Ready for Its Close-Up
Kodak Spotlight Theater, copyright Hollywood Entertainment Museum
What did Hollywood look like last time you saw her? An aging screen star still strutting her stuff when she should be packing it in? Well, look again! The country's most famous boulevard is all cleaned up and ready for its close-up.
Thanks to a $1.5 billion facelift, now in its final stages, Tinseltown is barely recognizable as its old self. Seediness and grime are gone. So is much of the crime; a private security force now patrols the district seven days a week.
Once-popular movie palaces -- the Pantages, Egyptian, and El Capitan theaters -- have been restored to their old glory. The massive $567 million Hollywood & Highland Entertainment & Retail Center opened next door to Grauman's Chinese Theatre with a four-star hotel, upscale shops, restaurants, and a performing arts center that will be the Academy Awards' new home.
That's not to say the souvenir shops, tattoo parlors, and hokey museums have disappeared completely -- and who'd want them to? A completely sanitized Hollywood would be boring. But the curtain has risen on a new Hollywood, and this one's restaged for family fun.