Early Views of the Hollywood Bowl

 
View of the Hollywood Bowl as seen from Mulholland Drive. In the background can be seen Hollywood, the Wilshire corridor and Downtown Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

Although people often think the name Hollywood Bowl refers to the dome-shaped band shell on the stage, it is actually a reference to the natural bowl-shaped area surrounded by the Hollywood Hills formerly known as the Daisy Dell.

The 59 acre Bolton Canyon site was originally purchased circa 1918 by the Theatre Arts Alliance Inc. for $47,500 to build a community park and art center. They originally called it "The Park".^^

Christine Wetherill Stevenson, president of Theatre Arts Alliance, wanted the Alliance to focus on religious productions such as the Pilgrimage Play. When her partners objected to limiting the site's use to religious productions, she sold them her share of the property and built the theater across the street that became the Pilgrimage Theatre (later the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre) to host her show.^

Christine Stevenson was an heiress of the Pittsburgh Paint Company. A 32-foot-high steel cross, at 2580 Cahuenga Boulevard was erected in 1923 to the memory of Miss Stevenson.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)^* - View of the large hillside on which the Bowl would be built. There are two or three small wooden buildings at center on a part of the hill that has been cleared of trees. The hillside at left is still wooded and in the distance at left, parts of the city of Hollywood are visible.  

 

Historical Notes

The picture file card reads "Property of the Hollywood Bowl Association" photo circa 1918 when they acquired the property. The property was acquired in three separate parcels "the entry Pepper Tree Lane ( from a postman and his wife); the parking lot, called Daisy Bell, from Mrs. Hershey; and the balance, including the Bowl itself, from a carpet cleaning company. The building in the photo belonged to the carpet cleaning company".^*

 

 

 
(1920)^* - The first known performance in Daisy Dell (now the Hollywood Bowl). Gertrude Ross and Anna Ruzena Sprotte on a simple stage in the bowl-shaped canyon.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1920, Soprano Anna Ruzena Sprotte and composer/pianist Gertrude Ross trucked in a piano to test the acoustics from a platform at the bottom of the hill to figure out how best to situate the stage. This is the first known performance in Daisy Dell.^

In 1920, Community Park and Art Association was established, replacing the Theatre Arts Alliance. Artie Mason Carter, secretary of the Association, lead the effort to develop community support of the proposed theatre.**

In 1920, the site was first referred to as the "Hollywood Bowl."

 

 

 
(1921)* - First Easter sunrise service in the Bowl. Photo captions reads: "L.A. Philharmonic greets dawn at Hollywood Bowl's first Easter service."  

 

Historical Notes:

In 1921, the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed its first Easter Sunrise Service at the Hollywood Bowl site in a program presented from a small wooden platform. Eight-hundred people filled the site’s wooden benches; the rest of the attendees settled themselves on blankets among the hillside’s weeds and grass.^^

 

 

 
(1921)#** – View showing an orchestra performing on a wood stage at the Hollywood Bowl with what appears to be a choir behind it.  Note how the stage is positioned on top of a dirt mound.  

 

 

 

 
(1921)** – View of the Women’s World Peace Meeting on November 21, 1921.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1921)** – Postcard view showing stage construction and benches at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)* - Hundreds of attendants sit in wooden benches for the 75th Anniversary Jubilee, Lutheran Missouri Synod held at the Hollywood Bowl on May 7, 1922.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1921)*# – Panoramic view showing a Band Concert. Note the slanted wooden benches on the hill in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Before the establishment of an official season, Daisy Dell (now Hollywood Bowl) was used for presentations of choral programs, pageants, Shakespeare plays, and band concerts. Most of the proceeds were used to fund the Bowl's first concert season. ***

 

 

 

 
(ca 1921)* - View of a Rotary Club meeting held at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)* - Around 50,000 people gathered for the Easter sunrise service in the Hollywood Bowl. An even larger crowd was expected there on Easter morning when the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra played for the worshipers. The Hollywood Bowl would officially be opened four months later on July 11, 1922.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)^*# – Postcard view of the Hollywood Bowl showing its new covered wooden stage.  The large open space to the right is a parking lot.  In the upper center-right can be seen the Pilgrimage Play Theatre (later John Anson Ford Theatre).  

 

Historical Notes

The Pilgrimage Amphitheatre was built in 1920. The author, Christine Wetherill Stevenson, believed the rugged beauty of the Cahuenga Pass would provide a dramatic outdoor setting for The Pilgrimage Play. Together with Mrs. Chauncey D. Clark, she purchased this land along with that on which the Hollywood Bowl now sits. A wooden, outdoor amphitheater was built on this site and the play was performed by noted actors every summer from 1920 to 1929, until the original structure was destroyed by a brush fire in October 1929.

In 1976, the Pilgrimage Theatre was renamed the John Anson Ford Theatre in honor of the late L.A. County Supervisor's significant support of the arts.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^^^ – The Hollywood Bowl is filled with spectators as a performance is under way under the makeshift stage housing.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)* - Concert by Rosa Paniella at the Hollywood Bowl prior to its official opening. Note the full parking lot to the right of the stage.  

