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“We had individuality. We did as we pleased. We stayed up late. We dressed the way we wanted. I used to whiz down Sunset Boulevard in my open Kissel, with several red chow dogs to match my hair. Today, they’re sensible and end up with better health. But we had more fun.”
– Clara Bow

Whilst visiting Los Angeles last year, I made a point of visiting as many Clara Bow related locations as I could. Because there’s only so much you can fit in a two week trip, I couldn’t see every single Bow related sight. Therefore, consider this is an incomplete pictorial tour of the places where Clara Bow lived, worked and played. I’m already itching a second visit to the City of Angels so hopefully it won’t be too long before I can do a follow-up post!

Unless otherwise noted, the vintage Bow images are from the incomparable Clara Bow Archive.

Homes: 512 N Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills

“Up one of the winding roads of Beverly Hills, tucked close to a yucca-covered hillside, sprawls a country home of Spanish type. You can see it a mile away, its tile roof of a red blotch, as daring as Clara’s own auburn curls. It is Clara’s place, you know. Exactly the place you would expect a flapper to live. The dazzle of it almost hurt my eyes.”
Brighter Homes magazine, 1928

Clara Bow in Hollywood

Clara Bow in Hollywood

Clara Bow in Hollywood

This is the residence where Clara Bow lived at the very height of her fame and the location of her infamous parties. The seven-room Spanish style bungalow was built in 1925 and bought by Clara a year later. Once described by Louise Brooks as “Disneyland”, Bow furnished the house by herself and was especially proud of her “Chinese room”. Besides lounging in her boudoir, Clara’s favourite hobby was roller-skating up and down the driveway outside her home.

Clara Bow in Hollywood

512 N Bedford Drive today

Clara Bow in Hollywood

I had read comments online that said Clara’s old home has recently been demolished and I’m sad to report that the rumours are true. A whole new house now stands where Clara’s one story home once was. It is heartbreaking to see historical buildings demolished – and especially devastating when a piece of Hollywood history is forever gone. It felt bittersweet to walk the street and imagine Clara Bow roller-skating here to a curious audience some 85 years ago.

Clara Bow in Hollywood


Final resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale

Clara Bow in Hollywood

Clara Bow in Hollywood

Clara Bow’s final resting place is in the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. She was buried beside husband Rex Bell, who died in 1962. Clara followed three years later, on September 27, 1965.

On our first day in Los Angeles, my friend Meg kindly drove Dan and I to Forest Lawn to pay respects to my favourite Hollywood stars, Clara and Jean Harlow. Unlike Harlow’s, Clara’s crypt is easily accessible by the public. There is a chain at the entrance to the Sanctuary of Heritage, where Clara’s crypt resides, but I sort of… broke and entered (respectfully, mind you!) to leave a rose for our It girl.

Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood

Paramount Studios

Paramount Studios

Today, most of the major motion picture studios have left Hollywood for places like Burbank and Culver City. Only one big name movie studio still stands and continually operates in Hollywood: Paramount Studios. Paramount is also one of the few studios that admit the public on regular guided tours of the studio’s huge backlot.

In 1925, Clara Bow’s success in Preferred Pictures’ The Plastic Age led Paramount to snap up the actress, who signed her first contract with the studio in 1926. Clara, “the hottest jazz baby in films”, scored in hit after hit for Paramount in 1926: Dancing Mothers, Mantrap, Kid Boots… In 1927 she became Paramount’s biggest draw when she starred in Wings and It. Several of Clara’s films were shot at the Paramount Studios.

Paramount Studios

The one studio tour that I knew I absolutely had to do was Paramount. Upon arrival, I immediately expressed my love of Hollywood history to our very friendly tour guide and name-dropped Clara Bow and Billy Wilder’s 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. All of my Norma Desmond-ian fantasies came true as I got to pose by the Bronson Gate and Stage 18, seen in the film during Gloria Swanson’s visit to the studio to meet Cecil B. DeMille. However, apart from a photograph hanging in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre and a building named Bow, there wasn’t anything related to Clara Bow that our tour guide could point out. Nevertheless, a visit to the legendary Paramount Studios is certainly a one of a kind event for all fans of classic Hollywood.


