Posts Tagged ‘1960s’

FLASHBACK – Charles Lange’s Belinda Boutique

Sorry we haven’t been posting on our WordPress site as much lately, we’ve been overwhelmed with all sorts of stuff including events and moderating our Facebook page (210,000 fans now… and still growing!). But be assured we haven’t forgotten about you non-Facebookin’ folks, though! We love you! :D

So I digress… we’ve been digging up (and ON!) old Sunset Strip found footage lately and thought you might appreciate this supergrooviness of the video below… ‘cuz it’s a gas. (And by the way… who else misses seeing the giant Rocky and Bullwinkle rotate in front of Dudley Do-Right’s Emporium!?)

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Belinda and Charles Lange opened their boutique on the Sunset Strip one block west of Pandora’s Box, next door to The Fifth Estate in 1966. During the Summer of Love. Belinda, the designer, brought to Hollywood custom made micro mini skirts, backless, bra-less, cut on the bias knit dresses. After trying on any one of the Belinda designed dresses, the customer could order another one in any fabric or color and pick it up within an hour because everything was made there at the shop. Featured in Vogue Magazine and modeled by Cher. Clients included singers Cass Elliot, Tina Turner, Carole King, Petula Clark, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli.

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HOME VIDEO – Studio City Christmas Parade (1965)

I did a quick google search on the Hollywood Christmas Parade this morning, and imagine my surprise when I came across this gem of a silent home movie. Behold: the 1965 Studio City Christmas Parade with more local flavor and classic celebrities than you could shake a stick at! (And yes, the parade still exists… but not this year.) More information about the clip after the jump.

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What Lies Beneath – (The Laurel Tavern/Log Cabin)

Okay! The answer is after the jump! :)    

We’re heading to Laurel Canyon for this week’s little geographical history test! Allright, maaaan!

Just to remind you, here’s how this little game goes… we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of something notable that once happened or existed within a block or two of the point on that map. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as always, we’re going to give you a fair amount of time to guess what we’re referring to first. We encourage you not to cheat by googling the address and if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.    

And since you guys like hints, here’s your hint for this one… THE CORRECT ANSWER HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HARRY HOUDINI!!! Nope, sorry. Nice try but that would’ve been waaaay too easy. :)

Ready? OKAY! :)


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SERIES – Harry Golden: Epilogue

PART SIX (of 6): Excerpted from “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” by Harry Golden, circa 1960.harry_small

In closing this series, I’ll leave you with the final two paragraphs of Harry’s essay on Los Angeles and his fifty year-old predictions for this city’s future…

“In the next generation, as it has come to all frontiers, a rigid stratification will appear in Los Angeles. Mobility will come to an end and the city will take its place as the greatest single empire in the western world.

And here, too, it is well to record that in the tempest and turmoil among faith healers and movie stars, Rosecrucians and baseball fans, I have met some of the kindest people in the world.”

THOUGHTS: Wow, the GREATEST SINGLE EMPIRE of the Western World? Looks like Harry really overestimated us, eh? I’m actually glad he was a little off there though, because he also predicted we’d have 25 million people living here. And man, that would suck. (more…)

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SERIES – Harry Golden: LA Cemeteries

PART FIVE: Excerpted from “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” by Harry Golden, circa 1960. harry_small

“(In Los Angeles,) the Jewish cemetery has billboards advertising plots with the single word, “Foreverness,” and the Christian cemetery (owned by the same syndicate) advertises with a similar billboard and the single word, “Devotion.” The chapels of both are air-conditioned, with flourescent lighting in all crypts, and a Muzak which plays Bach and Schubert for the Christians, Verdi and Rossini for the Jews.”

THOUGHTS: I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Forest Lawn and Mount Sinai here, and I’ll confess I haven’t spent much quality time in either so I can’t report on the current status of their muzak or crypt lighting. I was driving to the LA Fair last month and I did notice a billboard for Forest Lawn in Covina that got my attention, though. The billboard showed a photo of an old woman… and then next to her the headline said something like: “26 year old football linebacker, father, son.” Confusing, right? See, that’s the point… the payoff tagine underneath said, “Don’t have someone else’s funeral.” Ahah! I get it!

Moral of the story, I guess people nowadays don’t expect quite as much “devotion” and “foreverness.” They just really want to make sure the mortuary’s gonna give them their money’s worth and get their names right on the tombstone. Sigh. Our expectations of customer service have really been sadly lowered over the last 50 years…

COMING ON THURSDAY… THE EPILOGUE: Harry Golden on LA

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SERIES – Harry Golden: LA’s Heritage Clubs

PART TWO: Excerpted from “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” by Harry Golden, circa 1960.
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“In Los Angeles there are thousands of fraternal organizations and societies based upon places of origin. There is the Minneapolis Canasta Club, the Iowa Society, the Friends of the Mid-West, the Lower East Side Association, the Oregon Friendly Social Club.

