Charles Phoenix's Slide of the Week: Beverly Hills Hotel, 1956

Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Beverly Hills Hotel, 1956

Beverly Hilton Hotel

Beverly Hills Hotel, 1956

Terrace dividers are multi-colored for a very satisfying, grand scale pop art effect. The giant half-a-cat-food-can stylishly sticking out from the top floor certainly must be a semi-circular cocktail lounge. Street level orange stripes mark the 76 Gas Station at the Hotel’s entrance corner.

This spectacular slide was taken just months after the grand opening ceremony where pink-painted elephants, escorted by bathing suit-clad models, circled the hotel’s main entrance. Did anyone protest?

During construction Conrad Hilton buried a stainless steel time capsule beneath the lobby. According to the list of contents on the Beverly Hilton’s website, the most exciting thing in the time capsule is a 1954 Sears Catalog. Want to join me there when they unearth it in 2054?

Just last week I went to the Beverly Hilton to report on the Cher Auction preview for NPR’s Day to Day. They transformed one of the big ballrooms into what I called Cherland. Four decades of Cher hits provided a snappy sound tract. There were two lands. Her extra large-scale, Hearst Castle-style furniture and decor were displayed in Cher-at-Homeland. In Cher-costumeland dozens of memorable, heavily-beaded, often belly-button revealing Sonny and Cher Show costumes were in perfect condition.

“Well, they were only worn once” Cher’s genius designer, Bob Mackie, told me. Then Cher entered Cherland, sort of. It was a man in Cher-drag. But that’s not much different than having a woman playing Mickey Mouse at Disneyland!

Here’s to Cherland and Pink Elephants at the Beverly Hilton and YOU!!!

Charles Phoenix

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