 

 

 

 

 
(July 11, 1922)* - Hollywood Bowl at first Symphony Under the Stars. This was the "Bowl's" official opening and was on the site of a natural amphitheater formerly known as the Daisy Dell.  

 

Historical Notes

On July 11, 1922, with the audience seated on simple wooden benches placed on the natural hillsides of Bolton Canyon, conductor Alfred Hertz and the Los Angeles Philharmonic inaugurated the first season of music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl was very close to its natural state, with only makeshift wooden benches for the audience, and eventually a simple awning over the stage.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)^* - View looking toward the stage from an upper row of seats. The stage of the Hollywood Bowl is shown at center, bordered on each side by columns. Curved rows of bleacher-like seats sit to the left of the camera, while in front of it are rows of box seats. A group of several people stands in the front rows of the center and right sections of seats.  

 

Historical Notes

The first 150 box seats were built in front of the bench seating sections in 1923.

 

 

 

 
(1920s)*** - View showing a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Spectators in the rear seats have their umbrellas open. The stage was embellished with classical designs including Greek columns, pergolas and urns. The Pilgrimage Play Theatre is seen in the distance (upper-right)  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, since its official opening in 1922. Tickets were 25 cents.^^

 

 

 

 
(1922)*** - A pre-season performance of Bizet's Carmen is presented; the evening's proceeds are used to pay for the Hollywood Bowl's first seats.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)** – View from behind the stage. Note how the seating area has been expanded.  

 

 

 

 
(1923)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl as seen from the top of the seating, looking down towards the stage.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1923, the Hollywood Bowl’s first 150 boxes were built.

Also in 1923, the Hollywood Bowl’s debt was paid off and the mortgage burned on the Bowl’s stage. Among the donors who helped retire the debt were perennial presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, who made a $100 donation.^^

 

 

 
(1923)** – Protesting roadwork on Highland Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

With the re-paving of Highland Avenue sure to disrupt the Hollywood Bowl’s season, Bowl leader Artie Mason Carter took to the streets to protest the city’s work. She and another woman manned “battle positions” in rocking chairs (with their knitting) in the middle of Highland Avenue and refused to allow crews to break up the street. The result? Paving was rescheduled for the 1923 Bowl’s off-season.^^

 

 

 
(1924)^^^ – Postcard view showing several groups of women standing on Pepper Tree Lane, the entrance pathway to the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1924, the Hollywood Bowl land and property was deeded to the County of Los Angeles to safeguard the Bowl for future generations.  The Hollywood Bowl Association was established as the theatre's governing organization.^^

 

 

 
(1924)^^^ – View of Pepper Tree Lane, looking west, Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - The hillside is being excavated to provide increased capacity and permanent seating at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1926, a group known as the Allied Architects was contracted to re-grade the Bowl, providing permanent seating and a shell. These improvements did provide increased capacity (the all-time record for attendance was set in 1936, when 26,410 people crowded into the Bowl to hear opera singer Lily Pons), but were otherwise disappointing, as the re-grading noticeably degraded the natural acoustics.*^

Pasadena architect and Rose Bowl designer Myron Hunt created an elliptical form for the Hollywood Bowl’s seating amphitheater. His layout features monumental stairways that reinforce the seating area’s dramatic balloon shape, which has been described as being “poised to fill with music and ascend.”^^

 

 

 
(1926)^* - View of an orchestra in the center ring of the Hollywood Bowl shortly before the first shell was built. A small orchestra is pictured at center, in the middle of an open-air circle of grass. Past them, the seats along the nearby slope are nearly all filled. In the foreground, an automobile can be seen parked below the stage.      

 

Historical Notes

1925 saw the first radio broadcasts from the Hollywood Bowl. The Los Angeles Philharmonic was the first major symphony orchestra in the United States to broadcast an entire concert on the radio.**

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)*** - The first radio broadcasts are transmitted from the Bowl. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is the first major symphony orchestra in the United States to broadcast an entire concert on the radio.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)^* - View of the Hollywood Bowl, showing the symphony from behind. Plants hang over a wooden fence in the foreground while the musicians of the symphony sit and face their conductor at center. Thousands of people view the concert from the stadium seats across the background. Hills stand at the top of the seats.  

 

Historical Notes

About 20,000 people watch the Hollywood Bowl dedication concert from new, permanent seats. The amphitheater space, deepened and filled with a concrete foundation featuring long aisles and pathways, wraps around an enlarged stage. These improvements mark the first $100,000 of a million-dollar improvement plan.*#

 

 

 
(1926)^* - The Hollywood Bowl, showing the symphony from backstage. The timpani player stands over his instrument in the right foreground. The symphony sits with their instruments at rest as they face their director at center. He faces the crowd in the background. Thousands of people sit in the stadium with a grassy hill behind them.   

 

Historical Notes

With the completion of the Pacific Electric Railway on Highland Avenue, the Bowl became more accessible and saw an increase in attendance.

