In 1925 Hollywood and the movie business were just beginning to take off. Several of the new industry "big names" got together and decided a town of such importance should have a world class hotel. Dapper Douglas Fairbanks, his wife and Americas sweetheart, Mary Pickford, Sid Grumman, the little tramp Charlie Chaplain among others put up the money. Two years and 2.5 million dollars later saw the grand opening of the fabulous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd..
In order to enter the hotel, we pass over lots of those stars on Hollywood Blvd., the Walk of Fame. It seems that in Hollywood, the more famous that you get, the better the chance that people will walk all over you., For more info on the Walk of Fame, contact the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Let's go inside shall we?
C'mon, don't fall behind. We're really going into the Roosevelt Hotel!
Once we get inside the door, we can see the Cinegrill Lounge on our left. In it's early days, the Cinegrill was a hang out for lot's of biggies, from Earnest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald to Joan Crawford and Ronald Reagan. don't bother looking for any of these four now, they haven't been seen here in months.
In 1939, the Cinegrill boasted a young singer named Mary Martin. At a salary of $34.00 per week, she had really hit the big time. When she couldn't find a baby-sitter, she would bring her young son, Baby Larry Hagman along with her to work.
Moving into the lobby, we can really see the impressive results of a massive restoration performed on the hotel in 1984-5. Attention was paid to every detail. From the beautifully renovated pool area (the bottom painted by noted American artist David Hockney), to the hand painted and crafted ceiling tiles. After over 35 million dollars of work, we can now roam around the hotel as Gable and Lombard did with the building in nearly the same condition.
In May of 1929, the Blossom Ballroom (on your right) hosted the first Academy Awards ceremony ever! The awards presentation lasted about thirty minutes. If the length of the Academy Awards on TV keeps growing at its current pace, we may have to allocate a week for it.
In later years, the Blossom Room was the sight of many Television series, including Ralph Edward's "This is Your Life."
Just ahead are the stairs where the young Shirly Temple was reportedly taught her famous staircase dance. So you might want to watch out for any small shoes as you head up the stairs. By the way, a single pair of her Ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz (there were 8 pairs) recently sold at auction May 24th, 2000 for $666,000. (click here for a history of the ruby slippers).
Looking out from the mezzanine level, you can get an even better look at the hotel's lobby. Don't lean out too far or you may make our next issue. Looking around, you can see lots of old time photographs and other memorabilia.
There are old pictures of celebrity induction's into the cement in front of the Chinese Theater. Old scenes of studio life, original maps to the stars homes that sold for just a quarter, audio portions of old radio broadcasts and more. All of this for the low, low price of FREE!
Do you still want to know more about this wonderful town/ Next issue we will be telling you tales of the Walk of Fame and the Magic Castle, the Hollywood Sign and Yamasheros. Enjoy your visit to Hollywood.