The Hollywood Bowl, California opened in 1922 and was designed as a modern amphitheatre to be used for public performances. The natural cavity upon which the structure was built is called “the bowl" and was a traditional Cahuenga Indian ceremonial ground. Prior to the present building the site had been a natural amphitheater formerly known as the Daisy Del. The Californians enjoyed basking in the climate and wanted an outdoor theatre and suitable venue for religious gatherings. The Bowl was just an empty canyon, and folk used the site for concerts with temporary stage and benches and stages.
In 1926 horses were used to build permanent seating and the first arched shell was created. At first the façade (band shell) was replaced every year but the 1929 structure which was a distinctive set of concentric arches remained for the next 75 years. Individual concert tickets were priced at under 50 cents and even today you can still buy a seat at the top of the Bowl for a $1. By the late 1970s the Hollywood Bowl became an acoustic liability as the transite skin of the band shell hardened and this was replaced with a large acoustically improved shell in 2004. The new shell incorporated design elements from all three predecessors and the sound has steadily improved as engineers learned to work with its live acoustics. The addition of video cameras built into the shell with large screens mean the view is terrific.
The Hollywood Bowl is owned by the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County and home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and has a seating capacity of 17,376. In its first few years, the Hollywood Bowl was used for community concerts, conferences, and religious services. Local activist, Artie Mason Carter, saw the potential and raised funds to make the Hollywood Bowl the summer home for the newly formed Los Angeles Philharmonic. The all-time record for attendance was set in 1936, when 26,410 people crowded into the Bowl to hear the French American opera singer Lily Pons and the Hollywood Bowl plays host to the Bel Air Presbyterian Church on Easter Sunday often with a congregation of over 10,000.
The Beatles appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and ’65 in front of 17,000 screaming fans. Later this historic event was captured on vinyl with the release of the live album ‘The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.’
Over the years countless number of artists have given concerts including: Frank Sinatra, The Band, BB King, The Doors (1968), Van Morrison, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, the Isley Brothers, Bobby Day (Rockin' Robin), The Penguins (Earth Angel), and Bobby Rydell, James Taylor, Sonny & Cher, Simon & Garfunkel, Brian Wilson, Santana, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Alice Cooper, Rod Stewart, the Jackson 5, Pink Floyd, Earth Wind & Fire, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Alicia Keys, Elton John, and Janis Joplin among many, many others.
The Bowl has provided a showcase for some of the world's greatest classical musicians, opera singers and conductors. In 1982 to rapturous applause Monty Python played live at the Bowl. The performance was recorded on videotape and later transferred to film.
The Bowl is still considered to be the premier open air live venue in the world and if that were not enough the famous Hollywood Sign is visible from the Bowl. Throughout its long history the Hollywood Bowl has occasionally featured in movies both as live concerts as well as part of fiction. In the 1945 comedy, Anchors Away (MGM) starred Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jose Iturbi. Old Blue Eyes is seen singing on stage; as is CC Bloom (played by Bette Midler) in Beaches (1988).
The Hollywood Bowl has also featured in animated films with Chuck Jones' classic cartoon, Long-Haired Hare (1949), Bugs Bunny appears in a white wig and tuxedo as Leopold Stokowski conducting. A year later Warner Brothers featured the Bowl in Tom and Jerry (1950) and more recently it appeared again in the Pink Panther.
The backdrop in Porky Pig's Th-th-that's all, Folks bares a canny resemblence to the concentric arches and in Shrek 2 DVD the singing competition features a similar structure.
Worth a listen
I Fall In Love Too Easily (1945)
Wind beneath my wings (1988)
Twist and Shout (Recorded August 30, 1965)
Roll Over Beethoven" (Recorded August 23, 1964)
All My Loving (Recorded August 23, 1964)
Long Tall Sally (Recorded August 23, 1964)
Lumberjack Song (1982)