Posts Tagged ‘Nostalgia’

MUST SEE TV – Things That Aren’t Here Anymore

This week, take the time to learn a LOT more about our local history by watching the fabulous KCET series Things That Aren’t Here Anymore. The latest episode, the third, will be airing on Thursday, June 10th at 8pm… but it looks like the previous episodes will be airing multiple times this week as well.

CHECK KCET’S PROGRAM SCHEDULE HERE and record these programs accordingly!
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The series gives Angelenos a whole new sense of nostalgia and insight about this city we live in and the lives of the amazing people who have called Los Angeles home. Whether you’re remembering your own past or learning about the things you missed out on, it’s still great watching. Personally, besides reminding me of how many great things have happened here, Things That Aren’t Here Anymore also drives the point home of exactly why HiddenLA exists. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… while it may seem awesome to you that there are only two people in your favorite bar, it’s not great for the bar owner, especially during this economy. So if you don’t want to see your favorite places featured on Things That Aren’t Here Anymore #4… make a point to go outside today and spend every possible moment appreciating and discovering the great things this city offers.

Don’t keep the treasures of Los Angeles hidden… spread the word and support our current local businesses so they live a long time!

Image via gogonotes.com“Thursday, June 10 at 8:00 p.m. KCET is broadcasting “Things That Aren’t Anymore 3.” Produced by Saul Gonzalez and co-producer Isaac Mizrahi, and narrated by Patt Morrison, it’s a pledge special celebrating L.A.’s treasured, but lost, places of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Stops include Pandora’s Box and Rodney’s English Disco on the Sunset Strip, Tail ‘o the Pup and Chasen’s restaurants, the Leimert Theater and that spawning ground of 80s Valley Girls, version 1.0 of the Sherman Oaks Galleria. The guests, who all share their memories and connections to these places, include Cherie Currie of The Runaways, KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer, L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, and Ed Pearl, the owner and founder of The Ash Grove.”

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HOOD – Laurel & Hardy’s Culver City

YouTube Preview Image “Many scenes in the Hal Roach comedies were shot on the streets of Culver City. The brilliant designer and pop culture historian Piet Schreuders creates a computer model of Culver City as it looked in the 20′s – and matches-in scenes from Laurel and Hardy comedies that were shot on site.”

I saw this a few years ago and it just blew me away. The amount of loving and precise effort this one man put into matching up the scenery is so impressive. Unfortunately, some of it isn’t subtitled, but it doesn’t really matter.

For a 13-page PDF of background about this clip, click here.

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LOCAL TV – I’ll Have What Fred Rated Was Having

If you aren’t an old school Southern Californian, the next sentence will mean nothing to you, but here goes. Fred Rated and I once celebrated our shared birthday together. I was working my night job at the time and he just happened to show up so we birthday bonded with each other for a few magical moments. Basically, he partied with his friends while I pretended not to be geeking out. If current tv commercials were half as creative as those old drug trip Federated spots, I wouldn’t fast forward through everything on my DVR.

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He now stays behind the scenes as the voice of the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, but decades ago our local airwaves were under attack by actor/radio dj Shadoe Stevens (Terry Ingstad) and his frenetic alter ego, a hyperactive electronics pitchman in a Miami Vice suit. From Stevens’ web site:

“In the 1980′s, Shadoe Stevens was retained to devise an advertising strategy and branding campaign for a 14 store electronics chain known as the Federated Group. He created and played a character named Fred Rated in a series of commercials that were a mix of Saturday Night Live and Monty Python. Over a period of six years, he and a small team of artists created over 1,200 different commercials.”

Now let’s read that again… IN SIX YEARS, SIX PEOPLE CREATED 1,200 FRED RATED COMMERCIALS. Chew on that for a second. (more…)

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COVET THIS – Junk For Joy

*Click on the thumbnail image below to launch photo gallery*

HERE’S THE CONCEPT OF “COVET THIS”:

1. We walk into a store spontaneously.
2. We pick out a handful of random things that catch our eye/s.
3. We take covert photos.
4. We post the images with silly captions for you to see.
5. YOU are overwhelmed by an urge to rush to said establishment and possess said items (silly as they may be at times), thereby helping very small businesses to stay afloat during our troubled economy. :)

The Chosen Store: Purveyors of “fun and funky clothing, collectibles and other goodies,” Junk For Joy
The Location: 3314 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank (818) 569-4903
Our Previous Customer Experience: I first wandered into Junk For Joy back in the 80s during a lunch break when I was working at a record company nearby. Although I hadn’t been back in over a decade, I was surprised to find that it hasn’t changed at all. Literally! I think it even has some of the same inventory. It was like visiting the 80s again, only this time I wasn’t wearing blue eyeshadow and moon boots.


