Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hell Fire!

The street that I live on in Hollywood is called Bronson Avenue.  It was actually originally called Hartford before being renamed, when the citizens decided they would rather have plenty of water than their 7 year old cityhood, and allowed themselves to be annexed back into Los Angeles.

At it's northernmost it winds up into Bronson Canyon, becomes "Canyon Drive" and ends at the famous Bronson Caves.

This ubiquitous site was used as the bat cave in the Batman TV series.  It has been seen in everything from "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang" to "Lost Horizon" to "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" to about a billion other things.  In the years that I worked in wardrobe, I personally have worked there on 3 different shows.

The section of Bronson that I live on (from Hollywood Blvd. south to Santa Monica Blvd.) is quite wide as it used to have a trolly line down the center.  Bronson dead ends at Santa Monica, interruped to the south by the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and then Paramount Studios to the south of that.  It picks up again south of Paramount (but who cares about that part).

At the Santa Monica Blvd. entrance, like any fine English country estate or exclusive gated community, there is grand statuary announcing it's commencement.  Well, statuary Hollywood Style:

That's right, four big ol' silly Tiki Gods.

Omega Cinema Props is, I believe, the largest prop rental company in town.  So large in fact, that in addition to their main building, there is also C.P. Two, C.P. Three and C.P. Four.    The Tiki Gods are in front of C.P. Three.

For history's sake, this address was the location of an independent production company, Bulls Eye/Reelart in the teens and early 20's where, among others, the legenday, notorious Texas Guinan made a picture.

Every morning the four Tikis get carefully rolled out and lashed to the wall where they enjoy a day in the sunshine and at night they are taken back in.  (Hollywood's answer to the Peabody Hotel ducks?)  I couldn't find a picture, but at Christmas time the fine folks of Omega put big red Santa hats on all four of them.  These guys are enough of an LA fixture that even if friends don't know where Bronson is, all I have to say is, "turn left on the Tiki Gods street."

All pretty perfect.  Until 10pm Wednesday July 14th:

The next morning this is what greeted me:

I was heartsick.  I'm pretty certain from the looks of it that all the inventory from this building is lost.  How many props, from how many years of films and television that I've watched, that you've watched, that we've enjoyed, are now ashes.  But first and foremost, what of my beloved, innocent, harmless Tiki Gods? I was so sad that I started taking another route to and from my house.

Then yesterday I walked (yes, walked. In LA! A whole 2 blocks!!) down there and............

......DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?!?!?!?  It kinda looks like only three, but maybe the fourth is still alive too!  I just hope they are as sound and undamaged as the seem to be.  And I hope, please Gods of the Tikis, that they will once again stand sentinel, someday soon.


Davelandweb said...

What a great story - hope they were able to salvage a lot of the historical props!

Mike, Studio city said...

Philip, doesn't it hurt so deep when something like this happens. When the Pan Pacific Auditorium burned I just freaked. The city had dragged it's feet so long on some way to restore and reuse the building, mainly the facade, that it was sadly destroyed.

jason said...

oh no!
Think of the effort all those West Hollywood Islanders thousands of years ago had in hand cutting those tikis from the asphalt.

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

My next door neighbor would KILL for those Tikis!

I'd stay away from that cave - gives me the creeps.

MJ said...

Holy heartbreak, Batman.

normadesmond said...

will we ever know what was lost in that fire? what a shame. i suppose this could be a boon for second hand, antique & the like-type stores. the company will need to replace what was lost.

mrpeenee said...

Fort Tiki lives!

Mean Dirty Pirate said...

I hate when things like this happen. Speculating on the damage...It could have contained all of the props from Valley of the Dolls...or the Patty Duke Show. Jeanie's bottle or that awful furniture from the set of Bewitched.

I suspect Debbie Reynolds as the arsonist. Always driving up the price of her collectibles.

normadesmond said...

HA! my first thought had been debbie too!

Donna Lethal said...

Oh the tikis are back! I was wondering!