La Belle Tour Then and Now

L.A. History Comments

Recent L.A. arrival Colin Clive sits on the roof of the newly built La Belle Tour in 1930 (inset). The French Normandy-style apartment complex quickly became a waystation for aspiring actors, with the Hollywoodland sign beckoning in the distance. Clive’s background in British theater helped him land the lead in the 1931 horror classic, Frankenstein. His dramatic bellow as the mad scientist—“It’s alive! It’s alive!”—was his entry into the fickle entertainment industry, but it also led to his being pigeonholed in the roles of broody, disturbed characters. The grand apartment, now called the Hollywood Tower, is a familiar landmark off the 101—and the inspiration for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror featured at various Disney theme parks.

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  • Janet Sullivan Cross

    Okay where to begin? Because pretty much everything in here about Colin Clive is wrong.

    The picture dates from 1934, not 1930. Clive spent most of 1930 in London, arriving back in August to begin shooting “Frankenstein” — during which time he lived at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, not La Belle Tour.

    “Frankenstein” was not his “entry into the entertainment industry.” It was his third movie, not his first. That would be “Journey’s End,” also directed by James Whale.

    Whale’s work with him earlier was what led him to choose him for “Frankenstein.” It had nothing to do with his British theatre training.

    Congratulations on spelling Clive’s name right, though!!