 

 

 
(1926)*** - Full house at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^^ – View of the stage setting for "Julius Caesar.” Note how far the stage set is extended up the hillside, both behind and on the side of the Bowl. Set design by Lloyd Wright.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1926, an elaborate performance of the play Julius Caesar was staged as a benefit for the Actors' Fund of America at the Hollywood Bowl. Caesar arrived for the Lupercal in a chariot drawn by four white horses. The stage was the size of a city block and dominated by a central tower eighty feet in height.*^

 

 

 
(1926)* - Stage play of "Julius Caesar" being performed at the Hollywood Bowl. Directed by Gordon Craig.  

 

Historical Notes

The 1926 Julius Caesar production was mainly aimed at creating work for unemployed actors. Three hundred gladiators appeared in an arena scene not featured in Shakespeare's play; a similar number of girls danced as Caesar's captives; a total of three thousand soldiers took part in the battle sequences.*^

 

 

 
(1926)* - Hollywood Bowl before the shell was added. In place of the shell there is an elaborate stage set.
 

 

 

 

Hollywood Bowl's First Shell

 
(1926)* - The Hollywood Bowl's first shell shortly after its completion. View is from the top of the seating area looking down towards the stage. It was designed by Myron Hunt.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1926, the first rendition of the venue’s iconic proscenium shell was built. The original shell was deemed acoustically unsatisfactory (as well as visually unfashionable, with its murals of sailing ships). It would be torn down at the end of the season.

 

 

 

 
(1926)*# - Close-up view showing the original Hollywood Bowl Shell.  

 

Historical Notes

Pasadena architect and Rose Bowl designer Myron Hunt created the elliptical form for the Hollywood Bowl's seating amphitheater. His layout featured monumental stairways that reinforced the seating area's dramatic balloon shape, which was described as being "poised to fill with music and ascend." ***

 

 

 

 
(1926)*## – Close-up view showing Hollywood Bowl’s first shell shortly after it was completed. Note the mural and designs on the front face of bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - Orchestra practicing at the Hollywood Bowl with its new Myron Hunt designed shell.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - Another view of the Hollywood Bowl's new shell.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - View is looking from the top of the hill towards the seating and inner shell of the Hollywood Bowl. Myron Hunt was the architect of this beautiful open-air theater.  

 

 

 

Hollywood Bowl's 2nd Shell

 
(1927)^^^ - View of the Pyramid-shaped shell of the Hollywood Bowl. This was the Bowl's 2nd Shell.  

 

Historical Notes

For the 1927 season, Lloyd Wright (the son of Frank Lloyd Wright), built a pyramidal shell, with a vaguely Southwestern look, out of left-over lumber from a production of Robin Hood. This was generally regarded as the best shell the Bowl ever had from an acoustic standpoint; unfortunately, its appearance was deemed too avant-garde, and it was demolished at the end of the season. It did, however, get Wright a second chance, this time with the stipulation that the shell was to have an arch shape.*^

 

 

Hollywood Bowl's 3rd Shell

 
(1928)*** – View showing the construction of a new Lloyd Wright designed Bowl Shell.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl Association gave Lloyd Wright instructions to design a semi-circular shell and tackle the dual issues of acoustics and aesthetics. The shell consisted of nine concentric segmented arches, which could be "tuned" panel by panel. The shell was at the forefront of the Streamline Moderne movement and was an acoustic success. ***

 

 

 

 
(1928)* - View of Hollywood Bowl's shell, stage, and the mountains behind it. This was the Bowl's 3rd Shell.  

 

Historical Notes

For the 1928 season, Wright built a fiberglass shell in the shape of concentric 120-degree arches, with movable panels inside that could be used to tune the acoustics. It was designed to be easily dismantled and stored between concert seasons; apparently for political reasons this was not done, and it did not survive the winter.*^

 

 

 
(1928)* - View of Hollywood Bowl's shell, stage, seating and adjacent hills with development. Built in 1928. Architect: Lloyd Wright.  

 

Historical Notes

1928 saw the first commercial outdoor recording of a symphony orchestra: Eugene Goosens conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (Victor Records).**

 

 

 
(1928)^* – A group of adults facing an even a larger group of young ladies who appear to be holding tulips. In the background can be seen a parking lot full of cars.  

 

Historical Notes

In the upper-center of photo is a large sign that reads: "Hollywood Bowl – Home of the World Famous 'Symphonies Under the Stars' – Orchestra of 100 – Famous Soloists – Celebrated Conductors – 1928 Series – July 10 thru Sept 1 – Admission 50 cents."

 

 

 
(1928)* - Easter sunrise service in the Hollywood Bowl without the shell.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)*** - The Hollywood Bowl is overflowing in this view of the 1929 Easter sunrise service. The surrounding hillside is also covered with people.  

 

 

Hollywood Bowl's 4th Shell

 
(1929)* - Postcard view of the Hollywood Bowl during the construction of its 4th shell.  

