Touring LA with a TCM twist   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.03.26 at 09:19
Current mood: enthralledenthralled
carole lombard sardi's fan 00b

Barring a time machine or magic, those attending the TCM Classic Film Festival next month in Los Angeles won’t see Carole Lombard — and they won’t see the short-lived West Coast version of Sardi’s, the Hollywood Boulevard restaurant where this mid-1930s candid was taken. But there are memories of the movie capital, both real and imagined, and for a brief while, Turner Classic Movies is giving people a chance to experience them…for free.

tcm la bus tour 00a

Yes, there are numerous Hollywood tours, some directed by online friends of mine and many I plan to experience once I become a full-time Los Angeles resident later this year. But TCM has won plaudits for its New York classic movie bus tour (, and temporarily at least, it’s bringing its approach to LA. Like its NYC counterpart, this tour takes about three hours…and the “Los Angeles” in the logo, not to mention the downtown skyline as a background, indicates this isn’t merely a “Hollywood” tour, just as the LA film industry transcends that segment of the city.

tcm la bus tour 09a

To whet your appetite, here are some pictures. Several classic Hollywood bloggers have taken the tour, including Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings ( and Elise’s Ramblings ( First, the bus itself, with plenty of window space for picture-taking:

tcm la bus tour 07

Your host will be none other than TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz…

tcm la bus tour 08

And as Dr. Seuss would say, oh, the places you’ll go! Of course, you’ll get great views of the “HOLLYWOOD” sign…

hollywood sign 007

…and pass Paramount Pictures, where Carole worked for seven years (but if you want to see the Bronson gate she passed through rather than the later, less iconic Melrose gate, you’ll have to take its tour)…

paramount melrose gate 00

…but you’ll also visit downtown sites recognizable to generations of film fans, such as the interior of the Bradbury Building. (Your grandparents knew it from the 1949 “D.O.A.”, your parents from the 1982 “Blade Runner” and you know it from the 2011 silent Oscar-winner “The Artist.”)

los angeles bradbury building 1979b

Another favorite film noir-era location was Angels Flight on Bunker Hill, now moved a block south of its original site (and let’s hope the beloved incline is working that day):

tcm la bus tour 10

This? Forget it, Jake, it’s (the entrance to) Chinatown:

tcm la bus tour 11

And not far away, what LA’s original Chinatown was moved for — the magnificent Union Station:

los angeles union station 05

For all we know, Lombard may have used one of these waiting-room seats on Jan. 12, 1942 while awaiting the train that would take her from Los Angeles for the last time:

los angeles union station waiting room large

That’s the good news about the tour. The bad news is that it is “sold out” (the quotation marks are because it’s free); but those who made reservations may not show, so standbys may have a chance to take part. Go to for more information.

It’s possible that thanks to popular demand, the tour will be revived after its scheduled closing date of April 14 — though if it does, it almost certainly will be a paid tour, similar to its New York counterpart. For now, try to experience three hours of the town that helped lead to the iconic channel sponsoring next month’s festival.

Posted March 26, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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