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The Hollywood Photographs Blog

Brown Derby Restaurants Photos

Brown Derby Restaurants Photos

The Brown Derby was the name given to a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles. Founded by Herbert K. Somborn, he opened the original restaurant at 3427 Wilshire Blvd. in 1926 and remained the most distinctive due to its derby hat shape. With two years of success under his belt he decided to open a second Brown Derby restaurant, this time in Hollywood.  Many historic photos of the Brown Derby restaurants  and other Hollywood photos can be found on the website.


The Hollywood Brown Derby, was opened on Valentines Day, 1929, at 1628 North Vine St. in a building...

Chinese Theater Groundbreaking Photos

Chinese Theater Groundbreaking Photos

Sid Grauman's dream of opening a million dollar theatre complex in Los Angeles came true in January 1926 when construction began on the Chinese Theatre. Real estate mogul C.E. Toberman helped Grauman secure a long term lease on a piece of property located n Hollywood Blvd. . The plans for the theatre were designed by both Grauman and architect Raymond Kennedy, a well-known Hollywood architect.  The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by several celebrities including, Sid Grauman, Charles Chaplin, Conrad Nagel, Norma Talmadge and Chinese actress Anna May Wong. After spending $2,000,000, the Chinese Theatre was completed. Scores of Grauman's Chinese Theater photos are on


Vintage Cocoanut Grove Photos

Cocoanut Grove Photos on website.

The Cocoanut Grove was located in the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd.  Opened in 1921, the hotel was one of the most impressive buildings in Los Angeles.  The Cocoanut Grove was, without question, the most elegant, beautiful and popular nightclubs in Los Angeles, during the 1920s and 1930s. Celebrities from all facets of the entertainment world went to the Cocoanut Grove to dance and dine.  Also, many from Hollywood’s high society were also guest of the popular nightclub. 


Ambassador Hotel and its night club and how popular it was during the 1930's and 1940's. It's a good thing that there are still some ...

Garden of Allah Hotel History and Photos

Garden of Allah Hotel History & Photos

The Garden of Allah Hotel on Sunset Blvd. at Crescent Heights Ave. was, not only famous, but also infamous for the publicity it received as one of Hollywood’s hotels. 

Built in a Spanish-Moorish style of architecture, it derived its name not from Islam but from stage and screen actress Alla Nazimova, its original owner. Originally known as The Garden of Alla, it was a mansion at 8080 Sunset Boulevard, built in 1919. It became notorious for the wild parties allegedly held there by the openly lesbian Nazimova. As her acting career declined, Nazimova built a complex of 25 villas around the main building in 1927 and was located at 8152 Sunset Boulevard. Apparently, the cost of construction overran the original estimate that it put Nazimova in th poorhouse By the time she had completed remodeling the house and adding the bungalow complex in 1928 she was bankrupt and forced...

Vintage Photos Added to website

Many Vintage Photos Added To Website

During the past several weeks, Bruce Torrence has add hundreds of vintage and historic Hollywood photos and images to his website,

This website is the largest collection of Hollywood photographs in the world.  There are more than 8,000 photos in the collection and they cover more than 90 subject categories.  These categories include such subjects as Restaurant/Nightclubs, Hollywood Canteen, Hollywood Blvd. and movie studios.


Twenty-five photo have been added to the Sunset Blvd. category and include images of many of the of the various stores and businesses that lined the street.  Restaurants like Cyrano’s, Dino’s and Tail of the Cock are just...

Chinese Theater History and Photos on

Grauman’s Chinese Theater History and Photos on website

Towering majestly above the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard is the wondrously impressive  Chinese Theater, the most famous motion picture theater in the world.  Completed in 1927, it was the last theater constructeerd under the auspices of Sid Grauman, probably the best known exhibitor in film history, who was alternatively (and appropriately) called “Hollywood’s Master Showman,” “The PT Barnum of The Movies,”  “The Ziegfield of Hollywood,” and “The Little Giant of Show Biz.”

After building some theaters in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Sid Grauman turned his attention to Hollywood. He contacted real estate developer, Charles...

