For the person who truly loves entertainment, Southern California is still pretty exciting, especially to those who don't know what it once was. But a Starline bus tour isn't going to do it if you're a fan.
You can buy the maps, and it IS cool to see that, just like in the radio shows, Jack Benny, Jimmy Stewart and Ronald Colman were neighbors. They're gone but the houses are there, and that's cool. There's a Gelson's on Hyperion that was the site of Walt Disney's first major studio, and there are some photos in the Gelson's to celebrate it. (There are even some of the same cracks in the street that were there since 1936.) Hanna-Barbera's building is at 3400 Cahuenga South. Have a meal at the Smokehouse, where George Schlatter and Gary Owens first came up with the "cupped ear" gag for Laugh-In. There's a lot of this stuff.
If you like newer things, the studios themselves offer more tours than they used to. Warner’s features their newer shows. If you want to see stars, check out events for upcoming screenings with Q and A's at the Egyptian Theater, The Aero in Santa Monica and the Billy Wilder at LACMA. In the last year, we watched "Oliver!" with Shani Wallis in the audience, "Working Girl" with Sigourney Weaver, "2001" with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, "Big Trouble in Little China" with Kurt Russell. Next month, "Head" will be screened with Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith. You'd be surprised how low the ticket prices are. That's because the stars live here and don't have to be flown in and provided with food and lodging as they are in other states.
Yes, you can catch glimpses of the famous eating, because they're people and they eat. Paul Feig was gracious when I greeted him for a few moments at the wonderful little Paty's in Toluca Lake. In Burbank, there's a little diner called Moore's Delicatessen where animators eat and have filled four walls with cartoon drawings.
Hollywood Boulevard is not a gleaming mecca, but a dingy downtown. However, the Hollywood Museum has actual artifacts on display, not cheap fakes. I always make sure to stop by Amoeba Music to see what new old records have arrived. The place is gigantic and I hope it lasts.
I've only lived here for about two years. I grew up in South and Central Florida where the pop culture history and building design isn't quite as protected. California is still loaded with crazy "googie" stores and restaurants (there a church in Tustin I call "Our Lady of Jetsons"). Florida plows most of it down on an ongoing basis. My childhood in Miami and Fort Lauderdale had such images, but most are gone now. Even one of our homes was torn down and is now a wider road. SoCal is strangely familiar to me even though I didn't grow up here because it is so reminiscent of a Florida long lost.
So you've got to ask around, do homework, search the net. It ain't perfect by a looooonnnng shot but there's nothing like it.
Now will someone please pay me for this advertisement?