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MATINEE – Felix the Cat Goes to Hollywood (1923)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7806044997030001102

Felix the Cat Goes to Hollywood (9 minutes, Original release date July 15, 1923) “Felix’s owner decides to make his way to Hollywood, but has no money. Another man who owns a failing shoe store promises Felix $500 if he can help bring in new business, which Felix ingeniously manages to do. Felix’s owner (jerk!) stiffs him out of the money, but Felix finds a way to get to Hollywood anyway, and while there meets up with the famous stars of the day, like Charlie Chaplin and Ben Turpin.” Go Felix.

Added bonus: Felix the Cat theme song singalong after the jump. (more…)

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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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RIP – Julius Schulman, California Cool Photographer

Case Study House No. 22 Sometimes I’ll start researching an article and then realize someone else has already crafted the post I was about to do. This is one of those times, so rather than re-invent the wheel, let me just say that Flavorpill did a great post on late architectural photographer Julius Shulman this morning. Schulman, who passed away on July 15th at 98, masterfully framed the “California cool” lifestyle as modernism entered the Southland landscape. His photos make me want to sit on an avocado green divan and drink a martini. Yes, I know it’s 10am. Your point?

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FLASHBACK – Black Gold at Kiddyland

Ever wonder what was on the corner of Beverly and La Cienega before the Beverly Center existed?

Kiddie rides and oil rigs. And the oil rigs are still there. Huh.

YouTube Preview Image “In 1946, Dave Bradley opened Beverly Park and Playland (Kiddyland) at Beverly and LaCienega. It had a Tilt-a-Whirl, bumper cars, a roller coaster, merry-go-round, pony rides, blue hippo, you name it. And gourmet food, according to their ads.

…One of his visitors at Playland (Kiddyland) was Walt Disney, and Bradley became an advisor to Disney on many of the rides at Disneyland. He was one of the geniuses who decided that everything on Main Street would be built to 7/8 scale, so people would feel tall and not so overwhelmed as they walked around.” (SOURCE)

“This little amusement park, complete with roller coaster and spook house, sat in the shadow of one of the thousands of disguised oil pumps creakily pumping up profits from the huge oil reservoir under the area. Many a bedraggled parent found solace here, as for the price of a few 25 cent tickets, children could be let loose to ply the cheesy old rides while Mom and Dad sipped soda under a tree.” (SOURCE)

After 28 years, Beverly Park closed in 1974 and in 1978 plans for Beverly Center were announced. The mall opened in 1982. More than you ever needed to know about Kiddyland can be found on the Facebook page dedicated to the park.

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MATINEE – Lady Cops!!!!

DRAGNET – “TRAINING” (Season 3, Episode 9, 1968)


Today Joe Friday will teach us all about the attractive young gals who battled their self-doubts,
self-absorbed fiancés, and obnoxious lady reporters to help make the LAPD what it is today –
mainly because they didn’t want to be secretaries. THANKS FOR CHANGING THE WORLD, LADIES!!!

My personal favorite moment is watching the cadettes on the firing range in matching Jackie Onassis suits.

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RESOURCE – Movie Locations Galore

YouTube Preview Image After the jump are links to some of the best web resources identifying movie locations.

As I’ve mentioned before, my first inspiration to explore L.A. was an old film. Love it or hate it, the entertainment business is what Los Angeles is famous for worldwide. Residents here are surrounded by familiar, comfortable* images whenever we drive down the street, whether we recognize them or not. You may easily be surprised to find that you’ve been driving past iconic buildings on your way to the grocery store without even realizing it. Funny thing is… there are people who will travel across the world just to see these buildings that we pass by without a thought. Most movie locations are free to discover, so instead of sitting home & watching stuff on tv this weekend why not have an adventure and explore the sights in person?

“It’s only a matter of time before local film and TV buffs experience a sense of déjà vu around Los Angeles. That place looks familiar. Did you see it on the way home from work, or when you checked in with your favorite characters? Could be both. Most productions not filmed on studio lots are shot within the 30-mile zone from Beverly and La Cienega boulevards, with some locations more popular than others. (more…)

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LOCAL – L.A. Nature Lovers

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2099984916464728483 At left is a silent video (circa 1930s) taken by the NATURE FRIENDS LOS ANGELES, headquartered in Sierra Madre.

Their umbrella organization was originally founded in Austria in 1895 as Naturfreunde, a non-profit Alpine social club formed to promote tourism with a minimal effect on the environment (an early version of eco-tourism), international friendship and understanding. The Los Angeles branch was opened in 1920. The club is still active and membership is very affordable. In order to join you need to be sponsored and recommended by two members, but if you are a nice person who’s really “interested in nature, conservation, hiking and the outdoors” I’m sure they’d probably befriend you. Maybe you could see about joining them for movie night on Saturday, July 25th and introduce yourself.

This (again, silent) video captures images of:
• The club’s weekend activities at their lodge in Sierra Madre;
• Construction of a cabin in the San Jacinto Mountains;
• Outings to the Coachella Valley desert;
• A beach party near Corona del Mar in Orange County;
• Skiing at Big Pines;
• Driving through Angeles Crest;

• Hiking to San Gabriel Peak… and other vintage L.A. nature-lovin’ stuff. :)

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NSFW – George Putnam: Intrepid LA Newsman, Hater of Smut Peddlers

YouTube Preview ImageI was gonna take a day off but then an emergency came up:  late Los Angeles news icon and Hal Fishman rival George Putnam got me all worked up about “the wild flagrant abuses of the god-given gift of sex.” It’s enough to make a decent home-spun girl-next-door like me just pig biting mad!

In today’s featured flashback video (Perversions For Profit, 1965) George Putnam excitedly exposed himself as a soldier against the sex-mad degeneration of America. This highly informative and visually titillating little “scare” film was funded by financier Charles Keating – yes, that Charles Keating – and sure, George sounded strangely turned on throughout this whole film, but could you blame him? He passionately wanted to save America from depravity… but his hot descriptions of perversion, sexy “censored” images and details of massive profit sure made it all sound even more exciting and attractive! Va va vooom! A few decades later, his adopted homeland became the porn capital of the world. Sigh. Poor George. Score one for the Devil.

Interested in resurrecting George’s battle against the plague of filth in 2009? His handy moral guidelines are listed after the jump (along with part two of the video). They seem to be a lot of work though. An easier way to keep your halo intact would probably be just to poke out your eyeballs since according to George, very few blind people join nudist colonies. No eyeballs = no perversions! Problem solved!

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MATINEE – How Doogie Met the Los Angeles Riots

doogieandrodneyToday we’ll return to a time that was a bit less idyllic. On April 29, 1992, violence erupted in our city and the life of every resident was affected… as shown below, it even took a toll on the life of the average American pubescent doctor. Today we will relive the night of April 29, 1992 as we watch erudite teen/medical prodigy Doogie Howser, his wacky sidekick Vinnie and the caring staff of a strangely nameless local hospital cope with the aftermath of the L.A. Riots. Can’t we all just get along?

(Original Airdate: September 23, 1992)

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MATINEE – Muscle Beach Party

FULL FILM AFTER THE JUMP! YAY!
In honor of the upcoming festivities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Venice’s Historic Muscle Beach and the crowning of Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach 2009, we would like to take this moment to present a true piece of Southern California movie nostalgia, the star-studded 1960′s beach classic… MUSCLE BEACH PARTY!!! WOOO HOOOOO!!!!

Okay, so it’s no Beach Blanket Bingo, I’ll admit… but if you have doubts about the cheesy, iconic goodness of this hormonal-teens-on-the-beach saga then dig this, chickies:

  1. The film was directed by William Asher, who besides being a driving force of the beach movie genre was the lead director on both I Love Lucy and Bewitched (he was also Elizabeth Montgomery‘s husband). All of which by default brands him as permanently awesome.
  2. The cast of this little flick included the following people: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Don Rickles, Dick Dale, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Dan Haggerty (aka Grizzly Adams), Bill Graham (!!!), Peter Lorre (!!?) and LITTLE STEVIE FRIGGIN’ WONDER (he’s towards the end).

Yes that’s right. Stevie Wonder was actually in Muscle Beach Party. Learned something today, didn’t you? Well, don’t worry… school’s over now. Time to hit the beach, moondoggie! (more…)

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SERIES – The Jim Henson Experience

hensonMy very first memory in life, very literally, involved Sesame Street. I was a toddler who was getting too big for her crib and I wanted out. I actually remember looking through the bars of my little jail, deciding this was not working for me, climbing out, wandering down the stairs, turning on the television and plopping myself down to watch Big Bird. I also remember looking up at my mother and wondering what her problem was as she freaked out while I was sitting there enjoying myself very contentedly. I still look at her that way sometimes.

Point of the story… Jim Henson made stuff that was actually worth breaking out of jail for. So I’m looking forward to this:

Muppets™, Music & Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy
Fridays in July at Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre
“In conjunction with The Jim Henson Legacy and the Jane Henson Foundation, The Cinefamily pays tribute to one of the world’s most inspired and innovative film and puppetry artists, Jim Henson. A visionary TV producer and a world-class puppeteer, Henson and his team created indelible, hilarious, vulnerable and crazy characters like Kermit The Frog, Bert and Ernie, the Gelflings and the Skeksis, and The Swedish Chef (one of our personal favorites), and brought a unique combination of childlike wonder and adult sophistication to their groundbreaking work. This month-long series will explore all facets of Henson’s prolific output, including experimental work, rarities and some of his most beloved feature films.”

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RIP – Sad Day for 1970s Pop Icons :(

I sure hope Erik Estrada and Kristy McNichol are feeling healthy. All you 1970s celebs might want to look into getting a thorough checkup soon. Clearly something is in the air and frankly, we’re awfully worried about you. It’s really bumming us all out. Please be well.

FARRAH FAWCETT (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) – I really love the Farrah commercial below… it’s like she’s up in heaven with the man of her dreams (who is hopefully nicer than Ryan O’Neal)… sitting in God’s hand on a big shaving cream cloud… rest in peace, oh Beautiful Queen of Feathered Hair.

MICHAEL JACKSON (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) – An insanely talented and very troubled human being, wherever he may be I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that Michael Jackson has finally found the peace and perfect nose he spent his life searching for. In my living room I have a photo he autographed for me in the early 90s… in tribute, I think I’ll go set his photo on my piano and then moonwalk backwards into the kitchen. Sha-mon!
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HISTORY – The Hollywood Canteen

YouTube Preview Image The Hollywood Canteen existed at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood between October 3, 1942 and Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1945

With Steven Colbert’s recent adoption as USO mascot, I thought it might be timely to revisit one of Hollywood’s biggest efforts to bond with our nation’s soldiers.

Throughout World War II, Americans were very much in the habit of making hospital visits, putting on shows at military bases, and serving doughnuts and hot coffee in canteens in an effort to boost the spirits of enlisted men. As many of them were enlisted themselves, the biggest stars of stage and screen were very much involved in the morale building as well. On American soil, the goal was set to give the servicemen an option to come to the celebrities instead of vice versa… and that was how The Stage Door Canteen Nightclub (located at the 44th Street Theater in Times Square) was born. The driving forces behind the creation of the USO‘s West Coast location, The Hollywood Canteen, were Bette Davis and John Garfield, along with legendary songwriter Jule Styne (FYI, he wrote more than a few tunes you’ve heard before). The Canteen was operated and staffed completely by volunteers from various aspects of the local entertainment industry. By the time the doors opened in 1942, over 3000 stars, players, directors, producers, grips, dancers, musicians, singers, writers, technicians, wardrobe attendants, hair stylists, agents, stand-ins, publicists, secretaries, and allied craftsmen of radio and screen had registered as volunteers. On any given day or night, actresses such as Ann Sothern, Hedy Lamarr and Linda Darnell could be found pouring coffee.

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EVENTS – The Close Up – Updated 6/27

YouTube Preview Image 6/25/09 – Harold & Maude EXTRAVAGANZA!
6/28/09 – Free Food at Ruby’s Shake Shack in Malibu; Discounted Tickets for The Los Angeles Accordion Festival
; Mondo Jerry Lewis Barbeque at Cinefamily
ALL WEEK: 6/22-28/09 – Bigfoot Drink Discounts
ALL SUMMER: Free food/drink specials at Arby’s

THURSDAY, JUNE 25th
A Salute to Hal Ashby – A HAROLD & MAUDE EXTRAVAGANZA!!!
Place: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Time:
7:30pm showtime, doors open at 6:30pm
Price:
ONLY $5 for non-Academy members, $3 for Academy members
Note: YES, this fabulous Harold & Maude event is SOLD OUT, *BUT* a standby line will form on Thursday afternoon. Standby numbers will be assigned at approximately 5:30pm and any available tickets will be distributed shortly before showtime.
Details: I love this movie. Always have. And if you have too, then check out the following details about this incredible event: it’s hosted by Cameron Crowe and Peter Bart; features a discussion with Ashby’s colleagues and admirers including Judd Apatow, Diablo Cody, Seth Rogen, Jon Voight and Haskell Wexler; and includes a performance by Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens – !!!). On top of that, Ruth Gordon has been defrosted from her cryogenically frozen state and will be doing an Egyptian fan dance as Yusef performs the soundtrack from the film. Okay yeah, unfortunately I was only kidding about that last sentence (her fan dance would’ve been GREAT!) but I’m *not* kidding when I say that when everyone stops gushing over how insane and wonderful the movie is, they’ll be screening a brand new print of it from the Academy Film Archive. (Note: The Hal Ashby tribute continues through the end of June at the Linwood Dunn Theater, with The Landlord and Shampoo – June 26; The Last Detail and Coming Home – June 27; Being There – June 28)

SUNDAY, JUNE 28th
Ruby’s Shake Shack – MALIBU LOCATION GRAND OPENING
Place:
Malibu Pier, Malibu
Time:
Between 11am and 4pm only
Details:
During the hours shown above, everyone who shows up will be treated to *FREE* burgers, fries, and shakes. Garden salads have also been mentioned. Official opening day is June 29.

mondojerryMondo Jerry Lewis Barbeque
Place:
Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre,
611 N Fairfax Ave, Hollywood (323) 655-2510
Time: See below
Price: $12
Details:
To close out their Jerry Lewis retrospective–the first in LA ever!–Cinefamily is celebrating with a Jerrython, an all-day (and we mean it!) blowout of all the assembled rare Jerry footage they could find, including our own mash-up of our favorite moments… So, come early, get a couch, and settle in for hour upon hour of FLAVIN! with hot dogs and the JERRY!

Here’s an approximate itinerary (things might run 15-30 minutes over, give or take):
3-5:30 BBQing, and watching Colgate Comedy Hours with Martin & Lewis
5:30-6:30 Mondo Jerry mix of great scenes and rare clips
6:45-8:15: Cracking Up
8:30: Three on a Couch
10:30: The Big Mouth

Los Angeles Accordian Festival – SQUEEZE FEST L.A.
Place:
John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East., Hollywood (323) 461-3673
Time: Pre-show picnic/party: 5:30 pm; Show: 7:30 pm
Price: Full Price $40, $30. Mention “NELA” for a 20% discount.
Details: “The LA Accordion Festival hosts SqueezeFestLA at the majestic outdoor John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, one of LA’s most underappreciated architectural gems. After making forays into music scenes from the parlor to the speakeasy for nearly 200 years, the accordion has also recently experienced a major comeback on the indie stage, expanding its modern influence. This evening, three very different groups showcase the rich, nostalgic sounds of the instrument: operatically infused, neo-boho cabaret act Vagabond Opera, Conjunto Los Pochos (the epitome of culturally complex Tex-Mex music), and Louisiana’s Feufollet. Visitors are encouraged to come early and picnic on the grounds, while local “accordion diva” Gee Rabe performs in the plaza before the show.” (SOURCE)

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Oh, and as long as I’m looking for good deals to put into the events listing to help everyone survive financially during these tough times… I’ll just sneak this little tidbit in for ya. It’s not a local thing, I believe it’s nation-wide, but Arby’s is giving away FREE FOOD/DRINKS EVERY WEDNESDAY THIS SUMMER as follows:

July 1st – Free Regular Beef and Cheddar with soft drink purchase.
July 8th – Free Orange Cream Shake with sandwich purchase.
July 15th – Free Regular Roast Beef with soft drink purchase.
July 22nd – Free RoastBurger with soft drink purchase.
July 29th – Free FruiTea with sandwich purchase.
August 5th – Free Regular Roast Beef with soft drink purchase.
August 12th – Free Roast Chicken Club with soft drink purchase.
August 19th – Free FruiTea with sandwich purchase.
August 26th – Free Roast Beef ‘n Cheddar with soft drink purchase.

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IMAGERY – Oil Spill Victim, 1971

“Oil spill victim Jody Harris, 19, of Van Nuys is pretty lady in distress as heavy oily substance is removed from her feet by lifeguard Jim Causey of Laguna Beach at Doheny State Beach.”

Hard breaking disaster photos are always difficult to view. Ecology aside, it’s disturbing that the original caption of this vintage image downplayed the senseless tragedy seen here by patronizingly referring to the victim as “pretty lady.” Tsk tsk. This poor girl is clearly in pain and fighting for her life… and I, for one, thank God the heroic lifeguard with the pornstar ‘stache was there to save the day and clean off her adorable little feet.

The UCLA Digital Collections portal contains tens of thousands of great images. Go check out the site and you’ll be entertained for hours.

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L.A. Is A Nicer Place Than You Think – #1

OUR GORGEOUS VINTAGE TRAIN STATION STILL EXISTS. WHERE’S YOURS?

All it takes is a quick look around to see how many other vintage train stations across the nation have been taken down by the wrecking ball and replaced with boxy concrete structures or freeway ramps and yet our vintage train station remains beautiful, in daily use by citizens and historically intact for the most part. Union Station opened in May 1939, and is known as the “Last of the Great American Railway Stations.” Even if you’ve never been inside, you’ve still seen the beauty of it many times. So let’s just have a little cheer for the fact that we still *have* Union Station.

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WEB – In SRO Land

Each spring, L.A.’s popular time-travel blog 1947project reinvents itself. For the first three years, it followed a chronological crime-a-day format by painstakingly scouring newspapers for incredible forgotten tales of crime and infamy from particular years (1947, 1927 and 1907 were all featured). Then the On Bunker Hill blog which followed was “a house-by-house survey of the great old downtown residential neighborhood that was demolished to create the high rise district that shares its name, but none of its charms.” The contributors – including authors, librarians, bloggers, psychologists, film scholars, art historians, artists and tour guides – dug deep into historic archives to uncover fascinating tales of more than a century of life on old Bunker Hill.

Well, the latest incarnation of Kim Cooper‘s baby has officially been born as of today, and it’s got a name: In SRO Land: lost lore of the Historic Core. The blog’s contributors are an eclectic mix of prominent social historians and journalists who will “explore the forgotten history of Downtown LA, up the grand entertainment boulevard of Broadway (where SRO means “Standing Room Only”) and down the mean streets of Main (where SRO stands for “Single Room Occupancy,” shorthand for a rented room with a sink in the corner, shared toilet down the hall). Between these two poles, straddling the financial center of Spring Street, modern Los Angeles was born.” Check it out!

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IMAGERY – Sister Aimee’s Stained Glass

YouTube Preview Image 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.
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FOCUS – Inspired by Sunset Boulevard

Note: A link to the entire film is after the jump.

May I present the most kickass stoplight you’ve ever seen. Well okay, your mileage may vary but I’ve been digging on this stoplight since the first moment I saw it. (And yes, I *am* easily entertained.) This was a typical sight on Sunset Boulevard in 1949, as captured in the iconic film Sunset Boulevard just moments before a pivotal flat tire changes Joe Gillis’ life forever, forcing him to hide out in Norma Desmond’s driveway.

I’m normally not one for traffic signals, but I love love love this stoplight. The technology was still relatively new… clearly people couldn’t be counted on to pay attention to simple colored lights yet so they made sure to add an automated sign that announced “Stop” and “Go” as well, just to make sure you were doubly aware of what green and red meant. No excuses, buddy.

Sunset Boulevard is, hands down, my number one top favorite film for sentimental reasons and has been ever since I first saw it with roommates just days after moving back to Los Angeles from San Diego by myself. I loved everything about the movie… the noir cinematography; the incredible dialogue (My favorite line? “Funny how gentle people get with you once you’re dead.” Just wow.); the total sexy hotness of William Holden in his vicuna; the batshitinsaneness of Gloria Swanson’s iconic portrayal of Norma; Erich VonStroheim’s accent; Betty’s smart sassiness; seeing Detective Joe Friday as a skinny party boy; and of course, the monkey funeral… but most of all, I LOVED being able to witness vintage Los Angeles in its glory. The magic of the film hooked me completely.

A few days after seeing the movie, I remember driving around town with my friends in search of the filming locations… it was so exciting to just imagine we were breathing the same air as William Holden and Gloria Swanson had, albeit decades later. Sunset Boulevard was the first film that inspired me to take to the streets and explore old Los Angeles, because the film captured it and showed it to me in real time. It’s a time capsule of the Los Angeles that has since been paved over and considered forgotten… but there are still very tangible traces of that city if you look for them.

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