In this, the newcomers to California are following the pattern of America’s immigrants from Europe, who organized themselves into fraternal societies of people from the same town or area.

One of the real reasons for so many societies was the fact that a fraternity could have only one president, one secretary, and one treasurer, and there was always the need for another organization. History hasn’t changed much since those days. Many of our organizations today are broken down into five or six separate groups – Mr. and Mrs. clubs, adult study groups, auxiliaries, and of course “youth.” And each organization has a staff of officers, banquets and social functions.

I can just see the old gents of the “Zegeefska Chevra” stroking their beards in wonder at the “Tuesday Ladies of Flatbush” playing canasta in a vestry room of the San Fernando Valley.

The very composition of the City of Los Angeles has banished one form of bigotry. No one ever sneers, “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” because if anyone took this to heart, the whole joint would empty overnight and the only ones left would be a few bemused Indians.”

THOUGHTS: Seems our vast array of domestic heritage societies, canasta clubs and social vestry rooms faded into the shadows over the last fifty years. (But what the frickity frack is a “Zegeefska Chevra”!!!??? Does anyone here know what he’s talking about?) I actually don’t think we’ve become such a melting pot that people don’t congregate towards finding comfort in heritage the way they used to, though. By the warm reaction to my North Dakota post, I know that people do still light up when they find something here that reminds them of home… but it seems like where you’re from isn’t always worn as a lifelong badge of bonding the way it once was. Long Beach is no longer ground zero for people from Iowa and Minneapolis (it was once called Iowa By The Sea for a reason), and it’s no longer common knowledge that Pasadena was actually a colony settlement of people solely from Indiana. Our modern-day Indians are less bemused, too.

After thinking about it a bit, I realized that perhaps the key reason we don’t have all of these clubs has nothing to do with anti-socialism or lack of civic pride, though. A lot has changed since the Camelot of 1960 when this article was written and John F. Kennedy had just been elected President. Truth is, contrary to the image this article describes… people aren’t fighting each other to be the President of much of anything any more. In 1960 that title was the highest and proudest aspiration you could aim for, but the shine has long since worn off the turd of power. Clubs always need leaders, and not only is leading is a lot of work, but it always involves politics. Our perceptions have changed a lot since 1960: perhaps we’ve seen for ourselves that being President can be kind of a crappy, thankless job we might not want to take on. But I could be wrong.

COMING SOON… PART THREE: Harry Golden on LA’s Real Estate of the 1960s

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SERIES – Harry Golden on LA Smog & Sprawl

PART ONE: Excerpted from “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” by Harry Golden, circa 1960. harry_small

“The City of Los Angeles lies in the flat part of a huge saucer. The Indians, who prowled and hunted in this saucer long before the arrival of the white men, called it, “the place of everlasting smoke.” Long after they had broken up their hunting camps, the smoke from their fires would hang over the saucer. Today Los Angeles is enveloped by a smog from the factories which makes the eyes sting and produces a rasping cough. Eventually, however, they will dissipate this smog – as soon as Los Angelenos muster the courage to stand up to the oil and rubber industries which produce it. Right now these industries pay over a hundred million dollars in taxes, but the day is fast coming when the citizens of the city will no longer tolerate this blemish, a hundred million or not.

Because Los Angeles will one day have 25 million people. It is inevitable. Even now it is the phenomenon of mid-twentieth-century America. It has been described as two hundred suburbs in search of a city, but this is only because Los Angeles is the new frontier. The reason writers have not made literature out of this fantastic city is that they associate the frontier with the wide-open spaces, Tonto, and the six-shooter. They have not yet realized that there is an urban frontier, too. Los Angeles in 1960 is the perfect symbol of the urbanization of our civilization.”

THOUGHTS: Unfortunately, even though we did fight to get those World War II era factories to stop pumping smoke into the air… we still live in a smoke crater with some big ozone issues. But as far as the quality of air particulates we’re breathing, the people of Pittsburgh, Cincinnatti, Birmingham and Detroit have it worse than we do. So do the people of Fresno and Bakersfield, for that matter. Truth is, the air quality in Los Angeles today is actually significantly better than it was in the 1960s. And thank God, our population is nowhere near 25 million people yet! I cringe at the thought.

