March 1970

Temple of the Rainbow
 3129 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

Built in 1924, this East Los Angeles location is not vibrating as a theatre space any longer. The corner of Sunset and Westerley Terrace serves up maple fried chicken tacos and Micheladas (Mexican beer).

During the 1940's, various PTA groups used the location for board meetings and luncheons. In 1968, an ad was placed, listing two stores for $195 a month. Three years later, the site was home to The Burbage Theater Company. This did not last, as City inspectors ruled the structure lacked earthquake reinforcements and limited capacity to 25. With that, the Burbage Theater Company exited to San Francisco.

December 1971

December 1971

No need to expand on The Who's rock opera, Tommy - it's a classic. And you don't have to listen to You Better You Bet, which was naff. But no doubt Tommy would have been an amazing production at The Aquarius Theater in 1972.

After a six-week sell-out run run at the Mark Taper Forum, Godspell moved to The Ivar.

Built in 1950, The Ivar Theater, operated as an adult movie theatre with the occasional burlesque show, and rented out as theatre space. American playwright Tennessee Williams one-act play, Garden District played the Ivar in 1958. Mike Connolly "Mr Hollywood" tattled that fellow playright Paddy Chayefsky fell sound asleep watching the nightmare-making play.

In 1968, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown ("A musical entertainment for the entire family") enjoyed a long run at The Ivar.

And it was back to x-rated fare with the 1972 play, The Dirtiest Show in Town, Tom Eyens' all-nude play about sex, war and smog. One performance was reserved for members of the Western Sun Bathing Association, and newspaper reports estimated the show was attended by 150 nudists. A year later, the G-rated material continued with The Incommunicado Mikado, a play updated to reflect the Watergate scandal.

The venue has been closed for a few years. At some point, the address was changed from "Street" to "Avenue".

March 1970

December 1971

Las Palmas Theatre
 1642 N Las Palmas Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90028

David Black's 1969 off-Broadway rock musical, Salvation, explored religion, pageantry and a young man searching for understanding. Sfter becoming disillusioned, the man becomes a Timothy Leary-like guru. According to source notes, the cast would be seen "smoking from a giant Coke bottle; doing drugs and getting stoned" - something they'd have done had they sat through "Mamma Mia!".

The Salvation soundtrack spawned a hit single performed by Ronnie Dyson, who asked the reasonable question (If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can't I Touch You?. So reasonable in fact, the song was covered by Johnny Mathis on his 1970 album, Close to You.

The Las Palmas Theatre originated as the Hollywood Little Theatre and became Troupers Theatre by the late 1940's. The venue saw productions of everything from Come Blow Your Horn (1963), Nobody Loves an Albatross (1965), Michael McClure's controversial The Beard (1968) and An Evening with Pat Collins in 1969.

The Beard featured obscene language and a simulated sex act and landed at Las Palmas after a fire broke out at its previous home; the Warner Playhouse at 755 North La Cienega Blvd. According to newspapers, arson was suspected. On the heels of the show's opening in January 1968, the theater endured nightly raids from police following each performance. Lead actress Alexandra Hay was arrested multiple times and eventually quit.

By the early 1970's, the luxurious Las Palmas screened all-male films such as A Boy Named David and alternated between gay and straight erotica for a number of years. During a time in the 1980's when the venue was The L.A. Stage Company and then the Las Palmas Theater, a variety of solid productions were staged; Sam Shephard's True West with Randy and Dennis Quaid, Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart with Richard Dreyfuss, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Penn and Teller, Nuts, and Sister Mary Ignatius.

On rare occasions the venue introduced live music; Sly & The Family Stone brought the business in 1987 and Johnnie Ray in 1990. The venue was renovated in the mid-90's as an all-ages club, giving alt-kids with chain-wallets a reason to see The Muffs, Pansy Division, Electric Hellfire Club, Bikini Kill and Spahn Ranch.

Currently, the space is occupied by Sound Nightclub, where you can see Pete Tong and purchase a bacon wrapped hot dog for $7.00.

