Filmed at the Coliseum: ‘Escape From L.A.’ Basketball Scene
A sequel to Escape from New York (1981), Escape from L.A. is a 1996 American post-apocalyptic action film directed by John Carpenter, with Kurt Russell starring as Snake Plissken. The legendary basketball scene was shot in the Coliseum. Fun fact: Kurt Russell practiced playing basketball in-between scenes because he wanted to legitimately make every shot during the basketball challenge. He made every shot, including the full court one.
Filmed at the Coliseum: Alicia Keys ‘Lift Every Voice’
Alicia Keys filmed a beautiful rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” that premiered for the NFL in September of 2020. Additionally, it was re-aired ahead of Super Bowl LV. The song was originally a poem written by James Weldon Johson in the 1800s. The song talks about the struggle for freedom and equality, inspiring hope in listeners. For a long time, it has also inspired the Black community of America in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. The NFL chose to incorporate the song into their games as a way of showing the relevance of the content for the Black community today in the current social environment.
The video of Alicia Keys singing for the NFL was filmed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In reflection, Keys said “we filled this stadium with love, with possibility, with endlessness, with power, strength, and music.” The video was broadcast before the “Kickoff Game,” Monday Night football on ESPN and Sunday Night Football on NBC.
Filmed at the Coliseum – ‘Jerry Maguire’
Jerry Maguire was a 1996 American romantic comedy film, starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, and Regina King. It was produced by James L. Brooks, famous for his production of The Simpsons. The film was inspired by sports agent Leigh Steinberg, covering the struggles, career ventures and love of life of the sports agent Jerry Maguire. The film was a success, and became the ninth highest grossing film of the year, making 273 million worldwide up against a 50 million dollar budget. The film was additionally nominated for five Academy Awards and three Golden Globe awards Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Academy for best supporting actor and Cruise won the Golden Globe for best actor.
Parts of the Jerry Maguire movie were filmed in June of 1996 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The film used 70 locations around Los Angeles as well as additional locations in Arizona, but the Coliseum got its moment in the award winning film when the “Great Frank Cushman” threw a football at what was supposed to be a stadium in Odessa, Texas but was actually the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
“College” – A Silent Film Starring Buster Keaton
“College” is a 1927 comedy-drama silent film. The film takes place in Southern California, directed by James W. Horne and Buster Keaton. Keaton also stars in the film, alongside Anne Cornwall and Harold Goodwin. The film was screened at the Los Angeles Coliseum, making it the first movie to ever be played there.
Wattstax ’72 Benefit Concert
Touted as the “Black Woodstock”, this event brought in over 100,000 attendees- most local residents of South L.A.- and celebrated African American culture, unity and pride within the local community, which at the time was still recovering from the violent Watts riots that had taken place six years earlier. Wattstax featured not only important civil rights leaders within the community, including Jesse Jackson, but performances by top recording artists at that time, such as Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Kim Weston, Rufus Thomas and The Soul Children.
“I am an American Day” Ceremony
In observance of “I am an American Day”, the State of California, along with the City of Los Angeles, welcomed new American citizens to come celebrate their citizenship at a ceremony held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. With nearly 60,000 in attendance pledging their allegiance to our flag, as well as members of the U.S. Armed Forces honored for their service at that time during World War II, then Governor Warren spoke these words to the crowd:
“American citizenship is a blessing, regardless of how it comes to us, and under the protective folds of the Stars and Stripes, it generates more real happiness than is produced by any type of citizenship yet conceived.
Most of the time it gives much and seeks little in return except good living, tolerance toward others and application to the affairs of government. Now it not only gives much but it requires much. It needs our intense loyalty, our entire energy, our money, our service and in thousands of instances, our lives. True citizens will not deny any of these to their country”.
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo — or the fifth of May — is a holiday commemorating the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.
In 1934, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum celebrated its first Cinco de Mayo event which was an exciting culmination of both sports and carnival activities featuring athletes & performers of Mexican descent displaying their talents to all in attendance.