Friday, 4 May 2012

Hollywood Baby

We started our Hollywood trip with a drive along Sunset Boulevard, passing all the famous places like Roxy, Viper Room and House of Blues. We parked up at the Kodak Theatre, home to the Oscars, and headed straight out down the red carpet and on to Hollywood Boulevard.

First stop was Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a legendary location! Built in the 1920s by Sid Grauman, it is known worldwide as the site for countless movies premieres and the 200+ footprints on the forecourt. 

Premieres are still held here, and celebrities are still being immortalised in concrete - the last were Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson in January this year. 

Bad Boy Fresh Prince

These are HUGE!!!


From Grauman's, we headed along the walk of fame, and bumped into a few famous faces!

Shrek (on the left)

Never mess with an angry bird

Each of the stars on the walk of fame, all 2400 of them, are made of terrazzo and brass and stretch over 15 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard and Wine Street. It costs $30,000 per star - paid by the selected individual! In truth most stars are paid for by movie companies or fan groups.

There are 2 MJ stars. One is a radio presenter! 
Just checking on his £30,000 investment

No idea who she is supposed to be (the pirate before any of you come up with smart answers!) 

We stopped for a coffee in the Hollywood & Highland complex and got our first glimpse of the sign! 

Yes I know its mile away! 

And from the front we could see all the way to Downtown LA.

LA is massive! 

After a five mile (or 40 minute!!) drive we reached the mecca of shopping - Rodeo Drive!

Home to glamorous international brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, it also houses a few unique boutiques and specialist shops too.  One of these is House of Bijan - an appointment only mens 'store' that dresses world leaders, Royals and the Hollywood elite.

I've made my appointment; 1st April 2013. 

It must pay reasonably well judging by the owners wheels; the first Veyron we have seen (OK the colour isn't the best but it does match the store!)

Not too shabby
When I posed for this photo at least 2 Japanese tourists took my photo thinking I owned it - v amusing!

Our hire car turned a few heads

As we were cooing over the Veyron, two cars pulled up, both with 'STUNT' number plates. 1 man got out of the Rolls - James Stunt, the husband of Petra Ecclestone.  I guess having 2 cars to drive you around at the same time goes with the territory. They do live in the most expensive house in the America - $85m bought from the late Aaron Spelling, creator of Dynasty and Charlies Angels. As well as 15 bedrooms, the property has three hair salons, a massage room, a walk-in wardrobe so large it has a second level accessed by an internal staircase, a nightclub, cinema and a bowling alley!

Hmmm - which is the best? No contest! 
Wonder what he was called at school?
We left the crowds gathering around the cars and the store and headed off to (window) shop.
Even the signs are bling!

European inspired 'annex' to the main street

The shops were all pretty empty but the people who were around were all clutching some expensive looking carrier bags before loading them into their expensive looking cars!

All the money in the world but hasn't had any parking lessons!

Kim & Khloe Kardashian - can't even spell 'fabulous'!

A Rapide - a good 5 door family run-about.

We left the rich to boost the US economy and headed off to the Farmers Market, a permanent fixture full of all things gastronomic! A bit like Borough Market, we ate like kings! Du Pars is the best bakery by far! 

Full of goodness, we drove in search of a closer look at the Hollywood sign. Originally an advertising hoarding for a new housing developement, Hollywoodland, the sign was erected by Harry Chandler at a cost of £30,000. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of commerce bought and rebuilt the sign, loosing the 'land' from the end. 

By 1978, the sign was rotting and was at risk of being pulled down.  A number of high profile donors raised nearly $250,000 to ensure its survival and continued maintenance. Now each of the letters is 'owned' by its donor; 

H – Terrence Donnelly, publisher of the Hollywood Independent Newspaper
O – Giovanni Mazza, Italian movie producer
L – Les Kelley, originator of the Kelley Blue Book
L – Gene Autry, singer, actor and businessman
Y – Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine
W – Andy Williams, singer
O – Warner Bros. Records
O – Alice Cooper, singer and leader of the campaign to save the sign, who donated in memory of comedian Groucho Marx
D – Thomas Pooley, donated in the name of Mathew Williams.

Properly world famous!

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