March 10, 2014 Film
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I’m really into food and really into history – Hollywood history, first and foremost! Naturally, one of my very favourite things to do in Los Angeles is to visit its unique historic restaurants, all of which with strong ties to the film industry, and many that still look the same they did back when my favourite stars used to wine and dine under their dim lights.

Without further ados, here are my favourite historic Hollywood restaurants.

Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, California 90028

Katie, myself and Dan at Musso & Frank Grill

Katie, myself and Dan at Musso & Frank Grill

There’s really no other place to start than with Musso & Frank Grill when it comes to historic Hollywood restaurants. The first and oldest restaurant in Hollywood has been serving the town since 1919 – and it still looks the way it did back when everyone from Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino to Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe dined here. Sitting in the red booths of the otherworldly Musso’s is about as close to stepping into another time as I have ever experienced. Even their menu has gone virtually unchanged for nearly 100 years! Alas, for a vegetarian like myself this can be the only drawback of the place but I did find the grilled cheese sandwich yummy.

1999 N. Sycamore Av., Hollywood, California 90068

Yamashiro is quite possibly the most beautiful restaurant that I have ever visited. Overlooking Hollywood, it has a view dazzling enough to leave anyone breathless! And the interiors are just as beautiful. Originally a mansion built between 1911 and 1914, the Japanese gourmet restaurant has been a favourite since it opened in 1948. Since 1920, Yamashiro and its gardens have served as “Japan” in many a film. In the late 20s, the mansion housed the exclusive 400 Club, which was frequented by the Hollywood elite of the day. The food and service are equal to the restaurant’s gorgeous setting. Not only were they able to make any sushi vegetarian – but it was the best sushi I’ve ever had, too! So unique, so beautiful and oh so yummy – Yamashiro is easily in my top 5 list of things to do in LA!

Formosa Cafe
7156 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California 90046

Historic Hollywood restaurants

When the Formosa’s first owner, prizefighter Jimmy Bernstein, opened the converted trolley car as a lunch counter in 1925, he called it the Red Spot. Then he tacked on the kitchen and the main room where the bar now sits and decided to name the expanded space the Formosa. Located just east of the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios lot (devastatingly now largely demolished), star after star has slipped out of the studio next door and into the cafe’s red booths. Decade upon decade, the Formosa truly is “where the stars dine.” Although the Formosa serve Chinese food, I decided to go for an after-dark cocktail, which the restaurant is best known for. Super atmospheric, the Formosa Cafe is LA noir at the very best!


Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90028
If you have a drink by the David Hockney-painted pool, it’s easy to picture what it was like to see Marilyn Monroe dancing here. More about the Roosevelt in my previous post.

Frolic Room – 6245 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, California 90028
This dive bar located next to the historic Pantages theatre has been around since Prohibition ended, and is a location in Hollywood-set neo noirs like LA Confidential.

Historic Hollywood restaurants

More for next time!

I did not have time to visit the following spots – but if you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Barney’s Beanery, West Hollywood restaurant since 1920
Greenblatt’s Deli, since 1926
Clifton’s Cafeteria, since 1935. Currently closed and under restoration.
Miceli’s, since 1949

originally posted on October 6, 2013

February 19, 2014 Adventures
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Welcome to 21st Century Flapper!
My name is Riikka and I hail from Helsinki, Finland. I'm a film researcher and a freelance journalist, a sartorial devotee of vintage fashion and endlessly fascinated by early 20th century visual culture. I write about film, fashion, design, architecture - and all things old and pretty.

Olen helsinkiläinen elokuvatutkija ja toimittaja, jolle 1900-luvun alkupuolen visuaalinen kulttuuri on todellinen intohimo. Blogi sivuaa kiinnostuksen kohteitani 1920- ja 1930-luvun elokuvista aina ajan muotiin ja designiin asti.

Don’t hesitate to say hi or contact in case of any questions at
riikka @ 21stcenturyflapper.com

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