Friday, May 31, 2013

The Natalie Wood Record Booth From The Film Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

The Record Booth from Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

One of the things I've enjoyed about posting on Dear Old Hollywood the past few years has been learning new tidbits about Hollywood and classic films through readers of the blog. I love it when you guys come up with great information that adds to the old Hollywood discussion. Just recently, reader Bill Bollman, a collector of vintage record booths wrote me with information regarding the record booth that Natalie Wood uses to record an album in the film Inside Daisy Clover (1965). In the film the record booth was inside the carousal building located on the Santa Monica pier. Bollman has acquired this record booth and was nice enough to share some pictures and to provide some background on this piece of Hollywood cinema history. Here's what Bollman had to say:

I am a Patent Attorney by trade, but as a hobby I collect vintage coinop machines.  In that vein, I have acquired a 1940s wooden Record Booth that I am told was operated at the Graumans Chinese Theatre in the 40s and 50s, but low and behold it is the very booth used in the opening scene of “INSIDE DAISY CLOVER”.    The original keys for the booth came with a label that would appear to be a Warner Brothers inventory control tag, but I’m in the process right now of researching that.

Natalie Wood approaches the Record Booth.

Over the past 10 years I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the Voice-O-Graph booth, recently acquiring a similar 1940s model wood Record Booth for Jack White of Third Man Records in Nashville.  I have been tracking just about all surviving models (only about 100 were ever made, and just a very small handful survive today.)  Of all the known wooden Voice-O-Graph Record Booths (and vintage photos of booths), none but this one have windows.  And this booth is quite unique in that it is actually an operating machine, but operated at 35c.  The external graphics have been changed FROM 35c TO 25c (quite unusual).  Presumably the producer of Inside Daisy Clover felt the 25c was more appropriate for the 1930s period in which the movie is set.

Natalie Wood inside the record booth.

Beside the uniqueness of this configuration of the Record Booth with side windows (never seen before) and general rarity of the booth itself – proof certain that this booth is in fact the very booth used in this Warner Brothers movie is that the scratch in the wood seen in the movie to the left of the window . . .

. . . is still seen in the booth today!

It is believed that this Record Booth was originally located and operated at Graumans Chinese Theatre.  That was its oral history when acquired in 2002, but I’ve also discovered the following scratching on an inside wall: “HO 48111” is the old phone number of Graumans Chinese Theatre!

But perhaps most interestingly of all (and fascinating for any Rebel Without A Cause fans), the booth includes two scratchings inside, this one in hand-scratching with much similarity to known handwriting of James Dean:

And then this one, apparently reading “J.D. + B.g.” in a doodled heart, evoking the possibility that this refers to James Dean and Barbara Glenn:

This is a beautiful, WORKING Record Booth (I’m fine tuning it now).  Research is currently ongoing – any information anyone may have (photos of the Record Booth at Graumans between 1946 and the late 1950s would be fantastic) would be greatly appreciated! 

So that’s it’s story so far!  

Thank you very much, and best regards,
Bill Bollman

Now how cool is that! If anyone may have more information on this Record Booth you can contact Bollman at

I've previously done a post on some of the filming locations for Inside Daisy Clover which you can see here. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the film overall and was probably a bit too honest when I wrote the film locations post; but what I really like about Inside Daisy Clover are the locations and look of the film. Those two things alone make the film worth watching.

Thanks again Bill for the pictures and backstory!

Your thoughts?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Touring Liberace's Homes and Other News

Liberace in his piano themed pool.

The blog Curbed Los Angeles added an awesome post the other day mapping out some of Liberace's "Razzle-Dazzle" homes in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Las Vegas. Complete address information and photos like the one above showing Liberace in his piano-themed house in Sherman Oaks can be found in the Curbed post here. As one might expect, all of the homes are theatrical, kitchy and fun!

Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson

Tonight on HBO is the premiere of a new film about Liberace starring Michael Douglas as Liberace. The Steven Soderbergh directed film includes many other stars such as Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Debbie Reynolds, and Paul Reiser. Some interesting trivia about the film has already been posted on Here are a couple of the notes:
  • According to an interview with Michael Douglas at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Debbie Reynolds, who plays Liberace's mother in this movie, was personally acquainted with the real Liberace and appeared as a guest on his variety show. Douglas also said that when he was younger, his father, Kirk Douglas, had a Palm Springs home down the street from one of Liberace's homes, and although Michael Douglas never met Liberace, he did occasionally see him in the neighborhood.
  • Michael Douglas was older at the time of filming than Liberace was when he died. Although played by a 42-year-old Matt Damon, Scott Thorson was only a teenager when he met Liberace, and still only in his twenties when Liberace died.
  • The location which served as Liberace's Las Vegas mansion is actually the Los Angeles home of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Frederic von Anhalt.
  • Liberace's Beverly Hills penthouse was shot on location in the actual apartment space. The art department was able to recreate the apartment's original black and metallic look based on photos provided by the owner (who was a huge Liberace fan).

