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The Shrine Auditorium

Being made to hold about 6,500 people, the world-renowned Shrine Auditorium became the world’s biggest indoor auditorium when it was created way back in 1906. It suffered a fire in 1920 and had to be rebuilt because of that. At present, it is still known to be one of the biggest theaters in the United States, with that being the reason why it had been preferred for such a time as the venue for some of the biggest shows of Hollywood such as the Emmy’s and Oscar Awards.

Seeing the view of the Shrine would pretty much indicate that you are no longer in Beverly Hills. It is located in a tough neighbourhood, at the north part of South Central, opposite the USC campus, and near the Exposition Park.

In 1947, the Shrine housed the very first show of the Academy Awards. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion along with the Shrine had been a venue of the show for a number of years.

Also, for ten straight years, dating from 1997 to 2007, it hosted the Emmy Awards show that was held annually.

Throughout its existence, it hosted other notable amazing awards shows, which include the MTV Music Awards, Grammy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, American Music Awards, American Comedy Awards, the Soul Train Music Awards, and so much more.

During the 21st century though, the Shrine unfortunately lost its bragging rights as the place to hold two of the grandest award shows it normally hosts, as newer locations offered much more invigorating atmospheres. The Oscars are now permanently held in Hollywood’s Kodak Theater, while making the new Nokia Theater its new home is the Emmy’s, as well as the Grammy’s.

The place was also known for its role for the HBO Comic Relief, with hosts such as Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams running the show. It also became a home to some movie premieres, just like the 1996 film “Evita”, starring Madonna.

Looking at the exterior of the Shrine, one would most probably notice similarities of it from an Arabic Mosque of old, or some westernized kind of Taj Mahal, filled with Persian domes of white and arches with a Moorish feel to it.  The interior however, is a classic opera house, with red velvet colored seats and balconies packed with rows overlooking the huge interior.

The auditorium has become a popular location for movies because of its unconventional framework. It has played a part in the 1933 original “King Kong” movie, the “A Star is Born” version in 1945, which starred Judy Garland, the 1977 film “The Turning Point”, the comedy “Foul Play” in 1988, the 1992 movie “The Doors”, and so much more.

Towards the end of the hilarious comedy called “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” in 1994, Leslie Nielsen was seen to have prevented an assassination plan during a ceremony of the American Awards. The sequence of the events included a scene where celebrities were arriving at the auditorium.

Frank Sinatra’s 80th gala birthday party in 1996 was known to be held here at the Shrine.

It was also here where the famous and late Michael Jackson filmed a commercial for Pepsi and unfortunately had his hair catch fire, which prompted him to go and have a trip to the hospital.

These were only some of the Shrine’s notable housed events. They also had concerts which were scheduled there in a regular basis, as well as TV specials, operas, the Bolshoi Ballet, and many others.

Not all events there were classified as classical though. Others included the unforgettable 1967 concert of the “Grateful Dead”,   a TV spot done by Sting, and an appearance by Bruce Springsteen in 1995.

The rejuvenated shrine that was finished in 2002, had a $10 million budget for the project, which resulted in bringing back the greatness and beauty of the Old Hollywood. The newly refurbished auditorium now boasts of new seats, repaired wooden floors, and an exterior of beige with golden domes, once again making the place gleam with radiance and filled with vibrance.

One disadvantage though about being as huge as it is, is that if you’re seated at the back row, you wouldn’t have much of a view of the stage.


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MAP: The Shrine Auditorium

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