Landmark Hollywood Palladium Threatened With Demolition!
In 1940 The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and its vocalist, the soon to become legendary Frank Sinatra, opened the Hollywood Palladium to rave reviews. Over 6,500 people attended each show during its peak, filling the dance floor, dining areas, and mezzanine. Now the current owners are negotiating to sell this world famous landmark for a residential and retail development that would cause its demolition.
The usual question surfaces here again-where is our citys political leadership and why are we having to fight for a building that was supposed to have been protected by the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan? This question will be foremost when we look at the areas two city council candidates, Eric Garcetti and Michael Woo.The site can be developed around the Palladium.
The Palladium itself is a shamefully underutilized asset. Its large (12,000 sq. ft.) main room area and kitchen make it perfect for events and trade or consumer shows (antiques, jewelry, collectables, etc.) that now take place at other venues. The facility would then bring in a much-needed economic boost for its owners and the Hollywood community, augmenting the concert and party bookings.
Every great band played the Palladium from World War II into the 1960s (Phil Harris, Tex Beneke, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Kay Kyser, Les Brown, Artie Shaw, Gene Krupa, etc.). Then the Lawrence Welk show took over and broadcast years of entertainment from there. Rock n Roll continued the music tradition; The Kinks (singing their song about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Celluloid Heroes), Bob Dylan, The Police, James Brown, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, and just recently, Neil Young and Crazy Horse with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Prince, to name but a few who graced the Palladium stage.
The Palladium was also a favorite of visiting dignitaries, hosting events for: Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Adlai Stevenson, and numerous awards shows including; the Emmys, Grammys, NAACP Image Awards, and the Country Music Awards.
Recently, this landmark has been a victim of deferred maintenance and lackluster bookings. The current owners, led by Steve Ullman of Grant Parking, are looking to sell the Palladium and its surrounding property (parking lots for the most part) for a residential / retail development. They are showing no interest in preserving the Palladium. It should be remembered that the same Mr. Ullman showed the same lack of interest in preserving Hollywoods history when he demolished the Brown Derby Restaurant, and also proposed to build a modern glass box building next to Graumans Chinese Theater (a project defeated by Hollywood Heritage). Remember this the next time you choose Grant Parking.
Part of a group of Streamline Moderne architectural wonders created for the entertainment industryCBS (1938), NBC (1938 demolished), and the Earl Carroll Theater (1938, now the Aquarius / Nickelodeon)the Palladium played a major role in creating the importance of classic radio (since WWII) and television (since KNXT-TV started landmark broadcasts there in the early 1950s) in Hollywood, as well as being used as a movie location for; The Bodyguard, Steven Speilbergs 1941,Whats Love Got to Do With It, The Blues Brothers, The Sinatra Story (mini-series), etc. and most recently, Almost Famous.
With the current attack on the Hollywood Bowl, this attempt to demolish the Hollywood Palladium would eliminate the two principle performance venues for live music and special events in Hollywood. In a historic sense, there would be no history left in Hollywood for one of our main contributions, the live music industry (these two venues have been the home to over 90% of Hollywoods significant music performances and events).
It is time for Mr. Ullman and his partners to either effectively run the Palladium or find someone else who willdemolition is not an option. The Palladium can, and should, be profitable, a resource for the community. The city needs to enforce its laws and legally protect Hollywoods history. Otherwise, its back to the courts.