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Hollywood Bowl Photos and History

Hollywood Bowl Photos and History

The Hollywood Bowl is world renowned as the finest outdoor amphitheater.  The Bowl got is start in 1920 when the residents of Hollywood walked up to Daisy Dell in Bolton Canyon to take part in a the Hollywood May Festival.  In 1921, the First Easter Sunrise service was held in Daisy Dell. At about the same time, several residents tested the acoustics of the canyon and found it to a true natural amphitheater. 

Shortly thereafter, a group of residents went into the canyon and scraped away a large swath of chapparal and placed wooden benches on the hillside.  They built a wooden platform stage in front of the benches so that groups of performers could entertain the audience.  Artie Mason Carter, Christine Stevenson and Charles E. Toberman were three of the pioneers responsible for the development and success of the Hollywood Bowl.  Christine Stevenson went across the Cahuenga Pass to develop the Pilgrimage Play.

 Easter Sunrise services continued to be held and did so for the next ninety years.  As the Bowl’s popularity grew, so did the demand for larger seating capacity.  In 1926, the Bowl underwent major construction and when finished, the seating capacity was increased to 17,000.  A large platform stage was erected and, in the beginning, was covered by a large canvas structure. 

During the following three years, three shells were erected in front of the seats.  Two of the shells were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright.  One of these shells was constructed from lumber left over from the movie “The Thief of Bagdad”, starring Douglas Fairbanks. He and his wife, Mary Pickford, purchased the former Jesse Hampton, in 1921,  and renamed it Pickford-Fairbanks Studio. The studio waas located on Santa Monica Blvd. at Formosa Ave. Finally, in 1929, a shell was built that continues todayClose to the stage are seating boxes that accommodate six patrons of the Hollywood Bowl.  Many boxholders would arrive a couple of hours before the performances and have picnic dinners.

Some of the world’s finest entertainers have performed at the Hollywood Bowl – from Lil Pons to Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole to the Beatles.

The largest collection of Hollywood Bowl photos are on the website. Many of these photos are also found on the Hollywood Photographs Facebook page and on Bruce Torrrence Pinterest page. All photographs are available for sale.

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