The Glenn Miller Story | 1954
James Stewart plays the legendary bandleader, and his search for ‘the sound’, in this solid biopic, which features the old ballroom of the Santa Monica Pier, at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The pier was built in 1919, and its La Monica Ballroom opened in July 1924. By the 1930s, though, it was all-but closed – hosting the Dance Marathons featured in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. It later experienced a revival, then became a skating rink before being demolished in 1963.
The pawn shop stood on Clay Street, alongside Angel’s Flight, downtown LA’s tiny funicular railway, a much-loved landmark railway dating from 1901, when Bunker Hill was a fashionable neighbourhood and two cars, Olivet and Sinai, ferried people up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets.
In 1969, the railway was dismantled when the rundown area was scheduled for a programme of urban renewal.
The Railway was refurbished during the 1990s and relocated half a block to the south, reopening adjacent to California Plaza in 1996. The surrounds are now unrecognisable from the way it’s seen in the film – running up a grassy green slope.