 

Historical Notes

For the 1929 season, Allied Architects built the shell that stood until 2003, using a transite skin over a metal frame. Its acoustics, though not nearly as good as those of the Lloyd Wright shells, were deemed satisfactory at first, and its clean lines and white, almost-semicircular arches were copied for music shells elsewhere. As the acoustics deteriorated, various measures were used to mitigate the problems, starting with an inner shell made from large cardboard tubes (of the sort used as forms for round concrete pillars) in the 1970s, which were replaced in the early 1980s by large fiberglass spheres (both designed by Frank Gehry) that remained until 2003. These dampened out the unfavorable acoustics, but required massive use of electronic amplification to reach the full audience, particularly since the background noise level had risen sharply since the 1920s.*^

 

 

 

 
(1929)*** – Postcard view showing the newly completed Shell and Stage of the Hollywood Bowl, its 4th.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by the engineering firm of Elliot, Bowen, and Waltz and built by Allied Architects, this 55-ton shell became an architectural icon. The massive shell was mounted on rails which allowed it to be moved by tractors. Although this shell was ultimately replaced due to issues with acoustics and deterioration, the gracefully curved form became the signature shape of the Bowl shell. ***

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - View is looking at the Hollywood Bowl's shell from the rear, and the seating beyond.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)^^^ - View of the Hollywood Bowl as seen from the top rows of bleachers.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - Close-up view of the Hollywood Bowl. An orchestra rehearses on stage under the new shell.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - Close-up view of the Hollywood Bowl. An orchestra rehearses on stage. Photograph dated July 12, 1929.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - A slightly higher aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl during the same rehearsal.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl as seen from behind the shell, facing the seating areas on the hillside.  

 

Historical Notes

The appearance of the shell underwent several purely visual changes over the years, including the addition of a broad outer arch (forming a proscenium) where it had once had only a narrow rim.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^^^ - Hollywood Bowl seen from the back of its recently modified shell towards the spectator seating. Note the newly constructed multi-story home on the hillside above the stands.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)* - View of the open-air Hollywood theatre showing the front of the slightly modified shell.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1932, Jascha Heifetz, considered the 20th century’s greatest violinist, made his Hollywood Bowl debut,
returning many times throughout the years. In 1963, he performed Brahms’ Double Concerto with
master cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. ***

 

Hollywood Bowl Shells (1926-1929)

 

 

 

 

(1926-1929)^^* - Within a short span of 4 years, the Hollywood Bowl would see four different shell designs, all with the intent of improving the acoustics.

The 1929-designed shell would last until 2003.

Click HERE to see the 2004 Hollywood Bowl Shell (in use today).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca.1928)* - Cars travel in both directions through the Cahuenga Pass near the Hollywood Bowl. Note the cost of parking on the sign to to right.  

 

Historical Notes

A new freeway adjacent to the Hollywood Bowl was to built a dozen years later. The Hollywood Freeway would be built in stages. The first segment built was a one and a half mile stretch through the Cahuenga Pass. That segment opened on June 15, 1940. It was then known as the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway." The next section of the freeway that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown Los Angeles opened on April 16, 1954. The final section, north of the Ventura Freeway to the Golden State Freeway was completed in 1968.*^

Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of this freeway until 1952.*^

 

 

 
(1930)^#^ - Aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl looking east. The neighborhood of Whitley Heights is at the center of photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)* - Looking down into the site of the future Pilgrimage Play Theatre, revealing the Cahuenga Pass and the Hollywood Bowl in the background. The new structure will resemble the architecture of the Holy Land for the purposes of the play performed there. The previous amphitheater on the site was built in 1920, but a brush fire in October 1929 destroyed that wooden structure.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1976, the Pilgrimage Theatre was renamed the John Anson Ford Theatre in honor of the late L.A. County Supervisor's significant support of the arts. John Anson Ford (1883–1983) helped found the L.A. County Arts Commission, encouraged the Board of Supervisors to support the building of the Music Center and led the County's acquisition of Descanso Gardens, among many other achievements.*^

 

 

 
(1931)* - A banner advertising a Hollywood Bowl summer concert with conductor Alfred Hertz stretches over Broadway packed with pedestrians, streetcars and traffic.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1932)^^# - Panoramic view of the Hollywood Bowl filled to capacity during Easter Services. The audience faces the stage where the service is being conducted, from both their seats in the bowl and on the surrounding hills. The very full parking lots are visible in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1934)***  - German director Max Reinhardt directs a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The Hollywood Bowl's shell is moved, and tons of earth is hauled in to construct a hill for the forest setting.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1934, legendary European producer/director Max Reinhardt's lavish production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream drew 200,000 people over its 10 performances at the Bowl. The huge cast featured Mickey Rooney as Puck, Olivia de Havilland as Hermia, and Walter Connelly as Bottom.***

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)^^^ - View of an empty Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1934, Alfred Hertz conducted his 100th concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

In 1936, the attendance record of 26,410 for a single concert was set by French soprano Lily Pons. The Bowl's seating capacity was 20,000 at that time.^^

 

 

 

 
(1935)#^^ - The Hollywood Bowl shell gets a new coat of paint for the first time in three years. Martin Sipma uses a spray gun as workmen steady his ladder. LA Times - July 6, 1935  

 

 

 

 

