RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Deck the Halls of DTLA again – with views from the Wilshire Grand Hotel

christmas downtown los angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Two days before Christmas I repeated the Downtown Los Angeles Christmas Tree & Decorations Tour. Click on this link for last week’s walk. This time there were five of us. I know there were other people who wanted to come but due to illnesses, injuries and other commitments, could not make it.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Don’t know what kind of tree this is but the red berries made it very festive. At California Plaza.

So I’m thinking maybe I should do this again in 2018! I’m also thinking about a Christmas Decorations walk through Beverly Hills. I did a photo walk a couple of years ago, see the post here.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Another view of the red berry tree

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

California Plaza includes two skyscrapers, both of which are shown in the above photo.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

My four companions on the walk at California Plaza

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Lobby of the US Bank Building with the Central Library in the background.

In February or March I’m hoping to put together a tour of the Central Library and then use the 50% off coupons I have to visit Skyspace, the open air observation deck at the top of the US Bank Building.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

A view of the Central Library with the new Wilshire Grand Hotel (with the mast) peeking up behind it.

The US Bank building (also known as Library Tower) was able to build to 72 floors by trading air space with the Central Library. So the library can never build higher than its present height.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Millenium Biltmore Hotel lobby

Yup, you saw the above tree in my previous post. But it’s so gorgeous it’s worth seeing again! Do you recognize that ceiling? It was used in The Poseidon Adventure.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations  

Hands-on dad assisting his daughter with the Penguin helper at Pershing Square

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

There’s construction going on everywhere these days. More people, more traffic.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Hotel Clark as seen from Pershing Square

The Hotel Clark was built sometime around 1912-ish. It was a transient hotel for many years and in pretty bad shape. It’s really good to see its new life as a boutique hotel with a rooftop restaurant/bar. I have to see if I can get up there at some point.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Tree on 70th floor of Wilshire Grand

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

View from the 70th floor of the new Wilshire Grand Hotel

If you read my previous blog post, the first time I made it to the 70th floor lobby of the Wilshire Grand Hotel I had a terrible case of vertigo that crippled me, so I couldn’t take any photos. This time I was still a little queazy but I was able to wrap my brain around the fact that I was up so high and it was okay. The above view looks out to the Santa Monica Mountains and towards Malibu.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The main part of LA is known as the Los Angeles Basin. You can see how the name originated as we are surrounded by mountain ranges. On the other side of the mountains is The Valley… still a part of the City of Angels.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

And then there are the freeways. Pretty light traffic for a Saturday. Everybody has parked their cars at the shopping malls for Christmas shopping!

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The ocean on the horizon… from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica. The ocean is about 15 miles (24 km) from the Wilshire Grand.

I know the color is awful on these photos. I’m still having problems with color calibration and Lightroom… and reflections through the windows didn’t help. A triple whammy.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

You might notice the heli-pad on the building next door. Until recently there was a requirement to have a helicopter landing place on every building in downtown for emergencies. Since that ruling has been lifted we are seeing some more architecturally interesting rooftops.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

This last photo is a zoomed-in look at Echo Park Lake, approximately two miles (3.2 km) from the hotel. That white object sticking up in the center of the lake is the Olympic Fountain installed for the 1984 Olympics. You can see photos of the lake on my blog post here.

Be sure to see my post about the previous week’s walk-through of downtown decorations at Deck the Halls of DTLA.

 

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Deck the halls of DTLA

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Los Angeles City Hall at right mirrored with Christmas tree

Thanks to my friend SB for walking around Downtown Los Angeles (otherwise known as DTLA) with me today. It’s no secret I love downtown and I especially love it at Christmas… otherwise know as “The Holidays.” As anybody who knows me is aware, I embrace all religions and follow none. But I was brought up with Christmas, so that’s the way it is!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The above photo advertises El Dia de Los Muertos which is celebrated at Grand Park with installations honoring the dead, a Mexican tradition. The N.Y.E.L.A. poster is for the New Years Eve party hosted at Grand Park. At right is the reflection of the fountain.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A reflection in a window of the fountain with Christmas decoration on the left half. I always love Christmas with palm trees! After being too hot, today the temperature was around 70F (21C), my perfect temperature!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This was the window of the gift shop. We assumed the colorful tubes represent the pipes of the organ in the hall. And you can see the reflection of City Hall peeking up behind the pipes.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations in the window of the gift shop with reflections of clouds and palm trees. How Southern California is this?

