Hollywood Palladium (6215 W. Sunset Blvd)

(1940)* – View showing the Hollywood Palladium under construction on the NW corner of Sunset Boulevard and El Centro Ave. On the NE corner (on the right) is CBS Columbia Square, built 2-years earlier. The tall buildings in the distance are located at or near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Mark C. Bloome Service Station is seen on the left on the south side of Sunset.  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler funded the construction of the art deco Hollywood Palladium at a cost of $1.6 million in 1940. It was built where the original Paramount lot once stood by film producer Maurice Cohen and is located between Argyle and El Centro avenues. ^




(1940)* – Opening night of the Art Deco Hollywood Palladium. Photo by Gordon Wallace  


Historical Notes

The Art Deco Hollywood Palladium opened on Halloween night, 1940. Built by film-producer Maurice Cohen, the building occupied the site of the original Paramount lot.

The million-dollar ballroom-cafe, which can accommodate comfortably 7500 persons, was literally packed to the rafters with Band Leader Tommy Dorsey blew the first blast from his trombone and his orchestra let loose with some jive and swing music.




(1940)* - Marquee at the Palladium shows premiere opening of Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. The Palladium is located at 6215 W Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The ballroom opened October 31, 1940 with a dance featuring Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra and band vocalist Frank Sinatra.  It had six bars serving liquor and two more serving soft drinks and a $1 cover charge and a $3 charge for dinner.^




(1940s)* - Hollywood Palladium during WWII. The dance floor is fiilled to capacity.  


Historical Notes

The style dance hall was designed by Gordon Kaufmann, architect of the Greystone Mansion, the Los Angeles Times building and the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia. He was also the architect for the Hoover Dam and early Caltech dorms.^

During WWII, the Palladium hosted radio broadcasts featuring Betty Grable greeting servicemen’s' song requests. Big Band acts began losing popularity in the 1950s, causing the Palladium to hold charity balls, political events, auto shows, and rock concerts. In 1961, it became the home of the long-running Lawrence Welk Show.^




(1940)* - View showing the Hollywood Palladium, located at 6215 West Sunset Boulevard. The marquee reads: Dinner & Dancing - Charlie Spivak & His Orchestra  


Historical Notes

Charlie Spivak was an trumpeter and bandleader, best known for his big band in the 1940s.^




(1940s)^ – Postcard view showing the Palladium in Hollywood. Now playing Gene Krupa & His Orchestra. Photo by Bob Plunkett  


Historical Notes

Gene Krupa was a jazz drummer, band leader and composer known for his energetic style and showmanship. His drum solo on "Sing, Sing, Sing" (1937) elevated the role of the drummer from an accompanying line to an important solo voice in the band.

In collaboration with the Slingerland drum and Zildjian cymbal manufacturers, he was a major force in defining the standard band drummer's kit. Krupa is considered "the founding father of the modern drumset" by Modern Drummer magazine.^




(1947)^ - The Hollywood Palladium with Opie Cates and his Orchestra on the bill.  


Historical Notes

Opie Cates was a clarinet player and band leader in the 1930s and 1940s, during the swing era, who became a radio actor.




(1942)^ – Close-up view of the ticket window and marquee of the Hollywood Palladium.   Now playing Claude Thornhill with Sonny Dunham & His Orchestra the coming attraction.  In the distance can be seen CBS Columbia Square.  


Historical Notes

Sonny Dunham was a trumpet player and bandleader. A versatile musician, he was one of the few trumpet players who could double on the trombone with equal skill.^

Claude Thornhill was a pianist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He composed the jazz and pop standards "Snowfall" and "I Wish I Had You".^




(ca. 1950)^ - The Hollywood Palladium featuring Freddy Martin and his Orchestra.  


Historical Notes

Freddy Martin was an American bandleader and tenor saxophonist.