Sunset Boulevard. Photos on

Sunset Blvd. Photos on

Sunset Blvd. is one of the oldest and longest streets in Los Angeles.  At about 24 miles in length, from the Pacific Ocean on the west to Echo Park at the east, parts of Sunset Blvd. is considered one of the most glamorous streets in the country.  Some of the finest photos of Sunset Blvd. are in the website and collection.

One of the earliest photos, of the famous street, is of the grading in the Hollywood Area.  As Hollywood began to grow, the street became the hub of some of Hollywood’s most glamorous restaurants, nightclubs and shops.

For years, a portion of Sunset Blvd. is not part of the city Los Angeles or Hollywood....

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...

Hollywoodland and the Hollywood Sign Photos

Hollywoodland and The Hollywood Sign Photos

When people around the world see the Hollywood Sigh on the Mt. Lee hillside, they usually think glamour, excitement and movies.

The real history of the sign is decidedly more grounded than this popular belief.  Ninty years ago, the sign was built as an advertisement for a new hillside real estate development following in what became a long standing Los Angeles tradition the sales and marketing of its real estate.

To promote Hollywoodland to those who lived and worked in those very lowlands, Chandler came upon the unique notion of erecting an immense billboard of sorts in the hills above the tract.  At a cost of $21,000, thirteen gargantuan letters that spelled HOLLYWOODLAND were constructed high on the chapparal-covered south-side of Mt. Lee, held in place by a ramshackle scaffold of pipes, wires, and...

Hollywood Walk of Fame History and Photographs

Hollywood Walk of Fame History and Photographs

The Hollywood Walk of Fame was conceived by a group of Hollywood Businessmen and property owners as a vehicle to afford and infinite tribute to the talented artists and artisans who create and perpetuated the Hollywood Aura.

Their objective was to build a solid foundation for future major developments in the core area of Hollywood and to ensure that Hollywood would remain the major tourist attraction in Southern California.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame – lining both sides of Hollywood from Gower St. on the east to Sycamore Ave. on the west, and both sides of Vine Street from Yucca Street on the north to Sunset Blvd. on the South – contains 2518 Charcoal Terrazzo...

Hollywood's First Movie Studio Photos

Hollywood’s First Movie Studio Photos

The distinction of having established the first motion picture studio in Hollywood goes to the Nestor Film Company of Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York.  The company was started by David Horsley and Charles Gorman in 1907 and was originally called the Cenatur Film Company.  Their first picture was “The Cowboy’s Escapade”, a one reeler released in September, 1908.  They produced a series of short films during the next two years but were frequently harassed by the Trust’s detectives.  Not wishing to continue the challenge, Gorman sold his interest to his partner’s brother, William.  The Brothers reorganized the company and the Nestor Film Company was born. On October 27, 1911, a troupe of forty members of this film company arrived in Los Angeles to produce the “Nestor” brand of films. Photos...

Hollywood Canteen activities photos

Hollywood Canteen Activities Photos

The Hollywood Canteen was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield in October 3, 1942.  Located on Cahuenga Ave., just south of Sunset Blvd., the Canteen was open to servicemen of all branches of the armed services.   The only people who were allowed to volunteer, at the Canteen, were those that were employed in the entertainment industry.  Volunteers included actors, actresses, studio secretaries, prop men, radio technicians, film editors, etc. 


Actresses, both established and starlets, volunteered as hostesses to dance and chat with servicemen during their visit to the Hollywood Canteen. Each night, two bands played on stage so the servicemen could dance with the beautiful ladies. Of all the types of dances that were popular in...

Hollywood Restaurant Photos

Hollywood Restaurant Photos

Hollywood has the best and largest collection of photos of great restaurants and nightclubs. Beginning in the 1920’s, some of the most popular and famous eateries were located in Hollywood. Armstrong- Carlton was one of the earliest and popular restaurants on Hollywood Blvd. Others included Mike Lyman, Gotham and Musso and Frank Grill and Tom Breneman’s Restaurant (RN-015-3). M

Most of the most famous restaurants in Hollywood were on the Sunset Blvd, also know as the Sunset Strip.



William “Billy” Wilkerson opened the Ciro’s nightclub on the Sunset Strip. Photo number RN-036-20 shows Ronald Reagan seating his wife, Jane Wyman at the table at Ciro’s nightspot.  Other...