Hollywood and Malibu

On our second morning in LA, we figured we would go and learn about the movie studios all the way in Burbank (other side of the hills). For that we rented a convertible (yes, in december!), but I’m telling you about that on my next post, to be able to keep this one right under novel length —hehe.


On our way back we had time to visit the Hollywood area where classic movie stars used to live.

Homes of Betti Davis and Charles Chaplin
Homes of Betti Davis and Charles Chaplin

Homes of Fran Sinatra and Doris Day
Homes of Fran Sinatra and Doris Day

Homes of Jane Withers and Gourcho Marx
Homes of Jane Withers and Gourcho Marx

Homes of Judy Garland and Jean Harlow
Homes of Judy Garland and Jean Harlow

Homes of Marilyn Monroe and Kirk Douglas
Homes of Marilyn Monroe and Kirk Douglas

Hollywoodland Sign

The Hollywood sign

The HOLLYWOODLAND sign was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. In 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce contracted to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that “LAND” be removed to reflect the district, not the housing development. Each letter of the sign is 10m wide and 15m high.

(1976) — The Hollywood sign was altered to read HOLLYWeeD in January 1976, following the passage of a state law decriminalizing marijuana.

Hollywood Sign Retoration

(2012) — Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final flight to LAX on September 21, 2012 as it passes over Disney Hall and the Hollywood Sign.

Endeavor Shuttle - 2012

The sign is not accessible by car and you must park and keep on walking about an hour. Glad we asked because the sun was already coming down and we weren’t going to be able to make it, so guess what I discovered…

path to the sign

Ok, please don’t attempt that way if you’re not wearing proper shoes, and definitely not a tight mini skirt! Luckily no snakes were in our way, but we did see the warning signs.

down the hills - the difficult way

Back in Hollywood, mandatory stop at In-N-Out to try our first (and only) burger from this chain. I must say the burger is ok for a fast food bistro, but the fries are waaaaay too bad. If I ever go back to Cali I will try two burgers instead of a combo, as our acquaintance had. We met a moldavian guy there, married to an american and living with a green card for two years now. He told us about interesting highlights for our future stop in Las Vegas.


Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard is a street in Hollywood formerly named Prospect Avenue from 1887 until 1910, when the town of Hollywood was annexed by the City of Los Angeles.

In 1958 the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which runs from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue (and an additional three blocks on Vine Street), was created as a tribute to artists working in the entertainment industry.

In early 2006, the city made revamping plans on Hollywood Boulevard for future tourists. The three-part plan was to exchange the original streetlights with red stars into two-headed old-fashioned streetlights, put in new palm trees, and put in new stoplights. The renovations were completed in late 2006.

By the way, don’t drive a convertible without a ponytail:

when driving a convertible

Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame comprises more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. The stars are permanent public monuments to achievement in the entertainment industry, bearing the names of a mix of actors, musicians, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others. The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust. It is a popular tourist destination. Gene Autry (fun fact — he created the christmas carols “Rudolph the red nose reindeer” and “Here comes Santa”) is the only honoree with stars in all five categories.

Mickey Roony  and Judy Garland - 1940

Locations of individual stars are not necessarily random or arbitrary. Stars of most legendary and world-famous celebrities—the so-called “show business royalty”—are found in front of TCL (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre. Oscar winners’ stars are usually placed near the Dolby Theatre, site of the annual Academy Awards presentations. Decisions are occasionally made with a dollop of whimsy: Mike Myers’s star, for example, lies in front of an adult store called the International Love Boutique, an association with his Austin Powers roles, Roger Moore’s star is located at 7007 Hollywood Boulevard in recognition of his seven James Bond films, Ed O’Neill’s star is located outside a shoe store in reference to his character’s occupation on the TV show “Married…with Children”…

Walk of Fame

Hollywood Pacific Theater

In the picture, the Hollywood Pacific Theatre. A movie theatre located at 6433 Hollywood Blvd. Originally known as the Warner Bros. Theatre or Warner Hollywood Theatre. Warner Bros. owned radio station KFWB positioned its radio transmitter towers on top of the building, which remain to this day. Though covered by “PACIFIC” lettering, the original “WARNERS” lettering can still be seen inside each tower. In 1968,Stanley Warner sold the theatre to Pacific Theatres, which renamed it the present day Hollywood Pacific Theatre.

