Let’s Sell Hollywood


A Short History of the Hollywood Boosters, 1934-1970


Megan Harris

Established in 1934, the Hollywood Boosters Association has been connecting members of the Hollywood community with one another for nearly 70 years. The overarching goal of the organization, as stated in their original bylaws, is "to bring together all merchants, business and professional people of the Hollywood District . . . and generally to engage in and promote any enterprise or thing which will develop and build a greater and richer community." Since the founding of the organization, these goals have been vastly exceeded. Instead of simply acting in their own economic interests, the Hollywood Boosters have also worked towards developing a strong and livable community.

In the early 1930s, with the opening of the Hollywood Theatre and the Fred Meyer store, the area known as Hollywood began to grow. In response to this growth, fifty-two Hollywood merchants met on April 6, 1934, in order to create the Boosters organization. In the earliest years of the Boosters, members focused their energies on issues including traffic problems, business promotions and festivals. The festivals were designed to involve the community at large and included the Junior Rose Festival Parade and their own "Christmas in Hollywood". The Boosters would continue to work on many of these same issues for years to come. The organization endured even through the difficult war years. By the 1940s, many Booster activities, such as creating a Santa village complete with reindeer and elves, were bona fide Hollywood traditions. During this era, the Boosters also worked hard on creating beautiful floats for the Rose Festival Parade. Many of these floats, such as the 1949 float "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," won awards and helped to bolster the image of the Hollywood district.

Thanks largely in part to the activities of the Hollywood Boosters, the 1950s could justifiably be called the "heyday of Hollywood." The Boosters launched numerous sales promotions, including the Smile Campaign, which helped to build the reputation of Hollywood employees as the friendliest in Portland. The Hollywood Bonanza Days, the Christmas Festival and the Spring opening not only added to the good names of the businesses in the district, but were also fun for residents and helped to strengthen the neighborhood as a whole. Many of these same activities were continued into the 1960s; the Boosters expanded and improved upon their successes of the 1950s and gave residents even more reason to shop and live in the district.

Since the founding of their organization, the Hollywood Boosters have contributed time, energy, and funds towards building a close-knit and functional community. In their various activities, from bringing Santa Claus and Ed Sullivan into the neighborhood, to awarding prizes for the most cheerful workers, to campaigning for a freeway off-ramp, the Hollywood Boosters have helped to define the identity of Hollywood.


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