In 1958, Bill Coffman and Bill Field purchased the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ from the Fox West Coast Theater in Long Beach. In 1968, Old Town Music Hall settled into its present home in the original El Segundo State Theater. Every weekend, they still show classic films… and more often than not, Bill Fields himself plays the Wurlitzer for you. Be prepared to sing along! :)
“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.
**SUPPORT SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES!!!**
WHAT: Galco’s Old World Grocery
WHERE: 5702 York Blvd, Highland Park (323) 255-7115
DETAILS: Galco’s purveyance of vintage sodas and candies is clearly a labor of love for owner John Nese. He took over the business from his father, who originally ran the Highland Park market as a grocery store. With 174 rave reviews on Yelp, John’s enthusiasm is definitely contagious… so go there and drink up the fun! Literally. :)
*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.
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.
In Los Angeles, even jazz legends on flying carpets get traffic tickets.
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.
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?
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.
“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.
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. :)
I 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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).
The sixties were a kerrraaaaayzeee time… the hippies were taking over with their crazy druggie ways and there was no way dedicated Sargeant Joe Friday, lover of Los Angeles, was going to let that happen to the youth of His City without a fight. The LSD Story was the first episode of the 1967 season of Dragnet, and it’s more than a little ironic that it was the first episode they filmed in glorious technicolor.
Note: The address given for the vacant lot where Blue Boy saw the pilot light of creation and reality was here.
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.
Every once in a while I’m going to post silly-SoCal-themed videos/cartoons that strike my fancy, just because I’m wacky that way. In today’s “Flashback Matinee” we’re celebrating the moment ol’ Jed Clampett loaded up the truck and moved to Bever-lee. Mind you, a big part of me wishes he would’ve stayed put in the hills he loved and kept on hunting possum… if only because maybe then Jethro wouldn’t have ended up putting this kinda crap together. But nephew aside, Jed Clampett was salt of the Earth and we were lucky to have him living within our city limits. And the funny thing is, in reality I think he just moved to the wrong neighborhood… if he’d just located the family just a smidgen more north and found a place in one of the canyons, he could’ve happily spent his days shooting all the possum he wanted. Ellie Mae would’ve had all sorts of baby deer and such to adopt and I’m sure there would’ve been some good hiding spots for Granny’s still. Hell, she could’ve opened up a nice little hidden prohibition-style speakeasy up there. People would’ve flocked to it.
So all of that said, in tribute to Jed and ol’ Granny I’m now going to call it a day and go take a dip in my ce-ment pond. Later, Los Anguleez.http://www.veoh.com/videos/v6536590yywG9BjT
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!
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.
Sunday’s passing of Bob Bogle, lead guitarist of The Ventures (the “most successful instrumental combo in rock and roll history” according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), has inspired us to pay tribute to what was the original soundtrack for much of Southern California’s beach culture, Surf Music. Strange as it seems, as a third generation native Southern Californian who’s never surfed and is allergic to the sun… Surf Music is the music of my people. Other folks have this and I have this. There are worse lots to have in life. If it wasn’t for the Chuck Berry-on-crack guitar riffs of musicians like The Ventures (who were actually from Washington), Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and even the Bel-Airs, the Beach Boys, and the Surfaris? Well, the Southern California beaches (not to mention the films of Ennio Morricone, Quentin Tarrantino, Robert Rodriguez and Annette Funicello) would’ve been *much* less groovy and danceable. Let’s not even think about a horrible world like that: it totally harshes my mellow, dude. Surf music’s awesome. Learn it. Know it. Live it.
So, in tribute to the talents of Mr. Bogle and the wonders of my musical heritage, I present some totally rad music videos. Some vintage… some newer… all awesome. More after the jump. Enjoy.
Celebrated books have been penned to discuss how Los Angeles’ problem with air quality first developed. Commonly, the blame has been put on the local munitions factories of World War II (one of which my grandma worked in, btw), but a photo of the *real* perpetrator has been discovered.
It’s visible after the jump. (more…)