June 1972

December 1972

Sherwood Oaks College
 6671 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028

The Sherwood Oaks Experimental College had its roots in Sherwood Oaks School of Encino back in 1948. Owned and operated by Otis H. Shennum, the Valley school enrolled grades 1 through 12. By 1951, the non-sectarian school turned private and offered classes such as weapons handling to teenagers.

Raised in Beverly Hills, Shusett graduated Beverly Hills High in 1960 and after dropping out of college, found himself helping a friend run the Encino school. It was there that Shusett created an array of unique classes to attract students. The experimental project faltered until 1971, when Shusett lured record producrer Phil Spector to guest lecture at the Ash Grove.

Having hit on something special, the Sherwood Oaks (now an "experimental" college) repositioned the type of classes being offered toward the entertainment industry, and set up an office in Hollywood - where it operated from the second-floor at 6353 Hollywood Blvd. For a short period of time in 1972, the school located to Van Nuys, and eventually settled across town at 'Crossroads of the World' on Sunset - "a mangled fantasy of offices and shops, ticky-tacky impersonations of English Tudor and Spanish Hacienda in the heart of dilapidated Hollywood."

In addition to guest lectures from such luminaries as Sidney Poitier, Robert De Niro, William Goldman and Orson Welles, the unaccredited Sherwood Oaks also began screenwriting contests in the mid-1970's. The non-profit college offered a wide variety of seminars and courses; film editing, animation, comedy writing and record engineering. In 1977, Lucille Ball gave a six week course costing $125.

At the start of the 1980's, the college relocated to the Hollywood Center Theater on Las Palmas. The moving vans kept the engine running, as by the time they presented their Star Trek II seminar, the college already announced yet another address; the Vanguard Theater at 9018 Melrose Avenue.

Gary Shusett passed away in August 2013.

Dr. Howard Suber can be found teaching at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

May 1972

May 1972

Replacing Dave Diamond, Elliot Mintz' syndicated series Headshop was broadcast on KBSC-TV/Channel 52 in Los Angeles The hour-long show featured a wide variety of guests, including the cast of "Hair", Mel Blanc and Mama Cass Elliot.

Previously, Mintz joined the revamped KHJ-TV for their live Tempo Television programming in 1967. The RKO-owned outlet KHJ-TV aired on Channel 9 in Los Angeles, late became KCAL. In addition to hosting segments for KABC's Eyewitness News, Mintz was the on-air personality at KLOS-FM and enjoyed a stint at KPPC in 1970.

Sticking with radio, Mintz hosted a new hour-long weekly interview show on KMET called "Inner View". The show was produced by Jim Ladd and broadcast on KMET. The show scored a coup interviewing Stevie Wonder for a special two-part interview in 1976. During this time, Mintz was also hosting the parapsychology series, "Endless Journey".

The busy broadcaster left KLOS for KGIL's Earth News in 1976 as staff reporter and produced a 14-part series on John Lennnon.

June 1972

Two questions remain: Who are you? and What have you sacrificed?.

Universal Amphitheatre had the answers in 1972, when they kicked off with this production of Jesus Christ Superstar - one of the greatest rock opera's, and more than makes up for Lloyd Weber's subsequent 1984 musical, "Starlight Express".

Although full stage productions and concert versions had been performed throughout the world, the Premiere at the Amphitheater marked the first time the full stage version was seen in California.

"'Jesus Christ Superstar' has been performed for standing room only audiences since its New York opening in October 1971. It will be entirely restaged to take advantage of the outdoor setting of the Amphitheater. Innovative sets, special lighting effects and spectacular costumes will be designed to compliment the dramatic background of the arena which overlooks the San Fernando Valley."

- The Van Nuys News, June 1972

The following year, Norman Jewison's big screen version opened in the U.S., starring Ted Neeley as JC. The MCA soundtrack spawned two certfied hits" Superstar and I Don't Know How to Love Him.

