Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hollywood Palladium Then

Halloween 1940 saw the grand opening of the Hollywood Palladium. Here's what the Los Angeles Times says today:

"Dorothy Lamour was there to snip the ribbon, spangled with orchids, and as Jack Benny, Judy Garland and Lana Turner looked on, hundreds of couples danced the jitterbug on a 11,200-square-foot dance floor made of maple wood.With its coral and chromium interior, Streamlined Moderne swoops and shimmering chandeliers, the Palladium that night must have seemed like a dreamy refuge in a world that was growing darker by the day."

For the last half of October, workers were toiling 24 hours a day on the club. Here's what the Times said on October 30, 1940:

"Polish and was were being put on the dance floor...

"Tommy Dorsey and his band were rehearsing...[no mention of their unknown vocalist, Frank Sinatra!]

"Waiters were assembling glassware, linen, silverware...

"Throughout the $1,000,000 building...Workmen were hanging Halloween decorations, electricians were finishing installation of indirect lighting equipment, air-conditioning machinery was checked for operating efficiency. "Arrangements to handle an opening crowd of 7500 persons, with dining space for 1000 more around the dance floor were nearly ready...Equipment alone for the building has cost nearly $500,000...Sunset Blvd. from Gower to Vine Sts. will be a blaze of light, spotlighted by 50 giant arc lights."

Another article reported that "by means of an illumination device, there appears to be a misty group of damsels dancing in a cloud of stars. Another effect is 'Color Symphonies' , a sparkling spectrum of 16 hues played on a color keyboard in harmony with the music."

There was also that 200-ft bar in back of the balcony, the dance floor of spiraled maple that cost $10,000, and the dome-topped main cocktail lounge.

The photo above is from the Los Angeles Public Library's Herald Examiner photo collection, and was taken by Gil Harris on December 4, 1940. Tommy Dorsey and his band once again had the crowd on the dance floor.

The Sunday Times of 10/5/2008 ran a photo montage of the Palladium, covering the 1940 opening to the 2008 re-opening.

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