There’s a lot of crap on Hollywood Boulevard. Lot’s of shops that sell cheap tchotchke for breathtakingly high prices, museums that close as quickly as they open, cheap dive bars and restaurants that sell themselves based on their location on the strip… some of the people I know even question the value of the Hollywood Walk… the thought is that it has little value or meaning because all you need is money, a “fan” (read: publicist), and a bit of fame to get a star on the walk.
The Hollywood Museum is one of those little known places in Hollywood that (for me) embodies Hollywood, the history, the dramatic stories, the innovation, and the spirit of the movie industry as it is in the eyes of serious collectors.
Housed in the historic Max Factor building, the collections are surprising… surprising because someone somewhere kept little mementoes from big Hollywood moments and added them to this tiny little museum: recreations of original star dressing/powder rooms (Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball), the sleeping medication that Marilyn overdosed on, Bette Davis’ hair extensions, the car driven by Elvira, Indiana Jones’ whip and the chalice used as the Holy Grail, a piece of the original “Hollywoodland” sign, Pee Wee Herman’s bike and suit, the cell used in Silence of the Lambs, costumes from various movies, one of the five remaining pairs of the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz (another pair are in the Smithsonian), newspaper clippings from moments that define Hollywood, historical photos, and so much more.
The Marilyn collection is huge (separate post) and all encompassing. Her car sits in the back bay.
Someone was definitely a Hollywood fan and fan of Max Factor, the man who created the “Hollywood” look of the Golden Era. This is a museum that contains objects and collectibles that only someone within the Hollywood inner circle can obtain. They are also a serious collector and not someone with an agenda like with other museums (e.g. the Scientology museums).
Is it worth a visit and the $15 entrance fee? Most definitely.