Something about Bob I didn’t know… he was also the first organist for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nice little blurb about it here.
A funeral Mass for Bob Mitchell will be Friday, July 10, at 9:30 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 624 N. Rossmore Ave., Los Angeles 90004 Map Website.
Interment will follow at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90038 Map Website.
A Tribute to Bob Mitchell A memorial noonday concert will take place at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave. (at 6th St.), on Thursday, August 13, at 12:10 p.m. Several organists will participate in this program and admission is free to all. More
BOB MITCHELL Silent Film Organist
October 12, 1912 – July 4, 2009
I’ve been learning surprising new things every single day since I created this site. I now know that there’s a catfish pond on La Cienega and a secret DMV, for example! But today’s revelation has blown me away.
Right after I moved back into town last August, I was walking down Robertson and pondered aloud to a friend, “I wonder what ever happened to the homeless guy who used to roller disco on this corner…” Prior to moving away, I had eaten many a weekend breakfast while watching this long-limbed man in spandex dancing spastically to a boombox… the corner seemed so empty and sad without him on it. My friends and I always commented on his groovy dance routines (while wondering aloud how anyone could possibly bear to exercise in the Santa Ana sun while wearing so much tight black clothing), and I’ll admit I felt a pang of remorse to consider I might never have his sweet moves to go with my pancakes ever again. Fearful that the man’s story of homelessness and mental issues may have ended in the worst way, I tried not to dwell on it. But the thing is, I’m a dweller. I *had* to know the answer of what happened to him. So today I turned to Google to research the fate of my mystery homeless dance king.
Up until a few days ago, I had never set foot in the Angelus Temple in Echo Park. Not being much for organized religion myself, this might not seem unusual… except that the temple is one of the more noteworthy parts of my family heritage. At 19, my Grandma Beulah preached at Pentacostal tent revivals alongside the woman who built the temple, Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, and often babysat Aimee’s son Rolf who recently passed away. I’ve passed the huge structure so many times that getting out of my car and walking inside was a long overdue experience.
To say that Sister Aimee was one of the most influential and controversial women of the 20th Century in America is an understatement. Let me put it this way… her following was so large that she estimated the entire $1.2 million cost of the temple (we’re talking 1924, people – think about it) was paid for with an average donation of TWO CENTS. I’ll be writing more about her in the future… now that I have this site, I have a great excuse to make myself get off my rear and do some research. My dream is to go through their archives and find some incredible photo of my nutty Grandma as a young girl speaking in tongues or something, but that will take time. So for the moment I’ll just share with you a photo I took of one of the temple’s original stained glass window after the jump. Sister Aimee is the woman portrayed kneeling on the bottom left. CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW.
I’ve been noticing lately that people seem a bit weary right now. Just kind of… holding on and trying to keep their heads up until the tide turns. Los Angeles is a city with a bit of a manic depressive personality, so when times are hard (riots, earthquakes, fires, floods, unemployment, bad breakup, whatever) usually it’s easy to just look up at the sun and think, “Yeah, my life kinda sucks right now… but look at this weather! Tomorrow will be better!” Lately even the best of us seem to be struggling and feeling a bit down for an extended time, though. We’re all a little bummed that Obama hasn’t filled our lives with rainbows and butterflies yet.
Now I’m one of those annoying people who likes to focus on the good, but sometimes that’s a lot of work during times like these. What to do, what to do. (more…)
True story: Dame Edna once gave me a black eye. With a gladiola. No joke, I had a shiner for a week. But I’ll get to that story in a minute. First things first.
Not *all* great things in LA are hidden… but they all need your support!
What: Dame Edna Everage’s FIRST LAST TOUR
Where: Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Downtown
When: Until June 21
TIP: Subject to availability, $20 Hot Tix may be purchased on the day of performance at the box office (cash only). Exact seat locations are not given over the phone. Tickets limited to two per household. To learn more about Hot Tix, call Audience Services at (213) 628-2772.
If you have had the pleasure of attending any of her previous shows, you have probably already bought tickets for this. If you have never seen Dame Edna live, LISTEN TO ME… get off your rear and make an effort to see her right now because not only may this be your last chance, but your world will instantly become far more fabulous once you do. Trust me on this. I would not steer you wrong. While a Dame Edna show may seem like silly camp, it’s much more. It’s non-stop laughter and who doesn’t need that?!? In truth, Barry Humphries may easily be the quickest witted performer alive. Nobody else holds a candle. Edna is an absolute treasure to watch, so go… and laugh your gladiolus off!
Curious about how she gave me a shiner? Well, that and more Dame Edna info after the jump.
Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington was a bad ass. I mean, we’re talking about a man who braved Southern California heatwaves wearing a polyester cowboy leisure suit. For decades, he stood on top of biplanes in midair, rode charging hippos and wrassled bears and tigers. Just to get you to go see him. And it all paid off… a profile in the Sacramento Bee (published in 1990) stated that ol’ Cal grossed $316.8 million in 1988. Okay, now add inflation. That’s a lot of Fords, my friend.
Cal was one of the very first car dealers to appear in their own TV ads as a wacky character, promising if he couldn’t give you the best price that he would stand on his head or eat a bug. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any youtube videos of Cal eating bugs so I’m unsure if he ever actually ate any. But he did an awful lot of other stunts for rolling cameras, as evidenced below. (Turn your speakers down if you don’t want to be humming his theme song all day.)
From the first link:
Mr. Worthington came to Southern California in 1948 after a much-decorated military career piloting B-17 Flying Fortresses on 29 combat missions over Germany. He made enough selling used cars to start trading in war surplus. That’s what brought him to California, where it took him nearly two years to sell a ship full of corroded welding equipment he’d bought. He cleared $13,000, which was enough to buy a Muntz dealership.
Mr. Worthington became an early believer in the power of television advertising. Rather than buy ad spots, he produced entire programs. Every Saturday and Sunday night, he was host of a three-hour variety show broadcast live on a Los Angeles station from Cal’s Corral at his dealership. The show featured a who’s who of country music stars, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Roger Miller. The rising cost of television time eventually forced Mr. Worthington to focus on shorter ads in which he praised specific cars on his lot while wearing a 10-gallon hat and a garish western suit from Nudie Cohn, the rodeo tailor.
One day a rival dealer appeared in commercials with his dog, named Storm. As a joke, Mr. Worthington started countering with ads featuring “my dog Spot.”
“Only Spot was never a dog,” he said with an infectious, off-kilter grin. “It was always a chicken, or a possum, or a duck or something. But it was never a dog.”
Over the years it became a signature gimmick. Mr. Worthington appeared with a zoo’s worth of creatures, including a lion, an elephant, a water buffalo, a gorilla, a tiger, a rhinoceros, assorted snakes and even a killer whale (which he rode) at Sea World.
Mr. Worthington, whose formal education ended with the ninth grade, said he had only one occasion to rue his lack of schooling. “I wanted to be an airline pilot after World War II, but the airlines wouldn’t take you unless you had a college degree,” he said.
Cal is 88 years old now and his son voices most of his current commercials. In addition to automobile dealerships, it’s said that the Worthington family owns ten ranches as well as three shopping centers and one office tower, grossing $600 million a year.
So really… there’s a big life lesson in this, people. Especially during hard economic times like these, if you really want to succeed in life sometimes you’ve just gotta just quit whining, take a deep breath, get up some courage and do something crazy to get yourself noticed. It might just pay off. Bug eating and bear wrestling (or trying out for a reality show, for that matter) isn’t original anymore so you may need to get a little more creative, though. Be a bad ass.
When the going gets tough, just think to yourself… WWCWD?