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The exterior of the Broad Museum mirroring a reflection of the building next to it.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to California Plaza to look at the decorations. The Angels Flight train was coming up the track.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

City Hall in the background.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas trees reflected in the pool at California Plaza.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas tree and wreath inside the building with reflections from outside.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Another tree inside lobby of a building with reflections from outside. Obviously I’m obsessed with reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations inside the lobby, yes, with more reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking upwards from California Plaza

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Next we moved on to Grand Central Market. Loved this neon ad for Frontier Whiskey!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Grand Central Market Christmas Tree

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

One Bunker Hill didn’t disappoint with their decorations. But the coffee bar was closed for the weekend.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
One Bunker Hill is one of my favorite buildings any time of the year.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A very decent tree at the US Bank Building, the “real” tallest building in LA.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We then transported ourselves over to the Biltmore Hotel. We had lunch there at Smeraldi’s. We each ordered the mushroom bisque.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Absolute heaven. And we split the prawn sandwich. Equally as good. Just enough food. Would do that again for sure!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

I adore the Biltmore. I could live there!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Now this is what I call a Christmas tree. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. Sorry.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
They do a really great “tea” in the afternoons.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas in LA cannot be complete without a visit to the skating rink at Pershing Square. The little kids have “penguins” to hold on to. It’s great to see them fall and get up again and still enjoy themselves. A lesson there for all of us!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking up from Pershing Square.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Pacific Mutual always has some good decorations. I love all the 1920s buildings in downtown but this one is special to me as when I did my LA Conservancy training this was the building I had to present in order to become a docent. It’s hard for me to believe now but I was so nervous I almost decided to quit the program before I had to give my talk. Glad I didn’t!

After this we visited the brand new Wilshire Grand Hotel. We took the elevator up to the lobby on the 70th floor. I had a bad vertigo attack looking out of the windows as there are no railings to hold on to. Why not??? In any case it was horribly hazy from all the fires so I could not have taken any photos anyway. But it would certainly be an impressive view on a clear day. Some other time, for sure!


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Culver City’s Screenland 100th birthday 5K, The Race of the Century

screenland 5KCulver City was incorporated on September 20, 1917 so our little town of approximately 40,000 people has been celebrating our 100th birthday since last year.

One of the celebratory events was the “Screenland 5K, The Race of the Century,” in which I participated. Lori Escalara headed a team to help support the restoration of public murals in Culver City so I figured that was a good reason to plonk down the entrance fee, not to mention the T-shirt and medal that came with it!

Screenland 5K 100thCulver City birthdayUnfortunately it turned out to be a rather grungy day weather-wise with no sun. At one point I had to walk with my camera inside my jacket. But it could have been worse.

screenland 5K

We were entertained by bands along the way.

screenland 5K

I was ten minutes late getting to the start line and by the time I had walked a few yards, many of the serious runners had already completed the first third of the 5K (3.1-mile) course and had turned around.

The race was scheduled for the morning of February 26 to coincide with the date of the 89th Academy Awards later in the day.

screenland 5K

Culver City is dubbed “The Heart of Screenland” because of the numerous movies filmed at studios such as MGM, Columbia, Sony, RKO, Desilu, Selznick and many, many more.

The Heart of Screenland

Perhaps the most famous movies are “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” But I also have to mention “Singing in the Rain.” Some of the 5K participants dressed up as their favorite movie characters. I was just ME!!!!

The Heart of Screenland

Sony and Culver Studios opened their lots to the 5K participants.


