John Wayne's Hollywood

On January 25, 1950, John Wayne put his cowboy boots in the wet cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. An oddity: he did not print his hands but cast his fist.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Blvd, opened in 1927 and is now the TCL Chinese Theater. Twenty years after the premiere of his first film, The Big Trail, at this movie house, John Wayne joined the ranks of immortal movie legends. He was the 125th star to be immortalized outside the theater. 

The sentiment John Wayne put into the cement in Grauman's Chinese Theatre reads: „To Sid – there are not enough words“. With that, Wayne paid his respects to the man who had created this Hollywood landmark, Sid Grauman.

On January 25, 1950, John Wayne put his cowboy boots in the wet cement and etched his name next to it. With the sentiment, „To Sid – there are not enough words“, Wayne paid his respects to the man who had created this Hollywood landmark, Sid Grauman (right). Atypically, this honoree star did not push his hands but his right fist into the cement. 


John Wayne's star on the Walk of Fame is on 1541 Vine Street, in the neighborhood of the original CBS Playhouse Theatre where he had performed several times.

John Wayne's star on the Walk of Fame is on 1541 Vine Street. Not too far from what is now the Ricardo Montalban Theatre on 1615 Vine Street. However, until 1955 this was the CBS Playhouse Theatre where John Wayne performed several times in the radio adaptions of his films. Lux presents Hollywood was a popular anthology show, performed in front of a live audience.  


The Hollywood Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, was the location for the Academy Awards ceremonies when John Wayne was nominated for Best Actor in "Sands of Iwo Jima" and when he picked up Oscars on behalf of John Ford and Gary Cooper.

The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the palatial Art Deco Theater at 6233 Hollywood Blvd, was known as RKO Pantages theatre in the Golden Days of Hollywood when this was the place of the Academy Awards ceremony - and the original name stuck. The first time John Wayne was up for the Academy Award was on March 23, 1950, for Sands of Iwo Jima. He picked up two Oscars on March 19, 1953, at the Pantages – one for John Ford’s direction of The Quiet Man and „one for our beloved Gary Cooper“. 


In his younger years, John Wayne was a member of the Hollywood Athletic Club, and more so, a member of the club John Ford founded, „Young Men’s Purity, Total Abstinence, and Snooker Pool Association“.

Originally built in 1924 as a health club, the Hollywood Athletic Club was more like a hideout of male stars during the 20s through the 50s. The restored structure of one of Tinseltown‘s most historical buildings still contains the Olympic sized pool. John Ford often spent his afternoons naked in the steam room. John Wayne joined is his early years of stardom, when producers didn't hire him for his acting, "but for how agile you were!"

The original logo of the Hollywood Athletic Club, the famous landmark on 6525 Sunset Boulevard. John Wayne and his drinking buddies became members in the Thirties.

Pictured here is the original logo of the Hollywood Athletic Club, the famous landmark on 6525 Sunset Boulevard. John Ford's drinking buddies, young John Wayne and Ward Bond among them, formed an inner social club, the „Young Men’s Purity, Total Abstinence, and Snooker Pool Association“, renamed in 1938 as „The Emerald Bay Yacht Club“. They even held their meetings in the steam room. 


John Wayne ate at the Tam O'Shanter Inn even before he was John Wayne, while still attending Glendale High.

John Wayne was a regular at the Tam O'Shanter Inn even before he was John Wayne. When he was in his sophomore year of Glendale High, he used to bring his first steady girlfriend, Polly Richmond, to the Tam O’Shanter. In later years, his table was always #15. The restaurant at 2980 Los Felix Blvd was favored by nearby Disney Studio employees as Walt's first studio was just across the street.  


John Wayne worked at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, located at 1041 N Formosa Ave, on numerous occasions. The studios changed hands several times and is now known as "The Lot".

John Wayne often worked at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, located at 1041 N Formosa Ave (for the first time when he did  the process shots inside a mock-up of the Stagecoach, using rear projection; he also used the facilities to do the postproduction of The Alamo). The studio lot on the corner of Formosa and Santa Monica Blvd had changed hands several times and was leased by different independent producers. Warner Brothers sold it again in 1999 when the name was officially changed to its longtime unofficial nickname, The Lot. However, unchangable is the legendary Hollywood hangout across the street... 

 

The "Formosa Cafe" is right across the street from the Hollywood studio "The Lot". John Wayne used to ate there whenever he worked on the sets of the old Samuel Goldwyn Studios.

...the Formosa Cafe at 7156 Santa Monica Blvd: According to a Formosa legend (printed on the menu card), John Wayne passed out in his booth after a night of imbiding at the Café. The staff was not able to wake him up and simply locked up. In the morning, they caught him in the kitchen making scrambled eggs. The story inspired the Duke’s All Nighter cocktail.


Chasen's, the famous Hollywood eatery, was located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. “Through the doors of Beverly Boulevard walked movie stars and moguls, dignitaries and presidents.” In fact, Ronald Reagan met a girl named Nancy in one of the booths on a blind date. Chasen’s closed in 1995. The original dining room is now a grocery. Nevertheless, the main dining room and the street facade of the original restaurant remain as an eatery and the original look was preserved. 