And just recently, the Warner Archive released the Liberace film Sincerely Yours (1955) on DVD. The DVD can be purchased through the Warner Archive here or rented through ClassicFlix here.

Sincerely Yours (1955)

Above is a preview clip of Sincerely Yours from the Warner Archive.

Your thoughts?

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Source Restaurant/Annie Hall Film Location - Plus a New Documentary

The Source Restaurant,

The Source was a 1970s restaurant located on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip that was run by a group of healthy living, rock'n'rollers part of a hippie cult. Their restaurant served up healthy organic vegetarian cuisine like salads with beats, carrots and raisins and a selection of natural juices. I'm not sure which smelled worse, the food or the hippies (I kid, I kid! ). The Source restaurant is also famously featured in Woody Allen's film Annie Hall (1977). In the film, Allen meets Diane Keaton for lunch and orders "alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast." 

This restaurant which was once popular with the likes of Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, and John Lennon is featured in a new documentary about The Source cult. The documentary is now playing at The Cinefamily theatre in Los Angeles (as well as a few other cities). Theaters in additional cities will be showing the documentary later this month. Check out the documentary website at to see if this groovy film is playing near you.

Allen and Keaton leave The Source. Annie Hall (1977)

Cabo Cantina, 8301 Sunset Boulevard. 

The site of The Source is now the location for a Mexican restaurant and bar called Cabo Cantina. The building is still recognizable from the outside with the exception that the outside seating area has been covered. 

In Annie Hall, when Allen leaves the restaurant, being the New Yorker that he is and unable to drive a car, he smashes into both the restaurant and several cars while backing out.

Allen crashes his car in The Source parking lot.

The Source/Cabo Cantina parking lot. 

Allen chooses to sit at the restaurant's outside patio. In the background we see the Golden Crest Hotel. That is today the site of the fashionable The Standard hotel.

Allen sits outside at The Source. Annie Hall

The Standard Hotel in the background, formerly Golden Crest Hotel.

If it turns out this documentary won't be coming to a city near you, the documentary website is already selling the DVD, a digital download, soundtrack, T-Shirts and other merchandise. 

Below is a trailer for the film.

Does anyone have any memories of eating at The Source?

Annie Hall screenshots (c) MGM/UA Home Entertainment, contemporary images (c) 2013 Google.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Desperate Hours (1955) - Film Locations

Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March

Two of the greatest actors of Hollywood's golden era, Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March, square off in the film The Desperate Hours (1955). Bogart is an escaped convict on the run. March is a suburban family man. The two butt heads when Bogart, with a couple fellow escapees, hold March and his family hostage in their Indianapolis home. Bogart is hiding out until he can collect his getaway money and he isn't going to let anyone interfere with collecting his dough. March strategizes a way to get out of his predicament and will do whatever it takes to protect his family. The tension that Bogart and March create in this standoff is absolutely thrilling!

Although the home where March and his family live is supposed to be in Indianapolis, it is actually a building that once stood on the Universal Studios Hollywood Colonial Street backlot. The home, known as the "Paramount House," was originally built on the Universal lot by Paramount specifically for The Desperate Hours. After the film, the house stayed and would be used again numerous times in other films and for television. The house has also appeared in the films All That Heaven Allows (1955), The Shaggy Dog (1959) and Send Me No Flowers (1964) and TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Adam 12, but it is likely most recognizable as the house from Leave it to Beaver. Beginning in season 3, when the Leave it to Beaver show moved from the old Republic Studios lot (now CBS Studio Center) to Universal, the Cleaver family settled into the former Paramount House.

Click images to see larger.

The Paramount House as it appears in The Desperate Hours.

The Paramount House April 2010. Photo (c)

The Cleaver family in front of the Paramount House.

The Paramount House would sit on Universal's Colonial Street backlot until 1989. When production started on the 1989 film, The Burbs, the Paramount House was moved to another area of the Universal lot above Falls Lake to make room for new facades.

Another view of Universal's Colonial Street. The Desperate Hours.

The same view of Colonial Street as seen in Leave it to Beaver.

The "Keller House" on Colonial Street as seen in The Desperate Hours.

The "Keller House" as seen in Leave it to Beaver.

The Desperate Hours is an exciting film directed by William Wyler. In addition to Bogart and March, the film also stars Arthur Kennedy, Martha Scott, Dewey Martin, Gig Young, and Alan Reed (best known as the voice of Fred Flintstone). The Desperate Hours is available on DVD.

For more information visit the site dedicated to Leave It To Beaver. This page is filled with images of Colonial Street and it's history involving the Cleaver family. Also check out, another great site loaded with information on Colonial Street (as well as other film studios).


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