People around America *still* love to use that “suburbs in search of a city” quote about L.A. Fact is, the phrase was originally coined by Dorothy Parker – but she said Los Angeles was only 72 suburbs in search of a city. (We’ve grown since then.) As any local knows… it doesn’t even seem a reasonable goal to reduce the vastness of what Los Angeles offers down to something that fits the stereotype of a single-minded metropolis, though. Rather, Los Angeles often feels more like a small world with many different countries nested inside of it. There are a variety of independent heartbeats here… not just one. Many of us love that about it, but in some ways, perhaps that’s our problem. That vastness is what makes Los Angeles still seem like a barbaric, untamable frontier to people from more easily digested and categorized places, which in turn makes it a far cry from a “perfect symbol of urbanization of civilization.” By sheer size, it seems too overwhelming to be palatable. Such opinions probably won’t be changing any time soon, but a few more Dorothy Parker quotes come to mind: I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t trueand “I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.” :)

Coming Soon… PART TWO: Harry Golden on LA’s Heritage Clubs

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SERIES – Intro: Harry Golden on Los Angeles

enjoy, enjoy!I have a love for thrift store books. I’ve discovered the most amazing, unexpected things through them.

“Enjoy, Enjoy!” by author, humorist, publisher, ex-convict, buddy of Carl Sandburg and civil rights proponent Harry Golden (1902–1981) was this weekend’s found treasure. I wasn’t familiar with Harry Golden before, but wow… I wish I knew the guy for his openly sarcastic stance towards bigots alone. As a Jew living in racist South Carolina in the 60s, he came up with various methods to fight racism with humor… one being his proposition that if black people were to be called colored, white people should in turn be referred to as “colorless” (as in, “This is Joe, my colorless friend”). Also…

“Golden’s various schemes for solving the racial problem in America were most memorable. Observing that white Southerners were loathe to sit with African Americans on buses or in restaurants, but noting that whites often stood in line with African Americans at grocery stores and other places, Golden called on the public school to remove all chairs from their classrooms. This “Vertical Negro Plan” would thereby overcome Southern reservations about sitting in the same room with the other race.”

Heh.

But I digress. Starting tomorrow I’ll be sharing some of Harry Golden’s 50 year old impressions of Los Angeles with you. What’s amazing is how in so many ways his insights were so brilliant. But in other ways, he makes it clear that Los Angeles in 1960 was a very, very different place with very different priorities… for better and for worse. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. :)

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FLASHBACK – Coming Into Los Anjuleez. Far out.

First, let me just say that the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock has brought what is perhaps the best ABC News story headline I have ever seen. Although wow, the article’s pretty depressing.

Anyhow, in honor of this auspicious anniversary of the biggest day in naked muddy hippie history, I’m posting Arlo Guthrie’s Woodstock performance of “Coming into Los Angeles.” In case you were not aware, this song was written in 1968 about illegal drug smuggling – SURPRISE!!!!!  Yeah, that’s a shocker, I know. But I digress. In 2007 LA Times reporter Geoff Boucher asked Arlo to speak  a little more in depth about the story behind the song… you can read his comments after the jump.

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FLASHBACK – A Day with The Doors

The following video “tells the story of Gary and Henry, two wild and crazy guys from the 60′s who designed albums covers for some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll… Gary and Henry discuss (with Ray Manzarek) how they came up with the infamous MORRISON HOTEL cover. They revisit the old hotel in downtown Los Angeles where they took the now classic shots of the doors in the hotel window. What’s amazing about this story is how different the world was back then. You can imagine today, taking a major rock and roll band to hotel with no advance notice and asking, “Hey mind if we take a few pictures?” Today, it would take months to set up the shoot and it would include bus loads of advertising people, reps from the record company, legal observers, and many many assistants. Ad to this, a full catering truck and security and you get the picture!”

See what The Morrison Hotel looks like today after the jump. Let’s just say I doubt you’ll be rushing there to book a room.

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VIDEO – Dave Brubeck’s Magic Carpet Ride

In Los Angeles, even jazz legends on flying carpets get traffic tickets.

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In this video, the Dave Brubeck Quartet is shown riding a magic carpet over an L.A. freeway while performing Blue Rondo A la Turk. This performance was a segment on the Vic Damone-hosted variety television show The Lively Ones and aired July 25, 1962.

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FLASHBACK – The Grooviest Day on Olvera Street

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Scopitone film of Tijuana Taxi (filmed on Olvera Street circa 1966)

YouTube Preview Image tacobelltaxi This video was filmed specifically to be shown on a Scopitone machine, an early video jukebox which could be found in bars throughout the world in the 60s (and disappeared by the 70s). To see more great Scopitone films, there are plenty online. (Here’s my other current favorite… it’s like watching someone sing the story of my life. Sigh.)

P.S. – Be sure to click on and enlarge the little album cover image above right. Remember when the Taco Bell sign was a sleeping Mexican wearing a hat? Ha!

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MATINEE – The LSD Story

The sixties were a kerrraaaaayzeee time… the hippies were taking over with their crazy druggie ways and there was no way dedicated Sargeant Joe Friday, lover of Los Angeles, was going to let that happen to the youth of His City without a fight. The LSD Story was the first episode of the 1967 season of Dragnet, and it’s more than a little ironic that it was the first episode they filmed in glorious technicolor.

Note: The address given for the vacant lot where Blue Boy saw the pilot light of creation and reality was here.

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