The Opening of the Hollywood Bowl – 7/11/1922

US History |

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One of the most famous amphitheaters and venues in the world, the Hollywood Bowl has hosted performances by some of the biggest names in every industry. Located in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Bowl has made a name for itself as a “famous Los Angeles landmark” and has even been featured in some really big-name movies. 

On this day (July 11th) in 1922, Los Angeles celebrated the opening of this historic venue and welcomed it with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since then, the Hollywood Bowl has seen world-famous performances by Luciano Pavarotti, Judy Garland and The Beatles – just to name a few.

Adding to the list of amazing performances that have been casted here, which is the official home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the summer, include conductors, opera singers, dancers and entertainers. Some famous conductors include Itzhak Perlman, Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein. Opera singers to make an appearance are Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo and Jessye Norman.

Dancers that performed on the big stage are Mikail Baryshnikov and Fred Astaire, while entertainers Abbott and Costello, Billie Holiday, Elton John, Garth Brooks and Al Jolson have all performed at the Hollywood Bowl, as well.

Since it’s opening in 1922, a lot has changed to the venue. At first, it was just a wooden platform surrounded by benches that were movable on the hillsides. Four years after they opened, the first “reconstruction” of the venue started when a crew of architects in Los Angeles built the Hollywood Bowl’s first “shell.”

Since the first shell was established, the Bowl has seen some major improvements. Adding to those are the works of Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, and Frank Gehry. These two people both helped improve the Hollywood Bowl’s appearance and quality. As it stands today, it can seat around 18,000 people. However, the attendance record sits at 26,410. That record was set in place in August of 1936, when Lily Pons – a French opera singer – had a performance.

As for making it to the big screen, the venue has seen a number of top-field cameos. Two of those films are “A Star is Born,” which was cast in 1937, and “Beaches,” which is a film from 1988. 

However, it’s most notable cameo in Hollywood was on the set of “Olly Olly Oxen Free” in 1978. Refusing to use a stunt double, actress Katharine Hepburn attempted to self-land a hot air balloon onto the front of the stage in the Hollywood Bowl. It was during a performance of the “1812 Overture” and she did it successfully. It marked one of the most memorable moments that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl since it opened in 1922.

If you haven’t been to the Hollywood Bowl yet, it’s highly encouraged to do so. They are set to have Dudamel & Lang Lang perform there on July 12th and just had the Star Trek in Concert from July 8th to July 9th. They have something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what your taste is. 

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