 John Wayne became acquainted with RKO owner Howard Hughes over a meal one of these tables at Chasen’s. The billionaire offered to produce movies starring John Wayne (which would eventually lead to Jet Pilot). For many years, the large dining room was the site of the Academy Awards party.

The original entrance to Chasen'sis still visible, although the door was bricked up. Since it opened for business in 1936, it was frequented by entertainers and famous for its chili. While filming Cleopatra in Rome, Elizabeth Taylor had several orders of chili flown to the set. Maureen O’Hara had her own table, dined there at least once a week, and she was there on closing night. 


Bronson Canyon were filmed countless times because these man-made tunnels are in easy reach of the Hollywood studies. On August 12, 1955, Ford shot the scene in which John Wayne takes Natalie Wood in his arms in "The Searchers".

The studios used Bronson Canyon - actually man-made tunnels - countless times. It has the look of a remote setting but it is easily accessible as a section of Griffith Park. So, August 12, 1955, Ethan Edwards took Debbie (Natalie Wood) in his arms at the cave entrance.  However, The Searchers was not John Wayne's first trip up there. He had beenfilming in Bronson Canyon 20 years before...

 

 

John Wayne filmed at Bronson Canyon long before "The Searchers": he was up in those stark rocks in "Sagebrush Trail" in 1933.

...when he first defended these stark rock faces in the Mascot serial The Hurricane Express. John Wayne rode back into that horseshoe-shaped canyon for Sagebrush Trail in 1933 (pictured here) for an action-packed shootout – he actually drives a stagecoach from one end of the tunnel to the other. 


John Wayne was among the famous owners of the Culver City Hotel, called the “flatiron”.

For a long time, John Wayne was one of the owners of the Culver City Hotel at 9400 Culver Blvd, then a few blocks from MGM studios. The “flatiron” changed hands ever since it opened in 1924. It was used as a movie location as early as in the Laurel & Hardy pictures. The six-story Renaissance Revival building is now a national landmark.


The actual home of "Batjac" is the L.A. Arboretum: in John Wayne's "Wake of the Red Witch", the Queen Anne Cottage was the home of the evil owner of the Batjak Shipping Company.

 When the State of Californa and the County of L.A. purchased 111 acres of what is known today as the L.A. Arboretum, movie-making history could be made. Because of the large lagoon and the lush foliage surrounding it, this location was often used for jungle type pictures and also for the memorable John Wayne starrer Wake of the Red Witch. Between July and August, 1948, this was the home of the evil owner of the Batjak Shipping Company in Wake of the Red Witch

As shown in this German movie programm, the Batjak owner supposedly lived in the 1880s Queen Anne Cottage, located in the middle of the parc at Baldwin Lake.  

John Wayne movies "Back to Bataan, "Tycoon" and most notably "Wake of the Red Witch" used the L.A. Arboretum as a jungle location.

The sea-faring picture Wake of the Red Witch  had not been the first time John Wayne filmed at the L.A. Arboretum. His guerilla fighters from Back to Bataan also fought on the Baldwin estate in Arcadia. And some pick-ups for Tycoon were also shot on the premises. The entrance is directly across from the Santa Anita Race Track, at 301 N Baldwin Ave. 


John Wayne as Rodeo Grand Marshal at the 5th Annual Sheriff’s Rodeo at the L.A. Coliseum, in 1949.

In late 1949, John Wayne accepted the role of Rodeo Grand Marshal at the 5th Annual Sheriff’s Rodeo at the L.A. Coliseum, 3911 Figueroa Street.


John Wayne's and James Stewart's few outdoor scenes of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" were filmed on the Janss Conejo Ranch. Paramount used the same spread regulary, for instance in "Flaming Star" just one year before.

One filming site many location hunters get wrong is the place that Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) called his own spread as The Man who Shot Liberty Valance. Even though it was a Paramount film, it was not filmed on the Paramount Ranch in Agoura. As a matter of fact, the only outdoor sequences (like the one seen here with James Stewart) were shot on the Janss Conejo Ranch. Filmmakers wouldn't even have to cross the cityborders of L.A. That's why TV shows like Bonanza (a Paramount production) used the same wide spread (originally 10,000 acres) regularly. 

The few outdoor scenes of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" were shot on what is now Wildwood Park, formerly known as Janss Conejo Ranch.

However, in 1969, the Hawaiian Land Corporation acquired the Janss Conejo ranch land and developed it into the vast city of Thousand Oaks.  1,765 acres were spared, which is now Wildwood Park at 928 W Avenida De Los Arboles, sometimes still used for location shooting. Somewhere in them tar hills lies Tom Doniphon's spread, the location of John Wayne's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


A few years after John Wayne's passing, Great Western Bank decided to honor its advertising spokesperson. Artist Harry Jackson was commissioned with creating the massive 21-foot high bronze “The Horseman”.  James Stewart unveiled the  5.4-ton sculpture on July 22, 1984, at Wilshire and La Cienega Boulevards, then called Great Western Savings Plaza. “The Horseman” is facing 8484 Wilshire Bldv. By coincidence, Wilshire was the last address of John Wayne's Batjac office (9570 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 400).