I spent this past Saturday morning browsing through the historic Max Factor building, where the Hollywood Museum is now located. Being a local resident for my entire life, it’s ridiculous to think just how long it took me to set foot there. The treasure trove it held was enough to make this old film lover’s heart fluttering for days.
The pink and gold lobby of the museum featured glass display cases that contains various makeup products and Old Hollywood memorabilia. One of the displays held Max Factor’s personal makeup case, along with a concise biography of his life and contribution during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Born in Poland, Factor moved out to southern California with his family and essentially became known as “the father of modern makeup.”
Venturing off into the different dressing rooms just past the lobby, you’ll find one for redheads, blondes, brunettes, and brownettes. In order to complement the aforementioned and respective hair colors, each room is painted in a tint of green, blue, violet, or pink. I also learned that it was in this building where Lucille Ball first became a redhead, and Marilyn Monroe went platinum blonde.
One narrow hallway led to another, and I was at once surrounded by framed autographs and images belonging to some of my favorite movie stars. There is also an entire wall of photographs depicting the studios and theaters from the early years, which was riveting to see. I may have lingered a little too long in that room to find myself falling very behind from my friends.
On the second floor, an original piece of the Hollywoodland sign was on display, paired with a photograph of how Mount Hollywood first looked in the 1920s.
The third floor became another favorite of mine, especially since there is a large corner devoted entirely to early cinema history. An assortment of curious film inventions and prototypes crowded around, but we were running short on time so I breezed past this section a little too fast, much to my dismay. Before moving on to the last few exhibits, a small display containing some of Mary Pickford’s items caught my eye, including one of her tiny gowns and a brush-comb-mirror set. Just beside her painted portrait are pieces of memorabilia from the 1927 film Wings, starring Buddy Rogers and Clara Bow, which immediately reminded me of my visit to the Pickford Theatre last summer.
This is definitely a museum that requires a little more time to spare if you’re like me and want to see every nook and cranny of film history that’s on display here. Regardless, my visit was personally fulfilling, and I can already see it becoming a much more frequent haunt of mine.