Posts Tagged ‘Flashback’

IMAGERY – Olvera Street Market Salesman, 1938

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW ©USC Digital Archive

































“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


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.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=famNeiosTVk[/youtube]


IMAGERY – Barbecuing in Montrose, Feb. 22, 1913

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEWS

©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)

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW©USC Digital Archive


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…)


FLASHBACK – Forced Integration in L.A.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wra-krMEvlU[/youtube]
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.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvJrNYiiuq0[/youtube]
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.”


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.

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”420″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8863776421109511056#[/googlevideo]


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.)

(CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR LARGER VIEWS)©USC Digital Archive
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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!
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftqumRF9Sh4[/youtube] (more…)


PART 3 – Robert Kennedy

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG4vJxi9Kis[/youtube]
[youtube width=”300″ height=”300″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmc2EzkRDkI[/youtube]
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…)


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…)


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)


FLASHBACK – Bono Pisses Off the LAPD

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxl9EI9YBg[/youtube]

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

7th and Main, Downtown LA –– Then and Now


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. :)


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

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3QT69KyPq4[/youtube]

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

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50DnilLc7x0[/youtube]


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. 

[veoh width=”590″ height=”430″]http://www.veoh.com/collection/ephemeralfilms/watch/v6407079gR4c6zQ4[/veoh] (more…)


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.

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”400″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7180881846253184198[/googlevideo]
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.


FLASHBACK – Coming Into Los Anjuleez. Far out.

First, let me just say that the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock has brought what is perhaps the best ABC News story headline I have ever seen. Although wow, the article’s pretty depressing.

Anyhow, in honor of this auspicious anniversary of the biggest day in naked muddy hippie history, I’m posting Arlo Guthrie’s Woodstock performance of “Coming into Los Angeles.” In case you were not aware, this song was written in 1968 about illegal drug smuggling – SURPRISE!!!!!  Yeah, that’s a shocker, I know. But I digress. In 2007 LA Times reporter Geoff Boucher asked Arlo to speak  a little more in depth about the story behind the song… you can read his comments after the jump.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uoq4ar-0p4[/youtube]

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MATINEE – Felix the Cat Goes to Hollywood (1923)

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”470″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7806044997030001102[/googlevideo]

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…)


FLASHBACK – Hollywood by Helicopter 1958

I’d explain this clip, but it’s pretty obvious.
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox6rtwhMWKE[/youtube]


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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FLASHBACK – The Grooviest Day on Olvera Street

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Scopitone film of Tijuana Taxi (filmed on Olvera Street circa 1966)

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPalYwLyEvw[/youtube] tacobelltaxi This video was filmed specifically to be shown on a Scopitone machine, an early video jukebox which could be found in bars throughout the world in the 60s (and disappeared by the 70s). To see more great Scopitone films, there are plenty online. (Here’s my other current favorite… it’s like watching someone sing the story of my life. Sigh.)

P.S. – Be sure to click on and enlarge the little album cover image above right. Remember when the Taco Bell sign was a sleeping Mexican wearing a hat? Ha!


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 width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUYc3uZbRW4[/youtube] “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.