I was looking forward to getting some close-ups of the Rainbow sculpture inside the gates… too bad the sky was so grey.

screenland 5K

But I was happy to get a good shot of the artwork for my all time favorite movie “Lawrence of Arabia” which I have watched numerous times. I love everything about it from Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif to the spectacular photography and the glorious music. I realize the story isn’t that close to being accurate but that doesn’t stop my appreciation of the film.

screenland 5K

A peek into a “window” to see a gathering of classic movie stars.

screenland 5Kscreenland 5K

I walk or drive by Sony Studios several times a week on my way somewhere but it was nice to see inside. I have actually taken visitors from out of town on the studio tour a couple of times. And, of course, the exterior is on my Culver City walking tours.

screenland 5K

My final time was something in the range of 1 hour, 20 minutes so obviously I wasn’t going for any prizes! I was having more fun taking photos.

Click on any image for the slide show:

After I completed the 5K I felt like I could have kept going. So in a couple of weeks some friends and I will be walking the 6-mile CicLAvia route from Culver City to Venice Beach.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Feline Friday – #59 – a fine farm feline

Heifer International

I met this fine feline living on the farm at Heifer International on my recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas.

You can read the full post on my One Good Life Travels blog by clicking here.

I was given a private, one-on-one tour of the facility.

As you may know, Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. You may have seen their catalog in your mail at the end of the year.

I was very impressed with the organization and happy that I was able to visit the headquarters.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Culver City photo walk

sony studios

Yesterday was the inaugural walk of my photography Meetup group, Walk & Talk Photography. It was a good group and an interesting experience.

Although I’ve taken photos of most of these places before, every time I look through the lens I see something new and different.

Following are some of the photos I took on the walk. Click on a photo for the slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Walk & Talk Photography

culver city rainbow sony studios

Over the Rainbow, Sony Studios… formerly MGM where The Wizard of Oz was filmed.

Moving along with 2017… Yesterday afternoon I posted my brand new MeetUp group “Walk & Talk Photography.” As some of you know, I have been a tour guide in one way or another since 1988. Starting out as an architectural walking tour docent for the Los Angeles Conservancy for 16 years. For part of that time I was also a hike leader for the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club for about 10 years.

After I left corporate life, I got certified with the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) in 2008 (the hardest two weeks of my life) and became a professional Los Angeles city tour guide. The person who sits up front in the motor coach with the microphone.

As of last year I am no longer doing any of those things… for now.

Three or four years ago I bought myself a Canon T3i DSLR camera and I haven’t looked back. I’ve been extremely happy to re-connect with my first love, photography, after many decades of estrangement. Not really estrangement, more like not being very involved. But I won’t go into that story now…perhaps a subject for another blog post.

A few months ago I was thinking about how I could put together my love of exploring Los Angeles, leading walking tours and photography. This blog has been great because it has given me a platform for showing my photos and talking about my favorite city, LA. And in the coming year I hope to do more of that. With all my commitments, hobbies and interests, sometimes it’s hard to find the time.

MeetUp is a great opportunity for people to organize groups of like-minded people. So I decided to jump in. That’s pretty much the story of my life. Oh, that sounds good. I think I’ll just jump in even though I don’t know what the heck I am doing! It hasn’t brought me much in the way of monetary fortune. But I have experienced a LOT of stuff. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know… but too late now!

Anyway, yesterday I posted my group on MeetUp. It made sense to do my first walk around Culver City. It took me a long time to actually click on the button to post it. I almost didn’t do it. But I took a deep breath and clicked.

Then I waited. It was a horrifying experience as nobody signed up to join my group. I was devastated and went to bed feeling very depressed. We live in an era of immediate gratification and I respond accordingly. I was so embarrassed about this I didn’t even want to turn on the computer this morning. I had already decided I was going to take the group down and go crawl in a hole and never come out…

But I realized I had to face the harsh reality, no matter what.

Lo and behold, eight people had joined my group! During the morning more people joined. It is now 2:00pm and I have 12 people on the actual walk (the maximum) and millions** more as members. I have a waiting list. I’ve created a monster!!!!! (**I really don’t know how many members I have at this moment and it could be less than millions.)

Gosh! Who knows what will come of this? Maybe nothing. But if this is as far as it goes, that’s okay. I took a chance. And I feel good about it. That’s all that counts, isn’t it?

