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. :)
Even the National Enquirer was taken aback after the city of Los Angeles designated Daniel Van Meter’s Tower of Wooden Pallets a historical landmark. A photo spread of the Sherman Oaks structure was accompanied by a headline that said, “No kidding! This pile of junk is a historic monument!”
Robert Winter, a former member of the Cultural Heritage Commission, joked later that the 1978 vote might have been influenced by fumes emanating from the pallets, which were discards from a brewery.
“Maybe we were drunk,” said Winter, a prominent architectural historian. (SOURCE)
Daniel Van Meter began construction of the 22-foot-tall structure in 1951 using 2,000 wooden pallets tossed out by a local brewery. The slatted wood was stacked like bricks and placed in a circle with a radius of about 22 feet wide. According to Van Meter, the tower, his own personal sanctuary, was built around the grave of a child buried in 1869.
“I have a place where it is quiet, despite the apartments, the noise of the boulevard and the hum and screeches of the rat race on the freeway 200 feet away,” he said.
At night, Van Meter said, he climbs to the top of the tower and looks at the moon and the stars. “To me, this is a spiritual place.” (SOURCE)
The tower was bulldozed in 2006 and in January 2009 the 2.5 acre property was sold by Dan’s heirs for $4.5 million. Construction began almost immediately on a new apartment building in its place, just as Van Meter predicted almost forty years ago while lobbying for his tower’s landmark status:
“… in a few years this piece of the good earth may be covered by apartments for the storing of surplus people. In the meantime, pray, let this strange structure be, let it continue to be a haven of rest for an individual – that endangered species – who once knew how sweet was our Valley.” (SOURCE)