Starline Tour is located located in front of the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. at 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Go to the StarLine Tours kiosk.
Located in the epicenter of Hollywood, steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the world famous Chinese Theatre, The Dolby was built in 2001, as the Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood & Highland Center. Today, it hosts many productions and performances, bringing thousands of theatergoers in each year. Most notably, it also the permanent home of the annual Academy Awards.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was created in 1927, by Louis B. Mayer, one of the first true studio heads. Mayer founded the Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation, which eventually morphed into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) after partnering with Samuel Goldwyn. Mayer's hope was to unite the five creative branches of the film industry; the actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers, under one unified organization.
Out of the Academy’s creation came the 1st Academy Awards, honoring the best films of 1927 and 1928. The ceremony took place at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on May 16th, 1929. The Academy’s first president, silent film superstar, Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show . Around 270 guests paid $5 to see the film Wings take home the first Oscar for Best Picture The entire ceremony lasted 15 minutes, which is about 3 hours shorter than this past years Academy Awards celebration!
MGM art director Cedric Gibbons created the first Academy Award statue, which featured a knight holding a sword and standing on a reel of film with spokes representing the five branches of the Academy, with the sword symbolically representing the protection, welfare and advancement of the film industry.
In 1928, L.A. sculptor George Stanley redesigned the statue, by removing the reel of film and improving the knight figure. Stanley’s design is the iconic “Oscar” statue generations of moviegoers have all come to know.
Over the years the Academy Awards changed venues multiple times. From 1930 to 1943, the venue alternated between the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and the Ambassador Hotel in Koreatown, which unfortunately, was demolished in 2005. The Ambassador’s tragic claim to fame is that it was the site of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination. A public school complex, known as Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, now stands in its place. Throughout the 1950’s The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood hosted the Award ceremony, followed by the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica taking over in the sixties. From 1968 until 2001, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles shared the duty with the Shrine Auditorium, located near USC.
Though all the host venues hold a significant place in the history of Hollywood, none of them were designed and constructed specifically with the Academy Awards in mind — that is, until, the Dolby.
Inspired by the elegance of a European opera house , the Dolby Theatre broke ground in 1997, and took 4 years and a total cost of 94 million dollars to complete the grandiose venue that would capture the spirit, elegance and magnitude of the Academy Awards. Initially, the Eastman Kodak Company signed a 20-year naming rights deal to call the venue The Kodak Theatre. Facing bankruptcy in 2012, Kodak was allowed out of the deal and naming rights went to famed audio company, Dolby Laboratories, who signed their own 20 years deal as well as committing to routine upgrades to the theatre’s sound system. At that time, the Academy also signed a contract with CIM Group, owner of the complex in which the theater is located, to keep the annual ceremony in the venue until at least 2033.
Upon entering the five-level Dolby, attendees are immediately drawn into it’s awe inspiring design with their first view of the grandiose spiral staircase, lined in cherry wood balustrades, standing beneath the theatre’s impressive silvery dome. On each level, visitors are reminded of the theatre’s Hollywood lineage with large scale images of 26 famous Oscar winners, including Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Julia Roberts, and Grace Kelly. Inside the actual theatre, all eyes focus on its grand proscenium stage, large enough to host a worldwide event like the Academy Awards. Below the stage lies the orchestra pit which can accommodate up to 75 musicians.
Each year, the Academy’s orchestra rehearses for the show at the iconic Capitol Studios Tower, located less than a mile from the theatre. In past years, the musicians have actually played live from Capitol, over fiber optic lines that ran to the Dolby.
Many additional amenities were included in the design of the Theatre, including a large ballroom (catered exclusively by celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck’s company), comfortable and convenient seating for nominees as well as a walkway for the show’s magnificent arrivals outside the theatre ending at the red carpet adorned grand staircase, , which is surrounded by columns featuring the names of every previous Best Picture winners.
Since the Dolby’s opening in 2002 , the Academy Awards have been held, each year, on the final Sunday of February. That is scheduled to change in 2020, as the Academy and it’s television partner, ABC, have decided to move the awards to the more audience friendly, Monday night.