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 


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Southwestern Law School at the former Bullocks Wilshire

Bullocks Wilshire

Some weeks ago B, G, E and I (as in me) went on the self-guided tour of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Several months ago G mentioned that once a year, the Southwestern Law School opened its doors to the public. So I was looking forward to a look inside this Los Angeles icon.

Bullocks Wilshire

The text in italics is from the tour literature and copyright 2014 Southwestern Law School.

Designed in 1929 by renowned Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson, the Bullocks Wilshire Building operated as a luxury department store for more than 60 years.

Bullocks Wilshire

Ceiling of the cactus lounge.

In 1994, Southwestern purchased the landmark [building] and set out to convert it into a dynamic academic venue, while retaining its historic character.

Bullocks Wilshire

A decade and $29 million later, the gleaming property features cutting edge scholastic, professional and social resources that represent the heart of the Southwestern community.

Bullocks Wilshire

I remember enjoying an afternoon in the tea room with my mother in the 1960s when we first arrived in Los Angeles. I don’t believe the tea room has changed very much since that time.

Bullocks Wilshire

Replica of one of the gorgeous art deco serving stations.

Bullocks Wilshire

Exterior building detail seen from  the window of the tea room.

Bullocks Wilshire

I love light fixtures and these art deco beauties really caught my eye.

Apparently the light fixtures, serving centers, tables and chairs are exact replicas of the originals.

Bullocks Wilshire

This original mosaic tile floor was in a passageway off the tea room.

bullocks-073116-017-C-550px

Bullocks Wilshire

John Bullock’s Suite, his private office and apartment.

Bullocks Wilshire

The office leads out on to a rooftop garden.

Bullocks Wilshire

This wonderful tile drinking fountain was discovered behind a plaster wall. Note the child’s step which was replaced during the restoration.

bullocks-073116-027-C-550px

Bullocks Wilshire

I am a big fan of art deco design so I was in heaven on this tour.

Now, where patrons once shopped for women’s sportswear, students study in the school’s beautiful and expansive Leigh H. Taylor Law Library, which occupies about one-third of the building.

Bullocks Wilshire

In what was once the first floor shoe salon and accessories department, the Julian C. Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center provides the most technologically advanced facility of its kind.

Southwestern has received numerous honors from preservation groups for its sensitive restoration of the structure. Blending elegant architecture with state-of-the-art educational resources, the Bullocks Wilshire Building epitomizes Southwestern’s commitment to excellence.

I am grateful that Southwestern is willing to allow public tours of the campus. The Bullocks Wilshire Building is a Los Angeles jewel and a fabulous example of art deco design so popular in our city in the 1920s. And most important, the building is an outstanding model of successful reuse.

Bullocks Wilshire

Department stores have played a big part in the history of LA. See my post here on the Virginia Robinson Gardens and the home of the heir to the Robinson Department Stores.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Peacocks prancing in the park

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

One of the reasons I love living in Los Angeles is access to all the parks and gardens. The Gold Line recently added six more stations, all the way to Azusa. One of those stations is Arcadia where the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located. The free shuttle bus that stops at the mall, Santa Anita Race Track and The Arboretum now also stops at the train station.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Yesterday several explorer friends and I visited The Arboretum. Most of us met at Union Station in downtown LA for the trip on the Gold Line.

The Arboretum is known for its peacocks. They are VERY raucous and can be heard “meowing” throughout the park. The above photos are of the same peacock back and front. Both views are pretty impressive.  They are not shy about posing for the camera.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Arboretum is made up of small pocket gardens, sprawling lawns and water features. We decided to take the 2 1/2 hour docent-led tour

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This wood creature was part of a temporary art exhibit but he looked very much at home.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This is jacaranda season and the purple trees are showing off all over town.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The garden, like everywhere else in Southern California, is suffering from the severe drought. But this “flowing” pond is made of stone and needs no water.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Can you find the hummer? Maybe not as impressive as the peacocks but certainly a sweetie.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

