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American Legion Post 43 to Host Hollywood Chamber Mixer

AMERICAN LEGION POST 43 TO HOST HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER MIXER

The American Legion Post 43 will generously host the Hollywood Chamber’s Business After Hours mixer in July. Join us and learn about the history of this landmark as you network and make new business connections. The mixer will be held at 2035 North Highland Ave., from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14th. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for future-members, which includes two beverages, and hors d’oeuvres. 

HISTORY OF LEGION POST 43 AND HOLLYWOOD LEGION STADIUM

Hollywood Post 43 has a long and storied history in Hollywood. It was formed in 1919 at the Toberman Hall at 6416 Hollywood Blvd.  Starting in 1920, Post 43 ran the Hollywood Legion Boxing Stadium at Selma and El Centro. At the end of WWI, Mr. P.J. Beveridge offered the property at Selma Ave. and El Centro Ave., to the Legion,at pre-war prices, for a recreation field and clubhouse.

A steady stream of income was necessary to maintain the club quarters and Mr. Walter Long suggested a boxing arena be built.  In 1922, the Legion erected an outdoor stadium with wooden bleachers.  A year or so later, the stadium was roofed and heated. This structure remained on the site until a new arena was built and opened in September 1938.

The list of boxing and wrestling notables who appeared at the Hollywood Legion Stadium, from the mid 20’s on, seemed endless.  Included among the champions were heavyweights James L. Braddock and Joe Lewis; lightweights 'Slapsy' Maxie Rosenbloom and Archie Moore; and middleweights Bobo Olson and Caferino Garcia.  Maxie Rosenbloom owned Slapsy Maxie's nigntclub on Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles.

HOLLYWOOD STARS WERE REGULAR SPECTATORS

The stadium, with its seating of around 6000, was the richest in the country and the Legion managed to pay off the cost of the arena in two years.  The Hollywood Legion Stadium was so popular with the movie crowd that the spectators didn’t know whether to watch the boxing or stare at the movie stars.  Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Betty Grable were only a few of the scores of celebrities who regularly attended the fights. Mae West often gave wrist watches to fighters she liked. Pat O’Brien formed a wrestling club called the Gay Blades.  

ATTENDANCE BEGINS TO DWINDLE 

In 1952, the arena welcomed in television, a move that many Legionnaires and boxing buffs later denounced, insisting that telecasts of the fights would cause gate receipts to dwindle. During the late fifties, the public’s interest in boxing started to wane and the Hollywood Legion Stadium began to suffer from poor attendance.  finally television threw in the towel.  The last televised fight from the stadium was on September 12, 1959.The following year, the famous stadium was filled in with concrete and converted to Brunswick’s Hollywood Legions Lanes, Hollywood’s finest bowling alley.

NEW AMERICAN LEGION CLUBHOUSE

The proceed from the Hollywood Legion Stadium were used to build its 33,000-sq.ft. Egyptian Revival-Moroccan Deco Memorial Clubhouse finished in 1929. Post 43 is a C-19 veteran service organization that currently has 487 members from the wars and conflicts. Its mission is to not only host member meetings and social occasions, but as a rental facility is used for weddings, bar mitzvahs, film, TV, commercials, music videos, etc. Its members have 18 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame including four for member Gene Autry. The mixer will include a tour of the facility including its four room Military & Hollywood History Museum. Very active in veterans affairs and volunteerism, Post 43 helps to guide its membership and non-member veterans to continue to be active in their communities while also receiving assistance with health, education, and end of life situations. American Legion Post 43 is located at 2035 N. Highland Ave., in Hollywood. Historic photographs of the American Legion Post 43 and of the Hollywood Legion Stadium can be seen on hollywoodphotographs.com.

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