When people mention Hollywood, the film industry comes first to mind for most people, followed closely by the music scene. “Tinsletown,” however, is the sparkly image of Hollywood, with bright lights, glamour and wealth. Dreams of making it big still draw people to live in Hollywood.
The city itself is rather unglamorous once one steps away from Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. The city is a densely-populated community of largely Hispanics, Asians, early-twenties whites and Blacks. There are a large number of older apartments, filled with people speaking many different languages and cooking a wide-variety of food. Cultures often clash in such close, often dirty living quarters.
Homeless people abound near and on the major thoroughfares. The smell of urine and feces is not uncommon.
Further away from the dense apartment buildings are a series of hilly, winding roads with small homes, some of which were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Many of these homes are rental properties occupied by aspiring artists and people who work in Downtown Los Angeles. There are also a many senior citizens living in the small homes, content to remain in the homes that are fully paid off.
Hollywood is located south of Hollywood Hills, west of East Hollywood and north of Larchmont and Hancock Park. To the east is West Hollywood.
The city’s rough boundaries are La Brea Avenue to the west, Hollywood Boulevard to the south, Western Avenue to the east and Melrose Avenue to the north.
The city’s name supposedly was set in 1886 by H.J. Whitley. Whitley was on his honeymoon at the time and was looking down from the top of the Cahuenga Pass southward to what is now modern-day Hollywood. As he stood there, a Chinese man came along in a wagon, carrying wood. The man got out of the wagon and bowed to Whitley. Whitley asked him what he was doing and the man replied, “I holly-wood,” meaning “hauling wood.” Whitley then decided to name the new town “Hollywood,” as Holly would represent England and “wood” would represent his Scottish heritage.
Regardless of whether this is true, the town was named Hollywood and in 1923, the “Hollywoodland” sign was erected on Mount Lee. In 1949, the sign was falling apart and the City of Los Angeles intervened to fix it, and in the process removed “land” from the sign (the sign is actually not in Hollywood, but in the city of Hollywood Hills).
At that point, Hollywood was the center of the movie industry. Columbia, RKO, Paramount and Warner Brothers had studios there. The weather was ideal and Hollywood was close to a wide variety of settings that could represent places around the world.
In the 1950’s, following World War II, the Hollywood Freeway was built, making Hollywood even more accessible to the public. In 1956, the famous Capitol Records building was finished, alongside the Hollywood Freeway where it still stands today. In 2001, the Dolby Theatre opened as the Kodak Theatre and serves as the home to the Oscar Ceremony every year.
The Los Angeles Police Department provides police services within Hollywood. Most criminal cases are heard in the Clara Shortridge Foltz building (CCB) in downtown Los Angeles, as well as some minor offenses in the Bauchet Street courthouse near Men’s Central jail and Twin Towers. Some prostitution matters arising from arrests in Hollywood are heard in the East Los Angeles Courthouse, which surprises many of our clients because it is so far away from Hollywood.
Misdemeanor matters are handled by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, as well as the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. In minor misdemeanor cases, an office hearing is often selected as the resolution method, which is great for our clients.
Our office, over the years, has handled quite a few DUI’s arising in Hollywood, as well as prostitution cases (male and female), possession of a controlled substance, underage possession of alcohol (in many of the bars), furnishing alcohol to a minor (often arising out of the Avalon nightclub), domestic violence, shoplifting and a few municipal housing code violation cases, as some of the buildings are very old and unsafe.
For more information about common criminal cases we often defend originating in Hollywood, please click on the following articles: