Posts Tagged ‘Flashback’

VIDEO – Take a Ride on the Last Red Car! (1961)

People tend to glamorize the old Red Cars. It’s controversial to say this, but by the time they were shut down the trains were considered by a lot of people to be relics… loud, dirty, clunky, and outdated. The shame is that people didn’t fight to have them updated or replaced entirely right away. There’s no disputing that in the 1960s, freeways and cars were seen as far more exciting and glamorous. America wanted a Jetsons future, and the Red Car didn’t fit that fantasy very well.
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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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FLASHBACK – The 1971 Sylmar Earthquake

Forty years ago this morning, Los Angeles had a shaky wake-up call. The video below is a Dragnet-esque film documentary of the event made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No, Charlton Heston does not make a cameo.

“(The film Earthquake! documents)… the San Fernando Valley, California earthquake of 1971 with a focus on the rescue efforts and a hospital collapse. Federal disaster relief had just been increased and the Office of Emergency Preparedness formed, and the film shows how they addressed their first major disaster. California Governor Ronald Reagan and US Vice-President Spiro Agnew appear adding an interesting historical note to this clip.”

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MATINEE – Flight to California (1952)

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Newlyweds Edie and Henry join Hollywood actor Richard Carlson and his wife for a a fabulous tour of glamorous 1950s Southern California and points beyond… how keen!

POLITICALLY INCORRECT ALERT: Blackface at 10:48

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IMAGERY – The Old Chinatown Blacksmith, 1899

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Photographic portrait of “The Old Chinatown Blacksmith” in Chinatown, ca.1899. The blacksmith is at center and is dressed in traditional Chinese clothes. He is standing to the left of a brick building with several doors and windows in it, as well as a large key painted on it. There are awnings covering the walkway where the man is standing. There is another man walking in the background; he is dressed in Western clothes, including a jacket and hat.

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QUIZ – What Lies Beneath (Baldwin Hills Dam Break)

WOW. You guys are on the ball today! The full answer is after the jump. :)

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Well, we were a bit busy last week so we fell a little behind on our quizzes… but we’ll try to make up for it now. :)

You regular readers should know how this game works by now… it all starts when we show you a spot on a google map (see below) and tell you that we’re thinking of a reason this particular area is notable. Then you start to guess what that reason might be. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as always, you have a nice amount of time to guess what we’re referring to first, we encourage you not to cheat by googling the address and we also ask that if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for those who might not.

And with that little refresher course… it’s guessing time! No hints today, either.


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IMAGERY – Olvera Street Market Salesman, 1938

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“In the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Paseo de Los Angeles – later referred to as Olvera Street – was created through the efforts of Christine Sterling and the City Boosters in the oldest section of the city. Olvera Street was an imagined Mexican Landscape not unlike the renowned tourist districts of Mexican border cities (Arreola and Curtis 1993). The theme was “Old Mexico,” pitting a timeless, romantic, homogenous Spanish-Mexican culture against industrialization, immigration, urban decay and modernity itself. The street featured rows of curio shops, house museums, and Mexican eateries staffed by costumed Mexican merchants. As a constructed place, Olvera Street was the product of a social and economic agenda established by civic elites to transform downtown Los Angeles through the removal of undesirable residents. The opening of Olvera Street and the preservation of the old Plaza also popularized an emerging creation mythology for Anglo Los Angeles stemming from the defeat of Mexican forces in 1847, a heroic birth legend in which Sterling emerged as a symbolic mother figure and guardian of the city’s birthplace.”

Excerpted from Los Angeles’ Old Plaza and Olvera Street: Imagined and Contested Space, by William D. Estrada © 1999

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FLASHBACK – The Chicano Moratorium of 1970

chicanoOn August 29, 1970, the Chicano Moratorium against the war in Vietnam was held in East L.A.

Loyola-Marymount film student Tom Myrdahl shot this documentary, capturing the events that unfolded as law enforcement and protesters clashed in and around Laguna Park. This film has not been seen in nearly 40 years. Tom, who is still a working cameraman in Los Angeles, is putting this historic film on the web as a tribute to the brave citizens of East L.A. who came together 40 years ago to voice their dissent against the Vietnam War.

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IMAGERY – Barbecuing in Montrose, Feb. 22, 1913

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©USC Digital Library

Photograph(s) of an aerial view of a promotional land sale barbeque in Montrose near Glendale, February 22, 1913. A group of automobiles and horse-drawn carriages are parked at the center of a clearing, while pedestrians walk around towards the barbeque tables pictured in the left distance where a small shack can be seen to the side of a dirt road, and in the right foreground, surrounded by temporary fence. A road lined by utility poles curves behind the gathering from the left of the frame towards the mountains in the background, with an even smaller second shack stands near piles of gravel. A sign near the dirt road reads “Montrose Holmes-Walton Realtor Co.”

Images ©USC Digital Library

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HAPPY SUNDAY – Everybody Dance!

Photograph taken of a man posting bills on a brick wall reading “Banish Sunday dancing in Venice and stopping Sunday baseball and theatres will be our next move! Sabbath Reform League”… residents wonder whether these are by reformers opposed to dancing or whether it is 11th hour election ruse of pro-Sunday dancers. (Photo date unknown – looks like late 1920s/early 30s to me)

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AWESOME – Frasier the Sensuous Lion

People often ask me how I choose the subjects of my posts. It’s a tough question to answer… often I’ll start working on a post, only to find that by following random links I’m led completely off topic to discover something that’s much more interesting than the original article I had in mind. This is one of those times. So, for the curious, here’s how this post happened: while doing research for a future article on the old Marineland, childhood memories of long-gone Lion Country Safari (1970-1984) distracted me. The quick google search that followed led me to the story of Frasier the Sensuous Lion, shown in all of his sexy glory below.

Frasier the Lion

It was this paragraph on the Yesterland website that jumped out at me: Frasier movie poster

“Lion Country Safari was given a big boost by an unlikely star attraction. An elderly, nearly toothless lion named Frasier came from a Mexican circus in February 1971. The old cat’s tongue dangled from one side of his mouth, and he had trouble walking. He may not have been much to look at as far as we humans were concerned, but the lionesses saw him differently. There was population boom of lion cubs at the park. Frasier’s sorry visage adorned tee-shirts and other park souvenirs. Frasier sired 35 cubs until his death in June 1972 at 17-20 years of age, equivalent to a human age of 85-100 years. Frasier even inspired a 1973 feature movie, Frasier the Sensuous Lion, rated PG.” (See creepy poster at right)

Vaguely remembering this funny looking lion from my childhood, I had an instant urge to find out more about Frasier. Imagine my surprise when I found out his active sex life had actually gained enough notoriety for the late jazz greats Jimmy Rowles, Johnny Mercer, and Sarah Vaughan to create a song documenting it (video and full lyrics after the jump).

Go Frasier! (more…)

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FLASHBACK – Forced Integration in L.A.

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September 1970 “This news clip from 1970 focuses on the start of desegregation-via-busing in the Pasadena school district and the signing of an anti-busing bill by California Gov. Ronald Reagan. A much larger controversy later surrounded busing in the Los Angeles Unified School District, since that district covered many more students. Busing in L.A. and elsewhere in California was largely halted by litigation and the passage of a ballot initiative in the early 1980s.

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October 1980 Litigation to order a busing plan for the Los Angeles Unified School District began in the 1960s and a plan was ultimately ordered by Judge Paul Egly in the late 1970s. This news report focuses on “white flight” from the District. Proposition 1 of 1979 was a reaction to the busing plan and limited the scope of busing. After several years of litigation, Prop 1 was upheld and the plan ended. The video shows a sign denouncing Judge Egly.”

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FLASHBACK – 1950s Babies On Parade

Gee, your hair smells terrific…

©USC Digital Archive ©USC Digital ArchiveJuly 28, 1951: Three year-old Bobby Ashe – Everest (“Master Ladera Park”) puts his smooth moves on 22 month-old Sharon Hawkins (“Miss Ladera Park”) at The Ladera Park Baby Show.

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FLASHBACK – Racing Thru The Clouds in Venice

©VirtualVenice.infoOnce upon a time, the first roller coaster ever built on the West Coast reached towards the Venice, California sky. The ride was called Race Thru The Clouds and when it opened on July 4, 1911, even with only half of its cars on line over 25,000 people rode it. Yes, in one day. Roller coasters soon became such a popular attraction in Venice that fourteen were built in between 1904 and 1925. In the early 1920′s, visitors to Venice had a choice of six different rides: three on the Venice Pier, one on the inland lagoon and two on the Ocean Park/Lick Piers.

Although the first coaster is long gone, you can still find evidence of Race Thru The Clouds nearby if you look… architect Steve Ehrlich themed a nearby commercial building after its curves. I think my favorite tribute is this, though: a Folsom Prison inmate named William Jennings-Bryan Burke once spent over a decade erecting a replica of the ride made entirely out of toothpicks! AWESOME! (He actually built entire carnivals from toothpicks. I’m not kidding.)

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HISTORY – Sister Aimee & Her Castle

angelusAs some of you may know, as a teenager during the early 20th century my grandmother preached in tent revivals alongside (and also babysat for) local evangelist Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, who was once – without question – the most powerful, influential, and controversial woman in all of America. Founder of the Foursquare Church, Sister Aimee opened her Angelus Temple on New Year’s Day in 1923… a giant round building facing Echo Park which no doubt many of you pass daily without thinking twice about. The building’s cost was an unheard-of 1.2 million dollars at the time (paid for through average donations of TWO CENTS!!)… leading one critic to declare that Aimee “put the cost in Pentecost.”

At the very bottom of this post is a rare video tour of Aimee’s castle home in Lake Elsinore. Directly below are a few short samples of the show-womanship of Sister Aimee in all of her sin-battling glory… so REPENT, SINNERS!
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PART 3 – Robert Kennedy

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

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On June 4th, 1968, Robert Kennedy was confident he had just clinched the Democratic primary. He was set to be the next President of the United States, and with his leadership would come change. Kennedy was one of the first leaders of his stature and background to forcefully inspire and include people of all ages and colors, his goal being to create a better nation that would stand together and end racial and economic injustice. Having together witnessed the losses of Kennedy’s brother and Martin Luther King, Jr., many Americans recognized and embraced his urgent passion as genuine, and saw his dreams of change as their own.

Although Bobby Kennedy was staying on the fifth floor of the (now renovated) Sportsman’s Lodge, his political base in Los Angeles was the Royal Suite in the Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy’s last speech was held in the Ambassador’s Embassy Room, and he was fatally shot as he exited through the kitchen.

The first video above was taken from the funeral train which carried Kennedy’s body. Along the entire path of the train’s journey, Americans from every imaginable walk of life gathered together along the tracks to say goodbye to the man who had embodied their hopes and dreams… and was taken from them.

After the jump, photos of the man convicted for the murder of Bobby Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, then and in 2008. (Click on thumbnails for larger views.) (more…)

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IMAGERY – LA’s Whistling Birds of the 1920s

Prior to television, people found such fascinating ways to entertain themselves. I have never even *heard* of a Bird Whistling Chorus before, but I imagine it probably sounded something like like this. I so wish I could’ve watched these women perform… although probably not for more than ten minutes or so. (More photos after the jump. Click for larger views.)

bird whistling 1923Apparently someone didn’t get the telegram about wearing all white…

1923 – Photographic group portrait of America’s Bird Whistling Chorus in Los Angeles. Four rows of women in light-colored dresses sit facing the camera, with one woman in a dark-colored dress to the right of center. A woman in the front row holds a conductor’s baton. The group is posed in front of an indistinguishable background, possibly a stage. (more…)