Built in 1969 at a cost of $1,000.000, the 3800-seat Amphitheatre remained intact until 1985, when it became the Gibson Amphitheatre. The venue officially closed in 2013 making way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

And in all likelihood, Jesus Christ Superstar is still being performed by plucky high school ensembles everywhere.

August 1972

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
 3911 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Benefiting the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation and the Martin Luther Hospital in Watts, the ambitious music event known as "Blackstock" was held at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and cost concertgoers just one dollar. As part of the Seventh Annual Watts Summer Festival, Wattstax '72 was broadcast live from radio station KMET in quadrophonic sound.

The opening ceremony took place at the Will Rogers Memorial Park, and a parade capped the 5-day event, with performer Isaac Hayes as grand marshall. Other celeberities included Redd Foxx, Assemblywoman Yvonne Braithwaite Burke and Laker's center, LeRoy Ellis. The parade was carried by local station KTTV/Channel 11.

September 1972

Designed by Hawkins and Lindsey Architects, The Valley Music Theatre opened on July 6, 1964 with a performance of The Sound of Music. It continued with theatre produced Broadway hits, such as Pajama Game, Camelot and the drama Come Back, Little Sheba.

The 2,600-seat theater-in-the-round booked big-name acts: Ray Charles, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Ike & Tina Turner, and Three Dog Night. One big pop concert, scheduled for July 13, 1968, "The concert will feature the Iron Butterfly with the Electric Chair also giving off some great vibrations. The KRLA sponsored event will introduce the Bourgeois Looney and will feature the Picadilly Light Show. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Wallich's Music City for $3 or at the door the night of the concert for $3".

Rock groups aside, Valley Music Theatre had appearances from a variety of headlining acts. In 1972 alone, the venue had Mitzi Gaynor, Woody Allen and special guest Jim Croce, Shecky Greene with Carol Lawrence, Ray Charles and B.B. King (with Billy Preston on organ), and Johnny Carson with Phyllis McGuire. For their Gala New Years Eve weekend, The Redd Foxx Show was booked.

Under new operation (presumably from Marquee Enterprises), the venue boasted of improvements including: new and improved sound system, lighting system, additional parking, ample to meet all needs, delightful new terrace cafe and patio to enjoy beverages between the acts, redecorated with entirely new decor, fully carpeted. Valley Music Theatre makes your theatre-going a comfortable de1ight! Top quality entertainment in a perfect setting!

That year the venue brought back professional boxing on a regular basis.

Sadly by 1966, ticket sales were down and by the end of the year the Valley Music Theatre closed its doors and claimed bankruptcy. The building was eventually sold to the Jehovah's Witnesses and renamed Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall and demolished in 2007. A luxury community known as The Boulevard was built in its place. Kind of a downbeat ending there I'm afraid.

October 1972

The tribal-love-rock musical made a return to the Aquarius (previously the Kaleidoscope), having opened previously in December 1968. New York producer Michael Butler and Marshall Naify led the production. The cast and crew moved to Las Vegas for one night at the Internation Hotel Theater. The Valley News called the "total uninhibited happening" "excessive in dress and behaviour, brash, loud and captivating, a description of the liberated boy-next-door."

After "Hair" moving out, the Who's rock opera "Tommy" moved in. Across town at the Mark Taper Forum, "Godspell" was enjoying a nice run.

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Middle Earth Workshop
 804 North El Centro Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90038

The Middle Earth Woskshop was part of the League of L.A. Theaters - the others being The Argo Theater on Crenshaw, The Onion Company on Melrose, Scorpio Rising Theatre on Hoover and Theatre Rapport on Vermont.

Despite the critical acclaim for his previous work osencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Stoppard's first stage play (originally titled A Walk on the Water) was not well received. The L.A. Times commented, "The play seems overwritten and derivative, and the Middle Earth Workshop's production so awful that one is literally and painfully bored to distraction."

