The Films Within Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood'

Posted by Amoebite, July 24, 2019 04:50pm | Post a Comment

Once Upon a TIme ... In Hollywood - Amoeba Music - photo by Aaron Araki

By Jackie Greed & Aaron Araki

In the summer and fall of 2018, Los Angeles was transported back to 1969…and it was a glory to behold! At any given moment, you could drive by a block or two that had suddenly been covered in '60s signage and window dressing, with vintage cars parked alongside the curb next to an old parking meter. All of this period makeover was courtesy of Quentin Tarantino’s production of his 9th film, Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood. As we stumbled upon each re-created neighborhood, we admired all the wonderful attention to detail given to the various businesses (especially finding all the ephemera captivating). Throughout all the sights that were taken in, there was an immediate attraction to any advertising given to a film or television show. From large billboards and movie theater marquees to bus benches and the buses themselves, here is a spotlight of the many movies and TV shows that were captured from the on-location filming of Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.

cinerama dome - Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood photo by Jackie Greed

cinerama dome - once upon a time in hollywood - amoeba music - photo by Aaron ArakiThe first shooting location we came across was right next door to Amoeba Hollywood at the Cinerama Dome Theatre. While at first it appeared that the iconic theater was setting up to screen Bernard L. Kowalski's 1969 epic, Krakatoa: East of Java, it soon became apparent, as the street filled with an array of classic cars, that this was indeed the set for Tarantino's then recently announced new film. As the sun went down and the sky hit that "golden hour," normal traffic was stopped and the roar of all the pre-1970 automobiles overtook Sunset Boulevard, while extras in slim fitting suits and shaggy hippy garb began walking the sidewalk, and the camera started rolling.  

Krakatoa: East of Java premiered at the Cinerama Dome in May 1969 and ran for 23 weeks. Looking at the promotional material for the film's opening, one can see the level of detail and accuracy Tarantino's production crew strove for in its recreation of 1969.

Krakatoa ad - Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood - Amoeba Music

Next up, Hollywood Boulevard was getting its transformation. Souvenir shops, convenience stores, eateries, and clothing boutiques all became various storefronts that would fit in to the late sixties scene. Several movie theaters (that had long changed over to different businesses) had their marquees lovingly restored back to their original cinematic grandeur.

The Vogue Theater - photo by Aaron Araki

The Hologram USA Hollywood currently occupies what was once a Pussycat Theater, a now extinct chain of adult movie theaters (one of which once employed a teenage Quentin Tarantino). Their LED monitors were covered over with traditional slotted letter sign tracks. On the marquee was Babette Directed by Peter Woodcock (DVD available by Something Weird Video).

Note: We reached out to an expert in erotic films of this era and he was unable to find any information on a film titled The Turn On!—and believes “it was extrapolated off of a poster that falsely seemed to be a combo poster.”

Once Upon a Time In... Hollywood - Pussycat theater - photo by Jackie Greed

Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood - Hollywood Blvd - photo by Jackie Greed

Chaplin-West-Fields-Mural - photo by Jackie GreedWith the basic bones of the old Vogue Theater still intact, another quick makeover took place to cover the electronic signs, including an extension over the neighboring cantina to the east. William Friedkin's The Night They Raided Minsky's adorned the marquee. 

Recreations of Elaine Hanelock’s psychedelic artwork of Charlie Chaplin and W.C. Fields with Mae West were returned to the back of the building that houses The Musso & Frank Grill. The Hollywood institution, which has been serving steaks and martinis since 1919, is featured prominently in Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.

bruin_theater_photo by Aaron Araki

fox_westwood_village_photo by Aaron ArakiThe streets surrounding the well preserved Bruin and Fox Westwood theaters, blocks away from UCLA, were next given the vintage treatment, filling both theaters' entranceways with period movie posters like Pendulum, starring George Peppard and Jean Seberg, and The Wrecking Crew, the fourth installment of the Dean Martin spysploitation series, featuring Sharon Tate, a key player in Once Upon a Time... "Coming Attractions" included the Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western The Mercenary and British Mod flick, Joanna.

