The Hollywood Palladium
6215 Sunset Blvd
- Hollywood Palladium in the 1940's and '50's
The famous Hollywood Palladium is located on the north side of Sunset Boulevard block between El Centro and Argyle (one block east of Vine St).
The Palladium is located in the heart of Hollywood just east of CBS/Columbia Square and across the street from Earl Carroll's Theater.
The auditorium first opened on October 29, 1940 with a concert by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. It cost over $1,000,000 to build and soon became Hollywood's largest entertainment center.
The Palladium was the dream of Maurice Cohen (Southern California Enterprises) and Norman Chandler (publisher of the L.A. Times). Chandler had owned a lot of land in Los Angeles. Maury Cohen continued to be president and general manager of the Palladium until he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1949 at the age of 60.
The streamline moderne dance floor was designed by Gordon Kaufmann. Kaufman had also also designed Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles City Jail.
The Palladium quickly became a hugely popular dance spot.
On opening night, Sunset Boulevard between Gower and Vine Streets, were a blaze of lights.
The Palladium had a 11,200 sq. ft. kidney shaped maple wood dance floor. There was cool lighting and special illumination devices creating color symphonies played on a color keyboard that worked in harmony with the music. It had a unique circular dome-top cocktail lounge.
There were chandeliers and chrome and swooping lines and colorful accent lighting.
The venue could accommodate 7,500 people - and there were no built-in seats. There was dining for 1,000 around the dance floor.
In the 1940's, swing dancing and Big Band Bands were popular. All the great bands played the Palladium. Between 1940 and 1962 the list of bands who performed at the Palladium included; Phil Harris, Jimmy Dorsey, Glen Miller, Bob Crosby, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Kay Kyser, Les Brown, Artie Shaw, Wood Herman, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Alice Faye, the Andrew Sisters and Gene Krupa.
This is where Alice Faye met Phil Harris and Betty Grable met Harry James.
Dancing at the Palladium
photo: LAPL photo archives n.d.
2008 photo: tlc
During WW2 the Palladium hosted a radio broadcast- Betty Grable and other celebs would greet servicemen.
During WW2 radio show originated from the Palladium to raise funds to aid war sufferers in Britain. Celebrities guest included; Ronald Coleman, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy and Charles Boyer.
The Palladium was down the street from CBS Columbia Square and across the street from Earl Carroll's theater.
photo source: GettyImages
Earl Carroll Vanities was a famous nightclub from 1938 to 1952. It included an 80 ft wide stage with two revolving platforms.
Earl Carroll's Theater
photo source: Pomona Public Library
Former site of Earl Carroll's Theater today
CBS/KNX Studios - Columbia Square
Former CBS Columbia Square today
CBS/Columbia Square had been a Hollywood landmark since 1938. It was the home of CBS radio (KNX) and television operations until 2007. When it opened in 1938 it was the most modern broadcasting studio in the world. Many early CBS radio and TV shows originated here including; the Jack Benny Show, My Friend Irma, Art Linkletter's House Party, Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy.
Throughout the 1950's the Hollywood Palladium was used for dancing, diners, fundraisers, galas, teen age dances, square dances, auto shows, fashion shows, auctions, antique shows, high school graduation parties, Deb star balls, charity balls, sock hops, award shows, Pop orchestra shows, tartan balls and many other social gatherings.
However, the Palladium has always been about dancing. Between 1940 and 1961 over 22 million persons had danced on the giant maple dance floor.