 
(1936)^*^^ - Postcard view showing the Hollywood Bowl with empty seats and empty parking lot.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)^^^ – Postcard view of Vesper Service at the Hollywood Bowl.  Note the full parking lot in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)^* - - Looking toward the orchestra during a nighttime concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)^* - Looking over the orchestra toward the audience during the Symphony Under the Stars.  Photo by "Dick" Whittington.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)^* - A huge crowd gathers at the Hollywood Bowl for a Symphony Under the Stars.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)^^# - Panoramic view from the back of the Hollywood Bowl, facing the stage, of the George Gershwin memorial concert, which took place two months after the composer's death. The stage is filled by a full orchestra and multiple pianos. A view from the back of the Hollywood Bowl, located at 2301 North Highland in Los Angeles, facing the stage, of the George Gershwin memorial concert, which took place two months after the composer's death. The stage is filled by a full orchestra and multiple pianos. Photo date: September 8, 1937.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)^* - Postcard view showing an empty Hollywood Bowl, “Seating Capacity: 20,000”  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)** – View showing the Hollywood Bowl box office.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - The bowl shell has been removed for this performance of Butterfly (Puccini) at the Hollywood Bowl,.  

 

Historical Notes

Madame Butterfly was  performed for a sold out crowd of 22,000 on August 9, 1938. The stage set contained a building designed to look like a traditional paper and wood Japanese house (left) and an arched bridge leading off stage (center). This performance stressed authenticity as can be seen by the decorations on the Shoji screens.*

 

 

 
(1938)* - Arriving for Madame Butterfly at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

Carla Peroni conducted the opera, Hizi Koyke stared as Cho Cho San to rave reviews, and Mario Chamlee played Pinkerton. A sign on the stage reads "Please keep quiet" and the orchestra pit is empty, but people are starting to fill the boxes.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)* - Evening view of the Hollywood Bowl hillside seating area, without the shell.
 

 

 

 

 
(1940)^* - Panoramic view of the Hollywood Bowl at night, showing spectators.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)*## – View showing newly paved driveway at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl, with large wooden sign on the dirt embankment.  

 

 

 

Muse of Music Sculpture

 
(ca. 1938)* - Caption reads, "This model shows the setting for the statue at the entrance to the Bowl. The work is progressing as part of the W.P.A. Federal Art Project."    

 

Historical Notes

In 1939, the Hollywood Bowl’s “Muse of Music” entrance statue was erected by the WPA at a cost of $100,000. It was designed by sculptor George Stanley, most noted for his design of the “Oscar” statuette.*

 

 

 

 

 

(1939)* - Construction of  the Hollywood Bowl's "Muse of Music" sculpture at the entrance to the bowl.

 

(1939)* - The Hollywood Bowl's "Muse of Music" sculpture (completed July, 1939).

 

 

 

 

  (ca. 1940)^^^ - View of the entrance to the Hollwood Bowl showing the "Muse of Music" sculpture designed by George Stanley.

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)*** – Two women stand in front of the newly built Muse of Music sculpture at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

Sculptor George Stanley designed the Muse of Music, a 15-foot-high granite fountain, which is built at the entrance of the Hollywood Bowl. The statue wase rected and paid for by the WPA at a cost of $100,000. Stanley is also known for his Oscar statuette, which is another prime example of Streamline Moderne style. ***

 

 

 
(1940)* – Side view of the “Music of Music” Sculpture and reflection pool.  Photo by:  Otto Rothschild  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^ - Postcard view of the Hollywood Bowl Entrance at dusk.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)* - Night view of the statue at the Hollywood Bowl entrance on July 10, 1940.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^ - Postcard view of the "Muse of Music" Statue at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)* - Night view of the statue and sign at the Hollywood Bowl entrance on July 10, 1940.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^ - Postcard view of the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl. Note the Gruen Watch signboard.  

 

 

 

Before and After

 
 
   

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1938)*#^ - Looking southeast at Whitley Heights across the intersection of Cahuenga Boulevard (foreground and to the left) and Highland Avenue to the right. Seriously complicated solution to the traffic pattern will be largely eliminated in the coming realignment and widening of Caheunga. Entrance to the Hollywood Bowl is just beyond the shoulder of the hill on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

The first segment of the Hollywood Freeway built was a one and a half mile stretch through the Cahuenga Pass. That segment opened on June 15, 1940. It was then known as the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway." Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of this freeway until 1952.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^* - View from across the street of the Hollywood Bowl. Cars and trucks can be seen below on a paved road in the foreground. Most of the automobiles are traveling to the right. A few buildings are visible on a tree- and bush-filled mountain just beyond the road. The seating area of the Hollywood Bowl can be seen on the side of the mountain at right. A portion of the stage is also visible at far right.  

 

 

 

 
(1940)^* - Aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl, showing nearby houses and mountain trails.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^ - View looking north showing the Hollywood Bowl and also the Pilgrimage Play Theatre located on the other side of Cahuenga Pass (right-center of photo).  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^** - View of an empty Hollywood Bowl. The hills behind the bowl have been shaved off to enlarge the parking footprint.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1942)^^^- Postcard view of the Hollywood Bowl and its 20,000 seats.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^ - Aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl circa 1940s.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1941)* - Photo captions read: "Hollywood Bowl--getting face lifted for July 14 opener: It's pictured in night scene; Bowl enthusiasts will find new 'Meet Me There' circle and other innovations." "Picturesque Hollywood Bowl, home of the 'Symphonies Under the Stars,' will be the scene of a new series between July 15 and Sept. 7. The bowl is shown below with its beautiful panorama of light, color and music."  

 

Historical Notes

In 1942, Hollywood Bowl audiences were limited to 5,000 due to war-related safety concerns.

In 1943, Frank Sinatra's Hollywood Bowl debut on August 14 was the first appearance by a pop singer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In 1945, conductor and arranger Johnny Green made his Hollywood Bowl debut, ultimately performing 77
American musical theatre pops concerts at the Bowl over 39 years.

In 1946, Leopold Stokowski named Hollywood Bowl's first Music Director.***

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^ - Postcard view of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^ - View of an empty stage and shell at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1943)*#* - Frank Sinatra's Hollywood Bowl debut on August 14, 1943 was the first appearance by a pop singer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1942)*** – Men and women in uniform salute during a War Bonds event at the Hollywood Bowl. The event was sponsored by the LA Times.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1942, Hollywood Bowl audiences were limited to 5,000 due to war-related safety concerns.

 

 

 
(1944)**^ - Spotlights abound at a War Bonds event at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

On June 14th, 1944, radio actors and actresses performed at the Hollywood Bowl during a war bond program.  CBS broadcast the event.*

 

 

 
(1944)* - An orchestra accompanies radio actors and actresses during a war bond program that was broadcast live.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - A graduation ceremony takes place at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

Hollywood High School held its first graduation at the Hollywood Bowl in 1920 and has continued to do so each year since then.

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Hollwyood High School graduation ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl.^*  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)^* – View of the entrance and driveway leading to the Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue.  

 

 

 

 
(1949)*^* – View looking down toward the Hollywood Bowl showing the shell and an empty parking lot behind it. The building complex across Cahuenga Pass is the Franciscan Hotel (no longer there).  

 

 

 

 
(1950)**^ - A large 'blind' is used to shield the orchestra from the hot sun during rehearsals.  

 

 

 

 
(1951)^* - View showing ballerinas preparing for a dress rehearsal of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.  

 

Historical Notes

Five performances of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus opened the 1951 season at the Hollywood Bowl. With the Bowl on the brink of financial collapse, this unpopular and costly production precipitated an abrupt cancellation of the remainder of the season.***

 

 

 
(1951)*^^ - Thousands attend the reopening of the Hollywood Bowl made possible by the virtuoso fundraising efforts of Dorothy Chandler on July 26, 1951.  

 

Historical Notes

Dorothy Buffum Chandler, head of an Emergency Committee, successfully raised funds and rallied support for the Bowl from throughout the world, allowing the season to resume 12 days later. This is the only time Bowl season was interrupted.***

 

 

 
(1951)* - Under the shell of the Hollywood Bowl, Alfred Wallenstein conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in a triumphant reopening of the Symphonies Under the Stars. The concerts were resumed after a reorganization of policy.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1951)* - Bird's eye view of the Hollywood Freeway through the Cahuenga Pass, looking towards the Valley. The Cahuenga Tunnel under Highland Avenue can be seen at lower center-left. The "Muse of Music" Statue at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl is visible just to the left of the tunnel as is part of the Hollywood Bowl shell (center-left).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)*** – Aerial view showing the Hollywood Bowl and the end of the Cahuenga Pass Freeway (Hollywood Freeway). The freeway would soon be extended all the way to Downtown L.A.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1953)* - View looking north showing the construction progress of the Hollywood Freeway through Cahuenga Pass (Phas II) with the Pilgrimage Bridge in the background. Highland Avenue is seen on the left near the front entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

With the completion of the Hollywood Freeway near the Bowl, the environment was altered, creating more ambient traffic noise around the venue.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1953)++# – Postcard view showing the "Muse of Music" sculpture at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1953)*** - The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus perform on the Hollywood Bowl’s stage complete with elephants, flying trapeze, and cannons.  Note that the Hollywood Bowl shell has been moved to the side (on the left).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1954)* - Aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl nestled in the mountains on the right, the Hollywood Freeway and Cahuenga Pass are on the left. View is looking toward Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)*^*# – Aerial view showing a slightly different angle of the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)*^* -  View of the Hollywood Bowl during a political campaign speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 19, 1956.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)* - The graceful arch of the famed Hollywood Bowl looms behind President Eisenhower (arrow) as he addresses the throng in the outdoor amphitheater on October 20, 1956. He ripped apart every facet of the Stevenson-Kefauver campaign proposals, especially the H-bomb test abolishment.  

 

 

 

 
(1957)^* – Looking over the orchestra toward the audience during a Symphony Under the Stars at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

Hollwyood Bowl Reflecting Pool

 
(1953)*** – View showing the installation of the reflecting pool at the Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1953 a decorative reflecting pool measuring 106 feet long, 36 feet wide, and six feet deep, with a capacity of 100,000 gallons of water, was installed in front of the stage.

 

 

 

 
(1957)^* – View of a choir singing at the Hollywood Bowl behind the L.A. Philharmonic.  

