Tag: 8152 Sunset Blvd. (page 1 of 2)

Then and Now: Proposed Towers on Garden of Allah Site on the Sunset Strip, 1930 Vs. Today

Left: rendering of the Garden of Allah Hotel tower by architects Gilbert-Stanley Underwood & Co. Inc. proposed in 1930; right: proposed mixed-use building for the same property today; (A) Intersection of Crescent Heights Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. looking southwest

Plans were unveiled this week for redeveloping the former Garden of Allah Hotel property on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The plans show a couple of high-rise buildings, including a 16 story tower. Here’s the project description from the developer’s website:

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The Garden on Sunset, by Martin Turnbull

The Garden on Sunset by Martin Turnbull

In Woody Allen’s 1985 film, “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” one of the characters in the film within the film — a black-and-white drawing-room comedy-romance from Hollywood’s golden age — breaks through the fourth wall and emerges from the screen so he can experience the real world.

A new, ongoing series of novels written by Martin Turnbull and set at the Garden of Allah Hotel in Hollywood do just the opposite. They transport readers through the literary fourth wall back in time so they can experience life as it may have been in Hollywood’s golden era.

Relying on rigorous period research and a powerful imagination, Turnbull has created a fully realized, unromanticized vision of this bygone world. In The Garden on Sunset, the first in the series, we get the glitz and glamour inside the Movie Colony as well as the grit and grime of the grim world outside the Colony’s imaginary gates.

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Errol Flynn’s Typical Day at the Garden of Allah

Errol Flynn in a swimming pool* with a beer

From the Errol Flynn Blog:

My dear fellow Flynnians,

I just finished the 1970 edition of Sheilah Graham’s book, “The Garden of Allah” [in which she describes Errol Flynn’s life at the hotel].

Former Garden owner Frank Ehrhart recalled that Errol had a strict regimen: At 12:30 p.m., his secretary would set up a bottle of champagne and two glasses on a table among the chaise lounges by the pool.

An hour later, Flynn would appear wearing a blue blazer with white or grey pants and an ascot and mingle with his friends and neighbors who were lounging by the pool.

Before too long, he would approach a beautiful young woman and ask, “My child, will you have a glass of champagne?”

By then all eyes were on them wondering how long it would take Errol to get the girl into his villa.

*The photo was not taken at the Garden of Allah, and that is not the Garden of Allah pool.

Lucius Beebe on Aging

“High blood pressure, cheeriness at breakfast, a mellowing political philosophy, and an inability to drink more than half a bottle of proof spirits at cocktail time without falling over the fire irons all suggest dark wings hovering overhead and the impending midnight croak of the raven.”

– Lucius Beebe, frequent Garden of Allah Hotel resident

Then & Now: Garden of Allah Hotel Looking South from Sunset

Top: The Garden of Allah which occupied a 3.5 acre site on the Sunset Strip between Crescent Heights and Havenhurst Avenue, as it appeared in 1935. Bottom: The Garden was bulldozed in 1959 to make way for the 1960s-style shopping center that is there now. It was a blight on the landscape the minute it was completed, and remains one today.

The Garden of Allah Hotel was located at 8152 Sunset Blvd. [map].

The Garden of Allah, by Sheilah Graham

Sheilah Graham’s The Garden of Allah, a history of the famed hotel that anchored the eastern end of the Sunset Strip, is a must for any reading list on the history of Hollywood’s golden age in general and the Strip specifically. Graham unfolds the story of the hotel in roughly chronological order, but she was a gossip columnist, so the book reads like a series of columns, many of which focus on gossip and anecdotes (a number of which involve society people who are long forgotten) — rather than a comprehensive history of the hotel.

Kirkus Review:

More Hollywood gossip glorified by all the beautiful people that were, and since columnist Graham is usually just grateful to have known them all, she rarely indulges in tit for tattletale. The Garden of Allah, originally Alla Nazimova’s home, was converted into the main house (you were nobody if you stayed there) and twenty-five villas back in 1926. It seems to have offered opulence, poor maid service, late afternoon and all night festivities and an open “”liquor closet.”” It would be hard to say whether anyone has been left out of the hotel register–it would seem not–but Miss Graham concentrates on that benign presence, Robert Benchley (two chapters), one of course on “Scott” [Fitzgerald] who didn’t really belong there, a less kindly inset on Dorothy Parker, with later comers Bogart, Sinatra, Faulkner, etc. closing the book before the Garden of Allah became just a residence for hookers and a tatty specter of its former self. The book will be illustrated and it will be read even if much of it is a reprise from what’s around in the public domain.

The Garden of Allah was published in 1970 and is out of print, but used hardbacks are widely available, including from Alibris.

Video: Tiles Under Site of Garden of Allah May Be All That’s Left of Long-Gone Sunset Strip Hotel

From CurbedLA.

I added this comment on the site:

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Photo: Nazimova and Her Goddaughter, Nancy Davis, at the Garden of Allah in 1944

Hollywood 1944: Glesca, Nazimova in her favorite “Chinese coolie” hat and goddaughter Nancy Davis (later Reagan)

That’s Alla Nazimova, age 65, in the center, her long time companion Glesca Marshall to the left and Nazimova’s goddaughter Nancy Davis, age 23, future first lady of the United States, standing at right. This was probably taken in Los Angeles, maybe even on the grounds of the Garden of Allah, about a year before Nazimova died.

Footage of the Garden of Allah Hotel Not Long Before It Was Demolished

This clip is from August 1959.

Alla Nazimova’s Launch Party for Garden of Allah Hotel

The Garden of Allah Hotel campus, viewed looking southeast. Photo is undated but probably late 1930s. High-rise in upper right is the Colonial Apartments on Havenhurst, which is still standing

Los Angeles came late to the historic preservation movement. The landmarks that have fallen to the wrecking balls is nothing less than tragic. The Sunset Strip has been luckier. Chateau Marmont and the Sunset Tower are standing and in fine fettle. Low-rise apartment building where notables like Marilyn Monroe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Dandridge lived are still in use. The building made world-famous as Ciro’s night club in the 1940s was repurposed decades ago as the Comedy Store. Even the one-time home of Cafe Gala, Judy Garland’s favorite gay bar, on Horn Avenue north of the Strip, is still standing, although it has dark since Spago’s vacated the building and moved to Beverly Hills location.

The razing of the Garden was thought to have inspired the line “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” in Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Mitchell, who moved to Los Angeles well after the shopping center was built, has said she was writing about a trip to Hawaii.

One significant loss, however, was the Garden of Allah, the most legendary and notorious of all the Strip hotels, which was razed in 1959 to make way for the bank building that is there now.

The Garden of Allah was originally an estate called Hayvenhurst, built in 1913, at 8150 Sunset Blvd. [map], at the northwest corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset — at the western terminus of the Sunset trolley line — it occupied a 2.5-acre park-like campus of villas built around an enormous swimming pool and the main house, which housed the restaurant and bar.

The buildings were torn down, the landscaping ripped out and a concrete parking lot was poured on top of the once-magical grounds — an event that was thought to have inspired the line “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” in Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Mitchell, who moved to Los Angeles well after the shopping center was built, has said she was writing about a trip to Hawaii.

In January 1927, the opening of the hotel was celebrated in typical Hollywood style, as described in the Los Angeles Times many years later:

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