A giant lizard slithering across the path? No, just a peacock all folded up for travel.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Eucalyptus deglupta Mindanao gum showing off its rainbow bark.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The pea hen is looking for lunch. The female has no need for extravagant opulence to attract a mate… there are plenty of males strutting around the premises.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Seed Saving Garden is dedicated to growing heirloom vegetables and herbs.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic GardenWe had several ideas about what these extraordinary giant flowers looked like, I thought of elephant ears.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Even the Arboretum is not free of exotic bugs!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Effects of the drought on these trees.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The once beautiful ponds are also ravaged by the drought.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

But this turtle family doesn’t seem to mind!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

If you were a fan of the TV show Fantasy Island, you will recognize this Queen Anne cottage. It was where Tattoo rang the bell when visitors came to the island.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

There’s a lot more to the park but we were pretty tired and hungry after the tour so it was time to head out to lunch. We took the shuttle to the California Pizza Kitchen close by. I always order the Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad at this restaurant chain… but I decided to be a little daring and ordered the Roasted Veggie Salad instead. That is now my new favorite.

Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The Arboretum even has its own song!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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All hands on deck for RMS Queen Mary

queen mary

It must have been 1962 or 1963 when my parents decided to return to England after a few years living in the US (Florida, Texas, back to Florida, then to California). We had initially traveled to the US on the RMS Queen Elizabeth. The return trip was on the Queen Mary.

queen mary

queen mary

To be honest, my memories of crossing the Atlantic are mostly of the Queen Elizabeth, not Mary. By then my brain was shutting down from the trauma of moving around so much and a lot of my teenage years are a total blank.

queen mary

So as much as I love visiting the ship and am really happy that she is living a second life docked in Long Beach, it is certainly a two-edged sword for me.

queen mary

Last weekend several friends and I made the pilgrimage to visit the The Queen. Coming from various parts of LA as we do, some of us met downtown at the 7th Metro station and continued on the Blue Line to downtown Long Beach. From there we took the free Passport Shuttle that stops at all of the tourist locations in that city. A good way to get around if you are visiting Long Beach or are on one of the cruise ships docking at the port.

queen mary

In order to qualify for the AAA (American Automobile Association) discount you need to buy the ticket in person at the ticket booth, not online. And it turns out if one person in your party is a AAA member, everybody gets the discount. Way to go!

(And in my previous post about the Queen, when I drove my car there, my AAA card was invaluable.) 

queen mary

There are several tours available. We chose the Glory Days Historical Tour which is the basic tour of the ship. I’ve done this tour more than once but it is still enjoyable.

queen mary

We ate lunch in the Chelsea Chowder House as the Promenade Cafe was closed for construction. Several of us ordered the fish tacos which turned out to be pretty decent. Not exactly the traditional fish ‘n chips, but hey, this is Southern California!

After that we wandered around the ship with me snapping photos here and there.

queen mary

The photo above is an array of the many kinds of wood used on the ship, about thirty eight in all, with such exotic names as Sapeli Mahogany, Birds Eye Maple, Silky Oak, Pacific Myrtle, et al.

queen mary

Photos of illustrious travelers such as Fred Astaire (above) and Liberace (top of page) are displayed on the Promenade Deck. Didn’t see my photo, though. Oh well, I’m not famous enough yet.

queen mary

You need a long extension cord to vacuum this corridor… you can barely see the end of it! The handrails were installed after the maiden voyage when they discovered the ship wasn’t as stable as advertised.

queen mary

Just seeing this lookout post extending off the bridge was making me seasick. The view, of course, is of the Long Beach mainland.

queen mary

The geodesic dome in this photo was originally built as the home of the Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes’ infamous wooden airplane (built on the outskirts of Culver City, now Playa Vista) that flew a few yards before diving into the Pacific Ocean. I was fortunate enough to visit it and sit in the cockpit before it was moved to Oregon. I only wish it was still here. The dome now serves as the cruise center for ships arriving at the Port of Long Beach.

queen mary

Replica of the children’s play room. I think the artwork is from The Arabian Nights and Rudyard Kipling. Today it would be Disney and Star Wars… or all replaced with video games. Yes, I feel old!

queen mary

I believe this cabinet contains the different flags flown for various situations but I didn’t see a sign. At first I thought it was beach towels…

queen mary

During World War II the Queen became a troop carrier. This is one of the guns she had to be outfitted with.

queen mary

This was so cool… the Queen Mary made out of Legos.

queen mary

There was supposed to be a Lego cat on board. I thought for sure if anybody could find it, it would be me… but no luck.

queen mary

However, I did find Winston Churchill looking very Lego-ish.

