Palm Springs City Hall from “Behind the Candelabra”Jun 5th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
The Behind the Candelabra location that I was most excited to stalk was Palm Springs City Hall, which appeared very briefly towards the end of the recently-aired HBO biopic. When I first saw the locale pop up onscreen, in all of its retro glory, I was convinced that it was a set that had been fabricated for the shoot. While I figured that set was most likely based upon what the actual Palm Springs City Hall looked like during Liberace’s era, never in my wildest dreams did I think the place would still bear the same façade today. So imagine my surprise when I pulled up pictures of the structure on my iPhone via Google Images and discovered that it looks exactly like it did onscreen – 1950’s signage and all! I, of course, immediately added the site to my To-Stalk List and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on over there this past Saturday morning. And I am very happy to report that the building is just as fabulous in person!
Palm Springs City Hall was originally constructed beginning in 1952 and was designed by architects E. Stewart Williams [the mid-century modern marvel who designed the Kenaston residence from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s infamous July 2005 W Magazine photo shoot, the Koerner House from Alpha Dog, and the 1951 remodel of Howard Manor (now the Colony Palms Hotel)], Albert Frey (the father of the desert modernism-style of architecture who designed a portion of the Burgess House from Alpha Dog), and Frey’s partners, John Porter Clark and Robson Chambers.
The one-story, concrete block building took five years to complete.
The eastern portion of the building houses the entrance to the City Council chamber and features a poured-concrete disc overhang with the words “The People Are the City.”
The building’s main entrance boasts a corrugated metal canopy with a large circular cutout.
That cutout is of the exact same diameter as the disc overhang in front of the City Council chamber, which brings a sense of symmetry to the building’s two entrances.
The three palm trees that grow through the cutout remind me of the “twin palms” that are the focal point of Frank Sinatra’s former desert home, which was also designed by E. Stewart Williams.
My favorite element of the building, though, has to be the bris-soliel (a term I just learned today) made of diagonally-cut aluminum piping, which not only provides an unusual design aesthetic, but morning shade to the structure’s interior.
Palm Springs City Hall only showed up once in Behind the Candelabra, in the scene in which a Riverside County Health Department spokesman announced to the press that Liberace (Michael Douglas) had died from complications of the AIDS virus and not from heart failure due to an anemia caused by a watermelon diet (I don’t even understand that diagnosis!) as had originally been reported by his manager, Seymour Heller (Dan Aykroyd).
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Palm Springs City Hall, from Behind the Candelabra, is located at 3200 East Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs.