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Museum for Hollywood

October 26, 1987

In response to The Times article on Hollywood artifacts (Metro, Oct. 20), I would like to say that the problem is symptomatic of a larger problem with Hollywood, and really Los Angeles. Having just visited Philadelphia, I was pleasantly surprised with the urban National Historic Park complex there--a system of "parks" which are not parks at all but sites, buildings and visitor centers aimed at preserving and making available an important part of our cultural heritage.

As a native of Los Angeles, I was surprised that the federal Park Service should operate a "park" which was in no way related to natural resources.

It is a sad fact of history that our Constitution has had far less effect on the rest of the world than has Hollywood. Indeed, whether one likes it or not, once one discounts American foreign policy, one finds that it is Hollywood that has had the greatest American effect on the world.

I believe that a history of film museum should be created on the model of the several urban historical parks of the East Coast. I believe that it should be a place that shows films continually during working hours (i.e., for tourists, not for evening entertainment)--both special series and varied showings--and that it should also act as a museum and repository for some of the more rare film artifacts.

I believe that the film industry and the rest of the private sector should lay out and fund the center, and that it should then be put under the control of the Park Service with the film industry and private sector retaining a formal voice.

I also believe that since Hollywood--and Los Angeles for that matter--have no real central place like Trafalgar Square, the Spanish Steps, the Champs Elysees, one should be created. I suggest the creation of a square on the general model of the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence at the Hollywood sign in the Hollywood Hills.

In a sense, Hollywood can have no real center, and since this sign is what means "Hollywood" to the rest of America and Europe, it would represent the otherwise unidentifiable "soul" of Hollywood and in some ways of Southern California.

I might add that it is crucial that such a square be permanently open to the public without any restrictions on time or admissions: a real public square.

Finally, I also believe that both of these projects would find ready financial support in the film industry and private sector.


Santa Monica

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