Monday, April 07, 2008

Disney's Hollywood: Crossroads of the World

It is a dynamic visual and architectural centerpiece and likely the first sight most visitors see upon entering Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. With Mickey Mouse perched atop the spinning globe that crowns its tall spire, the Crossroads of the World is almost as much an icon of the Studios park as the backlot water tower or the Fantasia Sorcerer's Hat.

Extending the Streamline Moderne design found at the parks entrance gates, the combination information kiosk and souvenir stand is based on the centerpiece building of the famous Crossroads of the World retail-office complex located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Designed by Robert V. Derrah, the building was inspired by early 20th century ocean liners and included features such as decks, railings and portholes. The Disney park version reproduced that building's street-facing circular storefront space, complete with spire and crowning globe.
The Crossroads of the World debuted in 1936. It was especially unique at the time for being a collection of retail shops in a small plaza setting and is frequently noted as being an early precursor of outdoor shopping malls and centers. Though the complex still exists and has physically changed little in the last seven decades, it is currently used as office space and is void of the shops and restaurants that were its hallmark during the golden age of Hollywood. The location has been used in a number of motion pictures, most notably in the 1992 film L.A. Confidential, where it served in helping to portray a slightly grittier noir version of post-war Hollywood.


Anonymous said...

You should check out Werner Weiss' Yesterland.
He has an on going series of the real-life inspiration of both DHS and DCA.

DebWDW said...

I love this building in the Studios! Thanks for sharing the history.