Hollywood Still the Center of the Entertainment World

New York may be the center of the theatre and financial world, but now and then we’re reminded that Los Angeles is the center of the entertainment universe.  Events throughout the year remind us that the stars of television and motion pictures revolve around Hollywood, most prominently with shows like American Idol and 24 finishing their seasons in Los Angeles.  Yes, 24 took place in Washington D.C., but the cast celebrated the show finale a week early on the west coast, as described below.

The attention to Hollywood starts in a subtle way on New year’s Day with the Rose Parade.  Floats showing themes from movies, TV shows and popular culture make up a substantial percentage of the parade, cruising up a Southern California boulevard on what is usually a beautiful clear morning.  The preparation leading up to this American tradition is immense, with huge grandstands being set up in mid-December.  A rose-colored paint stripe runs down the center of Colorado Boulevard marking the parade path.  The float drivers, tucked way inside their colorful vehicles with no windows looking forward, can mainly look down to see the stripe.  Outside spotters with radios help them know about stopping, starting, faster, slower, etc.

Then there’s the buzz around the Academy Awards in March.  This continues for weeks in the media.  In the days leading up the the awards show the streets around the Kodak Theatre in the heart of Hollywood are closed down.  Viewing stands are erected, canopies raised and, finally the red carpet is rolled out.

By the time the statues have been given out, American Idol is well along towards its finale in Mid May.  The semi-final shows are televised from the CBS TV studios in town, even though it is a Fox network show.  Although the competition starts in cities throughout America and Puerto Rico, things heat up when the qualifiers head to California for Hollywood Week.  Then for the next couple of months Ryan Seacrest, the judges and the Idol contestants are Live From Hollywood!

Sprinkled throughout the year are various movie premiers that focus the world on Los Angeles.  Sometimes it’s a television show.  With the season finale of Fox TVs 24 upon us, Jack Bauer and the rest of the team were celebrated at a premier in West Los Angeles recently.  The occasion was an advance showing of the final 2-hours of the 24 season; this was almost a full week before the rest of the world finds out what happens with Tony, President Taylor, Jack and Chloe.

This writer was able to score tickets to this event, which included a big-screen showing of the two episodes, followed by most of the primary cast joining each other onstage for discussions and a time for Questions and Answers.  Beforehand there was the usual media action, with dozens of photographers checking out the stars.

During the discussion time afterwards, Guest Star John Voigt (blown up in a car bomb unfortunately) said that he watched the whole thing at the back of the theatre.  He said he thoroughly enjoyed how the crowd was so immersed in the plot, and knew the little nuances of facial expressions by chloe and others.  We were told that the cast really treats each other like a family, even when Tony and Jack are beating the tar out of each other.  There were cast members from this and previous seasons in the VIP portion of the audience.  We do know that it is no surprise that Jack Bauer survives for another season.



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