How to Identify a Colonial Style Entertainment Center

October 1, 2014

Colonial Cinema

Hollywood Landmarks
Colonial Cinema
Image by Scott Smith (SRisonS)
Reference: the internet

This is a mural on one of the walls at Hollywood Studios’ "Hollywood & Vine" Restaurant. I happened to be sitting right in front of it…. so no, I wasn’t leaning over people while they were eating… except maybe my mom or my wife. :)

Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World, FL

Below, is a little background on "some" of the landmarks shown. It’s that attention to detail that makes Disney what it is. They show how important it is to go that extra mile to immerse guests in an experience. During my research, I found that this map is extremely accurate (never been to Hollywood, but doing a lot of cross-referencing); and it really captures the essence of the Golden Age of Hollywood. I had a lot of fun doing this, but I don’t think I’ll ever do so much post-work for ONE picture again…. not anytime soon anyway. I guess a picture really is “worth a thousand words”. Enjoy!!!

(Note: During this time period, a lot of the hotels mentioned were used as apartment residences)

Laurel Canyon is a canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It was first developed in the 1910s, and became a part of the city of Los Angeles in 1923.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is a movie theater located along the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame. Headed by Sid Grauman, the theater opened on May 18, 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film The King of Kings. Among the theater’s most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day.

The Hollywood Hotel was a famous hostelry and landmark. Opening in 1902 (and razed in 1956), the hotel would eventually become home to many of the great stars in its day.

The Seven Seas was once a popular island-themed nightclub that boasted live floor shows with music and dancers three times a night.

"The Beachcombers" b.k.a. "Don the Beachcomber" – Donn Beach is the acknowledged founding father of tiki restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The many so-called "Polynesian" restaurants and pubs that enjoyed great popularity are directly descended from what he created. *** Disney connection: When Disney’s California Adventure opened in 2001, it included a small Don the Beachcomber at its Hollywood & Dine food court. It offered Chinese-style food, but did not serve alcoholic drinks. The restaurant closed within a few years. ***

The Chateau Marmont hotel was built in 1927, and modeled loosely after the Château d’Amboise, in France’s Loire Valley. It has served as the backdrop for a number of events in the lives of well-known rock stars and actors.

"A Drive-In"… is this the same spot as the current Mel’s Drive-In???

The Roosevelt Hotel (named after Theodore Roosevelt) is a historic Spanish-style hotel that opened on May 15, 1927. In 1929, The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel hosted the presentation of the 1st Academy Awards. *** Hauntings: 1) Marilyn Monroe stayed in suite 246 which overlooked the pool side. A mirror which once hung in her room is now in the lobby, and is thought to be haunted by her spirit. A number of people also claim to have seen her ghost dancing in the ballroom of the hotel. 2) Montgomery Clift, who lived at the Roosevelt for three months at one time, is said to haunt his old room, 928. He stayed in this room for three months while filming From Here to Eternity. People claim to hear him playing his bugle and see him walking the hallways of the 8th floor.

The Christie Hotel was the first of Hollywood’s luxury hotels. Arthur Kelley, a noted residential architect in the area, was commissioned in 1920 by H.H. Christie to design a prestigious edifice for Hollywood, and Kelley chose the Georgian Colonial Revival style for its traditional elegance.

– The original Hollywood Athletic Club and pool room is an art-deco landmark. It was the tallest building in L.A. when it was built in 1924 by the same architects who built Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was also the site of the very first Emmy Awards (in 1949).

– In 1924, the Hollywood Plaza Hotel was built to help accommodate the rapidly growing population of Hollywood.

La Conga (uh-oh… a Disney painto) opened in 1937 when the Rhumba dance craze hit Hollywood. When patrons entered, they were greeted by a talking marionette named "Chiquita", then escorted to their tables.

– The Hollywood (American) Legion Stadium was one of the two major boxing venues of Los Angeles from the 1920s on.

– The West Coast Radio City opened in 1938, and served as headquarters to the NBC Radio Networks’ (Red and Blue) West Coast operations.

Central Casting was created in 1926; being funded by the studios and operated by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. It spent one year at its original location, before being moved to the Mayer Building at Hollywood Blvd and Western Ave.

The Garden of Allah was a famous apartment complex in West Hollywood, California. Originally known as The Garden of Alla, its name is derived from the original owner, Alla Nazimova; and not from Islamic roots.

