Posts Tagged ‘Video’

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by the time they were shut down the trains were considered by a lot of people to be relics… loud, dirty, clunky, and outdated.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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VIDEO – One Sunday in Los Angeles

Here’s a cool video by HiddenLA fan and devoted LA Kings podcaster Chris Kaliszewski.

Happy Sunday, everybody! :)

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VIDEO – Beneath Los Angeles

melblancHere’s a little tribute to the truly permanent residents of Los Angeles by Steve Goldstein, the man behind LA’s Graveside Companion: Where the V.I.P.s R.I.P. (and regular contributor to Find A Grave). This video features images from a book he’s working on… and for your internet pleasure, he also offers “GraveGrams” that you can send to your friends too.


Unfortunately, the video appears to have some buffering issues so for optimum enjoyment, I’d recommend pausing it to give it a chance to load before playing.

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VIDEO – The Hidden Oil Rigs of L.A.

Anyone who has driven by down La Cienega to the airport or through Long Beach has found the local oil derricks hard to miss. Many people know about the rigs hidden between the kidney shaped buildings at Beverly Center and that the site of the Farmers Market/Grove Shopping Center was where Earl Gilmore once struck oil, but most don’t realize that black gold is actually being pumped from the ground below your feet every day. The video below really shows and explains that process.

Exploration #4 – Oil of L.A. – Twenty billion barrels of oil sit beneath Los Angeles. Hidden in plain sight, thousands of wells pump day and night all over the city covered by hollow office buildings, camouflaged next to high schools, and concealed behind shopping malls. We put on our boots and went exploring.

This great video was filmed as part of VBS.tv “Uneven Terrain,” a series “devoted to urban exploration and uncovering the hidden, underground and forgotten corners of the world’s leading metropolises.” The second episode was about pirate radio in London.

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FLASHBACK – Our Town Today, circa 1944

Stay on the job and finish the job, Los Angeles!

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From the book The Bad City in the Good War: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego:

In early 1944, fearing a labor shortage, the Citizens Manpower Committee of Los Angeles staged a drive to induce war workers to “Stay on the Job.” The Committee took advantage of the great Army and Navy show at the Los Angeles Coliseum to stress the need for housing. Like so many other institutions in the area, the Los Angeles Coliseum was built by city boosters. It arose in 1923 and was increased in size in order to lure the 1932 Olympics to that city. The Coliseum well illustrates the kind of hubris that Los Angeles’s detractors cite, but it also gave the homefront popularizers of the war effort a magnificent urban space in which to persuade defense workers to “Finish the Job” and landlords to keep renting to transients. (more…)

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HAPPY SUNDAY, LA – Go outside and take a walk! :)

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The painfully adorable/ talented Kate Micucci will be returning to her show at the Steve Allen Theater in March. You can also catch her performing around town as Oates of Garfunkel and Oates, as ukulele girl on Scrubs reruns, or in many other cute videos on You Tube.

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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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FLASHBACK – The Exuberant Zest of WW2 SoCal

I’m not sure how many of the Japanese Americans who were relocated into local internment camps (or their descendants) would’ve considered it a “minor incident” of World War 2… but hey, those people could write their own dagnabbed newsreels! Um, or not.

“This video (part two, which focuses on local character, is after the jump) looks at what the future might be for California after World War II ends. Would there be enough jobs given the rapid population growth that was occurring? What industries might take up the slack when military spending ended? The post-WW2 Cold War was not foreseen. References are made to opportunities for trade with Russia and China. Nuclear energy – surprisingly – is seen as an alternative to hydro (and this is before Hiroshima.) The movie industry is recognized as important for the future. References are made to prewar social movements such as EPIC and the Ham & Eggs pension scheme and religious movements.”

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HAPPY SUNDAY – Lie Down and Relaaaax!

Here in Los Angeles, even tapirs have personal masseuses.

Jealous much?

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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.

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEWS.

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VIDEO – Hidden Layers of the Million $ Theatre

post card of the Million Dollar TheatreScroll down to view a video by Filmmaker Haeyong Moon that goes behind the scenes. Parts 2-3 after the jump.

The Chinese and Egyptian Theaters in Hollywood brought the showman more lasting fame, but The Million Dollar Theatre on South Broadway was failed prospector Sid Grauman‘s first movie house. Located next to the historic Grand Central Market (built in 1917 and still thriving) and across from the iconic Bradbury Building (built in 1893 and now housing internal LAPD offices), this incredible structure was first opened to the public in February 1918.

The wonderful video below goes behind the scenes to share some of the hidden beauty that still exists and few get to see. If you’d like to learn more about the downtown theatre district firsthand, the LA Conservancy offers a walking tour every Saturday at 10am. Tickets are $10. YouTube Preview Image (more…)

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PART 2 – The Ambassador Hotel All-Stars

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

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click for larger viewDuring the roaring 20s and 30s, the Ambassador Hotel’s nightclub “house bands” quickly became the most popular orchestras in the world. An issue of (the then-popular and catchy-named) Talking Machine World magazine identified Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra (see video clip above) as “Los Angeles’ most famous popular musical organization” in 1923.

Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade… For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside.”

For a five year run in the 30s, a dapper group of musicians known as Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra (see video below) was then stationed at the Cocoanut Grove and widely considered to be the most popular band on the West coast. In 1930, the band began to feature male singing trio The Rhythm Boys, featuring a young singer named Bing Crosby. Arnheim Orchestra alumni also included Stan Kenton, Russ Columbo (seen playing violin and singing in the middle of the trio in the clip below), Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, and actor Fred McMurray (on saxophone).
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PART 1 – The Ambassador Hotel 101

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

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ambassadorI’m aware that many readers may not know much about the topic, so here’s a short film explaining the beginnings, the importance, and the demolition of The Ambassador Hotel to start our series on this lost landmark. It features a great narration by Cindy Olnick of the LA Conservancy which helps to explain just how important the Ambassador Hotel’s existence was (and still is) for our community.

