I knew that the threatened Nickelodeon Theatre had a lengthy history in Hollywood, but I had rushed out Tuesday's Morning Buzz item without researching all of the past. Several readers came to the rescue. They reminded me that it opened in 1938 as the Earl Carroll Theatre supper club, named for the New York impresario who mounted over all of his clubs the line "Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world." A wall of movie star signatures and a large neon likeness of entertainer Beryl Wallace faced Sunset Boulevard, in what was then a hopping part of nighttime Hollywood near the Palladium and the NBC radio studios. The nightclub later became (loosely in order) the Moulin Rouge, the home of the "Queen for a Day" television series and the
rock-dance show teenage club "Hullabaloo," the Kaleidoscope, the Aquarius Theatre (where "Hair" played for a long time), the Chevy Chase Theatre and the locale for many years of "Star Search." More recently it has been used to tape Nickelodeon series such as "The Amanda Show."
* Worth noting: Steve Rosen points out that the Moulin Rouge was also the 1966 locale for Phil Spector's filmed The Big TNT Show, "when the IN crowd turned out to see the IN show." Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, The Byrds, Joan Baez and Ike and Tina Turner were among the acts, while Frank Zappa was spotted in the audience. The film was released in theatres and the video is still circulated. (I'm told the videos around are bootleg, although footage was included in the 1984 video "That Was Rock.")
** I shoulda turned to Art Fein first: In The L.A. Musical History Tour, Fein gives dates on the evolution of the venue and notes that the Hullabaloo was named for local deejay Dave Hull — popular in the 1960s as The Hullabalooer on KRLA — and had nothing to do with the NBC show. In fact "Hullabaloo" was shot in New York, emails Todd Everett.
Photo: Los Angeles Public Library