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^* - A small orchestra giving a nighttime concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl reflecting pool in front of the stage was installed in 1953 and removed only 19 years later in 1972.*^

 

 

 
(1950s)*## – Close-up night view showing the reflecting pool with its underwater lights spaced out around the edge.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1959)#** - Daytime view of the Hollywood Bowl with its new fountains turned on to their full capacity. The reflecting pool and fountains would be removed in 1972.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl fountains were installed July, 1959. They would be removed along with the reflecting pool in 1972.*

 

 

 
(1959)* - Photograph caption dated June 18, 1959 reads, "Hollywood Bowl fountains dedicated. Multi-jet water fountain which will spout water to top of Hollywood Bowl's sound shell has been dedicated by Wayne Griffin, Bowl association president. New fountain will throw 2,500 gallons of water, lighted by various colored underwater lights and tower spots. Fountain was designed by world-famous designer Henry Dreyfuss and executed by S. J. Hamel, who designed 1939 New York World's Fair fountains and was the creator of Disneyland effects."  

 

 

 

 
(1959)* - The Hollywood Bowl shows off its newly added fountains at one of its performances during the 1959 season.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1959)*** – View showing the reflecting pool fountains at the Hollywood Bowl, with fire spouting from the center.  

 

Historical Notes

The rainbow-colored water show became a popular feature during intermissions. A particularly beautiful effect was achieved when an underwater gas jet was turned on, allowing the fountain to spout fire and water at the same time.

 

 

 

 
(1960)* - Thousands of music lovers, including scores of society and civic leaders, jammed the Hollywood Bowl on July 5, 1960, as the amphitheater opened its 39th annual Symphonies Under the Stars. A typical Southern California summer evening brought a big crowd to the bowl for the gala opening.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)* - An orchastra plays for the crowd at the Hollywood Bowl, famous for "Symphonies Under the Stars."  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Panoramic view of an evening concert held at the Hollywood Bowl. The venue is filled to capacity with not a seat to spare by thousands of music lovers.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1963)* - Photograph caption dated July 16, 1963 reads, "The Hollywood Bowl looks this way as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra plays the opening number. The orchestra, now in its 44th season, performs all of the Symphonies Under the Stars Concerts and is composed of 100 musicians. Zubin Mehta is music director."
 

 

 

 

 
(1963)* - Leonard Bernstein raises the baton and leads the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

 

 

 
(1964)* - Fausto Cleva conducts Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in works from Verdi, Strauss, Rossini and Wagner. An estimated 6,000 persons attended opening of the Hollywood Bowl's 43rd season of Symphonies under the Stars.  

 

 

 

 
(1964)** - The Hollywood Bowl Marquis when the Beatles were in town performing their first of two performances. They would appear again in 1965.  

 

Historical Notes

Tickets went on sale four months before the concert and sold out in 3 1/2 hours. Hundreds of teenage girls camped out overnight on Highland Avenue and the next day the line went from the Bowl entrance nearly to Hollywood Boulevard.**

 

 

 

 
(1964)*** - The Beatles make their first appearance at the Hollywood Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

The screaming of the crowd was so loud, no one could hear the music. After the concert, kids mobbed the backstage area. The producers used a limo as a decoy while putting the Beatles in a Dodge Dart and getting them out before the kids realized they were gone.**

 

 

 

 
(1964)#* – Beatles performing on stage at the Hollywood Bowl on August 23, 1964 with 18,000 frenzied fans in attendance.  

 

Historical Notes

Bob Eubanks booked The Beatles' for the August 23, 1964 performance at the Hollywood Bowl.  Capitol Records recorded their performance with the intent of releasing a live album, however, the sound quality of the tapes proved to be inadequate for commercial release.*^

 

 

 
(1965)** - The Beatles performing on stage at the Hollywood Bowl on August 29, 1965 (their 2nd Concert the following year).  

 

Historical Notes

The Beatles returned the following year for two more shows: August 29th and 30th, 1965. After the previous year's pandemonium, the Bowl's management tried to avoid a panic situation by hiring a Brinks armored truck to bring the Beatles to and from their hotel.

Since then, virtually every rock star (with the possible exception of Elvis) has played the Bowl.**

Capitol Records again recorded the two performances by the group as they did the previous year. The sound quality of the 1965 recordings was again disappointing. Capitol did, however, utilize a 48-second excerpt of "Twist and Shout" from the 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert on the 1964 documentary album, The Beatles' Story.*^

 

 

 
(1968)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl where an orchestra plays their music on stage. Photo caption reads: "Reflection of the past: Where now there are box seats once lay a pool that gave the bowl visual resonance in addition to the aural kind." (This 1968 reprinted photo is a slightly modified version of the one shown earlier, dated 1963).  

