Dating Capital of the World, The

Hollywood, California was billed as “The Dating Capital of the World” when it hosted the game show THE DATING GAME/ABC/1965-73 and THE NEW DATING GAME/SYN/1973 & 1977-80 emceed by Jim Lange and later by Elaine Joyce on the 1986 version and Jeff MacGregor on THE ALL NEW DATING GAME in 1988.

Also known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Hollywood (part of Los Angeles) is located on the slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Hollywood is home to Universal Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios as well as a number of major recording companies.

The town got its name in 1887 when Daeida Wilcox, the wife of Kansas businessman Harvey Wilcox, christened the southern California property owned by her husband as “Hollywood” (taken from the name of a summer home owned by a woman that Mrs. Wilcox had met on a train trip). This version is supported by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

An alternate story states that Hollywood was named by H J Whitley in 1886 as mentioned in the book “The Father of Hollywood” by Gaelyn Whitley Keith.

The most visible reminder of the city are the massive white letters that spell out the name “Hollywood” on the sign atop Beechwood Canyon Drive that overlooks the City of Hollywood on Mt. Lee in the Hollwood Hills. The original sign (erected in 1923) actually spelled out HOLLYWOODLAND. It was built for a cost of $21,000 to advertise homes sold by the Hollywoodland Realty Company, a real estate development of C.E. Toberman.

On September 16, 1932, the noted New York stage actress Peg Entwistle, jumped to her death from top of the fifty-foot high “H” in Hollywoodland. Years later in 1942, the “LAND” portion of the sign fell down, leaving the city with it’s now famous landmark.

Over the years the Hollywood sign fell into disrepair due to vandalism and lack of maintenance. In 1973 the sign was declared an historic landmark and with the help of private donations a new Hollywood sign was built and dedicated on November 11, 1978.

As of 1990s, the Hollywood sign had high-tech security system to protect it from trespassers and vandals. Infrared TV cameras and radar activated zoom lenses photograph anyone approaching the sign. The cameras are monitored at Los Angeles County Park Rangers headquarters and images of trespassers can be transferred from computer hard disk to video should they decide to prosecute trespassers.

Another famous Hollywood tourist attraction is the Hollywood Walk of Fame which extends from Hollywood Boulevard between Sycamore Avenue and Gower Street, and Vine Street between Sunset Boulevard and Yucca Street. The Walk of Fame was conceived by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1953 and later dedicated on November 23, 1960 to honor celebrities in film radio, television and the recording industries. Currently, it costs about $4,800 to get a star on the famous gray terrazzo sidewalk.

And finally who could visit Hollywood without seeing the world famous Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, west of the Hollywood Freeway. This historic theater (named after its owner Sidney Patrick Grauman/1919-1950) with an ornate oriental style canopy has been seen in numerous films and television series. Perhaps the theater’s most famous tourist attraction is its concrete paving in the front of the theater with movie star’s hand and footprints preserved in cement. A classic episode of the sitcom I LOVE LUCY had zany Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) trying to steal the concrete footprints of John Wayne.

Note: In the Disney movie The Rocketeer (1991), an explosion created by evil Nazi spies destroyed the letters “LAND” in the Hollywoodland sign.

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About

Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Game Show, TV & Movie Industry

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