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 464-8111.


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