 

Historical Notes

The reflecting pool in front of the stage lasted from 1953 till 1972.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1970)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl, as seen from the hillside looking towards the shell.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1970)***– View showing the Hollywood Bowl with new sonotubes, installed to enhance sound quality. The reflecting pool is seen in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Frank Gehry and acoustician Christopher Jaffee were hired to improve the Bowl’s acoustics. They installed sonotubes, prefabricated cardboard forms used to create concrete columns, which were placed inside the shell and extended along the outer wings of the stage, enhancing the sound for both the audience and musicians. However, the placement of the sonotubes obstructed the views of the Bowl’s famous shell, which creates public outcry. ***

 

 

 

 
(1972)*** – View showing the Hollywood Bowl with its sonotubes. The reflecting pool (seen in the foreground) would be permanently drained and later removed during this season.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1972, the reflecting pool was drained to eliminate further damage to the Bowl’s acoustics and the performers’ string instruments. An exclusive section of box seats with its own concierge and food service (installed in 1995) now occupy the space; it is named the "Pool Circle" in memory of the reflecting pool..***

 

 

 
(ca. 1972) - Daytime view showing the Hollywood Bowl with its sonotubes. Note that the reflecting pool is covered over.  

 

 

 

 
(1970)* - Josef Krips prepares to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven's "Leonore No. 3" during the opening night festivities of the Hollywood Bowl's 1970 summer season.  

 

Historical Notes

Between 1926 and 1929 the Hollywood Bowl shell went through a series of four design modifications all in an effort to improve the acoustics. The 1929 shell stood until 2003.

 

 

 
(1973)*** - Opera newcomer Luciano Pavarotti makes his Hollywood Bowl debut. He sings Rodolfo in a semi-staged production of Puccini’s La bohème. After achieving renown as one of the opera world’s greatest stars, Pavarotti becomes a Bowl favorite, consistently performing to sold-out crowds.  

 

 

 

 
(1977)** – Big Bird conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.  

 

 

 

 
(1980)*** - Frank Gehry replaced the sonotubes with suspended hollow fiberglass spheres, allowing the musicians to hear one another better.  

 

 

 

 
(1980)*** - Orchestra performing at Hollywood Bowl shortly after completion of modifications to improve acoustics.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Frank Gehry - who also designed Walt Disney Concert Hall - added the fiberglass spheres above the Bowl stage in 1980 to improve acoustics. #**

 

 

 
(1982)*** - Los Angeles Philharmonic Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Michel Beroff in Stravinsky’s Movements for Piano and Orchestra as part of a two week Stravinsky Centenary Festival at the Bowl.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003, before being replaced with a somewhat larger one beginning in the 2004 season.

 

2004 Shell

 
(2005)*^ - View showing the 'New' Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and stage (completed in 2004). The Hollywood Sign can be seen in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

In 2004, after nine months of construction, a brand new shell and acoustic canopy made their debut.  The new and improved stage made the concert experience better for both musicians and audiences. Also added were 4 screens, two at stage level and two in bench seating, to bring the concert action closer to audiences. ^^

 

 

 
(2012)*** - The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by David Newman, celebrates the 100th anniversary of Paramount Studios with performances and films clips from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sunset Boulevard, The Godfather trilogy, Titanic, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, among many other favorites.  

 

 

 

 
(2012)*^# - Aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl during a daytime rehearsal.  

 

Historical Notes

The Bowl offers locals a chance to sit in on rehearsals of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and some other shows, for free.  Rehearsals usually take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, the open rehearsals can change weekly, so it’s best to check with the Philharmonic or Hollywood Bowl websites.

Those who take advantage of viewing the free rehearsals can also tote along their own snacks.^#*

 

 

 

 
(2013)^#* - Hollywood Bowl patrons enjoy a pre-performance dinner as the sun sets.  

 

 

 

Click HERE to see the 100 MOST NOTEWORTHY, INTERESTING, AND REMARKABLE
HOLLYWOOD BOWL MOMENTS^^

 

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References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^ About.com: Hollywood Bowl - Kate Deioma

**Hollywood Bowl Philpedia

^^LAPHIL.com: 100 Most Noteworthy, Interesting, and Remarkable Hollywood Bowl Moments

^*USC Digital Library

*# LA Times: The Los Angeles Philharmonic Through the Years

#* Facebook: Early Views of the Hollywood Bowl

*^*Forum.Skyscraperpage: Life Magazine - Hollywood Bowl; Gruen Sign

^#*94.7-The-Wave: Rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl

^#^Whitley Heights Aerial

*#^Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

^**Facebook: San Fernando Valley Relics

^^#Huntington Digital Library Archive

^*#Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

^*^Pinterest: Art Deco - Los Angeles

^^*Pinterest: Hollywood HIstory

***Hollywoodbowl.com

^^^California State Library Image Archive

**^Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Rehearsal Blind

*^^KCET - Inventing LA: Hollywood Bowl

*#*Wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com

**#iandimusic.com: Hollywood Bowl

++#Facebook: Paul Ayers

*##Facebook.com:  Garden of Allah Novels – Martin Turnbull

*^#Library of Congress

#**Pinterest: Hollywood Bowl

#^^Framework LATimes.com: Hollywood Bowl

*^*#Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

^*^^Pomona Public Library Poscard Collection

*^ Wikipedia: Hollywood Bowl; Christine Weatherill Stevenson; Hollywood Freeway; Julius Caesar Play; The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl; Hollywood Freeway; John Anson Ford Theatre

 

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