– The low-budget Grand National Studio produced the James Cagney films Great Guy and Something to Sing About.

Charlie Chaplin Studios is a motion picture studio built in 1917 by silent film star Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin sold the studio in 1953. The studio would have numerous owners; but in 2000, it became the home of the Jim Henson Company.

– The original location for Hal Roach’s Studio, before zoning restrictions forced its move to Culver City, California. (don’t quote me on this one)

The Vendome was a club that opened in 1933 by William R. "Billy" Wilkerson, the original developer of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

Howard Greer was a Hollywood fashion designer and costume designer in the Golden Age of American cinema. His work can be seen in such films as Bringing Up Baby and My Favorite Wife.

Mitchell Leisen was an American director, art director, and costume designer. He entered the film industry in the 1920s, beginning in the art and costume departments.

Columbia Studio – Founded in 1919 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Films Sales, the studio would later become Columbia Pictures Corporation. *** Disney Connection: distributed Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse cartoons in the early 1930s. ***

Sunset Tower, which opened in 1931, was the residence of many Hollywood celebrities, including John Wayne and Howard Hughes.

Phil Selznick was the owner of popular and notorious Sunset Strip night clubs Mocambo, Sphinx Club, and the It Cafe.

Walter Wanger was an Academy Award-winning American film producer. Starting at Paramount, Wanger would eventually work with other major studios as either a contract producer or an independent.

The Black-Foxe Military Institute was a private school (kindergarten through 12th grade) on both sides of Wilcox Ave. It was founded in 1928 by Hollywood developer and financier, Charles E. Toberman, and Majors Earle Foxe and Harry Lee Black.

RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures was one of the so-called Big Five studios of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Among the tremendous amount of entertainment produced, the studio would create one of the best films of all-time in Citizen Kane. *** Disney Connection: from 1936 to 1954, distributed Walt Disney’s features and shorts; including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. ***

Paramount Pictures, founded in 1912, is the oldest existing American film studio.

– Opening as Glacier Palace in 1928, the Polar Palace was an ice rink where fans could go and show their love for hockey.

Finding a genuine Colonial style entertainment center is, of course, impossible since no one was watching much television back in the 18th century. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you should give up on finding a reproduction that will fit in with the décor already in your home. The following points will help you identify Colonial entertainment centers that are right for you.

Colonial Style Entertainment Center – Overall Look

The most important aspect to think about is the overall look and feel of the room where your new TV cabinet will exist. Overall characteristics of Colonial furniture include a simple, traditional look with straight lines, while carved details are often reserved for the feet or the edges of cabinets. However, some 18th century American furniture was influenced by European designers who created more ornate furniture. Take a look at your current pieces to determine the overall style that is right for your room.

The Details of Colonial Entertainment Centers

While the overall feel is important, the details can make or break the look. Paying attention to the details of a TV cabinet can pull your whole look together.


Cabinetmakers of the 18th century crafted their pieces from strong, sturdy woods. Look for walnut, maple or pine in more traditional pieces and mahogany or cherry in more ornate ones.


A television will most likely stick out like a sore thumb in any period room. One way to keep your design consistent, but still have your TV, is simply to hide the TV. Most Colonial cabinetry has solid, wooden doors that will conveniently hide away your modern appliances.


A tell-tale sign of an 18th century cabinet is the legs. The cabriole-style curved leg with a foot, sometimes a claw foot, is the most typical style, but conservative pieces sometimes have a flat-surfaced, block leg.


With wood being a key component for these types of cabinets, you might want to look for a stain or varnish that brings out the natural tones of the wood. However, painted surfaces were not uncommon at that time, so you may want to consider a painted one. Typical colors from the time period include blues, greens, pinks, earth tones and red as an accent color on the interior.


Once you’ve identified the entertainment center that works with your décor and you finally bring it home, where you place it can actually make it appear more authentic. In the 18th century, the fireplace was the center of the home and, as a result, the centerpiece. Cabinets were often placed to the side of the fireplace to be on display, but not take away from it. If you have a fireplace, consider placing your new cabinet to the side to add that final authentic touch.

Chuck is an interior decorator who has worlds of experience in interior design. Believe it or not, his expertise is in entertainment centers. If you’re interested in learning all about the entertainment center world, turn to

, , , ,

Comments are closed.