After Middle Earth moved out, the site kept its theater roots and by the 1980s, was surviving as The Cast Theatre. Later on, the El Centro Theater and finally, Circle Theater.

May 1973

Century Plaza Hotel
2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067

Century Plaza Hotel

In the spring of 1966, the Westin Internation Hotel opened their luxurious and modern Century Plaza Hotel. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki (with interiors by Donald A. Robbins), the $30 million building featured large guest rooms with prince beds, electric blankets, love seats, a coffee table and color television. If that wasn't enough comfort, all 800 guest rooms featured FM radio plus background music built into the nightstands. And if chilly guests need to reach for a cardigan, the room temperature could be controlled from a wall-mounted control panel.

The land, which once housed the stables of cowboy legend Tom Mix, was purchased by film studio 20th Century-Fox, who soon moved their operations from Western Avenue in Hollywood to West Los Angeles. With increasing land costs, Fox eventually sold its old "back lot" to the Aluminum Company of America for $43 million cash in 1961. The entire site was bulldozed to make way for the new "city within a city".

Eighty acres were leased back to Fox and the remaining land was used for planning and shaping of "Alcoa's Century City". By 1965, development was rapid; office buildings (Gateway West and Gateway East), the Century Park apartments and Yamasaki's new and very modern hotel - which became the keystone of the project - were being built. In addition, the Galaxy Fountain on Avenue of the Stars and Century Plaza's Celestial Fountain were soon completed. Westside growth expanded in 1964 with a new office building for National Cash Register on Century Park East, and the lavish Century Square shopping center, which opened late 1964.

That year also saw construction on Charles Luckman's $12 million, 20-story, 480-unit Century Park Apartments, on the corner of Olympic Blvd. and Century Park East. Later on, a three-theater ABC Entertainment Center was unveiled, complete with grand pedestrian concourse beneath the Celestial Fountain. The hotel's lower plaza would connect to the ABC Entertainment Center - which opened in 1971.

Yamasaki, who also designed New York's World Trade Center towers, died in 1986.

The sweeping Century Plaza Hotel offered twenty-five shops, and seven public restaurants such as the Granada Grill and the the Garden Bar - which gave diners the illusion of a floating roof, thanks to it's all-glass walls that could be rolled away. Two main attractions were the Hong Kong Bar and the semi-circular Westside Room - which both opened in June of 1966. The Hong Kong Bar "struck the gong" at 8PM and kicked things off with exotic snacks, dangerous drinks and the sound of The Modernaires. The Westside Room (billed as the smartest supper club) featured Kay Starr and her quartet for it's glitzy debut. With its intimate gold and crystal setting, the Westside Room went on to host a dazzling array of entertainers over the years; Lana Cantrell, Della Reese, Dionne Warwick, Buddy Greco, Vikki Carr and Laini Kazan.

The swanky room was active for a number of years, but things were in decline by 1973, with Ray Anthony as the final attraction. The venue continued for the odd seminar, film screening and private banquets. In 1977, the talent showcase was due to reopen with Razz - a 1940's inspired musical transported from its long run in Cleveland. Due to financial complications with the shows backer, Razz then moved to the Dohney Plaza.

The Westside Room tried again, this time with a series of jazz concerts, and even Elton John tickled the ivories at an MCA dinner party.

Within a year or two, the Westside Room was back to more compelling events such as the two-day Neuro-Linguistics seminar, or the EF Hutton Tax Shelter seminar, both in 1980. Twenty-five years after 20th Century-Fox Fox sold the land to Alcoa, the site was acquired by JMB Realty of Chicago for more than $600 million in cash. Part of the deal included Alcoa's half ownership stake in the Century Plaza Hotel.

Belgian poet and composer Jacques Brel brought his musical revue to the West Coast. The limited engagement show was seen as a new experience for Los Angeles theater. Having spent four years at New York's Greenwich "Village Gate", the show was billed as "cabaret theater". Audiences were seated around the perimiter of the stage and allowed to smoke and drink during the show, although food was not served.

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