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Here's a glimpse into the Bowl's fascinating early days.
Hollywood was a small town of only about 5,000 people in 1910. By 1920 the growth of the movie industry had turned the community into a boom town, with a population close to 50,000 and an identity all its own. Theatregoers, music and art lovers, nature buffs, politicians, real estate developers and civic boosters all agreed that an open-air theatre would be a great asset to the community.
Precursors to the Bowl
Hollywood's first outdoor community theatre production, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, takes place in nearby Beachwood Canyon.
First organizational meeting leads to plans for a permanent park and art center in Hollywood; Christine Weatherill Stevenson produces the religious drama, Light of Asia, on the grounds of the Theosophical Society above Beachwood Canyon.
Theatre Arts Alliance incorporated, with Christine Weatherill Stevenson as president; purchase of 59 acres in Bolton Canyon for $47,500 on which to build a community park and art center.
Community Park and Art Association established, replacing Theatre Arts Alliance. Artie Mason Carter, secretary of the Association, leads the effort to develop community support of the proposed theatre.
First Bowl Events
First community events held in Daisy Dell in Bolton Canyon; site first referred to as "Hollywood Bowl;" Hollywood May Festival marks the first Hollywood Bowl program to charge admission.
First Easter Sunrise Service at the Hollywood Bowl. Women's World Peace Concert on Armistice Day (November 11), one of the first major events at the Bowl; Hollywood High School's production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; historical pageant, The Landing of the Pilgrims, attracts 10,000 people.
First Official Season & Early Highlights
First official Hollywood Bowl season "Symphonies Under the Stars" begins on July 11th with Alfred Hertz conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Land deeded to the County of Los Angeles to safeguard the Bowl for future generations; Hollywood Bowl Association established as the theatre's governing organization.
First radio broadcasts from Hollywood Bowl; the Los Angeles Philharmonic was the first major symphony orchestra in the United States to broadcast an entire concert on the radio.
First commercial outdoor recording of a symphony orchestra: Eugene Goosens conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (Victor Records).
Composer/conductor Percy Grainger and Ella Viola Strom married on the stage before an audience of 15,000, after which Grainger conducted a concert featuring the world premiere of his bridal song, To a Nordic Princess.
Legendary European producer/director Max Reinhardt's lavish production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream; 200,000 people attended the 10 performances at the Bowl. The huge cast featured Mickey Rooney as Puck, Olivia de Havilland as Hermia, and Walter Connelly as Bottom.
Memorial concert for George Gershwin featuring Fred Astaire, Al Jolson, Oscar Levant, and the original cast of Porgy & Bess.
Hollywood Bowl audiences limited to 5,000 due to war-related safety concerns.
Frank Sinatra's Hollywood Bowl debut on August 14 was the first appearance by a pop singer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Financial crisis closed Hollywood Bowl just one week into the season. Dorothy Buffum Chandler, head of an Emergency Committee, successfully raised funds and rallied support for the Bowl from throughout the world, allowing the season to resume 12 days later. This is the only time Bowl season was interrupted.