The theatre finally closed its doors as a full-time cinema on August 15, 1994. This was mostly due to water damage to the basement caused by the construction of the Hollywood Subway Red Line and structural damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Dolby Theater

After Kodak filed for bankruptcy, Dolby would sign an agreement with CIM, owner of Hollywood & Highland Center, to be the new teathre sponsor. Hollywood & Highland Center is a destination in the center of the Hollywood tourist attractions, shopping mall and entertainment complex on Hollywood Boulevard. Dolby updated the sound system first by installing Dolby Atmos. The company plans to continue updating the auditorium with newer technologies as they become available.

The Dolby Theatre hosts The Oscars year after year. It doesn’t look like it when you’re there, so I searched for photos of the event for a proper comparison. The Hollywood Boulevard would be nicely carpeted in red, and there’d be a 30 metre long curtain hanging from the gallery entrance. In fact, shops in the inside are also dressed and covered. The lighted columns in the hall and staircase list Academy Award Best Picture winners of past four decades. I went all the way up to the door of the theatre, but nothing could be seen other than quite a bit of dust I hope they are cleaning away already… The Oscars are due in weeks time.

Dolby Theater

Graunam’s Chinese Theatre

Built over 18 months, from January 1926 by a partnership headed by Sid Grauman, the theatre opened May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film The King of Kings. It has since been home to many premieres, including the 1977 launch of George Lucas’s Star Wars, as well as birthday parties, corporate junkets and three Academy Awards ceremonies. Among the theatre’s most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day. The TCL Chinese Theatre has partnered with IMAX Corporation to introduce the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world. The new theatre seats 932 people, and hosts the third largest commercial movie screen in North America.

Capitol Records

Capitol Records is a major American record label that is part of the Capitol Music Group and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Universal Music Group. Founded in 1942 by three industry insiders, the label has recorded and released material by artists such as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, The Kingston Trio, Les Paul, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Glen Campbell, Megadeth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, and Katy Perry among many others.

Capitol’s recording studios were designed by guitarist and sound expert Les Paul to minimize noise and vibration. The studios feature 25cm concrete exterior walls, surrounding a 2.5cm air gap, surrounding an inner wall that floats on layers of rubber and cork – all in an effort to provide complete sound isolation.

The facility features echo chambers: subterranean concrete bunkers allowing engineers to add reverberations during the recording process. The eight chambers are located 9m underground. They are trapezoidal-shaped with 25cm concrete walls and 30cm concrete ceilings. The chambers feature speakers on one side and microphones on the other, permitting an echo effect of up to five seconds.

Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is a 1920s amphitheater used primarily for music performances. It is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003, before being replaced with a somewhat larger one beginning in the 2004 season. The shell is set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood Sign to the Northeast.

Downtown LA

We also headed Downtown in the convertible to have a look at the Staples Center, the Nokia Plaza and the Walt Disney Theatre, yet another Frank Gehry design.

Staples Center

Walt Disney Theater

Nokia Plaza

driving a convertible

Malibu Farm

Next day we woke up to the sunny Malibu. We were continuing our trip east to Las Vegas, but we wanted to check out this piece of paradise first.


Want an awesome unique experience for breakfast? Malibu Farm delivers not only a panoramic view of Malibu but also provides a great place to eat healthy organic local food right on the Malibu Pier.

Malibu Farm

Peggy Sue’s

A deep breath of ocean breeze, suitcases packed, and back in the road this time heading to Las Vegas. On our way we found the most authentic 50s diner: Peggy Sue’s. True discovery, real hamburgers, cute walls full of memorabilia… and a clear inspiration for spanish restaurants with the same name. Perhaps they already knew about this gem in Getafe.

Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue

→ NEXT STOP: Warner Bros. Studio Tour

← PREVIOUS STOP: City of Angels

Author: Bea Cabrera

Freelance Filmmaker with a passion for big cities, snowboard, cinema and a weakness for the smell of freshly ground coffee. Engineer & Graphic Designer in a previous life, loving and living both: art and technology.  

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