After visiting the Griffith Observatory we stopped by the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
When we stopped at the guard's station at the entrance of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery he informed us that we were not allowed to take photos. If we really wanted to take photos we had to speak to the manager of the cemetery. We went into the reception area for the cemetery and I spoke with the manager. He asked me whose grave site I wanted to take photos of and I mentioned Rudolph Valentino was one of the star's graves that I would like to photograph. He said that I was allowed to take only two photographs and only of Valentino's grave and no others. The manager said that the family members of non-celebrity burial sites had been complaining about all the visitors to the cemetery. Chris and my thoughts on the subject matter was why bury your relatives someplace that is known to be a tourist destination? If you want your loved ones to rest in peace don't bury them at a popular tourist destination. In the evenings while we were down in L.A. the Hollywood Forever Cemetery was hosting on their grounds a play about Mark Twain with Val Kilmer in it. Why allow plays that attract hundreds to the cemetery but not allow photography?
To find out where the famous people are buried you have to buy a map from the flower shop for $5- We set off walking around the cemetery with our map. Since I wasn't allowed to take more than the two photos of Rudolph Valentino's site I took notes in a notebook about interesting tombstones, plaques and memorials that we saw. Headstones with photo engravings of the deceased are a popular trend. In the Jewish section of the cemetery there is a photo of a deceased couple from when they were younger and they look so happy, the lady in the photo is wearing a jaunty beret. Mel Blanc's tombstone reads "That's All Folks" Mel Blanc Man of 1000 Voices. Jayne Mansfield's plaque has a color photo of her on it. Adrian and Janet Gaynor are buried next to each other under a tree. Don Adam's memorial plaque features information about his life as well as a relief of him using his shoe as a phone (as he did in his tv show Get Smart). Tyrone Power's memorial incorporates a bench that you can sit on and which has a Shakespeare quote engraved on it. Theres a cool rocket shaped memorial, and a statue in the memory of Toto. Johnny Ramone's memorial has a sculpture of him leaning back playing guitar, whereas Dee Dee Ramone's burial site consists of a traditional headstone. While we were looking at the Johnny Ramone memorial a car pulled up and a mom and her kids got out. The mom started taking photos of the Johnny Ramone memorial with her phone while her kids ran rampant around the grounds angering the nesting geese who flew into a frenzy.
Towards the end of our visit is when we walked through a large, well maintained mausoleum where Rudolph Valentino is entombed. We were able to take our two photos and pay our respects.
After having visited the Hollywood Forever Cemetery we headed to dinner at El Cholo Spanish Cafe. This place is a classic L.A. restaurant which throughout the years the Hollywood elite have come to. The interior of the space is warm and inviting with fireplaces, cozy nooks, colorful tile, decor and photos of old movies stars who were regulars. Our food and drinks were tasty and we were waited on by a wonderful woman whose name was Esperanza who has worked at El Cholo for over 20 years and you could sense that she loved working there.
This post was originally published on May 3, 2012.