So it was a little over 80 years ago (like, 80 years, one month and a couple hours) that Howard Hughes’ wartime epic Hell’s Angels premiered to a thronging crowd at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (It also catapulted Jean Harlow to stardom, but that’s another post.) The glittering premier was the grandest such event Hollywood had ever seen, up to that time. Hollywood was about to enter its prime, its legendary golden age, and the precipice it stood upon that glowing neon night in 1930 is powerfully obvious in the following archival footage:
(The archival footage from this re-release trailer of the comes courtesy of Twitter’s LA History group.)
So indelible are those images of the Boulevard that it rather of got me thinking about the inescapable fact that the infamous Boulevard of Broken Dreams as a part of this city’s living history and its truly fascinating metamorphosis over the decades.
From the quiet, pepper tree-lined Prospect Avenue of turn-of-the-century farm town Hollywood to the glittering, glamorous ground-zero of all things Tinseltown, to a bitter and moth-eaten has-been, to a sleazy sex-shop porn-o-vard, to its current mutation of squeaky clean, sterile shopping centers and panhandling superheroes …. Hollywood Blvd is like the cockroach that refuses to die.
Or perhaps, more appropriately, a true survivor that refuses to throw in the towel.