LAUREL CANYON—I learned what our actor/neighbors consider Acting 101 on a recent outing. I love being a tourist in
Despite the god awful hour (7:45 a.m.) there was a crowd outside the theater. Walking there, I noticed people with cameras and tripods photographing the closed doors of the Mann’s elegantly wood carved front doors. Others make you look at what you see every day - I mean really look. The doors are usually open and there’s always a crowd milling around so you it is easy to miss the elegance.
Our group was greeted in the storm lobby. (I’m so smug about my new vocabulary.) This stuff is old hat to actors, but I embraced it. We were hosted by an army of passionate volunteer/members of the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation. We were ushered inside the theater and settled into the Reserved Seats at the “front of the house” where we were treated to a lecture accompanied by a slide show. We were talked through the history of the building. It was originally a live performance theatre, which is why they have a full stage where Disney now puts on its pre-movie live shows which hush the audience into wide-eyed wonder.
Almost all of today’s movie houses on Sunset Boulevard were built in the mid-1920s as grand “live performance theatre” houses. In 1925, the area running from
The best of all was the show stopper, Ethel, the name given to the 2500-piped Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, whose pipes are hidden behind the opera boxes and all over the “house.” Ethel, originally built for another Fox movie house, traveled to the
We got to poke around at the fly rails and look up into the fly loft. The monster curtains and backdrops disappear in a blink of the eye. Zuupp - and they’re gone!
I left with a smile plastered on my face.
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