On a green bus parked along the street one could see an ad for the then controversial dark comedy The Killing of Sister George by the subversive journeyman director Robert Aldrich. 

Paramount Studios, along its Melrose Ave side, in Hollywood, was briefly dressed as Columbia Studios and covered in six giant movie ads: Carol Reed's family musical Oliver!, William Wyler's Barbara Streisand vehicle Funny Girl, Jacques Demy's LA based art-house film Model Shop, J. Lee Thompson's shaggy epic western Mackenna's Gold, as well as posters for the aforementioned Pendulum and The Wrecking Crew.

Paramount Studios OUATIH  photo by Jackie Greed

Pantages Theatre - photo by Aaron Araki

Vine Theater - photo by Aaron ArakiSoon another segment of Hollywood Boulevard was being transformed into a bustling '60s street scene. The Vine Theater returned to its days as a movie house, with Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet hanging on the marquee (sorry DiCaprio fans, this is not the Leo version!).  

The Pantages Theatre was made into a movie palace once again, playing Richard Wilson's 3 In The Attic (unfortunately, no DVD or Blu-ray is available as of this date, however there is a fun TV ad for the film within Tarantino's film), with advertisements for Sweet Charity, Ice Station Zebra, The Sergeant, Hell's Angels '69, and 2001: A Space Odyssey lining its walls. The iconic Hollywood watering hole Frolic Room, which has been serving drinks since 1934, was lit up as usual.

Also along Hollywood Boulevard, a billboard for Richard Fleischer's chilling thriller, The Boston Strangler could be seen above the street. 

The Came to Rob Las Vegas - photo by Ed Dougherty

photo: Ed Dougherty/@grinningmanfilm

A downtown building briefly stood in for the side of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (which today is surrounded by a multi-level shopping center). Along its wall hung a giant poster for Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi's crime drama, They Came to Rob Las Vegas, starring Gary Lockwood and Elke Sommer.

Fellow location hunter and writer/director Ed Dougherty took this photo.

Though actually torn down in 1967, the infamous Sunset Strip club Pandora's Box was reimagined blocks from the Capital Records building in Hollywood. Perhaps this is a reference to American International's cult teen flick Riot on Sunset Strip....


Pandora's Box - photo by Jackie Greed

For folks who want to delve deeper into the filmic references within the world of Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood, we recommend checking out The Illustrated Man and the TV shows FBI, The Invaders, Combat!, and Mannix (particularly the season 2, "Death in a Minor Key" episode, directed by Stuart Hagmann).

And if you can find it, get yourself a copy of Paul Revere & The Raiders' The Spirit of '67!

Capital Records - photo by Aaron Araki

Relevant Tags

Pandora's Box (1), They Came To Rob Las Vegas (1), The Boston Strangler (1), 2001: A Space Odyssey (3), The Sergeant (1), Ice Station Zebra (1), Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (1), Quentin Tarantino (16), 1960s (49), Cinerama Dome Theatre (1), Krakatoa: East Of Java (1), Vintage Cars (1), Hollywood Boulevard (2), The Vogue Theater (1), Musso & Frank Grill (2), Amoeba Hollywood (867), Pussycat Theater (1), The Night They Raided Minsky's (1), Bruin Theater (1), The Wrecking Crew (2), Sharon Tate (2), Pendulum (1), Fox Westwood Village (1), George Peppard (2), Jean Seberg (1), The Killing Of Sister George (3), Paramount Studios (1), Robert Aldrich (2), Oliver! (1), Funny Girl (1), Model Shop (1), Mackenna's Gold (1), The Pantages Theatre (1), Frolic Room (1), 3 In The Attic (1), Romeo & Juliet (1), Franco Zeffirelli (1), Leonardo Dicaprio (3), Sweet Charity (1), Riot On Sunset Strip (1), The Illustrated Man (1), Fbi (4), The Invaders (1), Mannix (1), Paul Revere & The Raiders (2), The Spirit Of '67 (1)