El Capitan and the golden age in colour

Sunday, 23rd September 2007 at 02:15

ImageHollywood Boulevard continues to develop at an increasingly brisk pace, its buildings taking on warm coffee colours and even real windows. As the horizon of the new street slowly comes together, a familiar Disney landmark has made a surprise visit from California... the El Capitan.,

At the foot of the boulevard, a new coffee-flavoured delicacy has been uncovered for all passing guests to see. Ahead since the first weeks of construction, the ‘Sweet Success’ building now stands fully painted and with its scaffolding surround removed, a sudden leap from the uncoloured construction featured just a few weeks ago.

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With the colours of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror faded and worn, the building has certainly given a contrast to the styles of this new mini-Hollywood. The same pale yellow of the Tower can be seen toward the top and in edging and detail, but the stronger orange central colour and darker chocolate stucco at the top and above its ground-floor windows are a real change from the single colour seen on its real-life counterpart and Disney-MGM Studios predecessor.

Can we expect the same radical changes to the rest of the sets inspired by previous Disney recreations? Perhaps — although the façade next door, named ‘Argyle Building’ in Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), is currently receiving prefabricated details practicall identical to those of the original.

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Roof details, windows and faux details such as wooden panels and rendering are in place and ready to be given their first colours. Further back on the top of the development sits a vertical extension to the roof, perhaps a chimney stack, replacing the billboard on this spot at DCA.

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The two-dimensional backdrop sets at the back of the boulevard have also advanced at an exciting pace, including the more idustrial, redbrick ‘Broadway Building’ which has now all but filled its white steel framework with a bewildering pattern of forced-perspective windows.

The headline news in recent weeks has, of course, been the addition of a second landmark behind Hollywood Boulevard’s ‘First National Bank’ building. The completed white tower of the bank was expected to stand alone against the Hollywood Hills, but it appears the Imagineers were mulling over a few overseas Disney properties as they planned out the project, adding a reasonably faithful El Capitan theatre to the horizon. The real El Capitan theatre can be found on the real Hollywood Boulevard, restored to its former glory in 1991 by Disney and now operating as their very own movie theatre, home to almost every film and DVD premiere for Walt Disney Pictures. You can find out more on the official website.

Completed first with a dark green vertical sign holding the “El Capitan” letters in their recognisable yellow typeface, the forced-perspective segment was soon embellished further with another unexpected addition — a neon radio tower featuring the theatre’s name. Like the recently-opened Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, Hollywood Boulevard is expected to be glowing with neons at nightfall upon completion.

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Opposite these developments, progress worth noting is finally beginning to take place at the location of the ‘Gone Hollywood’ storefront, a sand-coloured façade with pale turquoise details bearing all the trademarks of art deco design — some of which are now arriving on-site. Atop the building will be a small art deco clock, the base for which is already clear, whilst drywall has finally begun to cover the steel framework.

But, as ‘Gone Hollywood’ just gets started, the construction crew have been and gone elsewhere — fitting window frames and glass to the centrepiece window of ‘Sweet Success’, for example. With real construction details like this now joining the prefab façades, the illusion that these developments are real, functional buildings takes a step forward.

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Behind the entire development, preparations for the two-tier Hollywood Hills have begun on the steel billboard frame of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic, extending the vertical supports beyond their original height to form the gentle curve of the upcoming backdrop.

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Finally, DCA’s ‘Off the Page’ (centre) has taken on a strong orange and yellow colours to its prefab-mould front, including a delicate entrance archway in far lighter tones. It appears likely this building will share a colour scheme remarkably similar to ‘Sweet Success’ at the opposite side of the row. Next door, the three-storey ‘La Brea Carpets’ has freshly-finished plasterwork across its front and the beginnings of balconies. The almost endless line of windows now have frames ready and waiting for more glass.

More Hollywood Boulevard updates still to come!

All photos by Photos Magiques dated 15/09. You can see the full construction update here »

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