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ODDITY – The Late, Great, Tower of Pallets Monument

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)

Photo Credit: BigOrangeLandmarks.comDaniel 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)

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FLASHBACK – Bono Pisses Off the LAPD

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*CLICK ON THE SQUARE IMAGE BELOW TO LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY*


Where: The roof top of the Republic Liquor Store, corner of 7th and Main, Downtown
When:
3pm Friday, March 27, 1987
What:
A rumor spread throughout the city that the band U2 was about to shoot a live music video on a rooftop Downtown. Coincidentally, many 20-somethings suffered flu-like symptoms and left work early that day.

Details: U2′s Joshua Tree album was released on March 9th, 1987 to an immediate buzz. Irish director Meiert Avis was hired to rush a video for the third single and the chosen song, “Where The Streets Have No Name,” was to set be performed live to playback. For dramatic effect they chose to film on an unexpected and very public location – the roof of a Skid Row liquor store in the middle of a workday.

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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 – LA Doesn’t Need Rapid Transit, So Says Paul Lynde

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Los Angeles has had a tempestuous history with public transportation. This 1968 educational film starring actor/center square Paul Lynde and iconic Los Angeles newscaster Ralph Story was produced and distributed to libraries, schools and community groups by the Southern California Rapid Transit District in advance of a failed 1968 ballot initiative proposing a ½-cent sales tax that would go towards funding an 89-mile, five-corridor rail system (costing $2.5 billion). The bill was rejected by voters fifty-five percent to forty-five percent.

“Blame for the defeat was placed, officially on the public’s dislike of higher taxes, not hostility to rapid transit itself. Blame was probably shared by an antipathy to more taxation, and a general feeling, still prevalent, that Los Angeles was an autopian, decentralized garden city with no place for rail transit.”

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FLASHBACK – Olvera Street circa 1937

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FLASHBACK – Why do people work?

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. 

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v6407079gR4c6zQ4 (more…)

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FLASHBACK – De-Best of Ed Debevic’s

“If you’re really a good customer… you’d order more.”

debevicsBehold the magic of the internet… one click of the mouse and Ed Debevic’s Restaurant (which sat on the heart of La Cienega Restaurant Row from the mid-1980s up until the revolving doors were put out of motion in 2003) still exists. The clip after the jump features sights and sounds that will make you smile with recognition if Ed’s was ever a part of your life… from the little details in decor down to the steady merriment of lip-synced dance numbers, it’s the same ol’ Ed’s.

Ed Debevic’s was a fun place to bring visiting guests of all ages and group sizes (my dad *loved* it), gather for a birthday, or just hang out when you were feeling down. For a long time, it was the location of choice to commiserate when my friends and I broke up with boyfriends… we found it difficult to wallow in self pity after experiencing a few hours of girl talk, abject silliness (with dashes of pure stupidity) and comfort food (a huge bowl of mac and cheese works wonders). We each had our favorite waitstaff, and they knew us. Ed’s felt like (a very dysfunctional but fun) home somehow.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7180881846253184198
Note: I think my favorite performance in the video is the Vicki Carr tribute at 32:35

The folks at Ed’s *always* had something wacky going on. My friend Adri and I ate there on Election Day in 1988 and were surprised to see a makeshift boxing ring set up in the middle of the room. About a half hour later, two guys wearing Bush/Dukakis masks and boxing gear suddenly ran into the room and proceeded to beat each other up while diners were encouraged to cheer. Good times. Speaking for myself, I thought the food was pretty good, too… I loved the chili cheese fries, burgers and pie. I found their coffee strangely salty though, I must admit, which always confused me… how does one even make salty coffee?

A Japanese restaurant called Gonpachi now stands where the streamliner once was. Salty coffee aside, I miss the craziness of Ed’s, though… trends change, but I’m sorry it’s gone. There are more than enough Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles. We need more choreographed dance numbers.

P.S. – If you would like a memento of Ed’s, you can still buy one of their famous pickle pens online.

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