Hollywood to the Max...
Glory Days' Claire Gormly continues on her travels around the USA and in this telegram goes mad for movie memorabilia...
I have to be honest, Hollywood Boulevard is a hot mess. The only stars you will find here are those on the pavement; trampled on by hordes of tourists and haggled over by pesky hawkers.
However there are gems here, you just have to look properly and not get sucked into the hype. The Roosevelt Hotel stands proud and beautiful, it may have been renovated inside but the outside remains just as it looked in the 1920s. Sadly the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has been covered up with a huge modern banner and you cant get any kind of feeling for it.
But hiding away down Highland Avenue is the best part of Hollywood, a rare remaining piece of original Hollywood, and at just $15US its an affordable trip into how Tinseltown used to be. The Hollywood Museum – a higgledy piggidly collection of almost every kind of movie memorabilia you can imagine - is housed in the gorgeous old Max Factor building.
I nearly fainted when I saw how perfectly the building has been kept, a pink and gold dream – even with the original counters and light fittings. Inside these counters are Max Factor's personal makeup case, recommendations from old Hollywood stars and signed pictures.
Also intact are each of Max’s rooms – one for every hair colour!
On the next level is a Marilyn Monroe exhibition. To be honest its a little confused in its curation, but the dresses on display alone make you forgive all of that. You can see how tiny she was, and the suprising thing to me was that some of the most famous dresses were actually hand me down, worn before by other actresses.
You can't help but understand what a hard life Marilyn had, shown in stark relief by the display of her empty pill bottle.
Also dotted around the museum are belongings from stars such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and also a fair collection of Edith Head's designs.
In fact my favorite item was a dress worn by Bette Davis in “All about Eve”. Stunning in its colour and styling, and again so tiny! Also memorable are the cars in the collection – Elvira’s and Cary Grant's.
The rest of the museum is given over to modern movies, including a recreation in the basement of Hannibal Lector’s prison cell from Silence of the Lambs.
The staff here are understandably proud of their museum, they mourn the fact that it is passed over for the shiny new Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum, or the soulless wax offerings at Madam Tussauds. So when you next find yourself in Hollywood, go pay a visit to the Hollywood Museum and worship at the shrine of magical movie-making history.
Visit their website here to find out more.
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