Running time: 15 minutes, 40 seconds

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VIDEO – The Night the Wall Fell on Wilshire

We predicted David Hasselhoff would show up on Sunday, but he must’ve been busy eating cheeseburgers. Also, in order to avoid angering motorists stuck in traffic for three hours on a weekend afternoon, the event time was changed: the temporary construction of a “Berlin Wall” near LACMA was re-scheduled to happen shortly before midnight and be symbolically toppled at midnight by artists who would paint on the symbolic wall. Apparently the event went relatively well, according to the LA Times:

About 700 people gathered on Wilshire Boulevard near Ogden Drive to take part in the Wende Museum’s “A Wall Across Wilshire” event, a symbolic re-creation of the Berlin Wall that once separated East and West Berlin. It was part of the museum’s Wall Project, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the wall…

“I wasn’t too optimistic,” (City Council member Tom) LaBonge said about turnout for the event. “I felt the same way I did about the Berlin Wall: I thought it would never come down. And I never thought this many people would come out on a Sunday. It’s nice to see. Everyone is having a good night. I’ll probably get a few noise complaints tomorrow for the loud music … but it’s well worth it.”

After watching the video below, I’m now eagerly awaiting the upcoming Berlin Wall ride and stage show at Universal Studios. Okay, I just made that up. Or did I?
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Video via LAist

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FLASHBACK – It’s a Big Job

In this training film, our new friend Bill explains the daily struggles of Los Angeles Transit Lines‘ transit operators circa 1947. Him? He likes his job. If he didn’t, he never would’ve taken it. YouTube Preview Image
Part two and part three (which includes “motor coach” operator training and electric trolley buses) are after the jump for your matinee-viewing pleasure if you are so inclined.

(more…)

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FOCUS – The Dunbar Hotel

©USC Digital ArchiveSince a lot of people don’t know much about the history of the Central Avenue jazz scene that happened in Los Angeles, to accompany my last post noting Mama’s passing I decided to expand on it. The neighborhood played such a crucial and historic part not just in jazz history, but in African American history as well, it’s a worthy point to add.

The top jazz club on Central Avenue during its heyday was Club Alabam and *the* place to stay was the Dunbar Hotel, with a guest list that regularly included the likes of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne. Originally known as the Somerville Hotel, the structure was erected in 1928 entirely by black contractors, laborers and craftsmen and black community members helped John Somerville and his wife Vada to finance the entire project.

In 1907 Jamaican-born John Alexander Somerville became the first African American to graduate from the USC School of Dentistry. He earned the highest grade-point average in the class of 1907, and had passed the State Dental Board examination six months before graduation. His wife, Vada Watson Somerville, became the school’s first African-American woman graduate in 1918, going on to achieve distinction as the first black woman licensed to practice dentistry in California. Besides managing a successful practice, the Somervilles were instrumental in opening the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. John Somerville also contributed to the local landscape by developing upscale properties. He was the second African-American member of the Chamber of Commerce and served on the Los Angeles Police Commission from 1949 to 1953.” SOURCE

After the jump is a video discussing the important role the Dunbar played in American history and a vintage postcard of the hotel circa 1938 (according to the card, the room rates at the time were $1 per day and $5 a week).

The Dunbar Hotel still stands, however its current future is sadly uncertain. (more…)

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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.

(more…)

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VIDEO – Golden Eras of L.A.

This video explores the “epicenter of kitsch” is hosted by Charles Phoenix, Billy Shire and architectural historian John English.

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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.”

(more…)

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POETRY – Ode to Density

YouTube Preview ImagePart of the Urban Hike Series organized by the Architecture + Design Museum, Mike The Poet shares his poem “DENSITY” in the historic geography of MacArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles. Found on CurbedLA

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FLASHBACK – Olvera Street circa 1937

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HAPPY SUNDAY – Have a rockin’ Labor Day!

I’ll be adding more stuff to our event calendar tonight, so check back tomorrow!

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FOCUS – 500 Days of Los Angeles

Although the majority of American movies originate in Los Angeles on some level, local filming locations are often chosen based upon how easily LA can be made to look like another city entirely. Palm trees are airbrushed out; store escalators are disguised as New York Subway terminals; Downtown alleyways become cozy cobblestone streets found in a European village. It’s rare to find a movie where the city of Los Angeles is allowed to shine without shame as a featured character in a film. There are a few standouts, of course… LA Confidential, Chinatown, Sunset Boulevard, LA Story, Mildred Pierce, The Player… and everyone seems to agree  that this year’s 500 Days of Summer can be added to the list for shining a bright light on Downtown LA’s pre-1950 architecture in particular.

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It helps that the stars of the movie are young Los Angeles natives who both express refreshingly vocal personal affection for the city, as witnessed in the adorable-even-though-it’s-movie-PR video clip above. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt come across as poster children for cool people who know they shouldn’t have to ever apologize for or be ashamed of where they’re from. PR or no, we can’t help but love that about them. That and the French Canada joke, although admittedly my neighborhood feels a bit more like Mexican Canada.

After the jump is a second video clip showing various movie locations in the film as well as a handy google map (created by the Los Angeles Times) specifically pointing out the standout locations featured in the film if you’d like to check them out for yourself.

(more…)

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