Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee 5006 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood
In 1989, November 16th was declared Biddy Mason Day in Los Angeles. A memorial to the African American nurse, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist still exists at the Broadway Spring Center parking garage on Spring Street, which is the site of her former home. Her unmarked grave was finally marked with a tombstone on March 27, 1988, almost a century after her death, in a ceremony attended by Mayor Tom Bradley and nearly 3,000 members of First American Methodist Episcopal (First A.M.E.), the church she co-founded in her living room.
Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born in the Deep South on August 15, 1818. She was allegedly given to Mississippi slaver Robert Smith as a wedding present, and eventually bore three daughters by him (some wedding present, eh?). Upon converting to Mormonism, Smith was encouraged by the church to free his slaves but repeatedly declined, even when asked by Brigham Young himself. He moved his entire household (around 90 people, including all slaves and children) to the Utah Territory in 1847, and then in 1851 they all joined the wagon train to San Bernardino to help Young build a new Mormon community there.
Biddy walked the entire way to California, driving oxen behind a wagon train, but the long journey ended up changing her life one thousand percent for the better. See, her owner didn’t initially realize that the California state constitution forbade slavers. Whoops. (more…)
Today, Los Angeles Magazine posted a feature on local “outsiders.” I recognized Harry Perry immediately of course, but when I saw the man in the tuxedo it took me a moment to register it as Dennis Woodruff… the lone cowboy-hatted, crazy car-owning man who once clamored for attention by yelling “Put me in your movie!” in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater long before the arrival of the smelly superheroes of Hollywood & Highland.
In the 1980s, Dennis Woodruff and Angelyne were the two most visible eccentrics on the streets of Hollywood… each determined to seize their 15 minutes of fame without offering any talent in return. My friends and I always got a good laugh out of sighting these strange local icons all over town, to us they were harmless eccentrics whose obsession with fame made us uncomfortable but caught our attention like a bad car accident. We just couldn’t look away… but we didn’t expect the “famous for nothing” path to become a goal for so many people in the future. We didn’t foresee that Angelyne would lead to Heidi Montag.
But I digress. Besides the Los Angeles Magazine article mentioned above, the topic of outsiders is prevalent today since it appears that there’s currently a serious crackdown on the previously mentioned smelly costumed characters of Hollywood Boulevard (or as KTLA painfully called it, a “Zorro Tolerance Policy” – click here for obligatory rimshot). Yes, it looks like there may be quite a few former Spidermen and Captain Jack Sparrows applying for barista jobs in the near future. So while I can’t say I’ll miss them much personally, in honor of these unique individuals we’re going to relive their former glory days by embedding the preview of Matt Ogen’s critically acclaimed documentary Confessions of a Superhero for your viewing pleasure today (a link is provided above to watch the whole film). Enjoy. :)
William “Bill” Binder (seen above left, with sons Richard and John circa 1982), who for years ran Philippe’s, the Los Angeles eating institution famous for its sawdust-covered floors and trademark French dip sandwiches, has died. He was 94.
Binder, who retired in 1985, died Jan. 28 of natural causes at a care facility in Pasadena, said his son John, who runs Philippe’s with his brother, Richard.
“He had a real mild temperament; he always tried to treat everybody with respect,” John Binder said. “He had a very, very deep religious belief. He felt we were just so blessed to have the business.” (more…)
I’m baaaack! As mentioned, I’ve been working a lot this week… provided the economy’s treating you all right, perhaps you’ve been working hard too! Aren’t we all glad it’s Friday? Yay Friday! As a tribute to our hard work this week, below is a groovy little glimpse into the lives of hardworking Angelenos back in glamorous 1973. People in the 1970s liked Fridays too, I’ll bet.
After the jump, a special little treat to accompany this film.