(ca. 1950)* – Postcard view looking towards Sunset Boulevard from the intersection of El Centro Avenue in Hollywood, with the Palladium theater at center, Radio City NBC Studios at far left and the Broadway Building in the distance at right. The Palladium marquee reads "Jerry Gray and his Orchestra" next to a storefront with a sign for Photostats - Music Prints"  


Historical Notes

Jerry Gray was a violinist, arranger, composer, and leader of swing dance orchestras (big bands) bearing his name. He is widely known for his work with popular music during the Swing era. His name is inextricably linked to two of the most famous bandleaders of the time, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller.^




(ca. 1961)^ – View looking east toward the Palladium showing an oversized Bilboard for Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music Makers on the west face of the building.  Mark C. Bloome can be seen across the street (south side of Sunset).  


Historical Notes

By the early 1960s, swing and the big band sound was out, and on Friday and Saturday nights, from 1961 to 1976, Lawrence Welk and his orchestra played the Palladium, filling the huge place with his special brand of “champagne music.”




(1960s)^^ - Night view of the Palladium Theater located in Hollywood at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Argyle Avenue.  Marquee reads:  Tonight and Saturday – The Lawrence Welk Champagne Music Makers  





(1960s)^ - View of Lawrence Welk at the Palladium conducting his 'Polka Music' orchestra.  


Historical Notes

The Lawrence Welk Show started in 1951 as a local program on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. The original show was broadcast from the since-demolished Aragon Ballroom at Venice Beach. The show made its national TV debut on July 2, 1955, and was initially produced at the Hollywood Palladium, moving to the ABC studios at Prospect and Talmadge in Hollywood shortly afterwards. For 23 of its 27 years on the air, the show would originate there. The only seasons not produced there were 1965–66, 1976–77 at the Hollywood Palace and CBS Television City from 1977 to 1979.*




(2005)^ - View showing the Hollywood Palladium, prior to 2008 renovation.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

In 2007, the owners agreed to a long-term lease to operate, manage and exclusively book the Hollywood Palladium with Live Nation, a Los Angeles-based company.




(2008)^ – A man is leaning against a streetlight post in front of the Palladium.  Marquee reads: Infected Mushroom – New Years Eve 18 & Over.  


Historical Notes

The Palladium reopened with a Jay-Z concert on October 15, 2008 after a year-long, multimillion-dollar renovation by Live Nation. The renovation included an overhaul of the venue's interior and exterior, a new dance floor, expanded concessions, upgraded restrooms and improvements to the stage infrastructure. Jay-Z performed for nearly an hour-and-half, backed by an eight-piece band and DJ AM, who played his first show after surviving a plane crash in South Carolina. The Hollywood Palladium was also used as the memorial service site for DJ AM on September 3, 2009.^




(2019)^ – The Palladium lit up at night with palm trees fronting the dance hall.  





(2020)^ – The Palladium after dark.  Photo by Don Saban  


Historical Notes

An expansion of the Palladium property parking lot was approved by the Los Angeles City council on March 2016. The plan consists of two 28 story residential towers that surrounds the historic music venue. Each tower will stand 350 feet tall and create 731 condominiums, 24,000 sq ft store front retail space and a below grade parking garage. The Towers were designed by Stanley Saitowits of Natoma Architects. The "L" shaped design resembles and echoes the Streamline Moderne - art deco design of the Palladium. The firm intends to break ground in 2018 as the site is prepped and lawsuits are settled.^




(2016)* – Rendering showing proposed two-tower residential development adjacent to the Hollywood Palladium.  


Historical Notes

A two-tower residential development, due to replace a parking lot, has been approved by Los Angeles' City Council. The proposed buildings will stand next to the Hollywood Palladium at 6215 Sunset Boulevard, a 4,000-seat theatre which has been hosting big-name performers since 1940. As part of the project, developer Crescent Heights is embarking on a restoration and rehabilitation program to enhance the theatre's defining attributes.




(2016)* - Rendering showing front view of the Hollywood Palladium with proposed two-tower residential development behind it.  


Historical Notes

The project is one of many that has received backlash from neighbourhood groups, particularly the Coalition to Preserve LA, which sought the adoption of a 'Neighbourhood Integrity Initiative' that would have placed new restrictions on city development. Despite the group's ongoing objection to the 'Manhattanization of Hollywood,' the Los Angeles City Planning Commission has maintained a favorable view of the development, applauding the much-needed housing stock that the project provides. With City Council voting 12-0 to approve Palladium Residences, work on the mixed-use development should begin soon.*


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