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destination: hollywood

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Destination: HollywoodThe film industry found its feet in the 1910s, when the Nestor Company studio and directors such as Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith gravitated to Hollywood. The sleepy agricultural community, which until then had thrived on banana, pineapple, hay and grain production, caught their interest for its broad range of natural settings, ample sunshine and temperate climate. It also didn't hurt that the more than 2,700 miles that separated Hollywood from Menlo Park, N.J., the site of Thomas Edison's laboratory, complicated enforcement of Edison's fiercely protected motion picture patents.

Hollywood History in the Making

In just a few short years, the debut of movie studios enabled the industry to take on a new dimension. Under the guidance of such visionaries as Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer and Albert, Harry, Jack and Samuel Warner, the studios maintained sound stages and back lots. Filmmaking continued to explode as European directors, including Briton Alfred Hitchcock, Austrian Fritz Lang and Frenchman Jean Renoir, immigrated overseas and New York actors headed west. Vertical integration—in which studios exercised near-monopolistic control of everything from actors, writers and producers to theaters nationwide—and the rise of block booking, in which theaters were sold 20 or so films as a unit, allowed for continued growth, enabling studios to churn out 400 films annually at the industry's mid-1940s peak. After then, the Golden Age of Hollywood tarnished in the wake of studio-breaking federal antitrust rulings, post-war communist witch hunts and the advent of television.

Today, the centers of editing, effects and post-production remain in Hollywood, but much of the rest of the industry sprawls into Burbank, Culver City, Studio City and L.A.'s Westside. Such iconic spots as TCL Chinese Theatre , the Walk of Fame and Dolby Theatre, home to the Academy Awards ceremony, exemplify Hollywood's lingering importance in filmmaking, while the attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood plop you square in the middle of the action. A former studio at Selma and Vine streets, the Lasky-DeMille Barn lives on as the Hollywood Heritage Museum. The National Register of Historic Places officially protected Hollywood Boulevard's entertainment district in 1985, ensuring that the city's past be always preserved.

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Los Angeles, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

3,792,621

Elevation

267 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 9.5 percent in Los Angeles. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 14 percent also is levied along with an 8.25 percent rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(877) 275-5273 (within the city of Los Angeles only)

Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente-Los Angeles Medical Center, (323) 783-4011; LAC+USC Medical Center, (323) 409-1000; Providence Little Company of Mary, (310) 832-3311; Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, (310) 825-9111; Valley Presbyterian Hospital, (818) 782-6600.

Visitor Information

6801 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. Phone:(323)467-6412

Air Travel

The Los Angeles area is served by several airports with cheap airline flights including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about 20 miles southwest of downtown L.A. Several other airports serve the area.

Rental Cars

Most major car rental agencies serve Los Angeles. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, provides discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

It's almost worth traveling by train just to experience Union Station, the combination Spanish Revival-Art Deco-Streamline Moderne-style terminal at 800 N. Alameda St., near Olvera Street and Chinatown. Amtrak trains, (800) 872-7245, use the station, as well as depots scattered throughout the region.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, has a terminal at 1716 E. 7th St., near Alameda Street, about 1.5 miles south of Union Station. Caveat emptor: ticket purchase does not guarantee a seat on the bus.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful downtown and at major tourist sites. They can be hailed or boarded from stalls found at the airport, Union Station and major hotels. The base rate is $2.85 at flag drop and $2.70 per mile. The fixed fare between the airport and downtown is $46.50 plus a $4 surcharge for fares originating from the airport. Some large companies are Checker, (800) 300-5007; Independent (800) 521-8294; United Independent, (213) 483-7660 or (800) 892-8294; and Yellow Cab, (424) 222-2222 or (800) 200-1085.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, minibus shuttle, light-rail and subway is available in Los Angeles.

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