We had decided to depart at 3:00pm as we all had a long trip home with combinations of train, bus, car and foot travel. And some of our group had to go to work Monday morning. Yes, I remember those days! On my walk from the Culver City station I made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s which is conveniently on my route home. I was opening my front door at 6:00pm.

Another good day in LA… and now I am craving another cruise!

Click an image to start the slide show:

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 


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Spending eternity at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

This past Sunday some of my fellow tour guides and I met at the Pig ‘n Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard for lunch (see blog post here). We then carpooled over to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The photo above is looking north to the entrance on Santa Monica Boulevard. If you squint, just to the right of the left hand palm tree you can see the Hollywood Sign stretched across the mountain in the distance.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

A closeup view of the Hollywood Sign.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Our group beginning the tour. It was a warm, muggy day. The weird weather continues. There has been rain in parts of our vast city but not in my neighborhood. The skies have been overcast which has cooled the temperatures a little but locks in the humidity.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

From the website: Hollywood Forever is a cemetery unlike any other in the world. One of the world’s most fascinating landmarks, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place to more of Hollywood’s founders and stars than anywhere else on earth. Founded in 1899, the cemetery was an integral part of the growth of early Hollywood. Paramount Studios was built on the back half of the original Hollywood Cemetery, where the studio is still in operation today. The cemetery of choice for most of the founders of Hollywood’s great studios, as well as writers, directors, and, performers, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Visitors come from all over the world to pay respects to Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and hundreds more of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

I love walking around cemeteries and I’ve wanted to visit this one for years. What sets Hollywood Forever apart from many others is that any kind of tombstone seems to go. Other cemeteries around Los Angeles are much more strict with the kind of grave marker you can have. So this is a creative mishmash. Of course that makes mowing the lawn a lot harder which may account for the unruliness of the grass.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Karie Bible was our cemetery tour guide. The tour website mentions that she gives the tour in vintage gowns from her collection that spans the 1920s through the 1950s.

hollywood-forever-101815-017-C-750px

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Yes, I know you are wondering when you will see the headstones of those movie stars. The cemetery is not only for celebrities. In fact I was surprised that some of the more elaborate grave sites belonged to “ordinary” folk and some of the more modest graves were the final resting place for Hollywood “royalty.”

The Grecian tomb seeming to float in the lake belongs to William C. Clark, founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Karie told us it was not open to the public because the interior is filled with exquisite mosaics. If you know me, you know how much I love mosaics so I was salivating at the thought. I’ll have to do some more research on this subject.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

We entered the Mausoleum. I was immediately attracted to these beautiful light fixtures. I am so predictable!

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

A friend told me recently that she and her husband had purchased niches in the mausoleum for the final resting place of their ashes. I couldn’t quite grasp what she was telling me but now I’ve seen the niches myself I understand.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

You can have your urn and other personal belongings placed in these niches behind glass doors. I like that idea. But I’ve decided to have my ashes strewn around one of my favorite areas for walking. I don’t want to be cooped up indoors for eternity… or under the ground for that matter.

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Okay, now for the serious stuff. As you can see, people (women) still come to Rudolf Valentino’s grave in the Mausoleum to leave a kiss. I expected to see a much more elaborate grave than this. Valentino left his native Italy to seek his fortune in the US. Unfortunately, fortune didn’t smile for long and he died at the age of 31 of peritonitis. His birthname was Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla… a little too much for the grave marker.

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Born Frederick George Peter Ingle Finch in London, he won an Academy Award posthumously for best actor in the film “Network.”

