LA is a company town. Every neighborhood, park and graveyard has been lived, played and mourned in by the crazy performers and technicians who make our celluloid dreams. So if you’re getting attacked by the dirty Elmo outside Grauman’s, take heart: bits of movie history can be found on more scenic streets. And if there seems to be a preponderance of graveyards, sorry, but the closest you’ll ever get to many of your idols is when they’re six feet under.
Paramount Ranch: From 1927 to 1997, Paramount Ranch was home to many a prostitute, cowboy, gambler and sigh, the one and only Gary Cooper. Thousands of hours of film and television were filmed there, most recently that old favorite,” Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman.” The ranch is now a national park nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. The original Main Street set is still intact and there are great hiking trails and plenty of open space for running and picnics. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with the kiddos.
2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills
Hollywood Forever: In the 1920s silent stars had the delusion – probably aided by illegal liquor – that they were gods and goddesses. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, right behind Paramount Studios, is home to their eternal temples (literally, there is a Grecian temple in the middle of a man-made lake). A beautiful, tree-draped park, it is the final resting place of Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille and Tyrone Power. Throw in an old Jewish and more recent Eastern European and Tibetan sections and you have the history of Los Angeles in one city block. It is also home to the hugely popular Cinespace series, where classic movies are shown on the side of a mausoleum while hipsters get drunk.
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard