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The Hollywood Photographs Blog

Vintage photos of Hollywood Theaters

Vintage Photos of Hollywood Theaters

The largest collection of Hollywood Theaters is on the website.  There are more than 1000 vintage photos, covering over fifty old theaters.


Hollywood’s First Theater

From the invention of movies in 1895, it took 15 years for movies to reach rural Hollywood. This distinction of being the first movie theater in Hollywood goes to the Idyl Hour Theater, located at 6525 Hollywood Blvd. . Established in either late 1910 or early 1911, the theater was nothing more than a converted store with chairs, a projector, and a screen. The small theater changed its name, in 1913, to the Iris theater...

Vintage Photos of the Garden of Allah Hotel Part Two

Garden of Allah Hotel

In 1938 infamous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a now famous postcard—to himself! It read, “Dear Scott, How are you? Have been meaning to come in and see you. I have living at the Garden of Allah. Yours, Scott Fitzgerald.” The writer of The Great Gatsby was living at the Garden of Allah in 1938, drowning in debt, struggling with alcoholism and the demands of screenwriting in Hollywood; he was flailing to bang out a draft for The Last Tycoon while his wife, Zelda, was rotting in a dank sanatarium back east. He justified the then costly $400 a month rent as a “business expense.” He was, in actuality, living and working under a dark, Scotch-laden hedonistic cloud. After a late night binge, Fitzgerald crawled a hundred yards from his bungalow to the front desk. The horrified clerk asked if a doctor was in order. Fitzgerald gasped in protest, “No doctor. Just get me somewhere where I can die in peace!” (Fitzgerald, subsequently,...

Vintage Photos of the Garden of Allah Hotel part one

Garden of Allah Photos 

8152 Sunset Boulevard, early 1900s: The mansion, then owned by real estate baron W.H. Hay, had forty rooms, with floors of teak, and richly carved decorations in rosewood and pale mahogany. In 1918, he leased the estate to famed Russian silent screen actress Madame Alla Nazimova, who named it The Garden of Alla. Beguiling movie audiences with her emotive performances in movies like Salome and Blood and Sand, the dark beauty was one of the highest-paid film stars of the era. She paid $50,000 for a 90-year lease on the three-and-a-half acres when Hollywood was still a small town with undeveloped tracts and plenty of dirt roads. Nazimova immediately commissioned a state-of-the-art swimming pool shaped like the Black Sea—then the biggest pool in Hollywood, and, of course, a nod to her native Yalta.

Alla Nazimova

Though nominally married, Nazimova was one of a small subculture of Hollywood actresses who were, in fact, lesbian or bisexual....