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Peter Lorre was born László Loewenstein in Austria-Hungary. Our guide mentioned that he was about to divorce his third wife but it didn’t happen in time to preclude her from being buried next to him. I can only hope they have since reconciled!

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Mickey Rooney was 93 when he died in 2014. He rose to great heights in Hollywood but in stature only made it to 5 ft 2 inches (157 cm).

Hollywood Forever CemeteryThis is the view he gazes at for eternity… can you make out the Hollwood sign in the middle of the photo trying to peek through the branches? As his gravestone says, Hollywood will always be his home.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

This is a memorial to Toto (Terry) from “The Wizard of Oz.” She is actually buried north of this location in Studio City. If you can read the inscription it tells the sad story that her resting place was destroyed by the construction of the Ventura Freeway in 1958. Terry had 16 total film appearances in her eleven years of life.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Douglas Fairbanks, otherwise known as the husband of Mary Pickford (although he had other wives before and after), has pretty nice accomodations for his final resting place. Passing in 1939 he was only 56. He was one of the founders of United Artists.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Another memorial is for Hattie McDaniel, famous for “Gone With the Wind” and the first African American to win an Academy Award. A very accomplished lady, she was also a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer and television star. She passed in 1952.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

In the middle of the photo at the top of the mountain is the Griffith Observatory.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

I think this may be my favorite grave in the cemetery. I can’t say I was particularly a fan of the Ramones but I love the way Johnny Ramone is shown as he was in life. He will be forever playing his guitar. It doesn’t get much better than that! He died from prostate cancer at the age of 55.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The koi were enjoying themselves.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

According to our tour guide, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, modeled herself after Vampira but never paid tribute to her. Vampira died pretty much penniless and I read that at one time she even sold linoleum.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Mr. Blackwell, probably still criticizing, er, critiquing the fashions of the angels.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Darren McGavin, one of my favorite actors because of his TV show Kolchak: The Night Stalker. One of my fellow tour guides noted that he had grown up with this show, acting out like he was the star, and it had a great influence on him. Not many people have even heard of that show, so it was great to meet a fellow fan.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Cecil B. DeMille is credited with being one of the founding fathers of the Hollywood movie industry. Much of his family is also buried around him.

Hollywood Forever CemeteryI was surprised to discover that Jayne Mansfield was only 34 when she died in a car crash. Don’t get your calculators in a twist, she was actually born in 1933…. Hollywood magic at work. I think most people know her daughter is Mariska Hargitay known for the Law and Order franchise.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Don Adams. This is so cool that he is depicted as his best known role of Maxwell Smart talking on his shoe phone. This made me chuckle. Hard to believe he passed away ten years ago.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Marion Davies, actress and mistress of William Randolph Hearst, is buried within the Douras Mausoleum.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tyrone Power has a nice lakeside spot. He died at the age of 44 of a massive heart attack while involved in a dueling scene for a movie he was making in Spain. His son, Tyrone Power IV, was born two months after his death.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

This obelisk commemorates Griffith J. Griffith. In 1896 he donated over 3,000 acres to the City of Los Angeles which subsequently became Griffith Park. The Griffith Observatory (within Griffith Park) can be seen just to the right of his monument. Mr. Griffith has an interesting story that you can read here.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

At Forever Hollywood you can practice whatever religion you choose in the afterlife, unlike some other cemeteries that are religion-specific (only Jewish or only Catholic, etc). “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” some of Mel Blanc’s work was done in a full body cast while recovering from an auto accident.

"The Man of a Thousand Voices"

Estelle Getty, who played Bea Arthur’s mother in “The Golden Girls,” was really only a couple of years older than her. She won both an Emmy and Golden Globe award for that role. She passed away from Dementia with Lewy Bodies in 2008.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery

So I was very happy to finally get to visit Forever Hollywood. Most of the information for this post is a combination of what I remember from the tour and Wikipedia so don’t blame our lovely tour guide, Karie Bible, for anything I got wrong. But as always, I enjoyed doing the research for this post. However, I highly recommend going on one of Ms. Bible’s tours as I learned a lot and her personality made the two-hour tour seem too short.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!