One of the world’s largest natural amphitheaters the Hollywood Bowl first opened on July 11, 1922, featuring a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then a great variety of performers have appeared there including Judy Garland, Luciano Pavarotti, and The Beatles. It has become a famous Los Angeles landmark and has been shown in many different movies. The Hollywood Bowl has become the official summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. On its stage such famous conductors have appeared as Arthur Rubinstein, Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Horowitz, opera singers like Jessye Norman, Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo, dancers such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and entertainers among them Al Jolson, Billie Holiday, Garth Brooks, Elton John, and Abbott and Costello.
When the Hollywood Bowl first opened the stage was a wooden platform that had a canvas top and the audiences sat on moveable benches that were set on the hillsides of the surrounding canyon. Over time lots of other architects have contributed their ideas and made improvements to the structure. Presently the Hollywood Bowl can seat almost 18,000 people.
One amazing scene was shot in the movie “Olly Olly Oxen Free” in 1978. Having refused to have a double do the scene Katharine Hepburn landed a hot-air balloon in front of the Hollywood Bowl stage while a performance of the 1812 Overture was being given.
The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States. Before its current moniker, the original site of the Bowl was known as the “Daisy Dell.”
The first official Hollywood Bowl season “Symphonies Under the Stars” began on July 11th with Alfred Hertz conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The cost of a ticket to this show was 25 cents.
The attendance record of 26,410 for a single concert was set by French soprano Lily Pons in 1936.
In 1940, the fountain seen at the entrance of the Bowl is a 15-foot granite statue called the Muse of Music designed by George Stanley (who also designed the Oscar statuette) and built by the County of Los Angeles Engineer’s Department.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s eldest son, Lloyd designed two of the Bowl’s outer shells; one in 1927 that was a pyramid-shaped structure made of wood used only for one season. He created the second in 1928, an elliptical shell made of “nine concentric, segmental arches, which could be ‘tuned’ panel by panel. Though only used for one season, this design inspired the distinctive shell design seen today.
Frank Sinatra made his Hollywood Bowl debut on August 14 in 1943, becoming the first pop singer to perform with the LA Philharmonic.
In 1954, a decorative reflecting pool was installed at the front of the stage measuring 106 feet long and a capacity of 100,000 gallons of water. Later in 1959, a fountain was installed in the pool that featured a water show with rainbow-colored lights during intermissions.
Though popular, the fountain was ultimately drained in 1972 because it interfered with the acoustics and was detrimental to musicians’ string instruments.
The Bowl has appeared in dozens of movies including “A Star Is Born”, “Some Kind Of Wonderful”, “Beaches”, “Yes Man”
In addition, dozens of artists have recorded live albums at the Bowl because of its pristine sound, including The Beatles, The Doors, Monty Python and Sting.
One thought on “The Hollywood Bowl”
I love all of the entertainment trivia you included in this post. It’s funny to think that people considered Frank Sinatra a “pop singer”. But then I remember that “pop” is just short for “popular” and he was and still is popular.