Thursday, March 15, 2012

Traveling Thursdays: Let's Go To Hollywood, 1950's-Style

Welcome to Hollywood! The next few weeks will show images from a family's visit to Hollywood, circa 1954/1955. The first four shots show the iconic Hollywood Bowl, which appears to be under some kind of renovation or construction.

Oh how I wish the Brown Derby was still in business. Hard to believe this staple of Old Hollywood is dead and gone.

Another casualty of the wrecking ball is the Ambassador Hotel, where the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub was featuring Tony Arden and Ving Merlin when this photo was taken.

Anyone ever hear of the Hollywood Salon, Frank & Joseph? I'm guessing this lady has just emerged from a beauty treatment there.

See more vintage & current Hollywood photos on my Hollywood web page.

Meanwhile, in honor of the March 20th release of "The Muppets" on Blu-ray and DVD, here is an Amy Adams (aka Giselle from "Enchanted") interview for your reading pleasure:

How did you get involved with The Muppets?  Jason Segel and Kermit The Frog put together a DVD asking me to appear in the new Muppet movie with them. Jason had written me a song and Kermit gave a personalized message on the DVD – and it really moved me.

Did you immediately sign up for the role?  I grew up with the Muppets and there was no way I could say no to Kermit. I enjoyed the Muppets so much when I was a kid that I knew this would be the perfect movie for me. It’s been amazing fun.

Who was your favorite Muppet when you were a child? I’ve worked with all of the Muppets now, so it’s very difficult to pick just one of the gang. However, I’d have to say that Fozzie Bear was my favorite when I was growing up.

What makes Fozzie Bear so special?  Why Fozzie? I was a kid and he was really cute. He was fuzzy. He told jokes on stage and he said, “Wocka wocka!” He’s the best.

How would you describe your character in the movie? I play a character named Mary in The Muppets. Mary is a small-town girl who has been the girlfriend of Gary [played by Jason Segel] for a while. They plan a trip to Los Angeles together and Mary thinks it’s going to be very romantic – but it doesn’t quite turn out like that.

What happens?  Well, she ends up helping Gary and a new Muppet namedWalter get the Muppets back together again. They have to band together in order to save the Muppet Studios.

How would you describe the new Muppet, Walter? Walter is very genuine and earnest. He loves the Muppets and he loves Kermit The Frog and all of these great characters. He’s been a big fan for years – and it’s actually Walter who pushes the Muppets to get back together again. Without him, we wouldn’t know that the Muppet Studios need to be saved.

What do you like about your character in the movie? To be honest, I just wanted to be a part of the Muppet movie. If they told me I was playing a spider crawling along the ground, I probably have said yes. I would’ve done anything to get a part in The Muppets.

Was Mary a fun character to play?  Definitely. I’m a huge fan of musical theater and that’s a big part of the movie, so it made the whole experience incredibly enjoyable. Musical theater is something that I’ve done before and it’s something that I love to do, so I knew I was going to have a good time shooting The Muppets.

How did it feel to sing alongside the Muppets in the new movie?  It was awesome. It was also amazing to sing and dance alongside Jason Segel. It’s so funny when you see Jason with the Muppets because he’s so tall and they are so short – but he was great with the dancing. He even did some lifts.

How much fun did you have shooting the movie’s musical finale? I’m very comfortable with musical numbers, but it was a little complicated to shoot the finale on Hollywood Boulevard in the middle of the night. We had to sing and dance and be full of energy at 4:30 in the morning, which was a little testing. Plus, it was the day after the Golden Globes. I was incredibly tired!

What was the toughest part of shooting that scene? The biggest challenge is always the practical challenge of dancing on the street. We practiced the choreography on a very smooth surface but suddenly we were doing the same moves on asphalt and it was a little different.

What was it like to work with Jason Segel?  Jason is hysterical. Everyone knows he’s a genius, so it was really fun to work with him. Jason is a Muppet freak. He knows more about the Muppets than anyone – except maybe the movie’s director, James Bobin.

What impressed you the most about Jason Segel?  I love the fact that Jason is totally committed to bringing the Muppets back. He has been working on this project for a number of years and he helped come up with the story of the movie. He was a big part of moving the project forward – and he is still completely excited about it.

What’s your funniest memory from working with Jason Segel?  I will never forget performing the dance number on Hollywood Boulevard with Jason. As I said earlier, he’s a very tall man and it’s hilarious to see him alongside the rest of the cast. The Muppets are 3 foot 4, I am 5 foot 4 and Jason is 6 foot 4, so it was very difficult to get us all in the same shot.

What is the message of the movie?  The Muppets have always had about believing in yourself and sticking by your friends, so I think that’s the message of the movie. They always show you that you’ll be stronger as a group rather than as an individual. I love the way they group together and take on the world. They are always so committed.

And finally…why should we watch The Muppets? Because it’s a lot of fun and it’s the Muppets! You’re going to have the time of your life watching this movie. All of the gang are back. Everyone from Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie to Gonzo and the Swedish Chef. You’re going to love it!


Major Pepperidge said...

If only The Brown Derby could have held on for a bit longer, it would have become a magnet for Hollywood visitors again.

Connie Moreno said...

The Ambassador Hotel was so cool. That's where I had my junior prom.