Truth Squading Quentin Tarantino's Groovy Hollywood Boulevard Makeover
Things are looking a bit different in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino has been busy transforming the neighborhood into the Tinsel Town of his youth for his next project, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood," which revolves around the Manson Family murders.
The film, starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, is set in 1969 and production crews have been meticulously converting a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard between Cherokee and Las Palmas to recreate businesses from that groovy chapter of L.A.'s history.
For those of us who grew up in L.A., it's been thrilling to revisit some its grimy glory. Tarantino has gotten some of it right. Other details, not so much. Let's look at five of the classic Hollywood facades:
When I was a kid, I was entranced by the oval sign on top of the building. I thought it was a show featuring cute kittens.
Nope. Adult movie theater.
Linda Lovelace's "Deep Throat" played there for a whopping ten years.
Los Angeles Magazine editor Chris Nichols told KPCC/LAist that although Tarantino's film is set in 1969, permits show the theater's signage went up in March 1975.
The venue was then used by the Brazilian-based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God before it was converted into the Hologram USA Hollywood Theater which opened in 2017.
Nichols has been visiting the Boulevard nightly and told us how the production crew cleverly recreated the Pussycat.
"They've built an entire facade and slipped it over like a glove on the current facade to put it back to its old appearance," he says. "Seeing those digital marquees disappear underneath the white plastic and the moveable letters is just very soothing," he adds, "I love seeing that technology come back"
PEACHES RECORDS & TAPES
Peaches took out a grand opening ad for its Hollywood location in 1974, which is to say it definitely wasn't around in 1969 either. By 1981, the LA-based chain filed a petition for bankruptcy citing $20 million in debts for its 35 stores coast to coast.
MUSSO & FRANK'S MURAL
Musso and Frank's is one of the few Hollywood locations from the era that is still up and running (and it's a great place to get a steak and a martini!) And this one is totally legit. The restaurant was opened by Frank Toulet and Joseph Musson on September 27, 1919.
But for the film, Tarantino's crew painted replicas of artist Elaine Hanelock's posters of Hollywood stars of the 1920s and 30s. This touch is pretty historically accurate, as they were published by Royal Screen Craft Incorporated in 1968.
Vintage LA's Alison Martino told KPCC/LAist they combine two trends: psychedelic art and the nostalgia for old Hollywood that emerged in the mid-60s.
SUPPLY SERGEANT NEON SIGN
Tarantino gets an A for accuracy with this one. The military surplus supply store chain was established in 1946 by a World War II veteran named Jack Arian. He opened more than 40 stores in California and Reno, Nevada, including the one at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard. The neon sign above it spans nearly thirty feet. In the late 1990s, the sign was restored with financial assistance from the City. But it hadn't been lit for some time, until Tarantino's crew came along this month.
LARRY EDMUNDS BOOKSHOP
Larry Edmunds Bookshop opened up 31 years before 1969. It specializes exclusively in movie books and memorabilia, featuring 20,000 books and roughly half a million movie photographs. Owner Jeff Mantor began working with the store in 1991 and has owned the shop since 2007. He posted the following on Facebook:
Thank you Mr. DeMille. I mean Mr. Tarantino. Once Upon A Time, I got a few minutes in front of what I have devoted my life to (the 1969 version). A legacy & the love for the movies & for my chosen home Hollywood, but most of all, for the Larry Edmunds Bookshop. It means everything & so glad it means something to other people too! Thanks Q.T. Your pal, The Lare
In addition to these five fixtures, Tarantino's crew has filled Hollywood with vintage cars, old RTD buses and billboards and posters that passersby could have actually seen back in 1969.
The total effect has been a real treat for those who know old Hollywood."It's the closest thing to a time machine," said Alison Martino. "Seeing this brought tears to my eyes because I'm seeing a Hollywood that doesn't exist anymore."
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